• Solitary light bulb shining on a dark stage

The ghost light is a single bulb left burning on a stage throughout the night. We honor artists and arts organizations struggling with loss, cancellation, and closure under COVID-19. | photo, Ellwood jon | CC BY-SA 3.0


Resources for the Arts in Missouri and FAQs for Our Grantees

The impact of COVID-19 on arts and culture is immense. On this page we feature information to help Missouri arts organizations and artists navigate the storm:

  • Resources we have found especially useful for the arts, including resources for reopening and recovery | ALL CONFIRMED AS CURRENT AS OF JUNE 29
  • FAQs for our grantees about how we are handling our grants during the pandemic

We continue to monitor local, state, and national developments. Our office is following the guidelines stipulated by the Centers for Disease Control, Missouri Governor Michael L. Parson, Missouri public health officials, and the governments of St. Louis City and St. Louis County.

Resources for the impact of COVID-19




For Arts and Culture Organizations

For Individual Artists

  • Artist Relief — $5,000 grants by a coalition of national grantmakers to artists facing dire financial emergencies due to COVID-19
  • COVID-19 & Freelance Artists — extensive and frequently updated list of resources targeted to the needs of individual artists
  • CERF+ | The Artists’ Safety Net — emergency relief grants for artists infected with the virus who require extensive medical care
  • DEADLINE July 17 | Rocket Relief Fund for Kansas City-area artists — 10 different visual, multi-disciplinary, and performing artists selected randomly each week to receive $1,000 until $165,000 fund is used up, by Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, ArtsKC, Charlotte Street Foundation, Spencer Museum of Art, and Theater League Kansas City
  • St. Louis COVID-19 Artist Relief Fund — independent GoFundMe fundraiser for all types of St. Louis-area artists
  • St. Louis Arts and Music Fund — independent GoFundMe fundraiser for music and arts related industry members

For Both Organizations and Artists

FAQs: How the Missouri Arts Council is handling grants during the pandemic

We Will Convert Project Grants for Arts Organizations to Operating Support

To help organizations weather the COVID-19 crisis, we are changing our FY2020 annual Project Grants made to Missouri arts organizations into Operating Support Grants.

This change will allow eligible organizations to use their Missouri Arts Council funding for operations as well as for their original projects. If your project was cancelled or postponed past the end of FY2020 on June 30, 2020, you may use the funds towards toward eligible expenses for support of your arts organization.

We are no longer accepting applications for FY202 Express Grant programs. However, our FY2021 grants will occur on the regular schedule, with Express Project Grant applications available later this April. FY2021 is from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021.

When does this change take effect?
It takes effect immediately for eligible organizations that are funded in FY2020. Applications from arts organizations for FY2021 will be approved for operating funds.

What is the difference between Project Grants and Operating Support Grants?
We fund both projects and operating support. Project funding is focused on a specific activity that is completed in a specific timeframe. Examples are performances, exhibits, and literary publications. Operating support provides stability and sustaining funding to organizations. Qualified arts councils, mid-sized arts organizations, and established institutions receive operating support based on their meeting criteria of long-term quality and viability.

What is an eligible arts organization?
An organization is eligible if it is a Missouri-based nonprofit whose purpose is primarily to present, produce, or serve the arts. You will be notified by your program specialist if your organization is eligible.

What organizations are not eligible?
1) Organizations that do not primarily present, produce, or serve the arts, express grants, partnership grants, schools, universities, government agencies are not eligible. 2) Organizations that already receive operating support including Arts Council Operating, Established Institutions, and Mid-sized Arts Organizations are not eligible.

Does this affect Express Grants?
No, Express Grants are not eligible.

What are eligible expenses?
See the Guide to Grants for information on what we can and cannot fund.

Is the match still required?

When must funds be used?
All funds must be spent within the fiscal year they are awarded. The 2020 fiscal year ends June 30, 2020.

What if the organization already spent the funds?
It will not affect you this fiscal year.

What if the organization already released funds?
Funds released by eligible arts organizations may be reclaimed by the organization by request no later than April 15 as long as funds are available. Contact your program specialist by email.

What if the organization already receives operating funds?
It will not affect you.

What should we do next if we are eligible for operating support funds?

  • If you already invoiced for all of your awards funds, you need not do anything else.
  • If you had to cancel programs due to COVID-19, consider how you may provide similar or alternative programs, virtually or otherwise. This is particularly important if you produce only one program for the public. Engaging your audience or clients, in some way, is important for maintaining your organization’s visibility and public viability.
  • If you have exhausted alternatives, or have already provided other public programs, you may include in your invoice expenses the allowable operating support costs. These may include costs attributed to the cancellation of other events.
  • Keep in mind that a one-to-one match to your award amount is still required in most cases.

Why are non-arts organizations not eligible for this change?
It is within our mission to provide operational support for arts organizations. Unfortunately, we may not provide operational support for municipalities, universities, schools, and non-arts nonprofits.

Does this mean the Missouri Arts Council no longer supports non-arts organizations’ projects?
Absolutely not. We will continue to fund approved arts programs by eligible non-arts organizations via  both Express and Annual grants.

What should my organization include in our FY2020 final report?
Communicate any changes to your project, as well as examples of creative or effective responses to the COVID-19 challenge.

What if I have other questions?
Don’t hesitate to contact Executive Director Michael Donovan directly at michael.donovan@ltgov.mo.gov .

General Questions

Will my FY2021 application be reviewed on schedule?
Yes. The application review process is virtual. Panelists work and meet remotely. The staff conduct panel reviews through our electronic systems and can do so both at our offices and remotely.

What if we need to make a change to our project, whether or not as a result of COVID-19?
Applicants should notify your Missouri Arts Council program staff of any significant changes in your project. Our staff will work with you to determine the appropriate course of action. This may include significant modifications or doing all or part of the event virtually.

May we invoice for costs relating to cancelling or postponing events relating to COVID-19?
Unfortunately, neither state nor federal funds that we grant may be spent on programs that do not occur. You may wish to contact your vendors, even if the sale was “not refundable,” as many have relaxed policies in the wake of COVID-19.

Will cancelling or postponing events impact our relationship with the Missouri Arts Council?
Absolutely not. Your organization should do what is necessary for the well-being of your organization and constituents.

What options do we have if we cancel or postpone all or part of our project?
Unfortunately, we are unable to fund projects past the end of our fiscal year on June 30, 2020. You can request a change in the scope of the grant project. If you anticipate there will be funds you do not spend, please notify us with the amount to be released.

Am I be able to contact Missouri Arts Council staff?
Yes, our staff are available to answer your questions.

Any question we haven’t answered?
Contact Executive Director Michael Donovan at michael.donovan@ltgov.mo.gov.