MRAC’s COVID-19 Response

Like many organizations, the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council is contending with the reality of a health crisis unprecedented in our lifetimes. Our highest priority is taking action that best protects the panelists, applicants, staff, and general public that make up the community MRAC serves. 

Therefore, starting Friday, March 13th, MRAC’s physical office will be closed to reduce the risks of spreading the novel coronavirus. We will instead continue our regular activities and services as planned via remote participation. We are planning for all activities to take place remotely through the end of April, but will be regularly re-assessing the situation.

Below are key details from our full plan. Please reach out to us with further questions or concerns, and we will attempt to keep this information updated to reflect frequently asked questions. Connect with us at mrac@mrac.org or go to the Staff page of our website to get in touch with a specific staff person directly.

MRAC has implemented an Emergency Relief Fund for arts groups and arts organizations. Please visit the Emergency Relief Fund page to learn about how to apply for these funds.

Grant Application Processes

  • Our grant application processes are entirely online, from guidelines to the online grant interface where applicants submit their proposals. 
  • Grant information workshops will be presented as webinars available on our website rather than in-person gatherings at our office.

Panel Participation

  • Panels will continue to be recruited and scheduled with our regular process.
  • Panelist orientations will be conducted remotely through a variety of remote options, including webinars, conference calls, and 1:1 phone calls.
  • In most cases, panelists will review applications as a digital PDF rather than a printed book.
  • Panels will now be conducted remotely through an online portal, rather than meeting in-person. All panelists will log in to an individual online account and make confidential ratings. They will also provide written comments on each criterion to provide feedback for applicants. Because of varying levels of access to technology like stable wifi and a landline phone, we have decided that this process makes it possible for the widest breadth of individuals to participate remotely.
  • Scores will be compiled from the online portal for approval by the MRAC Board of Directors on timelines as originally planned.
  • Award notifications will be sent on the published notification dates listed on our website. At this time, notification dates remain unchanged.

Current Grantees with Active Projects

  • First and foremost, we ask all grantees to make decisions that take care of their communities. 
  • We anticipate many project changes, and ask you to propose a change for staff to approve by contacting your program director. 
  • We recommend that you take care of any expenses related to activities that are underway, such as honoring artist contracts and venue agreements.
  • If an activity is canceled after paying all of the contracts and cancellation fees, and if that total amount equals the amount of the MRAC grant plus any required match, we will not request that you return any funds, even if the public component of the project was not completed.
  • If there is remaining grant funding after paying all of the contracts and cancelation fees, we will request that you return any unexpended funds.
  • Final reports will still need to be completed.
  • Updated 3/16/2020:
  • For grants that were awarded in FY20, those project timelines can be extended to the latest project end date of June 30, 2021.
  • Per state law, for grants that were awarded in FY19, those project timelines can only be extended to June 30, 2020.

Workshops, Trainings, & Events

  • Grant information workshops will be presented solely as webinars available on our website. Please check the page for the individual grant program you plan to apply to for more information.
  • When possible we will provide Management Training events as live/recorded webinars or reschedule them for a later date. 
  • The Coffee & Donuts with Program Directors event scheduled for April 3rd is now online via Zoom. 

Staff

  • MRAC staff will maintain regular working hours remotely.
  • MRAC program directors will continue to be available via phone and email for individual questions about grant program applications, draft reviews, and project changes.
  • We are committed to honoring all our existing contracts, including those with caterers, to minimize losses of income.
  • We are continuing the new Program Director hiring process through remote means.

General Operations

  • MRAC’s main phone line will continue to be available during regular working hours.
  • Grant payments, panelist stipends, and MRAC’s other financial commitments will continue to be paid as usual.
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