The Barns of Rose Hill went before the Berryville Town Council in February seeking a formal partnership with the town in pursuit of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The “Our Town” grant program from the NEA is designed to strengthen communities through the use of the arts and provides grants ranging from $25,000 to $250,000. All grants require a one to one match of funds. The Barns is considering an application for a grant of $25,000.
Susi Bailey, who serves as the Executive Director for the Barns, told the council that the funds from this grant would help the Barns fulfill its mission, but specifically would be used to develop programs for the first year of the new community center. These would include grand opening events in September as well as a series of visual, musical and other artistic performances throughout the year.
According to the NEA “a key to the success of the creative placemaking involves the arts in partnership with a committed government leadership and the philanthropic sector.” As such all applicants for this grant must consist of a partnership of at least two organizations: one a nonprofit design or cultural organization, and one a government entity.
In this instance the Town of Berryville would act as the public entity in the partnership. However the town is not committing to fund any aspect of the grant as a partner. The Barns of Rose Hill will provide the matching funds in the partnership. The NEA seeks grant applications that include partnerships with local governments to ensure that the community is behind projects that apply for the funds.
Town Manager Keith Dalton described the process saying, “The initial application is quite brief. It is a three page application and one third of it is a letter of endorsement form the the public entity partner. I have prepared a letter of endorsement for the Mayor to sign if council wishes to pursue the partnership.”
Mayor Kirby made his feelings about the project clear saying, “I’d love to sign that letter.”
The council unanimously supported the partnership and the town will provide an official letter of endorsement for the grant application.
The initial submittal will be reviewed and grant applicants will be notified if they have made the preliminary cut. At that point a formal application will need to be developed for final consideration by the NEA.