With many arts and history groups still struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Burlington County Commissioners are increasing the county history and arts grants available to support their operations and special events.
The Commissioners voted Wednesday to approve changes to both the County History Partnership and the Local Arts programs for 2022 to eliminate the matching funds requirement and set new caps on available grants at $10,000 for history grants and $16,000 for arts grants.
Arts grants were previously capped at $8,000. History grants were uncapped but averaged $4,542 this year.
“Burlington County has incredible history and a tradition of supporting arts and culture. Both contribute to the high quality of life in our county,” said Burlington County Commissioner Director Felicia Hopson. “These grants support the organizations that preserve our county’s history and fuel our vibrant arts scene and these changes will help them recover and continue their important work.”
The program changes are the result of state funding increases and are expected to make it easier for organizations to qualify for funding and create larger grant awards.
In 2021, the County awarded $42,000 in arts grants to 10 groups and nonprofits and $26,716 to seven local history organizations. For 2022, the County’s funding for the arts is expected to increase to $252,288 and the history grants pool will rise to $52,574.
Applications for the history grants are now being accepted and are available at http://www.co.burlington.nj.us/1347/History.
Applications for the art grants are expected to be posted online on the County website soon.
Commissioner Linda Hynes, who is the Board liaison to the Burlington County Department of Resource Conservation and Parks, said the increased funding is coming at a critical time since many of the county’s nonprofit history and arts groups are still trying to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Most every industry has been impacted by COVID-19, but our arts and history groups were hit particularly hard,” said Hynes. “For some of them, these grants have been their only lifeline to allow them to continue to function and operate. Others have needed the revenue to support special events and projects. All of their work is critically important to our county and our economy, so we’re proud to increase our support.”
The John Inskeep House in Evesham is the historic family home of John Inskeep, a Revolutionary War solider and former Philadelphia mayor. It is now the site of a local history museum run by the Evesham Township Historical Society, which received a local history grant this year. (Photo credit: Evesham Township Historical Society)
The Burlington County St. Patrick’s Day Parade organizers also received a county arts grant to help promote the annual parade in Mount Holly. Participating in the 2020 parade were Burlington County Sheriff Anthony Basantis, County Commissioners Dan O’Connell and Lynda Hynes and County Administrator Eve Cullinan