The Maine Arts Commission, based in Augusta, has announced the Maine Bicentennial Community Grants to be awarded to organizations and municipalities across the state, according to a news release from the commission.

The arts commission administered the grant review process in partnership with the Maine Bicentennial Commission. Out of the 44 grant applications reviewed, the panel chose a total of 30 recipients: 21 large grants and nine small grants, at varying amounts. Among the projects awarded are theatrical productions, festivals, conferences, educational curriculum, art exhibits, lecture series and more, spanning several Maine counties. Local small project awardees include Friends of Lithgow Library and Oak Hill Middle School. Local large project awardees include the City of Hallowell, Gardiner Library Association and the University of Maine at Augusta.

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“We are very pleased to begin awarding the Maine Bicentennial Community Grants,” said Sen. Bill Diamond, chairman of the Maine Bicentennial Commission, according to the release. “The wide variety of proposals that received funding in this first round speaks to the excitement and creativity of people across the state who are stepping up to commemorate Maine’s 200th anniversary. These grants will make it possible for all Mainers to connect with the bicentennial in their own communities, making this a truly statewide celebration of Maine.”

The Maine Legislature appropriated funding to the Maine Bicentennial Commission, which will be supplemented by matching funds from private corporations and individuals. The initial round of funding is for $375,000, of which $145,255 has been allotted in this first round. Up to 10 percent of the funds are set aside for small grants of $500 or less, and at least one grant of up to $10,000 will be available in each county.

Two additional phases of grant awards are scheduled during the bicentennial commemoration. The application deadlines are Feb. 1 and June 1, 2020.

According to the release, the Bicentennial Community Grants program provides funding for bicentennial-themed projects that benefit the public, such as festivals, historic preservation efforts, lectures and curriculum. The commission considers grant applications from Maine community nonprofit organizations, such as historical societies and libraries, government entities, and schools. Private individuals and for-profit corporations are also welcome to apply in partnership with a nonprofit entity.

Details of the Bicentennial Community Grants program and a link to the application form are available on the Maine Arts Commission website listed under the “Funding” section.

The Maine Arts Commission supports artists, arts organizations, educators, policy makers, and community developers in advancing the arts in Maine. For more than 50 years the commission has encouraged and stimulated public interest and participation in the cultural heritage and programs of our state; has worked to expand the state’s cultural resources; and has encouraged and assisted freedom of artistic expression for the well-being of the arts, to meet the needs and aspirations of persons in all parts of the state.

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