Funded by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the grants will help Ohio’s cultural community mitigate revenue losses, maintain staffing levels and protect collections.
“Ohio’s history and culture can be found throughout the state in art museums and small historical societies,” said Pat Williamsen, Ohio Humanities director. “The people who manage those properties have been hit hard by the shutdowns mandated by the coronavirus pandemic, both personally and professionally. If we lose museum employees or artifacts during this economic crisis, the losses will be irreplaceable.”
Applications for emergency grants will be available beginning on May 1; the applications will be accepted on a rolling basis starting on May 15.
“We intend to make the first awards by June 1,” Williamsen said, adding that funding will continue to be available throughout the summer. Later in the year, additional grants will be available to help cultural organizations deliver programs that maintain the health safety of patrons during a post-pandemic environment.
The CARES Act, passed by Congress on March 27, included $75 million emergency funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Forty percent of that amount has been distributed to the 56 state and territorial humanities councils to support local relief efforts. In late March, NEH reported that the anchors of the creative economy such as museums and historical societies were reporting losses of $1 billion every month as facilities were closed and educational programs were canceled.
Announcing the emergency appropriations available through the CARES Act, NEH Chairman Jon Parrish Peede observed, “To the extent that healing is to come during and after this pandemic, it will be through humanities fields from philosophy to literature to history to religious studies — through the act of documenting, preserving, sharing and reflecting — that our communities will move toward a greater sense of wholeness.”