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Cultural Facilities: Barrier Free Access for All
Deadline: N/A

NOTICE FOR FY2015: The State Arts Council will not be accepting new applications for the Cultural Facilities Grant category owing to insufficient resources.  

The guidelines below are from FY2013 and are here for reference only.
For questions, please contact:

Grant Coordinator: Cassandra Mason
(603) 271-7926


These FY13 Grant Guidelines are valid for fiscal year July 1, 2012 - June 30, 2013

Cultural Facilities grants support renovations, maintenance, and purchase of major equipment that supports creating a universal or inclusive environment for the arts where programs, services, and activities are accessible to everyone, including people with and without disabilities.

Maximum Grant Request
Requests may be made for $1,000 - $8,000.

FUNDING DISCLAIMER: All grant categories and amounts are subject to change, depending upon availability of state and federal funds for any fiscal year.

Required Match
At a minimum, grants must be matched on a one-to-one basis. In-kind contributions may comprise one half of the required match and will also be considered by the reviewers as evidence of support and commitment by the community and/or partner organization. State Arts Council funds may not be matched by other State Arts Council or National Endowment for the Arts funds.

Who May Apply?
Organizations with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status from the IRS and not-for-profit incorporation in the State of New Hampshire that:

  • Own or have a minimum three-year lease on the facility, or demonstrable ability to acquire by deed, or a minimum three-year lease on the proposed facility when it is built or rehabilitated for cultural use;
  • Operate or will establish a cultural facility in New Hampshire;
  • Have one year of experience in arts programming for the general public prior to the date of application, or have plans for at least one year of arts programming at the facility it plans to operate. Note: If more than one not-for-profit organization uses the facility for arts programming, the organization responsible for the physical operation of the facility should make the application;
  • Must demonstrate that the facility is striving to be in full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. Applicants are encouraged to download the book Design for Accessibility: A Cultural Administrators Handbook that offers guidance on making programs and facilities accessible to all. Download from here:
  • Have submitted all required reports on past State Arts Council grants; and
  • Are in good standing with the N.H. Secretary of State’s Office and the N.H. Attorney General’s Office.

Please Note
Government agencies, municipalities and towns, county agencies, state agencies, or federal agencies that own a historic cultural facility; or nonprofit organizations that manage publicly owned historic cultural facilities, are encouraged to apply for a Cultural Conservation Grant.

Prior to finalizing a building plan and budget, it is strongly recommended that the municipality inspects the premises and approves the plans to make sure that all fire and safety codes are in compliance.

Special Notes for Historic Buildings
Cultural Facilities that are over 50-years-old and have not already gone through the process to determine the facility's eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places, must contact the Division of Historical Resources for Determination of Eligibility forms. The applicant will receive a determination of eligibility 4-6 weeks after the Division of Historical Resources receives the completed forms. Grants cannot be awarded for capital projects until the Determination of Eligibility process is complete.

Historic preservation projects are not eligible unless the purpose of the preservation, restoration, or rehabilitation is to make the facility adequate for arts programming. Grantees operating in facilities that have been determined eligible for the Register of Historic Places must submit any plans for capital projects to the Division for Historical Resources for review prior to implementing those plans.

NH Division of Historical Resources
19 Pillsbury St.
Concord, NH 03301
Phone: 603-271-3558 or -3483
TDD/TTY 1-800-735-2964

Important: Please include any correspondence with the Division of Historical Resources with your Cultural Facilities grant application.

This grant does not support:

  • Libraries, unless they contain an area such as a gallery or auditorium that is used primarily for arts programming for the general public on a regular basis.
  • Colleges, universities, or schools, unless the facility benefiting from the grant is regularly used (at least 51% of the time) for arts activities for the general public rather than a primarily student or faculty population.
  • Previously incurred debts or deficits for projects already completed.
  • Projects that are receiving other State Council on the Arts funds.
  • The purchase of musical instruments, computers, office equipment, and other portable equipment. Note: To be eligible for funding, equipment must be installed in the facility and/or used to present or produce the arts (e.g., lighting or sound equipment).

Sample Projects

  • A crafts center with a fully accessible ground floor exhibition space installs an elevator for people with mobility impairments to reach classrooms on the second floor.
  • A community theater renovates a restroom to comply with ADA requirements.
  • A presenting organization renovates the theater with removable seats to accommodate patrons in wheelchairs.

Application Review Process
A panel with expertise in the focus area of the grant category meets to review and rank applications according to the funding criteria listed. Whenever possible, a State Arts Councilor facilitates the meeting. After discussion and review of work samples submitted, applications are ranked by the panel. Funding recommendations are forwarded to the State Arts Council for review and approval. If the organization’s cumulative total of grants received from the State Arts Council for that fiscal year (July 1 - June 30) is $5,000 or more, the grant recommendation must also be submitted to the Governor and Executive Council for approval.

Funding Criteria
The following criteria are used by the panelists to rank applications:

Cultural Significance of Facility

  • Uniqueness in geographic area.
  • Architectural significance of building.
  • Past and probable future use as a cultural facility.

Quality of Project

  • Appropriateness and long term benefits of specific project proposed.
  • Impact on the users of facility (the number and characteristics of individuals).
  • Realistic budget and timetable for project.
  • Qualifications of the persons who will be directing and implementing the project.

Degree of Accessibility

  • Evidence that project is part of a larger accessibility plan and ADA compliance.
  • Evidence of community involvement in facility planning.
  • Evidence of inclusive programming policies, e.g., outreach activities, affordable admissions, culturally diverse programming, benefits to NH artists.

Administrative Capacity

  • Clarity of proposal.
  • Commitment of the board and Project Director to complete the project.
  • Demonstrated effort to solicit donated or discounted equipment/services.

How to Apply
Before Submission: Applicants are strongly encouraged to attend one of the Council’s grant information sessions and to discuss their proposals with the appropriate grant coordinator noted above before writing their applications. Applicants also should review the legal and reporting requirements relevant to State Arts Council Grants.

Draft applications may be reviewed if submitted at least two weeks in advance of the application deadline. First time applicants are especially encouraged to submit draft applications.

When sending in a draft, please clearly indicate DRAFT FOR REVIEW in BOLD letters on the submission.

Submitting the application:

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Narrative Questions
The total narrative portion of the application should not exceed 5 typed pages. Margins (not less than 1”), fonts (not smaller than 12 point), and spacing should provide easy reading for the panelists. Please number and respond to the following questions in the order in which they appear noting the section titles in bold.

INTRODUCTION:  Tell us about your organization

  • Provide a profile of the organization including its mission and goals. Briefly describe the facility and its users. Please keep in mind that some panelists may not be familiar with the organization or its importance to the arts in New Hampshire.
  • Summarize your proposal. Include the uniqueness and architectural significance of building and its use as a cultural facility for arts activities.

1. Why do you want to undertake this project?

  • Explain the goal(s) and intended outcome(s) of the project/activities.
  • Explain how your project relates to the long-range plan for the maintenance and improvement of this facility.

2. What are you planning to do?

  • Describe the ways in which this project will be implemented and the outcomes that will result from this project. Include specific detail on the beneficiaries of this project, whether audience, artists, or other. Note: If this project is part of a larger capital campaign, show this project's relationship to the entire capital campaign.
  • Describe the anticipated life of this improvement. State whether the facility is owned or leased and if leased, describe the terms of your lease.
  • If this project is to improve physical or programmatic access to your arts activities, give statistics on current access efforts and the improvements that this project will deliver.

3. How are you going to accomplish your project?

  • Include a timeline for the planning and implementation of the project.
  • Include the name and qualifications of the Project Director who will be involved with this project/activity and attach his/her biography or resume.
  • Include the names and qualifications of the outside contractors, e.g., architects, builders and staff or board administrators/coordinators who will be involved in this project or the selection process for same. If the outside contractor was not selected by the lowest bid, please explain why. Enclose a copy of at least two bids for the project.
  • Include any evidence of community involvement in facility planning, inclusive programming policies, e.g., outreach activities, affordable admissions, culturally diverse programming, benefits to NH artists, audience development planning and efforts to educate audiences and broaden their appreciation for the arts.
  • Include a plan for crediting the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts for supporting projects that are funded.
  • Describe how you plan to meet the cash match.  (Note: For FY2013 half of the 1:1 match may be in-kind goods or services.)

Required Support Materials
6 copies each of

  • A minimum of four 4" x 6", or larger, black and white or color photographs of building or project to be funded.
  • One page professional biography or resume of project director.
  • List of current board with addresses and occupations.
  • Resumes of professionals or consultants to be engaged (e.g., architects or builders).
  • Two bids on proposed project or justification for sole source. Please include plans and specifications, if applicable.
  • Budget that covers the dates of the project and shows the source of the required match.
  • Selected program materials such as reviews, season's performance schedule, exhibition catalogs, etc., of last year's programming.
  • Financial Statement for most recently completed fiscal year if annual income is $300,000 or more; OR, if annual income is less than $300,000, most recently completed fiscal year balance sheet and profit and loss statement.
  • An arts organization embedded within an institution (a University art gallery for example) should submit an income statement for the past two years and other financial documents, approved by a financial officer of the supervisory institution. This income statement should detail how much support the arts organization has been receiving from internal and external sources, as well as where those funds have been going. These organizations should submit a balance sheet, if available.
  • Facility plan of at least three years in scope, including immediate and long-term building maintenance.

One copy of:

  • Correspondence with the Division of Historic Resources concerning eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places.
  • First time applicants that are nonprofit organizations: Tax exempt status letter from the IRS and a copy of the Letter of Good Standing that was received upon registering with the Attorney General's office.
  • Photos, audiovisual materials, programs or brochures that show the artistic quality of your organization’s work. See Preparation of Work Samples for instructions on preparing work samples/support materials.
  • Completed New Hampshire Nonprofit Checklist: This checklist conveniently lists all the Legal requirements for NH Nonprofit Organizations.

NOTE: Registration of IRS 501 (c) (3) nonprofits is required every five years, for the years ending in 0 or 5.  This registration may be done on-line at

How to Prepare the Application Package
1. Fill out and sign the original application/budget form and make 5 copies.
2. Complete and make 5 copies of the answers to the narrative questions.
3. Collate the original signed application form and copies with the project budget form, narrative, bids and appropriate support materials, resulting in 6 sets that include one copy each of all required documents.
4. Include one copy of your correspondence with the Division of Historic Resources concerning your eligibility for the National Register.
5. The original application and one set of collated support materials are for State Arts Council files. Add to this set the single copy of the IRS letter, if applicable.
6. Do not use binders or folders for the 6 separate sets of collated materials. Staples and clips are acceptable. Separate large envelopes may be used to contain the collated supporting materials. It is helpful if you use post-it notes or label the application cover sheets to indicate original, set 1, 2, 3, etc.
7. Make one copy of everything for your own files!
8. Put everything together in one package and mail or hand-deliver to: NH State Council on the Arts, 19 Pillsbury Street, 1st Floor, Concord, NH 03301.

Why all these copies?
The originals are for the State Arts Council's files. Additional copies are for the panelists who will review your application prior to discussion at the panel meeting.

Applications must be postmarked or hand delivered to the NH State Council on the Arts office at 19 Pillsbury Street, 1st Floor, Concord, by 4:30 p.m. on the deadline date noted above. Office hours are Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. The office is closed all state and most federal holidays. Late applications will not be accepted. The Council cannot accept applications transmitted by facsimile (FAX) or email.  It is not responsible for applications lost in transit. Errors and omissions may affect a panel's evaluation of your application, so please prepare your application carefully and follow instructions.

Applicants will be notified of the status of their application within approximately ten weeks of the application deadline.

The NHSCA disburses funds appropriated from public sources, both federal and state. Checks are issued by Administrative Services of the State of NH, not the Department of Cultural Resources or the State Arts Council.

Upon receipt of properly executed grant forms, the State of New Hampshire generally pays grants under $5,000 to grantees within 4 to 6 weeks. If a grantee is awarded $5,000 or more or has received other State Arts Council funds which brings the cumulative total received for that fiscal year (July 1 – June 30) to $5,000 or above, grants need to be approved by Governor and Executive Council; consequently, payment can take up to ten weeks. All awards are subject to availability of state and federal funds. Therefore, we ask grantees to plan cash flow accordingly.


  • All grant agreements must be returned by January 15th of the fiscal year (July 1 to June 30) they are awarded. Failure to return the grant agreement by that date could result in cancellation of the grant and reallocation of funds.
  • Payment of a grant will be withheld if final reports for previous grants are not in compliance with policy below.

Grant Period & Reporting Requirements
The grant period is July 1, 2012 - June 30, 2013. A final report is due 30 days after the completion of your project, but no later than July 31, 2013. An extension of up to three months may be requested. The request for extension must be made, in writing, before the deadline for filing has passed to the grant coordinator responsible for administering the grant and should briefly note why the extension is necessary and the date the report will be submitted. Failure to submit the final report by the required date will result in the organization becoming ineligible to apply for NHSCA funding for two years. Additionally, failure to submit the final report may result in a withholding of funds from any currently awarded NHSCA grant.

Click here for the Final Report Download Center.




Last updated: February 24, 2014

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