STAPLES -- Area artists and organizations that rely on public funding will see little or no effect from a 4 percent reduction in statewide art spending this year, said a Five Wings Arts Council spokesman.
The lower appropriation from the state Legislature for the fiscal year that began July 1 means less money for the council's annual budget -- $179,000 this year compared to $187,000 in fiscal 2002.
"But the public will not see any change in the amount of money available for our grant pools," said Mark Turner, Five Wings executive director.
The $8,000 reduction has been absorbed by cutting administrative expenses, he said, leaving about $113,000 -- about the same as last year -- for the council's arts-related grants to individuals and organizations in Crow Wing, Wadena, Cass, Todd and Morrison counties.
Five Wings, one of 11 regional arts councils across the state, awards grants of up to $3,500 three times a year under three grant programs and up to $500 a month under another.
The next application deadline for the council's production, general operating and individual artist grant programs is Sunday, with emerging opportunity grants available monthly to arts organizations, schools or community groups.
For more information or formal application forms, consult the council's Web site, www.fwac.org, or call the Staples office at (218) 894-5485.
After a lengthy and controversial debate, the state Legislature earlier this year approved a 4 percent reduction in the State Arts Board's annual budget, which meant about a $600,000 reduction from last year's $13 million appropriation.
The State Arts Board distributes the funds to the 11 regional arts councils, based on a formula that factors population, land area and a base amount for each region.
The councils in turn mete out the taxpayer funds to individual artists and arts-related organizations under a variety of programs that encourage grassroots participation in the arts.
Founded about three decades ago as part of the regional economic development commissions, the councils have since found independence as private nonprofit corporations.
Five Wings broke away from the Region 5 Economic Development Commission last year, emerging as an independent nonprofit organization. The change has contributed to significant budget savings, Turner said, that helped the council weather the budget reduction.
The council is governed by a board of directors that draws its members from each of the five counties in the Five Wings service area. Crow Wing County has three representatives on the board, while the four others have two.
The most recent opening on the board was created when Crow Wing representative Daren Blanck of Nisswa recently resigned. He was replaced by Judy Larsen of Pequot Lakes, a retired teacher in the Pine River-Backus School District.
Grant applications are considered on the basis of artistic merit, the applicant's ability to complete the project and community benefit, Turner said.
The next application deadlines are Jan. 15 and May 15.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.