Vermont Humanities

Vermont Arts and Cultural Organizations Project Losses in Millions

Two actors on a stage

MONTPELIER, VT—In the two weeks since a new joint emergency relief fund for Vermont arts and cultural organizations was created, more than 100 museums, performing arts venues, libraries and other cultural centers have applied, collectively projecting an estimated $13.9 million shortfall due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The first round of grants will be awarded next week, totaling $195,000 in aid to 28 cultural organizations.

The Covid-19 Cultural Relief Grant, jointly administered by the Vermont Arts Council and Vermont Humanities, provides $5,000 to $10,000 depending on organization size for general operating expenses. It is seeded by more than $700,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020.

“The first 100 applications we’ve received illustrate the devastating impact that Covid-19 has already had on a community theatre or a museum that is shut down, and will see absolutely no revenue for the spring or summer season,” said Vermont Arts Council Executive Director Karen Mittelman. “Many of these organizations are struggling for survival.”

Vermont’s arts and culture sector provides more than 40,000 jobs annually and comprises 9.3% of all employment in Vermont, higher than the national average.

The grant, which does not require a match, aims to fund a diverse range of organizations of different disciplines, geographic locations, and backgrounds. The deadline for applying is May 31, but awards are made on a rolling basis until available funds have been distributed.

The grant application takes about 30 minutes to complete and is evaluated based on demonstrated need rather than on a polished application.

Though the demonstrated need far exceeds currently available funds, the Vermont Arts Council and Vermont Humanities are continuing to work with Vermont’s Congressional delegation to advocate for more emergency funding for the arts and humanities sector.

“These grants are providing fundamental support for humanities and arts organizations large and small,” said Vermont Humanities Executive Director Christopher Kaufman Ilstrup. “From moving a summer Shakespeare camp online to maintaining the Vermont music archive, we are deeply grateful to our congressional delegation and the National Endowments for the Humanities and Arts for providing this emergency support to the cultural sector. We encourage all cultural organizations to submit an application now.”

The Cultural Relief Grant Fund is one of several Vermont Arts Council and Vermont Humanities relief efforts aimed at strengthening the capacity of Vermont’s arts and culture sector to survive the economic impact of Covid-19 and to help Vermont communities recover and heal in the months ahead.

For full details and to apply for the grant, applicants can visit either the Vermont Arts Council application page at or the Vermont Humanities application page here.

About Vermont Humanities

A statewide nonprofit organization founded in 1974, Vermont Humanities seeks to engage all Vermonters in the world of ideas, foster a culture of thoughtfulness, and inspire a lifelong love of reading and learning. Learn more about the humanities here.

About the Vermont Arts Council

The Vermont Arts Council envisions a Vermont where all people have access to the arts and creativity in their lives, education, and communities. Engagement with the arts transforms individuals, connects us more deeply to each other, energizes the economy, and sustains the vibrant cultural landscape that makes Vermont a great place to live. Since 1965, the Council has been the state’s primary provider of funding, advocacy, and information for the arts in Vermont. Learn more at


Vermont Humanities*** May 7, 2020