More art program for CNMI residents coming soon

By Lori Lyn Lirio

Image by

THE National Endowment for Arts has reinstated the Commonwealth Council for Arts and Culture’s eligibility to apply for state partnership for grants after.

Department of Community and Cultural Affairs Secretary Robert Hunter said the NEA informed them that the Arts Council is now eligible to apply after the federal grantor reviewed and accepted the end- of-year Final Descriptive Report or FDR for the Fiscal Year 13 partnership agreement and list of other items they submitted.

“As part of the preparation for grant application, we are going to be scheduling public hearings to gauge what areas are important to the community, and talk about some of the ideas we have for a re-envisioning of the CCAC and how it will address community arts programs under this grant,” Hunter said, adding their deadline for application is on Sept. 28.

According to Hunter, the NEA suspended the Arts Council’s eligibility for applying grants through January 2018.

“This happened due to the mismanagement of their grant, which included not facilitating the projects noted in the application, purchasing items that were unallowable or required permission that was not received, having little to no documentation/reports on sub-grant projects, and not providing the end-of-year grant report. This was a big deal at the time, as the Inspector General for the NEA and auditors working for them visited the CNMI to investigate the matter and whose investigation ultimately lead to the CCAC losing the NEA grant,” Hunter explained.

It was the second time that CCAC lost NEA grant. In 2007, the grantor declared the Arts Council ineligible for seven years.

“There were more serious charges because of perpetual mishandling and misspending. It was a serious loss of grant,” he said.

According to Hunter, the Arts Council had a year-long calendar arts workshop in school, workshops in the evening and arts exhibits “which did not happened for the last few years because we lost it.” He said the Arts Council had been receiving about US$300,000 grants from NEA and the same amount matched by the local government.

Should they get the grant, they will receive funding for the CCAC on October 2019 and the Arts Council will have more than half a million dollar for their arts programs.

In order not to botch their eligibility again, Hunter said they are looking at following a model akin to Humanities Council, where they do a few of their signature programs and the rest of the projects are carried out through sub-grants.

“We are looking at having few major activities we might coordinate for ourselves and the rest of the money will be put out to sub-grants or community grant application,” he said.

He said the 2016 suspension of their eligibility was due to mismanagement.

“We used to have an annual calendar of activities where we used all our staff to carry it out . The staff were breaking their back from implementing the projects and were not able to focus on all the administrative work like evaluating the programs, preparing documentation, quarterly report or year- end report,” he said.

He said under the new model, they will focus more on evaluating the project and documentation to make sure that the money is spent properly.

“We will carry out the grant that is not complex as it used to be. We will look at the model the Humanities Council is doing so we won’t have to report on 100-some activities,” he said.

He explained the intricacy on carrying out a project under the federal grant.

“When we do an activity, we have to report on the stapler that we bought, papers, pencils and every materials used. Unlike in sub-grant, we will only report on the amount that we will give to the sub- grantee and not give a meticulous report which is very hard to do. We will redesign it and we will manage the program much simpler.”


BD Admin: You think your friends gonna like this piece? If you do, kindly share it. Thanks.
Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.