Maine Expansion Arts Fund

Total applications received in the last grant cycle: 27 applications for a total of $107,995
Grant dollars awarded: $46,900
Average award: $3,127
Percentage of applicants that received grants: 56%
Number of grants awarded: 15
Application deadline: September 15
Maximum award: $5,000

Recent Grants from the Maine Expansion Arts Fund

The Woodwind Quintet of the Passamaquoddy Bay Symphony Orchestra treated an Eastport audience to a free performance of "Peter and the Wolf," thanks to a grant from the Maine Community Foundation's Maine Expansion Arts Fund. Photo by Robin Farrin

General Information

The State of Maine has a rich and varied tradition of indigenous art. The dramatic scenery, solitude of long winters and distant neighbors, practical necessity and the strength of character of its citizens have inspired generations of fine craftspeople, writers, visual artists, musicians, storytellers, dance and dramatic artists. Maine arts have also been enriched by waves of immigrants, each with their own cultural heritage to contribute.


The Maine Expansion Arts Fund is the result of a collaborative effort of the National Endowment for the Arts, Lillian M. Berliawsky Charitable Trust, Maine Community Foundation, and Maine Arts Commission to strengthen and ensure the future of these artistic traditions. A permanent endowed fund held by the Maine Community Foundation, the Maine Expansion Arts Fund supports indigenous, ethnic, or rural arts programs or projects, particularly those that serve areas with limited access to arts events. Additional funding is provided through the Elizabeth Laughlin Anderson Memorial Fund at the Maine Community Foundation.

An advisory committee comprised of Maine artists and others knowledgeable about the needs of the state's arts organizations and programs reviews applications and makes recommendations on awards.


The Maine Expansion Arts Committee seeks to support indigenous, ethnic, or rural arts programs or projects, particularly those that serve areas with limited access to arts events.

In ranking applications for awards, the advisory committee gives priority to the following:

  • Artistic quality of the program
  • Organizations that are developing and promoting the arts of their own communities, using local artists and other resources rather than importing art and artists from outside the region or state.
  • Ability of the organization to carry out the project for which funds are requested
  • Evidence of cooperation and coordination with other organizations and programs, within or outside of the arts
  • Evidence of local support for proposed project (financial or in-kind donations).
  • Projects serving underserved areas.

Eligibility Requirements

All applicants must meet the Maine Community Foundation’s general grant eligibility requirements. In addition, please note that:

  • To be eligible for Expansion Arts Fund support for small, rural arts programming, applicants must have an operating budget of less than $250,000 a year and must have a commitment to serving rural audiences and communities.
  • Community-based projects affiliated with school districts are eligible to apply. School-affiliated projects supported by the Fund must be open to the public. Curriculum-based arts projects from schools or school districts are not eligible to apply. Please contact a Maine Community Foundation program officer if you are uncertain if a school-affiliated project is eligible for funding.
  • Grants will not normally be made for endowments, capital improvements, scholarships, a regular performance series, production costs of films or annual operating expenses (except for start-up support for new organizations and unusual circumstances where a one-time grant will meet a special need). Costs for equipment necessary to implementing a proposed project may be funded. Projects are rarely funded for a second year.

How to Apply

Complete the online grant application by clicking the link in the Grant Application box at the top right hand corner of this page.

In addition to a completed application form, applicants should also include: evidence of artistic quality such as slides or tapes and, if professional artists are involved, background information on their work; an itemized income and expense budget for the project that pinpoints where a grant from the Maine Expansion Arts Fund will be used; a list of key personnel with credentials; and a copy of the sponsoring organization's most recent 501(c)(3) ruling. Please mail this information to:

Maine Expansion Arts Fund
Maine Community Foundation
245 Main Street
Ellsworth, ME 04605

Online applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. September 15. Decisions will be announced in late November.

Project Progress Report

All grant recipients are required to submit a Project Progress Report approximately 10 months after receiving payment of the grant. Reports are submitted through the online system. Select the Online Grant Application tab at the top of the web page and log into your account to access the form. Organizations that fail to file a progress report will not be eligible for future funding from Maine Community Foundation competitive grant programs for one year or until the missing report is filed.


We are happy to discuss project ideas by telephone or personal interview. Please contact Cathy Melio via e-mail or by phone at (207) 412-2002.