Seal of Dane County County of Dane
County Executive's Office

Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission Receives Record Number of Grant Applications

March 16, 2009
Karen Crossley, Director, 266-5915
County Executive

The Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission received a record number of grant applications for its first grant cycle of the year, the most in its history both in terms of number of applications and total dollars requested.  The application deadline was February 1 and the review process presently is underway engaging the expertise and experience of nearly fifty citizens who serve on seven grant advisory panels.  Grant awards will be announced in late March.

This noteworthy event stimulates a continuing conversation about the growing financial need and opportunity associated with arts and cultural organizations in Dane County and elsewhere.

According to Karen Crossley, Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission director, “Our grant applicants display extraordinary creativity, resourcefulness, innovation, commitment, devotion and determination.”  On the availability of funds, she continues, “Fortunately and thankfully, our grant funding for this year is relatively secure in terms of the amount of dollars available for distribution.”

The credit is due in large part to Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, the Dane County Board of Supervisors, and six local private foundations that have continued to financially support the Cultural Affairs Commission and specifically its grant program.  The six private investors include--American Girl’s Fund for Children, Endres Mfg. Company Foundation, The Evjue Foundation, Madison Community Foundation’s Arts Access Fund, Overture Foundation, and Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation.

“Given the times, all the enthusiasm we’re seeing for interest in arts and culture in Dane County is really refreshing,” County Executive Kathleen Falk said.  “We are fortunate to have so many bright, creative minds in our communities to help brighten our homes and workplaces.”

The receipt of so many grant applications requesting so much money is bittersweet news. The Cultural Affairs Commission has approximately the same amount of funding to distribute this year as it did last year, but the increase in volume and demand means fewer dollars will be available to distribute to every individual and organization requesting a grant that presents a compelling case and is deemed worthy.  The Commission likely will struggle all the more during its upcoming grant making deliberations since so many of the projects and programs appear to be high quality, exciting, and deserving.

Says Crossley, “We appreciate and value the myriad arts and cultural resources in our midst, however we face challenging choices and decisions.  Nevertheless, fortunately it seems that inspiration, culture and creativity in our communities have not withered away during these challenging economic times.  On behalf of the Cultural Affairs Commission and all people throughout Dane County, we truly hope they never do.”

More information about the Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission’s grant program is available online at