Barnstable County Commissioners Reaffirm Vote to Designate Arts Foundation as Regional Arts Agency

March 27, 2024 (Cape Cod, MA) – For the second straight year, the Barnstable County Board of Regional Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod as the official arts agency of Barnstable County.

The vote was taken at the Commissioners meeting on March 13th. It allows the Arts Foundation to apply for funding from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and subgrant it out at the local level.

As a result of a similar vote made last year, Arts Foundation Executive Director Julie Wake said her nonprofit was able to receive a $30,000 grant from the NEA in January. The Arts Foundation is matching those funds and will invest a total of $60,000 in individual artist projects on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket.

The Arts Foundation currently has applications open for these individual artist grants through Monday, April 8th. Grants will range between $5,000 and $10,000 and will focus on two specific categories – building capabilities to support an artist’s overall growth and community equity for projects which successfully engage underrepresented populations in the region.

Applications are available on the Arts Foundation’s website at

At the County Commissioners’ meeting last week, Wake highlighted the growth in her organization’s giving capacity. “Back in 2015, when I started, we allocated $15,000 to 17 organizations,” she said. “Since then, our granting process has grown significantly. For instance, last year alone, we distributed $130,000 in grants across 61 [recipients].”

She credited the Commissioners for their support, which resulted in the Arts Foundation receiving a $150,000 grant from the NEA three years ago. In 2022, the Arts Foundation distributed $139,000 of that award to assist 14 arts organizations in their pandemic recovery.

With its recent NEA grant, a total of $180,000 in federal dollars has been invested in the region’s arts sector. The Arts Foundation recently submitted a grant request to the NEA to be used for similar purposes, if approved.

“With this designation, we are able to apply for federal funds which is critical for us to be able to spread the funding locally,” Wake said. “We really appreciate the partnership [with the County]. It helps us elevate all the work we do. We appreciate it and we appreciate you prioritizing the arts.”

“It’s great that you’re here so we can reaffirm the great work that you’re doing,” said County Commissioner Mark Forest, who spoke about the importance of voting on this designation annually because “it’s relevant and it has an impact in terms of you convincing funders and reviewers to support your proposal. I’m glad we’re able to do this and stand behind you folks to help you get that federal money.”

The Arts Foundation’s annual grant giving is made possible with support from William Raveis Real Estate, Trish Kennedy, South Shore Playhouse Associates, the Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod, RogersGray, the Donald C. McGraw Foundation, the Arts Foundation’s generous Prelude to Summer Gala gift-a-grant donors, and the AFCC Patron program.

About the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod 

Founded in 1987, the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod’s mission is to support and strengthen a vibrant arts and cultural sector for everyone in the region. It fulfills its mission by funding grants; by increasing access to arts and culture in the region for all on Cape Cod; by advocating for more awareness on the impact the Cape’s creative economy has on our region and beyond; and by building a strong arts community network through membership as well as professional development opportunities that fall under its Creative Exchange program.