Cultural Arts Policy: Support and Sponsorship of Cultural Groups and Activities

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Policy Statement 115

Support and Sponsorship of Cultural Groups and Activities 

Prepared by: Lyman Collins, Cultural Arts Manager

Supersedes: 3/10/2011

Date adopted by Council: 10/30/14

Effective: 10/30/14 


The purpose of this policy is to foster development and growth of the arts for the benefit of Cary residents, to equitably and efficiently allocate resources to strengthen organizations and cultural programs, to promote partnerships between the Town and cultural organizations, and to provide sound and clear methods for decisions. 

COVERAGE:  This policy, upon adoption by the Town Council, shall be applicable to all requests for support from nonprofit cultural organizations. 


1.   Eligibility:  Cultural organizations serving Cary are defined as those with a 501 (c) 3 designation; is a group which regularly comes together for purposes of promoting, providing or supporting activities for visual, literary, or performing arts, and is one which is described in one or more of the following:  uses a location within Cary’s corporate limits for its primary meeting place, has an office in Cary, has a majority of Cary residents in its membership, or conducts a majority of its activities and programs in Cary. Regional organizations which focus a significant program in Cary, but otherwise conduct business and operations outside of Cary, may also be considered for support or sponsorship for Cary-based activities (example:  regional theatre and symphonic organizations). 

2.   There are three major categories of assistance, which are as follows: 

a.   General Funding Assistance:  Cultural organizations may apply to the Town of Cary for funds for operating or program costs. The total amount of funding available for award to all general nonprofit organizations shall be equal to $1.00 (one dollar) for each person living in the Town of Cary as of January 1 of the preceding fiscal year, rounded to the next thousand.  The population will be estimated by the Town of Cary Planning Department staff.  Total funding will be split among the various qualifying general nonprofit organizations.  If the total amount of qualifying requests is less than the funding available, not all of the funding will be distributed. These requests will be handled as part of the annual budget year planning with advisory recommendations from the Town’s Cultural Arts Committee through the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department. The written recommendation will state criteria and standards supporting the recommendation, but is not binding on the Town Manager.  Town Council action is required for approval or denial of a request. 

b.   Sponsorships and Program Assistance: Typically these are special requests from individual organizations seeking indirect support to accomplish specific events or program objectives.  In-kind, service or expenditures provided for in annual budget may be awarded by departmental director or designee when the program is so closely aligned with purpose and mission of cultural arts division that it is determined to be a co-sponsored or partnership program. Forms of assistance include, but are not limited to the following: staff administrative and planning services; paid advertising support; printing and mailing services; logistical set-up and operation of stages, sound systems, recycling and sanitation, and security; equipment loan or rental; maintenance; meeting or rehearsal space on Town-owned property; waived rental fees, or rent assistance, or utilities; general financial support. 

c.   Standard Assistance: In addition to assistance customized to the needs of particular organizations, all non-profit organizations are eligible for the items designated below to implement cultural programs conducted within Cary. 

(1)     The Cultural Arts Division will loan, when available, such equipment that is designated for rental and owned and maintained by the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department without charge to non-profit cultural groups to implement cultural programs conducted within the Town of Cary.  

(2)     As approved in the annual budget, the Town will purchase ads promoting Cary-based organizations; each Cary-based organization will be included in a listing of Cary cultural organizations maintained by the Cultural Arts division; each organization will be listed in the Town’s Web page and have links to their organization as requested, and the Town will make available a 24-hour Town line administered by the Cultural Arts division for groups to announce meetings, schedules, and ticket information for cultural activities. 

(3)     Nonprofit cultural organizations may receive reduced rental rates at the Page-Walker Arts & History Center and/or the Cary Community Arts Center weekdays Monday through Thursday or at other approved times for meetings and programs that serve to promote cultural missions and purposes (social events for members only are excluded). 

(4)     A service in-kind agreement may be accepted in lieu of rental fees for available space at departmental facilities under a sponsorship agreement by the department director or designee. 

(5)     The Cultural Arts division will maintain a database of Cary cultural organizations and make the database available at no charge to Cary-based cultural organizations. 

(6)     Exhibit space for organizations and individuals, an opening reception and announcements about exhibits will be available in Page-Walker, the Cary Community Arts Center, and other available and appropriate Town exhibition spaces as coordinated by the Cultural Arts division.