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Home > Grants, Loans & Financing > Grant Opportunities > AGRI County Fair Grants > 2016 County Fair Grant Program Questions & Answers

2016 County Fair Grant - Equal Share - Questions & Answers


Note:  no questions have been submitted for 2016.  We will post those as soon as they are received.

2015 Frequently Asked Questions

  • Each Fair is eligible to receive $13,456.28.
  • Proposals will be reviewed as they are received. The FINAL deadline is 4:00 PM on Friday, February 6, 2015.
  • All forms online.
  • Include detailed budget with application.
  • Projects must directly enhance access to, preserve and promote arts, Minnesota history, and cultural heritage programming.

  1. Why has the dollar amount for the grant increased?
  2. What are the major differences between the 2014 Equal Share Grant Program and the 2015 Equal Share Grant Program?
  3. How will I know if my application was received?
  4. If there’s an error in my application or my proposal doesn’t comply with the legislative objectives, will someone at the MDA notify me? What is the next step?
  5. Can signs be funded?
  6. Can the outside of a building be painted?
  7. Can I apply for multiple projects that equal $13,456.28?
  8. What if my project costs more than $13,456.28?
  9. How specific do I have to be on the application about my proposal(s)?
  10. How long do I have to spend the money?
  11. Can I collaborate with other organizations in my community?
  12. What do you mean by “directly related to enhancing arts access and education and the preservation and promotion of Minnesota’s history and cultural heritage?”

  1. Why has the dollar amount for the grant increased?

    The Minnesota Legislature appropriated $1 million in FY 2014 and $1.2 million in FY 2015 for the County Fair Arts Access and Cultural Heritage Equal Share grant program.
    Here’s the math:
    $1,000,000 (FY 2014 appropriation) ÷ 93 fairs = $10,752.69.
    $1,251,434.88 (FY 2015 appropriation & roll over) ÷ 93 fairs = $13,456.28.

  2. What are the major differences between the 2013 Equal Share Grant Program and the 2014 Equal Share Grant Program?
    The requirements have not changed. Eligible projects must still enhance Minnesotan’s access to arts and arts education, and programs must still preserve and promote Minnesota’s cultural heritage and history.

    The major difference between the 2012-2013 grants and the 2014-2015 grants are the funding sources. 2014-2015 grants are funded by AGRI (Agricultural Growth, Research and Innovation), and not the Legacy Amendment’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

    Supplement Versus Supplant: Fairs no longer need to answer whether their proposed project supplements their normal budget or supplants. This means fairs can undertake a project that is brand new to them, can fund a program that has been regularly featured at the fair, or fund a project that the fair had in their long-term plans.

    Reporting requirements: Fairs must submit the Grant Expense Reconciliation Form AND copies of all receipts. (type of closeout evaluation is the same as 2014)

    Competitive Grants: The Minnesota Legislature did not appropriate funding for a competitive grant program. There is no competitive grant program for 2014 and 2015.

    Construction Projects: For 2014 and 2015, Equal Share grant dollars may be used for maintenance, deferred maintenance, or new construction of structures that DIRECTLY enhance the public’s ability to access, or helps develop quality arts, cultural heritage, MN history programming.
  3. How will I know if my application was received?
    The Minnesota Department of Agriculture will email a confirmation within 24 hours of receiving your application.
  4. If there’s an error in my application or my proposal doesn’t comply with the legislative objectives, will someone at the MDA notify me? What is the next step?
    The MDA will notify you within five business days if your application is approved, rejected, or portions of proposal need to be amended or clarified.
  5. Can the outside of a building be painted? 
    If a building needs to be painted to protect against weather damage or for some other reason to maintain the structural integrity of the building, then the project can be funded. If a building is to be painted exclusively for aesthetic reasons (ie: so one building matches all the others around it), then the project cannot be funded.  
  6. Can signs be funded? 
    It depends on the sign. Manufactured signs explaining how to navigate the grounds, how to get to the fair or identify the various buildings (even the buildings that house arts and cultural heritage items) cannot be funded. Signs that are like museum plaques, where text explains the significance of a building, area or exhibit, can be funded. The category of Integrated Art allows for ordinary objects, like signs, to be funded if an artist is commissioned to make each sign a work of art.  
  7. Can I apply for multiple projects that equal $13,456.28?
    Yes. And submitting multiple projects in one application, even if the projects are not similar, is allowed as long as you can clearly summarize the projects, describe how each project impacts the community, and offer a detailed budget for multiple projects in one application. You may also submit multiple applications, if you chose to submit one application for each project.
  8. What if my project costs more than $13,456.28? 
    As long as you have funds elsewhere to complete the project, it is not an issue to submit an application for a project that costs more than $13,456.28. Please specify on the application, under the Budget worksheet, how much you have in matching dollars and the source. Note, we cannot fund projects that will not be completed. Therefore matching dollars must exist. 
  9. How specific do I have to be on the application about my proposal(s)?
    Be as specific as you can. Even if you are not certain of who the collaborators might be, please list potential names so the MDA has a better sense of what the fair is hoping to achieve. It’s also best if the fair researches prices so the project does not go over or under budget; this should help prevent having to amend the contract.
  10. How long do I have to spend the money?
    Any advance payment the State issues a Grantee must be spent and reconciled within a year of the first check’s date. The first check you’ll receive is for an advance payment of 90% of the award. You have one year from the date you see on the mailed check or the deposit date, if you signed up for an EFT, to spend the funds and submit the Reconciliation form to the MDA.
  11. Can I collaborate with other organizations in my community?
    Yes, although the County Fair Arts Access and Cultural Heritage Grant is only issued to county fairs. For example, if you are collaborating with your local arts board, that’s fantastic! And contracting out work to them is fine. However, the money we give to you can only be spent by the fair. A fair cannot receive an award from the State and turn that money over to another organization to have them manage the funds.
  12. What do you mean by “directly related to enhancing arts access and education and the preservation and promotion of Minnesota’s history and cultural heritage?”

    “Direct” means a project must, in and of itself, highlight art, history or culture. Anything one step removed from directly touching art, history or culture, does not qualify.

    This could mean improving lighting in an arts building so fair attendees can truly see and appreciate the paintings, quilts, woodwork, etc, exhibited in that building. It could mean investing in easels to display photographs and paintings. It could mean bringing in a band to hold a workshop so fair attendees can be exposed to a type of music they are normally not familiar with. It could mean bringing in an exhibit from the historical society so fair attendees can experience an exhibit they would normally not have access to. It could mean restoring a historic building, so fair attendees can enter the building and see and touch a bit of history.

    It does NOT mean fixing plumbing in a building, making the exterior of building more attractive, improving bathrooms in a facility, upgrading a kitchen, etc.

Updated:  August 20, 2015

MDA Contact

Cassie Dahl, Program Coordinator
cassie.dahl@state.mn.us, 651-201-6134

Ag Marketing & Development Division