Montana State Legislature

Montana Arts Council

The Montana Arts Council (MAC) is authorized by 22-2-101, MCA to assist public and private institutions with artistic and cultural activities. The council encourages the creative potential of all Montanans, advances education, spurs economic vibrancy and revitalizes communities through involvement of the arts. The council fosters interest in the state's cultural heritage, expands state cultural resources, and supports freedom of artistic expression through ongoing programs and projects. The council administers the Cultural and Aesthetic Project Grants and other grants approved by the legislature, and makes recommendations to the legislature on arts related issues.

MAC is a single program agency that administers, manages, and promotes artistic endeavors through grants, programs, and services.

Grant support is made possible by a federal award, state resources, and private donations. Current grant opportunities include:

  • Artist’s Innovation Awards – honors dedicated artists for their innovation and creativity
  • Artists in Schools & Communities – matching support for learning opportunities with artists
  • Public Values Partnerships, including Statewide Service Organizations – matches investments in established cultural organizations with an educational mission
  • Strategic Investment Grants – matching support for professional development, market expansion, public outreach, and challenges and emergencies
  • Cultural and Aesthetic Projects – as provided by the Cultural Trust

Programs recognize achievements and provide opportunities to advance the arts. Current programs include:

  • Governor’s Arts Award – honors achievement in the arts that benefit all Montanans
  • Montana Artrepreneur Program – provides business training to established visual artists
  • Montana’s Circle of American Masters in Folk and Traditional Arts – recognizes artistic excellence and the preservation of the state’s cultural heritage
  • Montana Poet Laureate – honors the talents and accomplishments of an exceptional poet
  • Montana Poetry Out Loud – engages high school students in a national poetry recitation contest
  • Percent for Art – administers the process of acquiring art as part of capital investments in state buildings

Services support the infrastructure that allows the arts to thrive. Current services include:

  • Artists in Schools and Communities Registry – a resource of teaching artists interested in community engagement
  • State of the Arts newspaper – a free quarterly print to 8,500 subscribers and 900 online viewers
  • eNews bulletins – published bi-weekly to 5,000 subscribers with resources, professional development, and opportunities
  • Technical Assistance – training and coaching provided by MAC staff in strategic planning, organizational development, and governance

Since Montana Arts Council is a single-program agency, no organizational chart is included.

This report includes a series of charts that compare expenditure growth to the growth in the economy and growth in inflation adjusted for population. Montana statute, 17-8-106, MCA, recommends using growth in personal income for comparison purposes. Personal income is a measure for growth in the economy. Comparing growth allows financial planners to consider past and future demands in services or changes in revenues.

Overall, variations in expenditures in the Montana Arts Council are primarily driven by the Cultural and Aesthetic Grants Program.  These expenditures include both general fund and state special revenue expenditures that are approved by the legislature in both HB 2 and HB 9.  Increases and decreases in general fund and state special revenues are discussed in further detail below.  The general decline from FY 2014 through the present is due to the decreases in federal special revenue and state special revenue expenditures.

The following list discusses in more detail the inflection points on the chart:

  1. In FY 2003 there was an increase in state special revenue expenditures of approximately $582,000 because of grants approved by the legislature in HB 9.  In addition to funding from the cultural and aesthetic project state special revenue account, these grants also received funding of approximately $200,000 from the accommodations tax state special revenue account
  2. In FY 2004 there was a decrease in state special revenue expenditures by approximately $539,000 and an increase in general fund expenditures by approximately $250,000 for grant expenditures approved in HB 9.  The general fund appropriations were approved in HB 9 because of the shortfall of interest on the cultural and aesthetic project state special revenue fund
  3. In FY 2005 there was an increase in expenditures from the cultural and aesthetic project state special revenue fund of approximately $182,000 for projects approved by the legislature in HB 9.  General fund expenditures remained constant
  4. Cultural and aesthetic project grant expenditures between FY 2006 and FY 2019 are constrained by available funds in the cultural and aesthetic project state special revenue fund and accounts for the variation in state special revenue expenditures during this time period
  5. The increase in FY 2020 and the subsequent decrease in FY 2021 is due to the appropriation for the cultural and aesthetic project state special revenue fund being entirely allocated to FY 2020 in the accounting system

Legislative Changes

November 2017 Special Session

  • There was a reduction of approximately $52,000 which was restored in FY 2019

2015 Legislature

  • An additional one-time-only appropriation was provided in the 2017 biennium for a glassblowing arts program

2013 Legislature

  • One-time-only funds of $90,000 were provided in the 2015 biennium for the arts in education program.  Of these funds, $35,000 were designated for the fine arts glassblowing program at Box Elder schools

2011 Legislature

  • The Montana Arts Council received an increase of 14.0% in general fund for the 2013 biennium.  This increase was to meet the matching requirement for the additional federal grant funds from the National Endowment of the Arts




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Audit Reports

Financial Compliance Audit - Montana Arts Council - July 2020



HB 2

HB 13 and fiscal note and amendments

HB 95  Revise ethics laws related to confidentiality 

HB 135  Provide for interim committee review of agency rules prior to adoption

HB 159, Revise Governor’s power to spend certain unanticipated federal funds

SB 36  Code Commissioner bill

SB 57, Revising laws related to reports to the legislature

SB 110, Revise state employee and U-System health plan laws for temp state share holiday

Agency profile information provided by the Legislative Fiscal Division.

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