By Associated Press - Saturday, April 18, 2020

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - The Maine Arts Commission has received nearly $427,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts to help with pandemic relief.

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-1st District, said in a statement that the money was appropriated through the CARES Act and will preserve jobs and cover operational costs, the Portland Press Herald reported Thursday.

“This federal support will deliver much-needed relief to Maine’s world-class arts community as it faces this unprecedented challenge,” Pingree said.

Julie Richard, executive director of the commission, said her staff is developing a distribution plan that will be announced next week.

David Greenham, chairman of the commission, said the funds would be distributed through the commission’s grant process.

“The other major concern, of course, is individual artists, and this funding for the most part is restricted to organizations,” Greenham wrote in an email.

Greenham said ArtsEngageMe, a nonprofit division of the Maine Arts Commission, is raising funds and giving $500 awards to individual artists in need.

Some groups who could benefit from the funds announced the cancellation or postponing of upcoming events Thursday.

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