The state’s new bicentennial flag was designed by Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap.

The state has $375,000 in grant funding available for municipalities, organizations, schools and individuals that want to plan an event or program celebrating Maine’s bicentennial in 2020, the Maine Arts Commission announced Wednesday.

The commission, on behalf of the Maine Bicentennial Commission, will distribute the money this year and next. The funds come in part from a $1 million appropriation in Gov. Janet Mills’ supplemental 2019 budget and in part from private donations. Up to 10 percent of the funds will be set aside for small grants of $500 or less, and at least one grant of up to $10,000 will be available for each of Maine’s 16 counties.

In addition, $12,000 has been set aside for the commission of a new choral or orchestral work by a Maine composer, to be performed at the official bicentennial celebration March 15.

The grants will support a wide array of different types of programming ranging from parades, festivals, museum exhibits and lecture series to local efforts aimed at digitizing historical collections and in-school educational programs.

Though the Maine Arts Commission will process the grants and later distribute the money, the members of the Maine Bicentennial Commission will choose who and what receives the grants.

“We have the infrastructure to process the grants, and then the council will make a decision on how to allocate them,” said Kerstin Gilg, who directs the arts commission’s grant making operations. “It’s not just for arts programming — it could be for a culinary event on Maine food. It could be for historic preservation. It’s for anything that celebrates Maine’s past, present and future.”

There are three deadlines to submit grants — Sept. 1, 2019, Feb. 1 2020, and June 1, 2020 — and applicants will be notified within two months of each deadline. Gilg said bicentennial events could start happening as soon as the end of this year.

To apply for a grant, visit

Watch: Bicentennial conference at UMaine

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Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.