The James River Arts & Cultural District was established by Lynchburg City Council in City Code in 2011. The program includes business incentives and an annual appropriation of amusement tax generated in the District granted by the Office of Economic Development & Tourism through an application process to support programs, events and projects. The program is supported in part by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.  

Please contact Anna.Bentson@lynchburgva.gov if you have questions. 

Learn More

Where is the District?

The James River Arts & Cultural District is in and around downtown Lynchburg, Virginia. Find out if you are located inside the James River Arts & Culture District HERE

How can I apply?

Applications are currently closed. 

Please contact Emelyn.Gwynn@LynchburgVA.Gov for more information about the James River Arts & Culture program. 

Program Guidelines

Guidelines for the Arts & Cultural District Program are intended to attract citizens, organizations and consortiums that wish to create and execute projects within the Arts & Cultural District to benefit the welfare of the citizens of Lynchburg. The term “project” may include events, activities, capital investments, promotions, improvements, displays or like pursuits that serve to further arts and culture in the District. Guidelines include but are not limited to:

  • Project funds are for arts- and culture-related projects only;
  • Projects must show an estimated economic impact, if the project is of a Public Art nature please show estimated public access and make a case for the artwork in the location chosen;
  • Projects must demonstrate a public benefit;
  • Applicants must demonstrate familiarity with arts & cultural organizations, artists and/or other relevant constituencies within the District;
  • Applicants must demonstrate collaboration with organizations and individuals with priority towards collaborations with constituencies within the District;
  • Projects that have secured other funding resources will be given priority; Applicants should not expect the Arts & Cultural District Program to award more than 75% of their project.
  • Project funds can only be used for the specific project or event applied for, and cannot be used for organizations’ routine operating expenses;
  • Projects must take place within the Arts & Cultural District – see District map.
  • Projects that have been funded by the grant program for more than 2 years are not eligible to apply for funding again without significant program innovation or change.
  • Projects that do not already receive other forms of City support, including City sponsorship, will be given priority.
  • Certain projects that utilize public space or City streets require permitting from the City of Lynchburg; it is the responsibility of grant applicants to determine these requirements. To learn more about Special Events permits, please visit https://www.lynchburgvirginia.org/special-events/.  

  • Applicants should review the 2020-2025 Arts & Culture Funding Priorities developed by the Office of Economic Development & Tourism before submitting an application.
Required Documentation

All required documentation will be submitted through the online application. Please be prepared to submit the required documentation below: 

  • Submit signed W-9
  • Complete an estimated economic impact report 
  • If awarded, the applicant will sign and complete a Disbursement Agreement
  • After the event takes place, the awardee must complete and submit a Final Report 90 days after the project completion date. 
Eligibility

Eligible Applicants

Any citizen of Lynchburg, non-profit organization within city limits, or any consortium of organizations within the City is eligible to apply. Though an applicant is not required to be a citizen of Lynchburg or be located within City limits, priority will be given to these applicants. Funds cannot be used for projects for which a single entity or individual profits directly; this is not applicable to projects in which proceeds are donated or there is no intent for profit generation.

Eligible Use of Project Funds

Funds are only for projects within the geographic boundaries of the Arts & Cultural District. Funds can be used to leverage other funding sources for the specific project, but are solely intended to cover expenses directly related to the project for which the applicant requested funding. Funds may not be used to cover the routine operating expenses of an organization, or for expenses incidental to a project or event such as personnel expenses, dues, planning expenses, etc.

Other Program Eligibility Information

  • All projects must be completed between February 2022 – February 2023
  • Be current on any and all City of Lynchburg taxes prior to grant disbursement
  • Funds are for arts- and culture-related projects only
Application Review Process

Applications are reviewed by an appointed panel comprised of District stakeholders and other business and community leaders. Program recipients will be selected based on the merits of their project, the program guidelines, collaboration with the 2020-2025 Arts & Culture Funding Priorities, and thorough completion of the application. The City of Lynchburg Office of Economic Development & Tourism will utilize the recommendations of the review committee, but in all cases will retain sole discretion for the grant amounts awarded.

The application review process will take approximately 6 weeks.

Program Fund Terms and Amounts

The maximum award is $5,000. Multiple organizations or individuals may apply separately for funding for the same project. The amount awarded will be based on the criteria described in the program guidelines, including but not limited to the scope of the project, the greatest public benefit, the greatest economic impact, collaboration, and percentage of total project funding. The Arts & Cultural District includes three sections: Downtown, Fifth Street and Rivermont Avenue.

Project Fund Administration

Recipients of funds will be required to sign a Program Disbursement Agreement that may include an audit of awarded expenditure. Recipients will be required to acknowledge the City of Lynchburg and the James River Arts & Cultural District in all promotional materials. All applicants must provide a final report specific to the funded project. All final reports must be completed and returned to the Lynchburg Office of Economic Development & Tourism no later than 45 days after completion of the project. Additional information is provided in the Notice of Award and Program Disbursement Agreement. All projects should be completed within 12 months of the award notification date.

Amusement Tax

Every business or organization that charges admission to an activity or event shall impose a 7% tax on the total amount charged for admission. The fees for admission taxes imposed by the city code and collected by qualified arts organizations in the Arts & Cultural District are redistributed through the Arts & Cultural District Program to promote and market the district and to improve aesthetic or infrastructure. In order to be eligible for project funds, organizations should contact the Commissioner of the Revenue’s office to determine if they are required to pay the City’s amusement tax and to obtain the necessary remittal forms which are due on or before the 20th of the following month. Learn more at http://www.lynchburgva.gov/amusement-tax.

Past Project Gallery

Amazement Square Chalk Festival 

Endstation Theater Company

The Listening Concert Series

Jaylin Randolph Show Love Music Video

Riverviews Artspace

Lynchburg Symphony Orchestra

Wolfbane Production Company

Academy Center of the Arts Mural