The Ventura County Community Foundation has been awarded a $25,000 grant by the Irvine Foundation to assist rural arts groups ranging from American Indian drum societies to Mexican folk dance troupes.
"We are thrilled," said Cathy Edge, the foundation's executive director. "We are trying to identify rural arts groups to let them know this is available."
The Ventura County foundation, a philanthropic organization that solicits and distributes charitable funds, will ask groups to submit proposals in December, Edge said. The awards will be made in February or March.
Any arts organization outside the major urban areas in the county is eligible to apply, said Sonia Chala, the foundation's arts program administrator.
The eligible groups are diverse, ranging from the Ballet Folklorico of Fillmore to the Handweavers and Spinners Assn. of Ventura County to the Silver Eagle Drum Society, an American Indian group, Chala said.
"We're interested in finding groups in outlying areas, groups that don't have access to programs and facilities," she said. "There are a lot of groups that operate out of churches, schools and community centers, but they're not really formalized in any way."
The funds would help those groups buy such equipment as photocopy machines and computers, provide technical assistance and finance specific arts programs.
The Ventura County Community Foundation is an umbrella organization that accepts donations to finance programs in the arts, education, science, environment and public affairs. Formed in 1987, it was chosen by the Ventura County Board of Supervisors as the liaison among art groups, the private sector and government.
It is one of eight foundations statewide picked by the Irvine Foundation to administer its rural arts program.
On Nov. 15, the Ventura County foundation will play host at a workshop dealing with how to apply for grants, organize staff and administer programs.