Understanding the North Carolina Artist Support Grant

Sydney Steen

Wednesday, April 14, 2021


In 2020, the North Carolina Arts Council created several statewide initiatives to support the arts sector during the pandemic. The Artist Support Grant program is one of them. The program—which is designed to support individual artists across the state—will continue in 2021. Sydney Steen, the creative economies coordinator for the agency, answers several questions about the Artist Support Grant program below. 


What is the North Carolina Artist Support Grant?

The North Carolina Arts Council launched the Artist Support Grant last year to support individual artists during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program builds upon the former Regional Artist Project Grant Program, funding the professional and artistic development of emerging or established artists so they can create work, improve their business operations, or bring their work to new audiences. The Artist Support Grant program is a partnership of the North Carolina Arts Council and the state’s extensive local arts council network, which is divided into 18 regions to distribute the grant awards. You will apply for the grant through the lead local arts council for your region (see below).


What types of activities can an Artist Support Grant fund?

The grants may be used for artistic and professional development, such as the creation of new work, website development, equipment purchases, research, and more. 


Who is eligible to apply for an Artist Support Grant?

Artists pursuing projects to expand their practices and further their artistic careers should apply for the grant. Artists in all stages of their careers—emerging, midcareer, or established—may apply. 


How do I apply?

Get in touch with the lead arts council for your region. Regional contact information and more can be found here


What has been the impact of the Artist Support Grant program so far?

The primary goal for the inaugural year was to support individual artists during and following the COVID-19 pandemic. The Arts Council expanded the number of regions to allow for a more equitable disbursement of funds and to reach artists both in rural and urban areas across the state. In the first year of the shift from Regional Artist Project Grants to Artist Support Grants, the number of applications increased by 87 percent.  Three hundred and eighty five awards—a 125 percent increase from the previous year—were given to North Carolina artists.


When will Artist Support Grant applications be available? When are they due?

Deadlines vary from region to region, but most application periods will begin this summer and close at some point between August and October. We will post this information for each region on our website sometime in June 2021.