Project Support Grants

Reminder: Please review General Grant Information and Eligibility Requirements before proceeding.


Project Support is a new grant category that replaces Spark the Arts Grants. This category is designed to help organizations that are producing and/or presenting specific arts programs that engage audiences and participants. Organizations may apply for support for exemplary programs in any artistic discipline. Here are some examples of such programs: 

  • A single exhibition, performance, or two to three related events, such as a reading series
  • An annually or regularly recurring event, such as a festival
  • An artist residency or commission
  • A literary publication 

Application dates

  • Open: January 5, 2024
  • Due: March 1, 2024

Grant amount

  • Range: From $5,000 to $15,000

Who may apply

Organizations may apply for Project Support grants if they meet the North Carolina Arts Council’s general eligibility criteria:

  • Must be a North Carolina-based nonprofit organization 
  • Must have a track record of producing high-quality programs for at least two years 
  • Must have prior-year organizational cash operating expenses of at least $20,000

An applicant that doesn’t meet the above criteria may apply with a fiscal agent that does. The details of fiscal agency for Project Support are listed below.

The following are not eligible for support through this category:

  • Organizations that receive Sustaining Support for Arts Organizations grants or Statewide Service Organizations grants 
  • Designated and provisional county partners that receive the Grassroots Arts Program allocation for their county
  • Projects that focus primarily on children and/or take place in schools
    (Applicants whose projects emphasize this audience should refer to the guidelines for grants in the Arts-in-Education category.)

Scope and allowable expenses

Grant amounts range from $5,000 to $15,000. Organizations with prior-year expenses between $20,000 and $50,000 are eligible to apply for $5,000, the minimum grant award.

Grant funds may be used for artist fees, marketing, interpretive materials, contractual fees (including contractual personnel), and other related costs. With the exceptions of colleges and universities and arts organizations that are a part of another entity (such as a municipality), organizations may use up to half of the grant amount for administrative overhead expenses, including salaries that are directly related to the project. Applicants from Tier 2 and Tier 3 counties may apply for up to two-thirds of the overall project expenses and must provide a cash match for the remaining third. For applicants from economically distressed Tier 1 counties, we will waive the matching requirement.

Project period

Grant funds must be spent between July 1, 2024, and June 30, 2025. 

How we make funding decisions

We evaluate applications using the following criteria: 

  • Artistic value of the program
  • Benefit of the program to the audience, participants, and broader community and relevance to the applicant’s audience development goals
  • Involvement of artists and representative community partners, as appropriate to the project’s themes and content
  • Feasibility of the project and organizational capacity to implement it

Application information

Submit your application through the GO Smart grant portal.

The following questions and documents will be required for the application. Reach out to your staff contact for questions or application assistance.

Profile questions

In addition to contact information, you will be asked to submit your organization’s mission statement, an organizational history, and both an Employer Identification Number (EIN) and Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) number.

Application narrative

  1. Describe the exemplary artistic project you are proposing for funding, including the date(s) and a summary of the project activities. For a recurring event, such as a festival, explain how the proposed activities show development or improvement from the previous year’s activity.
  2. Name the selected artists and outside professionals you are working with and explain how and why they were chosen. State the rate of compensation for each artist and professional contracted for services. Describe other key people involved in the project, citing their roles and their expertise. Provide the demographic attributes of all artists and professionals who will be involved.
  3. Describe the educational and community programs you are proposing for the project, such as lectures and talks, residencies, workshops, family days, interdisciplinary programs, and outreach activities. How will the artists and professionals you identified in #2 above be involved in each program?
  4. Describe your participation goals for the project, especially specific audiences you are trying to engage. Explain how and why you think the activities described in #1 and #3 above will help you reach your audience goals and engage the specific or new audiences you wish to attract. Support your answer with estimated attendance numbers and demographic composition of the audience.
  5. Describe your planning process for the project and indicate how artists and other key partners are or will be involved in audience and program development. Summarize how you will raise matching funds and your progress so far. What comparable projects have you successfully produced in the past?
  6. Explain how you will measure the project’s impact in terms of artistic goals, audience benefit, community and economic benefit, and other tangible and intangible tracking methods you use. Provide details about your evaluation methods and how you use the information you've gathered.
Tab/Accordion Items

Every applicant must submit support materials appropriate to the proposal. Support materials provide evidence that builds a strong case for an application and addresses the evaluation criteria. Please upload all support materials as PDFs. Here are some examples of support materials that you can upload:

  • Recent brochures and/or other marketing materials
  • Letters of support from key community partners
  • Recent published reviews of artistic work
  • Letters of intent signed by artists who are featured in the FY24–25 season

Every applicant must submit work samples appropriate to the proposal. The purpose of a work sample is to provide evidence of artistic value, which is an important evaluation criterion for the category. A good work sample will represent the artist(s) involved in the programming that the application narrative describes and help the panelists who will evaluate your application to understand the level of artistry that you anticipate. 

Visual Arts and Craft

Upload up to 15 digital images of exhibitions, programs, and/or the work of featured artists representative of activities planned for FY24–25. When you upload an image into the work sample bank, you will provide descriptive information, including the artist’s name, the work’s title and medium, and the title of the exhibit or program. Leave all pricing information fields blank.

Using the Web Link Collection form in the GO Smart portal, submit a five-minute video sample representative of upcoming or current-year programming. The video may include just one piece or a sampling of more than one. In the description, provide the title, a short summary of each production, the name of each production’s director, and the year each was made.

Do not submit highly edited promotional materials.

Literary Arts
Upload up to five PDFs of recent work by writers involved in upcoming or current-year programming. Each PDF should be no more than six pages long. Or, using the Web Link Collection form in the GO Smart portal, submit no more than five minutes of video presenting readings or spoken word performances by the writers involved in the upcoming or current-year programming. Provide the title of each work, the name of the author, and the year each work was published or presented.

Using the Web Link Collection form in the GO Smart portal, submit no more than five minutes of video representative of upcoming or current-year programming. The video may include just one piece or a sampling of more than one. In the description, provide the title and a short summary of each work, the names of the choreographer(s), and the year each work was made.

Do not submit highly edited promotional materials.

Submit no more than five minutes of audio or video sample representative of upcoming programming associated with the application. Samples can be uploaded directly into the Go Smart work sample bank and linked to the application or provided through the Web Link Collection form. The audio or video may include just one piece or a sampling of more than one. In the description, provide the title, names of the composer and featured artists, and the date of the performance. 

Using the Web Link Collection form in the GO Smart portal, submit no more than five minutes of video representative of upcoming or current-year programming. The video may include just one piece or a sampling of more than one. In the description, provide the title and a short summary of each work and the date(s) of the performances.

Still photos of theatrical performances provide information about costumes and sets but are not considered strong work samples demonstrating overall artistic value.

Do not submit highly edited promotional materials.

Arts in Education/Folklife/multi-arts (presenters, arts centers)
Upload up to 15 digital images and/or complete a Web Link Collection form in the GO Smart portal with one five-minute sample of audio or video of featured artists or programs representative of the upcoming year’s programming. For more information, refer to the work sample instructions above for the artistic disciplines that you are highlighting.

Note:  Work samples for Arts in Education applications should focus on the artistry of the instructors. 


Fiscal agency for Project Support Grants

General eligibility criteria for the Project Support Grant category are as follows:
•    North Carolina-based nonprofit 501(c)3 organization
•    Track record of producing high-quality programs for at least two years
•    Prior-year organizational cash operating expenses of at least $20,000

An applicant based in North Carolina who does not meet these criteria may use a fiscal agent.

North Carolina Arts Council's fiscal agency policy for the Project Support Grant category

  • Fiscal agents must meet the aforementioned general eligibility criteria and must be willing to accept legal and fiduciary responsibility for the grant funding if awarded. Fiscal agents must not be on the N.C. Office of State Budget and Management’s suspension of funding list. While fiscal agents can charge a service fee up to 10 percent of the grant amount, the management of the Project Support Grant project is the responsibility of the applicant that will conduct the project. The Arts Council allows an applicant to use a fiscal agent if the following terms are in place:
  • A co-signed agreement between the fiscal agent and the applicant must exist and include provisions for funds distribution, rate of a service fee, if charged (if applicable), and terms of dispute resolution (if needed). View an example of a fiscal agent agreement.
  • If grant funds are awarded, both the fiscal agent and the grantee will sign the grant award contract and submit contracting paperwork. This includes a notarized “No Overdue Taxes” form. Both entities must have an Employee Identification Number (EIN) and Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) number before the grant check can be cut. Both the fiscal agent and the applicant will be required to sign off on the final report at the end of the project period.
  • The grant check is sent to the fiscal agent, which will disburse the funds for the expenses of the project as outlined in the fiscal agency agreement. Please note that any payments from the fiscal agent to individuals or to non-501(c)3 entities are taxable income and must be reported on state and federal tax returns.
  • Fiscal agents do not have creative authority over the funded projects; the ultimate management of the Project Support Grant project is the responsibility of the grantee. A fiscal agent is not a co-producer of the project and should not list the project on its website as part of its programmatic offerings. However, a fiscal agent can publicize the fiscal agent service itself as part of its scope of work.
  • A grantee cannot change from one fiscal agent to another once the grant contract is signed by all parties. If a fiscal agency agreement is terminated, the terms and conditions of the grant contract with the North Carolina Arts Council are also terminated.

Organizations submitting their own applications in the Project Support Grants category cannot also act as a fiscal agent for another applicant. Organizations that receive their county’s Grassroots Arts Program allocation are allowed to serve as fiscal agent for Project Support Grant applicants. Organizations are allowed to provide fiscal agency for up to three applicants per granting cycle/fiscal year.


Staff contact

Dara Silver 
Senior Program Director  for Artists & Organizations
(919) 814-6531 
Email Dara about about visual arts, craft, and film

Jamie Katz Court 
Music and Dance Director  
(919) 814-6502 
Email Jamie about music, dance, accessibility, and multi-disciplinary presenting

Khalisa Thompson
Theater and Literature Director  
(919) 814-6512 
Email Khalisa about theater and literature

Arts in Education Director 
(919) 814-6504 
Email Vicki Vitiello about arts in education

Zoe van Buren 
Folklife Director 
(919) 814-6518 
Email Zoe about folk and traditional arts


Application Webinar

January 18, 2024

Project Support Grant Webinar

Grant Application Assistance

North Carolina Arts Council staff are here to assist with grant applications. Visit our application assistance page for resources and grants staff contact information.


For accessibility questions or accommodation requests, please contact the North Carolina Arts Council's Music and Dance Director, Accessibility Coordinator Jamie Katz Court at or (919) 814-6502.