Reminder: Please review General Grant Information and Eligibility Requirements before proceeding.
Sustaining Support is a new grant category that replaces the State Arts Resources and Organization Support categories. Please note the changes in the eligibility requirements below. This is a competitive grant category.
Sustaining Support is designed to help arts organizations in North Carolina that consistently produce arts programs and services that engage audiences and reflect their communities. These organizations provide work opportunities for artists and arts professionals, are well managed and financially accountable, are committed to diverse and inclusive practices, and contribute to the state’s creative economy.
- Open: January 5, 2024
- Due: March 1, 2024
- Range: From $7,500 to $65,000
Who may apply
- Arts organizations* that meet the North Carolina Arts Council’s general eligibility criteria and have maintained an average organizational expense budget of at least $75,000 over the past three fiscal years
- Arts organizations that employ at least one half-time equivalent staff person, as demonstrated in the organizational financial statement for the most recent fiscal year
Colleges, universities, and arts organizations that are part of another entity (such as a municipality) are not eligible to apply in this category.
Generally, organizations that receive funding through the Statewide Service Organizations grant category or that receive the county Grassroots allotment as a Designated County or Provisional County Partner are not eligible to apply in this category.
Applicants are not allowed to use fiscal agents to apply for Sustaining Support for Arts Organizations.
Scope and allowable expenses
These grants support the ongoing artistic and administrative functions of arts organizations. Recipients may use them to fund salaries, artists’ fees, production, travel, promotion, office expenses, and facility operation. Grant amounts generally range from $7,500 to $65,000 and are based on the organization’s application rating and budget size. Grant awards may not exceed 10 percent of the organization’s cash operating expenses, averaged over the past three fiscal years.
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:
- The artistic value of an organization’s programs
- Involvement of artists and arts professionals who are qualified and paid equitably, and who reflect the demographic diversity of the communities and audiences served
- Programs with demonstrated benefit to their audiences, participants, and broader community
- Strength of audience engagement and outreach strategies involving artists and representative community partners, as appropriate to programmatic goals
- Evidence of staff and board leadership and sound management practices, including financial accountability
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.
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.
- Provide an overview of your artistic programs and activities for the proposed grant year.
- Give details about the artists who will conduct programs, including their compensation and how the selected artists relate to the demographic diversity of the community and audience served.
- Include information about the location(s) where programs will take place.
- Upload a schedule of programs/events for the proposed year and anticipated dates.
- Describe the geographic area and the audiences you reach with your current programs, and the new audiences you plan to engage in the upcoming year, especially those whose opportunities are limited by educational background, geography, race or ethnicity, economics, or disability.
- Include participation statistics and demographics for your audiences.
- Describe your planned audience engagement activities, focusing on outreach, educational and interpretive programs, and strategic partnerships in the community. Examples of these types of programs are workshops, in-school performances, field trips, lecture series, post-performance discussions, publications, and other ways you connect artistic content with the audiences you serve.
- Describe your board and staff who serve in leadership roles.
- Give recent examples of how your board actively promotes, participates in, and provides resources for the organization.
- Upload a list of current staff and board members and identify them with titles or professional expertise.
- Describe your organization’s financial condition, including information about accumulated debt, deficits, surpluses, principal sources of revenue, cash reserves, and endowments.
- Upload your audit or a completed 990 form or a financial statement for the most recently completed fiscal year.
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.
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 an audio or video sample representative of upcoming or current-year programming. 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.
*For the purposes of this operating support category, an arts organization is defined as a 501c3 organization that has the creation and/or promotion of arts in its mission statement and dedicates at least 80 percent of its annual programming expenses to arts activities. North Carolina Arts Council staff will ask a nonprofit organization whose scope of work is broader than the arts to submit an itemized annual expense statement to document the 80 percent threshold.
Senior Program Director, Artists & Organizations
Email Dara about about visual arts, craft, and film
Jamie Katz Court
Music and Dance Director
Email Jamie about music, dance, accessibility, and multi-disciplinary presenting
Theater and Literature Director
Email Khalisa about theater and literature
Sustaining 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 email@example.com or (919) 814-6502.