Program Support

Who May Apply

  • Organizations that contribute to the cultural and economic vitality of their communities and provide high-quality artistic programs.
  • Community arts organizations such as community theaters, symphonies, and choral groups may apply for programs involving professional artists.
  • University-based programs that focus on audiences outside the university community and are part of an overall effort to engage audiences outside the university.

The following are not eligible for support through this category: 

  • Organizations that receive State Arts Resources grants and Statewide Service Organizations grants
  • Local arts councils, with the exception of those in Tier 1 counties
  • Projects that take place primarily in schools or focus on children. Applicants whose emphasis is on this audience should refer to the Arts-in-Education category guidelines 


Organizations may apply for support for an exemplary arts program such as:

  • A single exhibition, performance, or 2 to 3 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.

For tips and strategies in applying for specific kinds of programs, see the link at the bottom of the guidelines.

All programs must include related educational, interpretive, or outreach activities and must take place between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Artistic quality of the program;
  • Benefit of the program for the audience, participants, and broader community and relevance to applicant’s audience development goals;
  • Involvement of racially and culturally diverse artists and inclusive strategies for audience development, as appropriate to the project themes and content;
  • Feasibility of project and organizational capacity to implement program.

Allowable Expenses

Grant amounts range from $5,000 to $15,000. Organizations may not apply for more than 10-percent of the prior-year cash operating expenses. 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 exception of colleges and universities, organizations may use up to 25 percent of the grant amount for administrative expenses including salaries that are directly related to the project. All grants to organizations must be matched dollar-for-dollar except for applicants from rural, low-wealth counties designated Tier 1, which are eligible for 75 percent to 100 percent funding. Organizations must make a strong case for financial need if the cash match is less than one-to-one. 

How to Apply

The 2020-21 deadline is Monday, March 2, 2020. The application will be available online on January 7, 2020. Applicants will submit the form electronically through the GO Smart portal ( Make sure that the information you provide addresses the evaluation criteria. More detailed instructions are located in the discipline-specific guidelines located below. 

  1. Describe the exemplary artistic project you are proposing for funding, including the date(s) and a summary of the activities. For a recurring event, like a festival, explain how the proposed activities show development or improvement from the previous year’s work.
  2. Name the selected artists and outside professionals you are working with and explain how and why they were chosen. State the rate of payment for each artist and professional contracted for services and document it on the itemized budget. Provide a description of other key people involved in the project, including their roles and their expertise or affiliation. Provide gender and race for all artists and professionals.
  3. Describe the educational and community programs you are proposing for the project, including lectures and talks, residencies, workshops, family days, interdisciplinary programs, and outreach activities. How will the artists and professionals you identified in #2 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 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.
  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 methodologies and how you use the information you've gathered.

We recommend that you click the links below for additional tips and guidelines in your discipline:

Staff Contacts

For accessibility, healthcare, and aging programs contact:
Kathleen Collier
(919) 814-6515

For dance, either producing or presenting, contact:
Vicki Vitiello
(919) 814-6504

For literary and theater programs, either producing or presenting, contact:
David Potorti
(919) 814-6512


For music programs, either producing or presenting, contact:
Carly Jones
(919) 814-6531

For visual arts and film programs, contact:
Kathleen Collier
(919) 814-6515