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 must focus on audiences outside the university community and be part of an overall effort to reach 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.
  • A program that features North Carolina's traditional arts and artists.

All programs must include related educational, interpretive, or outreach activities and must take place between July 1, 2018, and June 30, 2019.

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;
  • Inclusiveness of racially, culturally, and economically diverse participants as appropriate to the program;
  • Strength of management, 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 2018-19 deadline is Thursday, March 1, 2018. The application will be available online on January 8, 2018. 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 (or series of 2 to 3 related events) you have chosen from your upcoming schedule for which you are requesting support. Provide a summary of the activities, including dates, and explain why you think the project deserves state support. For a regularly recurring event, like a festival, explain how the proposed activities show development or improvement from the previous year’s work.
  2. Highlight 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. Provide a description of other key people involved in the project, including their role, expertise or affiliation, gender, and race, as appropriate.
  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. Specify how the artists and professionals you identified in #2 will be involved in each program. 
  4. Describe the proposed project’s overall goals for participation including specific audiences you are trying to engage. Provide estimated attendance numbers and demographic composition. Explain how 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. 
  5. Summarize your fundraising and development plans for the proposed project. Describe comparable projects you have successfully produced in the past.
  6. Describe your planning process for the project and indicate how artists and other key partners are involved in program and audience development. 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.

We recommend that you click here for additional tips and guidelines in your discipline:

Program Support Discipline and Project Specific Tips

Work Samples and Support Materials 

Staff Contacts

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