Tips for Applying for California Arts Council Grants

Thinking of applying for a California Arts Council Grant? There may be more opportunities for your organization than ever before. California Community Theatre gives you a quick guideline for applying. Missed the date or don't have time to prepare this year? The Arts Council has many grants with upcoming opportunities for 2-year cycles, and many of these grants are offered annually. Use the info below, and take the next year to hone in on your project and application.

Who: California Arts Council (CAC)

What: Government Grants

When: Grant deadlines are quickly approaching or are upcoming for 2-year cycles

Where: Available for California based organizations

Each grant has its own requirements, but general:

  1. Non profit, local municipal, or CA based group using nonprofit fiscal sponsor

  2. All activities and organizations (including fiscal sponsors) need to be based in CA

  3. All applicatns including fiscal sponsors need to have had a 2 year history of arts programming in CA

Things to Remember:

  • No funding for individual artists

  • Yes, you can apply for mutliple grants, but the applicants must show that projects serve different groups of people, take place in difference spaces/times/contexts, achieve fundamentally distinct outcomes

  • equipment, fundraising, transportation into and out of the State of CA

  • Only way to apply is through CAC grant online portal

  • Most Programs Use These 5 Evaluation Criteria: Project Design; Artistic Merit; Community Impact; Management and Leadership; Equity and Accessibility

CAC Grants Fall into the Following Categories:

Project Support

Youth Support

Operational & Field Support

Program descriptions, eligibility, staff contact are available for each program.

The CAC Grant Cycle:

Funding provided to CAC in the summer, in the fall outreach, winter reviews and peer reviews, spring approvals and grants agreements are disseminated

Budget Requirements

  • All individual programs have a maximum eligible request amount (see below)

  • Cultural Pathways grant opportunities are for organizations with UP TO $150,000 operating budget

  • Local Impact grant opportunities are for organizations with LESS THAN $1,000,000 operating budget

  • Many programs have 1:1 matching requirement (match can be from anything other than California-state funds); in-kind may be considered as part of your match.

Upcoming/Current Grant Programs:

Creative California Communities (large scale placemaking projects)

When: Opens Fall 2020 (not open this year, 2019)

Maximum Request Amount: $150,000 over 2 years

State-Local Partners (operational support to designated arts agencies; that foster countywide arts engagement; must be designated by County Boards of Supervisors)

When: October 25, 2019 application deadline

Maximum Request Amount: $90,000 over 2 years

Organizational Development (one-time consulting projects for arts organizations)

When: November 1, 2019 application deadline

Maximum Request Amount: $5,000

Professional Development (support for professional development and training for arts organization staff)

When: October 25, 2019 application deadline

Maximum Request Amount: $3,000

Statewide and Regional Networks (general operating support for arts service organizations and networks)

When: November 15, 2019 application deadline

Maximum Request Amount: $35,000

Arts and Public Media (support for nonprofit media projects building public awareness for the arts)

When: November 1, 2019 deadline

Maximum Request Amount: $25,000 over 2 years

Arts and Accessibility (support for enhanced opportunities for arts participation by people with disabilities; this is the only CAC only opportunity for individual artists)

When: 2020 rolling deadline

Maximum Request Amount: $5,000 for arts organizations; $3,000 for individual artists

Cultural Pathways (general operating support for arts programs in communities of color, recent immigrant and refugee communities or tribal groups)

When: November 15, 2019 deadline

Maximum Request Amount: $30,000

Local Impact (project-based, supporting projects in CA's historically marginalized communities)

When: November 8, 2019 deadline

Maximum Request Amount: $20,000

Veterans in the Arts (support for arts projects that are sensitive and responsive to the unique experience of veterans and their families)

When: November 1, 2019 deadline

Maximum Request Amount: $20,000

Artists in Schools (support for projects integrating community arts partners as part of the regular school day, on school sites)

When: November 15, 2019 deadline

Maximum Request Amount: $20,000

Arts Education Exposure (support for student attendance at arts performances)

When: November 8, 2019 deadline

Maximum Request Amount: $20,000

Arts Integration Training (support for arts integration training for educators facilitated by teaching artists)

When: November 15, 2019 deadline

Maximum Request Amount: $5,000

JUMP StArts (support for arts education projects for youth impacted by or at risk of being engaged in the justice system)

When: November 15, 2019 deadline

Maximum Request Amount: $50,000 PLUS $2,500 planning grant for organizations considering implementing this kind of work

Research in the Arts (two years of support for original research on the value and impact of the arts)

When: Opens Fall 2020

Maximum Request Amount: $50,000 over two years

Artists in Communities (support for artistic residencies in community settings)

When: November 15, 2019 deadline

Maximum Request Amount: $20,000

Reentry Through the Arts (support for arts projects for formerly incarcerated individuals)

When: November 8, 2019 deadline

Maximum Request Amount: $50,000

Youth Arts Action (support for arts projects for youth outside of traditional school hours)

When: November 8, 2019 deadline

Maximum Request Amount: $20,000

Applying for a CAC Grant:

  • Register your organization at calartscouncil.smartsimple.com

  • Follow the Application Elements

  • SMU Data Arts: requires financial data from applicants for general operating and for project grants over $50k

TIP: Indicate with Key Personnel which individuals will be supported by CAC funds

TIP: Your Certification of 'Good Standing' is making sure your application address is current with State Controller's Office

TIP: Artistic Work Samples: Make sure they are current, make sure the format is in the correct format, make sure they feature your lead artists (videos do not need to be overly produced. MAKE SURE YOUR WORK IS CLEARLY MARKED OR GUIDED FOR WHICH MOMENTS TO WATCH

TIP: Your Proposal Summary will be read aloud to the panel!

Grantwriting Tips:

  • Be specific and clear

  • Language should be balanced with technical terms and accessibility/understandability (provide a key if you need to)

  • Be ambitious but practical

  • Show matching funds specific in your budget details

  • Show community engagement in the design of the proposal

  • Letters and references should speak specifically to the project for which you are seeking funding/your application

  • Name your support materials that are uploaded, including time markers

  • Use the notes field!

  • Pay attention to the review criteria

  • Check spelling and grammar. Proofread!

  • 11:59pm is the deadline, with no exceptions

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