Many types of public and private organizations are involved in grantmaking for the arts including:

  • Local Arts Agencies
  • State Arts Agencies
  • The U.S. Government
  • Foundations
  • Individuals Community Foundations
  • Giving Circles
  • Crowdfunding and other online tools

While grants can take all shapes and sizes, there are four common grant types for artists and organizations.

General Operating Support (GOS) Grants assist arts organizations with administrative and/or artistic expenses and are frequently the most difficult type of grant to obtain. Organizations may use GOS funds for general operating expenses as well as leverage for other public and private funding. GOS grants are most commonly given specifically to arts organizations within the same community as the grantmaker and are based on organizational operating budgets. In most cases, GOS funds need to be matched with cash (at least one to one) by the organization.

Project Grants assist organizations in their efforts to provide quality arts programming to communities. Project Grants are awarded to assist with the costs of connecting artists (or their artistic work) with communities. In most communities, project grants can be given to non-arts organizations like schools and social service organizations. Most commonly, organizations are required to match eligible project costs at least dollar for dollar.

Discretionary Grants may have a limited lifespan. These grants can range from arts education programs to audience development support to a one-time grant to organizations for special opportunities that are not part of the applicant's annual budget, regular programming, or annual events.

Artist Grants/Fellowships are made to help artists move their work and career forward. Artist grants/fellowships are also diverse in their nature to support individual artists in a community.

Impacting the Community through the Arts - Local Grantmaking

ArtsWave, Cincinnati’s local arts agency, invests over $10 Million in grants and initiatives to create vibrant neighborhoods and bring people together through music, dance, theater, museums, and more. One of ArtsWave’s most successful grantees, Elementz, continues to receive impact grants from ArtsWave to offer inner city youth, ages 14 to 24, a chance to “tell their stories” through urban arts. Using hip hop music, dance, beat-making, DJ-ing, poetry/rap, and visual art, students receive advanced instruction, performance opportunities, and a safe, positive place to learn leadership skills and build community. In 2012, Elementz youth performed in more concerts, workshops, and events than ever - reaching over 19,000 people in the course of the year!

Check out more grant impact stories from ArtsWave.

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