Grants, Awards and Opportunities for Artists and Entrepreneurs

There are few questions I am asked more regularly than, where can I find financial support for artists?, who offers creative grants? or which organizations provide funding for women entrepreneurs?

The idea of a supportive institution handing out what can seem like 'free money' to help launch our projects is the stuff of our sweetest fantasies. And as mythic as they seem, these opportunities do indeed exist! But where?

Of course, there's no free lunch — and the work that goes into applying for these opportunities can be substantial, with much more to come once you've won. But the boost to your cultural capital from even a small award can be enough to spark wide-ranging intrigue and interest — the value of which can far outweigh the cash.

To help make those fantasies come true, I thought I would scour the internet in search of as many  grants, venture pitches, financial awards, and other opportunities to support the creative, enterprising go-getters of the Insight community. So clear your weekend folks — there's a lot to apply for here!

I'll be periodically doing more research and adding opportunities as I find them — so if you want to know when there are new entries, sign-up for the Opportunities Updates, and you'll hear about it immediately. If you know of any that aren't on the list yet, please leave a comment below with the details!

Deadlines vary, and if you're seeing this after one has passed, just keep it on your radar and put a reminder in your calendar, because many of these are annual events, and will come back around before you know it.

Good luck everyone!

Very best,
Christina

 

Fine Art Awards/Grants/Opportunities
 

Aaron Siskind, Individual Photography Fellowship
Region: United States
Up to $10,000
The Aaron Siskind Foundation is a 501(c)(3) set up by preeminent photographer Aaron Siskin’s estate, which he had asked to become a resource for contemporary photographers. The award was established to support and encourage contemporary artists working in the photographic field.
 

American Poet Prizes
Region: Various
Various
Since 1934, the Academy of American Poets has provided visibility and financial support to poets demonstrating artistic excellence. Guidelines and entry forms are provided, where applicable. All poets who receive an Academy of American Poets Prize are strongly promoted, including features in American Poets magazine, on social media, and, of course, on Poets.org. [There are a ton of awards in this list. If you're a poet, definitely check it out!]
 

Arizona Commission on the Arts: Artist Research and Development Grants
Region: Arizona
Artist Research and Development Grants (ARDG) are designed to support individual artists from all disciplines. The purpose of this grant is to aid in the development of artistic work, support the advancement of artistic research, and recognize the contributions individual artists make to Arizona’s communities.
 

Artist Trust: LaSalle Storyteller Award
Region: Washington State
$10,000
The LaSalle Storyteller Award is an unrestricted grant of $10,000 given to a Washington State artist engaged in storytelling through their artistic discipline. The 2017 Award will recognize an outstanding literary artist working in fiction.
 

The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes
Region: New York State
$140,000+ for all grants
Annually, The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes distributes funds from New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) and the Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes to local and statewide artists and organizations in New York for community-focused arts and cultural activities, professional development opportunities, and project completion support. The ARTS Council administers grants to primarily Chemung, Steuben, Schuyler, and Tioga counties. Visit the NYSCA Decentralization site list to see which arts organization administers grants in your county.
 

Artslink
Region: Worldwide
$2,500 to $10,000
Artslink is now entering its 19th cycle of exchanges, though the organization has been around for more than 50 years. Artslink promotes international citizen diplomacy through innovative arts projects. Grantees work on proposed projects that build relationships, share ideas, and explore cultures. Want to take on an art project while building relationships between international communities and seeing the world? See if you qualify below, and then give it a shot!


Art Works
Region:
United States
Matching grants from $10,000 to $100,000.
A minimum cost share/match equal to the grant amount is required.The mission is to support the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and the strengthening of communities through the arts.
 

Asian Cultural Council
Region: United States and Asia
Up to $10,000
The Asian Cultural Council is by far one of the most dedicated organizations giving to Asian artists who are looking for funding an opportunity to conduct research, study, receive special training, and pursue art in non-commercial settings, either in the United States or countries in Asia. The council gives money for anyone in the fields of Archaeology, Art History, Crafts, Dance, New Media, Painting/Sculpture/Installation, and more.
 

Awesome Foundation
Region: Worldwide, various local chapters
$1,000
A micro-granting organization, funding “awesome” ideas, The Awesome Foundation sets up local chapters around the world to provide rolling grants of $1000 to “awesome projects.” Each chapter defines what is “awesome” for their local community, but most include arts initiative and public or social practice arts projects. There are also a few worldwide grant chapters that give a pretty succinct summary: “We give no-strings-attached weekly grants to awesome initiatives which solve a problem, cultivate community, and spread joy.”
 

The Betty Bowen Award
Region: Washington, Oregon, or Idaho
$15,000
Administered by the Seattle Art Museum, the annual Betty Bowen Award honors a Northwest artist for their original, exceptional, and compelling work. The winner is awarded an unrestricted cash prize of $15,000, and a selection of his or her works is shown at the Seattle Art Museum in the fall of 2017. In addition, up to two Special Recognition Awards in the amount of $2,500 are often granted at the discretion of the Betty Bowen Committee.
 

Brooklyn Arts Council Grants
Region:
Brooklyn, New York
BAC Grants support Brooklyn-based cultural projects by individual artists, collectives, artist-nonprofit partnerships and small nonprofits that enrich the cultural life of the borough. BAC's funding programs provide meaningful technical assistance and professional development from application inquiry to final report in the form of info sessions, application draft reviews, and more.


National Endowment for the Arts: Challenge America
Region:
United States
Matching grants for $10,000 
A minimum cost share/match equal to the grant amount is required. The mission is to support projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations.
 

Clark Hulings Fund
Region: United States
Up to $10,000
Established in memory of acclaimed painter Clark Hulings, The Clark Hulings Fund offers strategic business training and support to professional artists. Through this unique program, The Clark Hulings Fund helps artists better manage their business and tackle specific business obstacles, so that they can get a leg up on making a living through their artwork. The program gives access to business tools, PR outreach, networking events, and many other opportunities as well as mentoring and financial support.
 

College Art Association
Region: United States
One award will be presented to a practitioner—an artist, designer, and/or craftsperson—and one award will be presented to an art, architecture, and/or design historian, curator, or critic. Fellows also receive a free, one-year CAA membership and complimentary registration to the Annual Conference. Honorable mentions, given at the discretion of the jury, also earn a free one-year CAA membership and complimentary conference registration.
 

Comption Foundation
Region: Worldwide
Amount Varies
The Compton Foundation supports work in climate change, peace and national security, and reproductive rights and justice. Within those core areas, the work we support must be a match with our transformative leadership and courageous storytelling approaches.

  • Art for Social and Environmental Change
    The scale of the problems we address requires us to meet them with ingenuity and creative thinking: qualities squarely in the purview of art. To that end, we fund work that uses art to spark social change, whether that means directly supporting professional artists who are working toward social or environmental change, funding organizations that bridge artistic disciplines and activism, or groups exploring art as an organizing methodology. We are open to a variety of artistic disciplines, including music, visual art, drama, film, and writing. While we will consider projects at all of these junctures of art and activism, we are most likely to prioritize the first two.


Creative Capital
Region: United States
Valued at $90,000; up to $50,000 in fiscal award money and career development services valued at $40,000
Creative Capital invests in artists that shape the future. They were founded by the Andy Warhol Foundation after the NEA decided not to fund individual artists. Creative Capital is committed to funding artist projects that are catalysts for change, and is the only national grant-making organization with an open application process that has such a wide variety of grantees from different areas. The program is multi-year and also provides advisory support designed to see proposals through to their end successfully. The grant cycle is every three years, rotating the fields it funds annually.
 

Contemporary Craft
Region: United States
$1,000
The LEAP award provides an $1000 grant to one grantee for an early career artist in the contemporary craft field. The gift is intended to be used towards a new product line or body of work. The Society for Contemporary Craft will commit to promoting the work for the duration of one year along with providing special features on six finalists.


Elizabeth Green Shields
Region: Worldwide
Variable
Always accepting applicants in the early stages of their career.
 

Franz and Virginia Bader Fund
Region: Within 150 miles of the Washingto D.C. Area
$15,000
The Franz and Virginia Bader Fund welcomes applications from visual artists aged 40 years or older, who live within 150 miles of Washington, D.C., and can demonstrate that they have the potential to benefit as artists from a grant. The Franz and Virginia Bader Fund does not, however, accept applications from filmmakers, video artists, and performance artists.

 

Fulbright
Varies, but generally includes round trip ticket to the host country and funding to cover room, board, and cost of living for the duration of the project as well as health benefits. Depending on the scope of the application, tuition and educational courses may be available.

Perhaps the most established and well-recognized of the grants, the Fulbright Program has been sending students, academics, and professional across the world to conduct research, study, teach, and act as ambassadors to the US since 1945. A rigorous process of securing recommendations, outlining a proposal, and finding a host sponsor, it’s best to get started on this application early. But with approximately 8,000 grants annually awarded, it’s worth the time to see if you can’t be one of the artists who embark on international adventure while doing some good.
 

The Gottlieb Foundation Individual Support Grant
Region: Worldwide
$25,000
For painters, sculptors, and printmakers who have been creating mature art for at least 20 years and who are in current financial need. Grants are available through an open application process, and they have been distributed to artists worldwide.


Guggenheim Foundation
Region:
United States, Canada, Latin America, Caribbean
Varies, last year’s average was $37,000
The Guggenheim Foundation, founded by Senator Simon Guggenheim in memory of his son, John, who died as a teenager, awards fellowships to artists and intellectuals who have “demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts.” Out of the 3,500 to 4,000 applications they receive per year, the foundation doles out approximately 220 fellowships.


Harpo Foundation
Region: United States
Up to $10,000
Funding decisions are made by the Board of Directors, following review of applications by independent professional advisors. Awards are made of up to $10,000. The number of awards is determined each year by the annual granting budget. Grants are made to support the development of artists’ work and a grantee may use their award to support any activity towards that purpose.

Applications are evaluated on the basis of the quality of the artist’s work, the potential to expand aesthetic inquiry, and its relationship to the foundation’s priority to provide support to visual artists who are under-recognized by the field.
 

 

KFW Artist Enrichment Grant
Region:
Kentucky State
$1,000-$7,000
The Artist Enrichment (AE) grant provides opportunities for feminist artists and arts organizations to further their artistic development to create art for positive social change. Applicants may request funds for a range of activities including: artistic development, artist residencies, the exploration of new areas or techniques, or to build a body of work. Applicants to the AE grant program, like the AMA grant program, should show high artistic quality in the work sample, and should be able to demonstrate their commitment to feminism and their understanding of the relationship between art and social change. Both grant programs are arts-based and feminist in nature.
 

Mid Atlantic Arts
Region: Delaware, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, West Virginia, District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and U.S. Virgin Islands
Creative Fellowships
Through ongoing partnerships with the Millay Colony for the Arts (Millay) and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA), the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (MAAF) annually supplements the cost of residencies for a limited number of artists residing in our nine state and jurisdictional region. The Creative Fellowships are sponsored residencies.
 

Money for Women - Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, Inc.
Region:
US and Canada
$500-$1,500
Money for Women is the oldest ongoing feminist granting agency. After Barbara Deming‘s death in 1984, we became a memorial fund. While other grant sources have come and gone, our fund is in its fourth decade. We are still feminist and still willing to take risks. The foundation gives encouragement and grants to individual feminists in the arts (writers and visual artists). Funding projects which you have begun or which are well underway, and for which you have substantial work to show. We request that the majority of your submitted materials be related to and part of this project.


National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures
Region: United States
Scholarships and Grants, Varies
Emerging to established Latino artists.
 

Native Arts and Cultures Foundation
Region:
United States
We support Native artists in the United States with innovative and multifaceted approaches to literature, dance, visual arts, film, storytelling, music, and traditional arts.
 

NYSCA 2017 Electronic Media & Film Presentations Funds Grants
Region: New York
$600-$1,000
This annual grant supports New York State non-profit organizations for in-person presentations by independent media artists. The goal of this funding is to increase appreciation of electronic media and film through engagement between artists and audiences and to support programmatic initiatives within New York State’s arts and cultural organizations.


Open Meadows Foundation
Region:
United States
$2,000
Open Meadows Foundation is a grant-making organization seeking projects that promote gender/racial/economic justice. The projects must be led by and benefit women and girls.


The Parent Grant at the Women's Studio Workshop
Region:
Worldwide
$1000 childcare stipend, up to $250 for travel costs, free onsite housing, and 24/7 studio access
The Parent Grant—made possible by new support from the Sustainable Arts Foundation—is a four-week residency for an artist with dependent child(ren) under the age of 15. Artists may choose to work in any of our studio disciplines: intaglio, letterpress, papermaking, screenprinting, photography, or ceramics.


PKF Grant
Region: Worldwide
$5,000 to $30,000
Established as part of Lee Krasner’s legacy, the Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant was set up to support and strengthen the creative lives of artists. Since its start in 1985, the foundation has granted over 65 million dollars in award money to artists in over 77 countries. A competitive grant for artists with extensive exhibition records, this grant has a long list of impressive alumni.
 

The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation
Region: New York City
$2,500 to $50,000
The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation was founded in 1995, and is primarily committed to providing grants and programmatic support for:

  • Access to art for a broad audience

  • Art in the service of social justice

  • Art in the service of social change and discourse

  • Under-recognized artistic practice

The Foundation supports arts and cultural organizations through grants to catalyze collective action, promote equality, contribute to advocacy and policy change and develop capacity for greater civic engagement. The Foundation is also interested in supporting organizations outside of the arts whose programs seek to engage communities through cultural activities.


USArtists International
Region:
United States
USAI provides grants of up to $15,000 towards the support of artist fees, travel, accommodations, per diem, shipping, and visa preparation.

USArtists International supports performances by American artists at important cultural festivals and arts marketplaces around the globe. Committed to the presence of US-based artists on world stages, USArtists International provides grants to ensembles and individual performers in dance, music, and theater invited to perform at significant international festivals.
 

Vermont Arts Council
Region: Vermont
Amount Varies
The Vermont Arts Council supports the work of artists through professional development, funding, and other resources. The Artist Development Grants support artists at all stages of their careers by providing matching funds for activities that serve to enhance an artist's career through arts skills training and business development.
 

The Walt Whitman Award
Region:
United States (citizen, DACA, TPS, LPS)
$5,000 + Residency
The Walt Whitman Award is a $5,000 first-book publication prize. The winning manuscript, chosen by an acclaimed poet, is published by Graywolf Press, a leading independent publisher committed to the discovery and energetic publication of contemporary American and international literature. The winner also receives an all-expenses-paid six-week residency at the Civitella Ranieri Center in the Umbrian region of Italy, and distribution of the winning book to thousands of Academy of American Poets members.

The award was established in 1975 to encourage the work of emerging poets and to enable the publication of a poet’s first book. It is made possible by financial support from the members of the Academy of American Poets.

Submissions are accepted from September 1 through November 1 each year. 


William H. Johnson Prize
Region: See FAQ
$25,000
The William H. Johnson Prize is awarded annually to an early career African American artist. For our purposes, "early career" is a flexible term that should be interpreted liberally to include artists who have finished their academic work within twelve years from the year that the prize is awarded. For example, a person who finished their studies in 1999 is eligible to apply in 2011, but not in 2012. Age is not determinative, and artists who have not earned BFAs or MFAs are still eligible so long as they have not been working as an artist for more than twelve years.


Women's Studio Workshop: Art-in-Education
Region: Worldwide
This grant includes a stipend of $350/week for up to ten weeks, up to $750 for materials, up to $250 for travel within the Continental US, free onsite housing, and 24/7 studio access during non-AIE sessions.

Our Art-in-Education (AIE) program is a model for arts education and operates in conjunction with the Kingston City, NY School District. AIE provides a high-quality arts experience by bringing students to a professional artist’s workspace and giving them concentrated time to learn printmaking, papermaking, and book arts.
 

Women's Studio Workshop: Artist's Book Grant
Region:
Worldwide
The grant includes a stipend of $350/week, up to $750 for materials, up to $250 for travel within the Continental US, free onsite housing, and 24/7 studio access. WSW can provide technical advice; training on new equipment, techniques, and materials; and production assistance.

The Artist’s Book Grant is a six- to eight-week residency for artists to produce a limited edition book work. Working intensively in our studios, artists print and bind their own books, and are encouraged to create an edition size no larger than 100 and no smaller than 50.


Grants/Funding for Entrepreneurs
 

5x5 Night Awards
Region: United States
$5,000
Submit your idea and have the opportunity to have it selected, then share it at a 5x5 event. Any individual. Any idea. Five applicants are chosen to present each month based on popular vote.
 

Abe’s Curated $100 Micro Grant
Region: Worldwide
$100
Abe wants to incentivize creation of art and engineering through a small $100 monthly micro grants, and awardees will be chosen solely at his discretion. Awardees are encouraged to release some asset, be it art, code, design or whatever else, as quickly as possible under a free/libre license.
 

Amber Grant
Region:
United States and Canada
$500$1000
The Amber Grants began in 1998. It was launched by Womens.net to honor the memory of a young woman (Amber) who died at the age of 19 – unable to fulfill her entrepreneurial dreams. Today the Amber Grant helps women like you achieve the dreams that Amber could not.
 

Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards
Region: Worldwide
$30,000 - $100,000
Since 2006, the Cartier Women's Initiative Awards has supported over a 181 female entrepreneurs worldwide. Each year, 18 finalists representing 6 regions (Latin America, North America, Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East & North Africa, Asia-Pacific) are selected during the first round of the competition. These finalists are invited to attend the Awards week in Singapore during which the second round of the competition takes place. After the final jury evaluation, 6 laureates, one for each region, are announced on stage during the Awards ceremony.
 

Chicago Foundation for Women
Region: Chicago, Illinois
$500-$2,500
We put time, talent, and money to work for women and girls who lack economic security and opportunity, freedom from violence, and equitable access to health care and services.
 

Creative Business Cup
Region: Worldwide
Creative Business Cup is much more than just a competition – it is a global year-round initiative that empowers entrepreneurs in the creative industries, helping them grow their business ideas, connecting them to investors and the global markets, and strengthening their innovative capabilities to the benefit of industry and society.
 

The Diamond Challenge
Region:
Worldwide
$100,000
The Diamond Challenge provides a unique opportunity for teens to learn about entrepreneurship while putting their ideas into action. Students should be between the ages of 14-18 to participate. While many entrepreneurship programs focus on principles of small business management, the Diamond Challenge focuses on unleashing creativity, encouraging a mindset of abundance and self-determination, and promoting purposeful entrepreneurial action.
 

Eileen Fisher Grant
Region: Worldwide, fluency in English
Presently, we award $100,000 in grants for up to 10 grant recipients (minimum grant $10,000) on an annual basis. In addition, grant recipients are invited to New York City in the spring following their award for two days of learning and celebration with the EILEEN FISHER community.
 

Forbes Main Street Awards
Region: United States
Forbes.com Feature
The Forbes Main Street Awards are designed to champion the positive impact of small businesses that are leading the way forward by taking big steps for both their businesses and their communities.
 

Helium Grant
Region: Worldwide
$5,000
This is a no-strings-attached grant to anyone whose idea is selected. Any idea!
 

Scholarships for Moms
Region: United States
$10,000
Winners of our scholarship can use the money for any educational opportunity. Some past winners have used the money to help pay for college tuition, books or paying off student loans. Please note that a scholarship is tax free only if you are a candidate for a degree at an eligible education institution. An eligible education institution is one that provides a program that is acceptable for full credit towards a bachelors or higher degree, or offers a program of training to prepare students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation; and is authorized under federal or state law to provide such a program and is accredited by a nationally recognized accreditation agency. The prize money must be used for qualified education expenses for the original entrant.
 

United States Federal Government Challenges
Region:
Unnited States
Various
Challenge.gov is a listing of challenge and prize competitions, all of which are run by more than 100 agencies across federal government. These problem-solving events include idea, creative, technical and scientific competitions in which U.S. federal agencies invite the public’s help to solve perplexing mission-centric problems.

Challenge and prize competitions are one path that federal agencies take to drive innovation.

More than 740 challenges have been run in the federal government since Challenge.gov launched in 2010, but competitions date back several centuries. Did you know, for instance, that the 1927 Orteig Prize for fueled Charles Lindbergh’s famous transatlantic flight? An architectural competition conceived the U.S. Capitol’s landmark design, too. There are so many examples of competition spurring innovation.
 

Zions Bank
Region:
Utah and Idaho
$3,000
Smart Women Grants help bolster the efforts of entrepreneurs who strengthen our communities through their diverse talents and endeavors. Grants are open to anyone whose proposal promotes the empowerment of women or directly benefits women or low-income or underserved populations in Utah and Idaho.