How To Find Grants for Artists


As an artist, money is always tight.  Getting a grant is every artist’s dream to creating her perfect work.  But, how do you get a grant?  Where do you even start?

After spending time asan Executive Director of a non-profit dance organization, and now being a Grants Officer for a private family foundation, in addition to my own creative work, I have a few tips for grant-seekers.

  • Know whether you are applying as an Individual Artist, or as a Non-Profit Organization 501(C)3.  There are grants available to individual artists, but many are only available to organizations.
  • Look into Fiscal Sponsorship.  Fiscal Sponsorship is where a 501(C)3 organization sponsors an individual artist.  Artists then may solicit funds, which donors would make out to the non-profit, and get the tax benefit.  Many grants allow individual artists to apply as a fiscally sponsored entity, to fulfill the requirement of an organization, provided that the organization is not applying for the same grant!
  • Learn the lingo. Grant guidelines can look like alphabet soup or another language.  How can you apply if you don't even know what it is? LOI? Challenge grant? Form 990? Here’s a link to the Glossary at to enlighten you!
  • Research, research, research.  I know, I know- it sounds tedious and time consuming.  It is.  It is also the only way to find out what’s available!  Once you know how you're applying, and how to understand the grant guidelines, you're ready to find the money! Here’s a few ideas to get you on your way!
    • –This is a great starting point! Learn more about fiscal sponsorship, use the searchable database, learn from the webinars and FAQs!  While the searchable database requires a subscription, you can use it for free at a participating library or collection.  If you are in the Philadelphia area, head to the Free Library at 1901 Vine!
    • – Federal grant database for individuals and organizations.
    • Talk to other artists in your field, from all over.  They may have insights on small foundations looking to support work across the country.  They may know trade organizations for you to join.
    • Talk to other artists in your area.  Don’t miss out on local funding.  The databases above are national, and many grants seek applicants from all over the country, sometimes the world.  But, many cities have small community foundations interested in supporting local artists.  And, don’t stick to just those in your field for this one!
    • Join a community or professional association.  Or your local Chamber of Commerce! As mentioned above, a community is a wealth of information, just waiting to be tapped!  Associations like Fractured Atlas and Dance/USA provide information and perks to members.  Fractured Atlas does fiscal sponsorship and Dance/USA has a grant calendar.  These are also a great way to meet people in your field or area that can give you even more funding ideas!  Those annual dues will be well worth it! For those dancers in Philly, also has a grant calendar!

A bonus for all of you reading this- – Go there now!  Their LOI phase starts on 2/1!


This topic lends itself to a Part 2- How to write a grant. Look for that soon!