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Decentralization Grants for 2020

Grants to New York Nonprofits, Local Agencies, and
Artists in Eligible Counties for Arts Projects and Programming

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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CNY (Central New York) Arts and New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA)

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

10/30/19 11:59 PM


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Grants ranging from $500 to $5000 and grants of $2,500 to New York nonprofit organizations, local government agencies, and artists in eligible counties for arts projects and programming. Prospective applicants must attend an information session or an individual grant consultation. Applicants located in the following counties are eligible to apply for funding: Cortland, Herkimer, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, or Oswego.

DEC grants are designed to support the capacity of individual artists, collectives, and small nonprofit organizations to develop high-quality local arts projects and programming and to contribute to Central New York and Mohawk Valley communities by providing opportunities for the public to experience and engage with the arts. Emphasis is placed on the demonstrated quality and artistic merit of proposed projects, thoughtful project planning, and the depth and authenticity of audience participation with clear plans to reach the public.

There are three programs available:

Community Arts Program 

  • The CNY Arts Community Arts Program provides seed grants to individual artists, collectives and community nonprofit organizations for projects and activities that enable Central New York and Mohawk Valley communities to experience and engage with the performing, literary, media, and visual arts.
  • The Community Arts Grant Program supports activities of individual artists, collectives, and community nonprofit organizations in their service to local residents and visitors.

Individual Artist Commissions

  • The CNY Arts Individual Artist Commissions represents a “live and work” investment in local artists. These commissions support local, artist-initiated projects to create new work that demonstrates strong artistic merit in a community setting. Up to four Commissions may be awarded per county. The project must take place in the same county the applicant permanently resides.
  • Individual Artist Commissions are intended for creative, professional artists—such as composers, choreographers, writers, and visual artists—who are originators of the work. Artists at all career stages and of are welcome to apply. Commissions are not intended for interpretive work—e.g. a dancer or actor performing an existing play or ballet.
  • The project must engage a segment of the community through a public program, such as an exhibition or performance that is open to the public, and/or the inclusion of community involvement in the development and creative process of the artists’ project. This can be in the form of feedback, response, interaction and/or social practice by or with community members.

Arts Education Program

  • The Arts Education Program (formerly known as ArtStart) values the depth and quality of the creative process through which participants learn through or about the arts. Projects must focus on the exploration of art and the artistic process. Arts Education grants strive to build the capacity of local teaching artists and nonprofit organizations while providing students with high-quality artistic learning experiences. Two distinct funding strands are offered:
    • K-12 In-School Projects
      • Designed to support arts education projects in K-12 school settings and partnerships between arts providers and public schools. Inter-curricular collaboration for in-school projects is encouraged but not required.
    • Community-Based Learning Projects
      • Designed to support arts education projects in community-based settings for a discrete group of learners that are open and accessible for public registration and participation.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 138102

Number of Grants:

Up to four Individual Arts Commissions may be awarded per county.

Estimated Size of Grant:

An applicant may request up to $5000 through no more than three separate proposals in any Decentralization grant cycle.

Community Arts Grants range from $500 to $5000.
Individual Artist Commissions are awarded for $2,500.
Arts Education Grants range from $500 to $5000.

Term of Contract:

January 1 – December 31, 2020

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible applicants for the Decentralization Program:
- Must be located in Cortland, Herkimer, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, or Oswego counties.
- Must have a permanent address in the same county the project is taking place.
- Nonprofit organizations, NYS incorporated nonprofits, agencies of local government (not New York State
- Individual artists, groups or collectives, unincorporated entities with an eligible Fiscal Sponsor or
- Community-Based Partner in the same county the project will take place (see specific program guidelines).

- Nonprofit organizations, individual artists with an eligible fiscal sponsor or community-based partner can apply for the Community Arts Program.
- Individuals may apply to the Individual Artist Program.
- Nonprofit organizations or individual artists partnering with eligible public schools may apply for the Arts Education Program.

Ineligible applicants:
- Public, private, or parochial secondary and elementary schools and districts
- Departments or agencies of New York State (this includes BOCES and SUNY Schools)
- Applicants with outstanding final reports or open contracts from CNY Arts grants
- Applicants outside of the county in which the grant project is taking place without a fiscal sponsor
- Organizations or Individuals that have applied directly to the New York State Council on the Arts for the 2019 grant cycle, regardless of funding status. This includes NYSCA REDC and the A.R.T./New York Creative Opportunity Fund. These organizations may not serve as fiscal sponsors or community partners.

CNY Arts grants do not cover fundraising and party events.

For ineligible expenses, see:

Pre-proposal Conference:

All prospective applicants are required to attend a CNY Arts informational session, either in the form of a webinar or in-person seminar. Application seminars and webinars are free and open to the public from August through October 2019. Seminars provide a deeper understanding of the CNY Arts guidelines, how to prepare an application, and a Q&A with former panelists.

Grants consultations may be scheduled in place of the seminar/webinar.

To register:

Pre-Application Information:

The application deadline is October 30, 2019, at 11:59 PM.

- CNY Arts accepts 2020 applications (July 1 – October 30, 2019)
- CNY Arts Grant Informational Seminars / Webinars (August 15 - October 2019)
- Funding Panels Meet to Review Applications (November - December 2019)
- CNY Arts Board Approves Panel Recommendations (December 2019)
- Grant Awards Announced (End of December 2019)
- Contracts Distributed (Early January 2020)
- 2020 Funded Projects Begin (January 1 - December 31, 2020)
- NYSCA Funding Arrives & Disbursed (typically January - July 2020)
- CNY Arts Awards Ceremony (April/May 2020) dependent on receipt of NYSCA funds
- Final Reports Due (30 days after last event) (January 31, 2020 - January 30, 2021)

Resources for Grants:
Seminar Dates:
Eligibility Guidelines:
District map:,

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply online:

For questions about the Decentralization Grant Program,contact:

For technical questions about the application system, contact:
(855) 467-8264, ext. 2

To schedule a one-on-one grant consultation in place of a seminar or webinar, contact:
Christopher Malone, Grants Associate
or book at:

Elizabeth Lane, Director of Grants
(315) 435-2158

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: New York: Cortland, Herkimer, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, and Oswego Counties

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