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Arts in Education Program - First Step Grants

Grants to Washington Nonprofits, Schools, and
Agencies to Enhance K-12 Arts Education

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA)

Deadline Date:

03/17/20 5:00 PM


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Grants of up to $5,000 to Washington nonprofit organizations, schools, and government agencies for collaborative projects that enhance arts education for K-12 students. Funding is intended for the creation, implementation, and evaluation of arts learning programs that occur as part of the regular school day. Grants may also support career development for arts education providers, or program development activities.

Through this program, the Washington State Arts Commission invests in partnerships between schools and community organizations that strengthen K-12 arts education experiences as a fundamental part of basic education in service of students, families, and communities. This grant also supports professional development for arts education providers and/or capacity-building arts education initiatives. First Step Grants are intended to build capacity towards potentially more robust and sustainable partnerships eligible for Community Consortium Grants. 

Program Goals: 

  • Partnerships: Develop, implement, and evaluate high-quality arts learning programs for students in K-12 schools as part of the regular school day. Partnerships engage school and district leadership, arts organizations, and community members in support of arts education as part of basic education.
  • Sustainability: Identified and implemented as part of the most needed “first steps” towards achieving high-quality arts education programming. Emerging and/or new arts education partnerships are working towards long-term, participatory, equitable, and meaningful arts learning experiences for all students.

For information about review criteria and scoring, see:

Funded expenses:

  • Fees for teaching artists
  • Fees for an arts education consultant or provider of professional development
  • Fees for a project coordinator.
  • Administrative expenses including; printing costs for lesson plans or other documents and other administrative costs related to project planning and delivery.
  • Travel expenses for non-local (but in-state) teaching artists or consultants.
  • Fees for professional performing arts groups, student tickets, and transportation expenses for exhibitions and performances are allowable when there is a clear connection to the overall arts learning plan.
  • Materials and supplies required for lesson implementation

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 151848

Estimated Size of Grant:

Grant amounts range from $1,000 to $5,000.

Term of Contract:

Program Implementation: July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2021

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Any Washington State public school, school district, government agency, or nonprofit organization with 501(c)(3) status is eligible to submit a First Step grant application and serve as the lead partner for the grant project. The lead partner is the legal entity with whom ArtsWA will contract; the lead partner will be responsible for submitting invoices and the final report.

Grant applicants must have:
- A primary partnership that includes a minimum of; (1) school/district, (1) professional arts education provider, and the local PTA or parent representation.
- At least (1) school principal or district leader engaged in the project.
- Demonstrated budgetary support that matches the amount of grant funding requested.

Ineligible Applicants:
-Washington State law prohibits funding of parochial schools or other organizations with a religious affiliation or purpose.
-Individual artists, parents, or community members may not submit an application on their own, however, these individuals are encouraged to initiate and support projects in partnership with their local school, school district, or arts organization.

This grant does not support extra-curricular arts education. It does not support programs that only provide one-time exposure to an arts event.

ArtsWA funds may not be used for:
- Food and beverages.
- Capital expenses—purchase of equipment, building construction, or renovation.
- Regular salaries for employees of schools, districts, or Educational Service Districts (ESDs). However, you may list appropriate percentages of school, district, or ESD staff salaries as in-kind support.
- Extra-curricular arts activities or programs that serve only selected students within a class or grade level.
- Stand-alone field trips or assemblies
- Travel out of the state of Washington, or fees to out-of-state contractors – in some cases, exceptions may be allowable, but prior approval from the AIE Program Manager is required.

Pre-Application Information:

The application deadline is March 17, 2020, by 5:00 pm.

Applicants will be notified May 31, 2020.

Matching funds from the applicant are required. Budget must show income from other funding sources, or your own reserves, that equals or exceeds your funding request.

Contact Information:

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

Apply Online:

If you have technical questions about the system, you may contact the
ZoomGrants support desk:
866-323-5404 x2.

Tamar Krames, Arts in Education Program Manager

Hannah Dahlke, Program Assistant

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Washington

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