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Small Arts Initiative

Grants to Pennsylvania Nonprofits and Artist
Connectives for Arts Projects in Eligible Regions

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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The Heinz Endowments

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

08/01/20 11:59 PM EST


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Grants of up to $20,000 to Pennsylvania nonprofit arts organizations and artist collectives with nonprofit fiscal sponsorship to support local artistic projects in eligible regions. Funding is intended for new projects or for regular programs and series. Eligible regions include the southwestern Pennsylvania counties of Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Washington, and Westmoreland.

The goal of the Small Arts Initiative is to further the development of small, professional arts organizations and the artists with whom they work. “Professional” is broadly defined and denotes quality of artistic product, organizational leadership and audition/selection processes, as well as rehearsal and presentation standards. The Endowments anticipates funding a variety of performances, exhibitions and screenings. Once per calendar year, you may apply for your regular series or programming, or a new project.

All proposed projects must meet the following objective:
  • Advance a particular organization or collective of artists/organizations’ ability to carry out well-defined artistic opportunities or challenges, thus encouraging the development of local organizations, technical staff and professional artists.
Examples of previously funded projects include:
  • The annual production of a local company.
  • Guest artists or technical personnel engaged to work with company members in the context of preparing for a public presentation or new work.
  • Commissioning and/or presenting an ensemble or artist who will enrich the cultural landscape.
  • Artistic expenses that are important to a pivotal project. 
Two types of grants are available: Project Support for Arts Organizations and Project Support for Fiscally Sponsored Collaborations.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 159720

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

Grant amounts will range from $1,000 to $20,000.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Individual artists and organizations with an annual budget of $300,000 or less are invited to apply. Applicants are eligible to apply for one grant per calendar year.

I. Project Support for Arts Organizations:
Minimally in place must be:
- An active, functioning board of directors.
- Internal Revenue Service 501(c)(3) public charity status, in place or applied for.
- An identified leader for the organization, paid or volunteer.

II. Project Support for Fiscally Sponsored Collaborations:
Participating artists/organizations must meet at least one of the following criteria:
- A partnership of, at minimum, two artists working together for a performance, exhibition or screening around a theme.
- An artist or arts administrator collaborating with a group of advisors to present the work of multiple artists around a theme.
- An established, but unincorporated, arts organization consisting of multiple artists.
The fiscal sponsor for the collaboration must meet both of the following criteria:
- Must be a well-matched 501(c)(3) organization with a clear, mission-driven relationship to, or interest in, the project or members of the collaboration.
- Must be persuasive in its preparedness to provide administrative and technical support, offer artistic support when appropriate, oversee the receipt and expenditure of grant funds, and, in general, provide proof that it is exercising control of the project.
Nonprofit organizations with budgets greater than $300,000 are eligible sponsors; however, each individual artist/organization’s annual budget must be no more than $300,000. If the fiscal sponsor for the collaboration is not an arts organization or does not have demonstrated expertise in the artistic discipline(s) specific to the proposed project, there must be an active advisory committee in place with skill in arts administration and knowledge of the proposed art form.

Ineligible Projects:
The initiative does not fund:
- Single artist projects.
- General operating support or staff positions.
- General marketing activities.
- Capital requests.
- Benefits or fundraising events.
- Programs that primarily provide benefit or opportunity to a membership organization’s own
- Arts education programming or programs that primarily provide training opportunities to youth.
- Projects that take place prior to the initiative’s grant notification dates.
- Non-arts organizations that utilize arts as part of their programming.
- Organizations/sponsors that are not IRS 501(c)(3) public charities.
- Organizations outside of the following southwestern Pennsylvania counties: Allegheny,
Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Washington and Westmoreland.

Pre-proposal Conference:

Applicants who are using the web portal for the first time are strongly encouraged to attend the monthly New User webinar held the first Tuesday of every month at 1 p.m. If you are interested in attending this webinar, please review the DataArts calendar for specifics at

Pre-Application Information:

Deadlines to apply in 2020 are March 1 and August 1. Complete applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

- Spring: March 1, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Funding decisions announced by June 30.
- Fall: August 1, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Funding decisions announced by November 30.

Applications for Small Arts Initiative grants must be completed online. Two different applications are available for the program, so it is important to select the correct one after you click on the application link, depending on whether the applicant is applying as an organization or is applying with a fiscal sponsor.

Applications submitted two weeks prior to the deadline will be reviewed and feedback will be provided.

Fiscally Sponsored Collaborations: Due to strict eligibility requirements associated with collaborative projects, it is strongly advised that you contact the Endowments to discuss your project prior to submitting a proposal.

- Cultural Data Profile: For more general information and to develop your profile, please go to
- Apply for a Grant:

Contact Information:

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

Apply at:

For more information or questions, please contact Shaunda McDill at, with the subject: Small Arts Initiative.

For technical assistance, please contact Cheryl Dabat at

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Pennsylvania: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Washington, and Westmoreland Counties

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