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Small Arts Initiative

Grants to Pennsylvania Nonprofits and
Artists for Arts Projects in Eligible Regions

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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The Heinz Endowments

Deadline Date:

07/31/21 11:59 PM EST


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Grants of up to $20,000 to Pennsylvania nonprofit organizations and artist partnerships and collectives collaborating with nonprofits for screenings, exhibitions, and performances. Funding is intended to strengthen and develop local arts organizations and the artists with whom they work. Eligible organizations are located in the following southwestern Pennsylvania counties: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Washington, and Westmoreland.

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.

  1. Project Support for Arts Organizations
  2. Project Support for Fiscally Sponsored Collaborations - This category of support is available because Endowments staff believes in the strength and opportunity afforded by collaborations and sharing of resources.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 159720

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

Grants 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.

Eligible arts organizations should demonstrate an existing organizational structure and artistic product that is proven or shows signs of promise. 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. The organization does not need to have a regularly scheduled season in place, but should be able to demonstrate increasing artistic strength through examples of past performances or exhibitions, capacity to carry out the proposed project and articulation of a clear artistic vision.

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.

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.

Applicants are eligible to apply for one grant per calendar year.

Applicants applying to the Small Arts Initiative are not eligible to apply to the Ignite Inclusion Initiative.

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 constituents.
- 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-Application Information:

Deadlines to apply in 2021 are May 31 and July 31. Complete applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

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

Contact Information:

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


Program Officer Shaunda McDill is available to answer questions regarding the Small Arts Initiative. Shaunda can be reached at or 412-338-2653.

For technical assistance, please contact Cheryl Dabat

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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