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Discovery Grants

Grants to Philadelphia Area, Pennsylvania Nonprofits
for Arts and Cultural Exhibitions and Performances

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

03/07/18 4:00 PM


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Grants of up to $60,000 to Philadelphia Area, Pennsylvania nonprofit organizations for the development of arts and cultural exhibitions and performances. First-time applicants must schedule an appointment with program staff by October 13. All applicants must contact program staff at least two weeks prior to the LOI deadline. LOIs are due November 15. Eligible applicants are located in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties.

Recognizing the increasingly blurred lines and fluid boundaries in the presentation and interpretation of material and visual culture, as well as in performance, The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage (the Center) has two categories of funding.

Areas of programming considered within Exhibitions & Public Interpretation (EPI) include public display and/or interpretation of artworks, historical artifacts, scientific objects, living collections, buildings, stories, or ideas; film, video, or other moving-image presentations and technology platforms; and all other forms of exhibitions and public cultural interpretation, including those that take place in public spaces, online, and/or make use of participatory strategies.

Areas of programming considered within Performance include original works or new treatments of existing works in all performance forms; film, video, and other moving-image performance works; distribution of performance using new experimental media or technology platforms; and performances in public spaces, online, and/or making use of participatory strategies. The category supports projects that are multi- or interdisciplinary, as well as those based in a specific discipline.

The goals of Center grant making are to:

-Support substantive projects that grow out of mission, demonstrate artistic and programmatic urgency, ambition, and conceptual rigor for the applicant, and represent a thoughtful development of an existing line of work or a heretofore unexplored direction.

-Support partnerships and collaborations outside of the applicant’s habitual frame of reference (i.e. disciplinary, geographic, cultural, etc.) that are significant and build new relationships.

-Support projects that provide inspirational models for cultural practice in the region and beyond.

-Support projects that introduce the applicant to unfamiliar audiences, expand the reach and impact of the applicant’s programming, deepen meaningful engagement, and improve audience prospects for the longer term.

Discovery grants are for focused exploration that will seed future project proposals. They are designed to create the conditions that will allow applicants to be competitive and successful within the Project grant arena.

They support: the development of a creative process or strategy; deep examinations of a curatorial/program idea; rigorous topical research and knowledge acquisition; testing a hypothesis; piloting or prototyping a project or program; conducting audience research that will enhance artistic decision-making; and developmental consultations with creative minds from around the world.

A public component is required of all Discovery grants.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 182286

Estimated Size of Grant:

Organizations may be eligible to apply for up to $60,000.

Term of Contract:

Funds must be expended within 12 months.

The implementation period for Discovery grants extends from July 1, 2018 and must conclude by September 30, 2019.

Major public events that are part of a Center grant should generally not be scheduled to take place before November 1, 2018.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Discovery grants are for organizational applicants only.


-Must have 501(c)(3) designation at the time of submitting a Letter of Intent to Apply (LOI); and must have paid, professional artistic and managerial project staff. If awarded funding, grant contracts can only be signed by a person with legal and fiduciary responsibility for the organization. It may be possible, in some cases, for applicants to go through a fiscal agent; however, this must be discussed with Center senior staff before submitting a LOI.

-Must be in sound financial health, as determined by audited financial statements and/or verified Cultural Data Profile (CDP) reports demonstrating no operating losses in two out of the past three years and showing positive working capital. Audited financial statements are required by the Center from organizations with annual budgets exceeding $100,000; outside financial review is required for all others.

-Must officially reside in the five-county Philadelphia area (Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties).

-Must have created, curated, produced, or presented at least three professional public programs within the last five years.

-If you have an open Center grant, please contact the appropriate program to determine your eligibility to apply in 2018.

Organizations are ineligible if they are managed by current employees of The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage or The Pew Charitable Trusts; members of such employees’ households; or people closely related to such employees through blood, marriage, or domestic partnership.

Ineligible for Support:

Grants in the Exhibitions & Public Interpretation (EPI) program are not made for individual exhibitions of private collections, nor for acquiring collections or property. Please note: Artists with a demonstrated record of curatorial projects may apply as curators. They must discuss the eligibility of their project with EPI program staff before submitting an LOI. Applicants are encouraged to to tour or present Center-funded projects outside the region, when appropriate. If you are touring a project, or working collaboratively with an organization outside of the region, please discuss with Center senior staff those costs which are and which are not eligible for support.

Grants in the Performance program are not for ongoing seasonal support. Multiple commissions within the same application must be conceived for presentation under a single rigorously considered curatorial premise that cogently outlines what is at stake artistically and programmatically. Collaborations with new partners are encouraged. If you are touring a project or working collaboratively with an organization outside of the region, please discuss with Center senior staff those costs which are and which are not eligible for support.

Ineligible costs include capital improvements or real estate expenditures; debt service or retirement; endowment funds; or operation support (including salaries).

Pre-Application Information:

Before beginning a Letter of Intent to Apply (LOI), applicants are required to identify their intention to apply to the Center by contacting staff at least two weeks before the LOI deadline (November 15, 2017). First-time applicants are required to make an appointment to discuss your project with the Center’s senior staff by October 13, 2017. During this conversation, applicants and staff can discuss any eligibility concerns, and your project’s fit within the Center’s goals and priorities.

Letters of Intent to Apply are due on November 15, 2017 by 4:00 PM.

Applicants whose LOIs are reviewed favorably will be invited to submit a full application. Notification regarding an invitation to apply will be sent by December 22, 2017.

Applications are due on March 7, 2018 by 4:00 PM.

Announcements of grant recipients will be made in June 2018.


Contact Information:

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

To schedule an appointment, please contact:

For Exhibitions & Public Interpretation:

For Performance:
Erin Read

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Pennsylvania: Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties