July Newsletter

Art News and Resources from Arts Council Santa Cruz County

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Apply for a Grant

Current Grantees
Artwork by Melissa West

Grant Decision Emails Sent

Friday May 24, 2024

Grant Period

July 2024 - June 2025 

When all funded activities/expenses must take place

Direct Financial Support

Funding for arts projects, professional development, arts education, and general operating support. Opportunities available for individual artists, organizations, and teachers and schools.

Create Grants

Funding for arts and/or cultural projects, open to artists, arts organizations, and non-arts organizations working in collaboration with artists.

Learn More

Develop Grants

Professional development funding for artists and arts organizations to improve artistic skills or expand business capacity.

Learn More

Support Grants

General operating support for nonprofit arts organizations and fiscally-sponsored arts groups of all sizes.

Learn More


Matching grants for teachers and schools to enhance their arts education programs.

Learn More

Arts Council Santa Cruz County is like a support team that guides and provides you with opportunities to make your creative endeavors into reality.

Josefina RochaTeaching Artist & Open Studios Artist

Equity & Accessibility FAQ

Our grants this year represent the most diverse pool of recipients that the Arts Council has ever supported, thanks to a multi-year effort to increase our support to underserved and underrepresented artists and communities. Five years ago, most of our grantmaking funded the largest, fairly well-resourced, white-led arts nonprofits. By 2022, funding to BIPOC-led and -engaging organizations increased from 15% to 33%. We also continually work to ensure our grants are accessible to all individuals. For example, the grants program is now accessible to Spanish-speakers. For the past three years, over 50% of our grants to individuals have gone to BIPOC artists.

Read more about the Arts Council's commitment to equity

The Arts Council is committed to distributing resources equitably in order to reflect the diversity of our applicants and community. To that end, we ask you to provide demographic data so we may better understand the communities we are trying to serve. The information is used to identify and report on trends in populations supported by the Grants Program and to gauge how the Arts Council addresses the needs of the county’s diverse communities. Also, our grants program is also partially funded through government and foundation grants which require us to report back on demographic data.

Demographics are not taken into consideration when scoring grant applications. Grant reviewers will not have access to your responses. The information provided will kept private and secure, and will not be used for a discriminatory purpose. All responses are optional and you may choose to "prefer not to disclose."

Online Grants Portal FAQs

On the grants portal logon page:

  • Click “Forgot your password?”

  • Enter your email address in the text box

  • Click “Send Reset Link”

If we have an account on file with your email, a reset link is sent to your inbox. You can try more than one email address.

If you are signing up as part of an organization, please email grantsprogram@artscouncilsc.org before creating a new account, so we can create your account within the existing organization's account.

You can update your email, address and phone number in the grants portal anytime. To update any of these:

  • Click on your name in the upper right-hand corner

  • Click "Edit My Profile"

Communications Best Practices:

  • Communications about this grant will be sent from administrator@grantinterface.com. Please add this email to your safe sender list.

  • Communications will be sent to the email address you use to log in to this portal. Please use an email address you check often.

  • If multiple people on your team need to receive updates on the status of your application, please use a shared email (such as grants@orgname.org)

You might have selected the Spanish application rather than the English application. Please try this:

  • Log back into the grants portal
  • Click "Apply" from the top vertical green menu bar

  • Scroll down if needed to find the English version of the grant you want to apply for, and click the blue “Apply” button.

Another reason for this may be that your browser is set to Spanish. If you are using Google Chrome, you can find the Select Language icon (right) on your webpage and toggle to English.

You can share your login with your collaborators to grant them access to your entire account or you can use the Collaborator feature to grant someone access to your application (access can either be editing or view only). A tutorial on how to use this tool can be found here.

If multiple people on your team need to receive emails related to your application, please use a shared email (such as grants@orgname.org).

See the two options below. Please note, the list of application questions contains all possible questions. As you work through the application online, the form will modify itself to ask the questions that relate to your unique request (e.g., individual or organizational applicant). All applications must be submitted using the online form within our grants portal.

  • Visit the webpage for the specific grant you are applying for to download the application questions as a Microsoft Word doc.

  • You can also download a PDF of the application questions by clicking on "Question List" at the top of the application form once inside the grants portal.

Your answers will be saved periodically as you type. If you need to leave the application form and return later, scroll to the bottom of the webpage and click "Save Application" before logging out. 

You can also download a copy of your draft or completed application at any time. Click on the "Application Packet" button at the top of the application form to download a PDF version of your application. 

Once you submit your application, it will be archived in the online grants portal and you can come back and view a copy at any time.

Our team is happy to help! We recommend contacting grantsprogram@artscouncilsc.org well before the deadline. As the deadline approaches, we have limited time to help due to the number of requests. You can also try the Santa Cruz Public Libraries. Anyone can book an in-person appointment for tech help at the Capitola, Downtown, and Felton libraries - click here for more info.

Eligibility & Restrictions FAQs

For Arts Council grants, organizational applicants must either be nonprofits or fiscally sponsored. If you are part of a group that doesn't meet that requirement, you will need someone from your group to apply as an individual applicant. This means that the grant will be paid directly to that person, and will be taxable to that person as an individual.

As of 2023, applicants may only apply for one grant per grants cycle. However, if an individual wants to submit one application as an individual artist and another application on behalf of a nonprofit organization, they are welcome to do so.

Create and Develop grantees: If you will complete your current grant before the start of the next grant period (as listed in the guidelines), then you are welcome to apply for a new grant. You will need to submit the final report for your current grant before a new grant is awarded.

Support and Elevate grantees: As of 2023, Support and Elevate grantees are not eligible to apply for other grants.

Grant funds are not limited to new ideas. The Arts Council is interested in providing support to artists and organizations for existing creative and cultural projects. We welcome proposals for both new and existing projects equally. One thing to keep in mind, the funds may only be used for future activities/expenses occurring during the one-year grant period as listed in the guidelines.

No. There is no minimum age required to be eligible to apply.

No. There is no budget size required to be eligible to apply. We aim to fund organizations of all budget sizes equitably.

No, as of July 2023 we no longer have dedicated funds set aside for applicants who are Tannery loft and studio tenants. This is due to budget constraints.

Budget & Work Sample FAQs

Brief examples are listed in the application. You can also use the optional Microsoft Excel budget template below to plan your grant budget, but you will have to copy/paste or enter the budget into the text box within the application.

Budget Template (English) | Budget Template (Spanish)

You may also find this short video by Springboard for the Arts helpful.

A non-cash donation. For example, donation of materials, performance space, ad space, etc.

For Create grants, you may include a salary/fee for yourself as part of the grant, to cover the time you spend working on the funded project.  For Develop grants, it depends on what you are applying for - please contact us at grantsprogram@artscouncilsc.org. We cannot provide tax, legal or accounting advice, but please note that in most situations, income tax will apply to grant funds used for your own fee/salary.

Your income taxes should not be included as a line item in your budget. However, if you're planning to include a salary/fee for yourself as part of the grant, that amount could include any income tax you expect to pay for that salary/fee. We cannot provide tax, legal or accounting advice - but most likely, since grant expenses can be reported as business expenses, income tax would only apply to grant funds used for your own fee/salary.

Consider the following when selecting your work samples:

  • Are your work samples relevant to your proposed grant activities?

  • Do the work samples demonstrate your prior experience related to this grant?

  • Do they reflect a consistent body of work (similarity in style, theme, or visual language) and/or technical proficiency in a single medium?

  • Do they reflect your definition of artistic excellence as written in your application?

  • You may consider including a mix of artist work samples, project flyers/marketing material or other documentation that best represent your proposal.

You may also include a website link in your application, in addition to the work samples. Choose one website, social media site or visual gallery site that you feel will give the best representation of your work. If you have a site designated for the project you are applying for, you can choose to include it as your website link.

While photo and video work samples do not need to be professionally done, avoid blurry photos, as well as very shaky or fast-moving videos.

If you’re unsure if a work sample is strong, try showing it to someone who is less familiar with your work and see what they think!

Post Award FAQs

Grants are awarded and payments made about 3 months after the application deadline (either in January for fall application cycles, or June for spring application cycles). However, payments cannot be scheduled until you have completed any previous final reports and signed your grant award letter.

According to IRS tax law, grants to individuals are taxable. You can find more information from the IRS here about deducting the business expense portion of your grant.

We also highly recommend watching the video recording of the 2023 Taxes for Artists Workshop:

If you receive disability or low-income community supports, the grant may impact your benefits. We can’t provide tax or legal advice, but we can work with you one-on-one to make alternative payment arrangements. Please contact us at grantsprogram@artscouncilsc.org to set up a time to talk about your unique situation.

For Create and Develop grants: If you accept partial funding, you agree to use the funds from this grant for the purpose outlined in your grant application and accompanying budget. However, we understand changes to your planned activities may occur. If you need to redirect grant funds they may be redirected for purposes clearly aligned with the original intent of your grant award. Additionally, grant funds cannot be used for expenses that occur before the start of the grant period listed in the guidelines. Redirection of funds must be approved by the Grants Program Manager (contact grantsprogram@artscouncilsc.org).

For Support grants: Partial grants are still general operating grants and unrestricted. 

A final report will be due 30 days after the end date you entered in your application (for Support grants, the final report is due 30 days after the end of the grant period). The final report will be assigned to you online in the grants portal. The report will include some brief written responses, as well as demographic questions and financial documents.

All grantees are required to provide a final report to close out your grant. For Create and Develop grants, along with a few written responses, the final report will collect records of how the grant funds were spent. Examples of acceptable documentation are digital copies of receipts, invoices or order forms. Email threads or notes documenting cash transactions are also acceptable. We only request documentation of Arts Council funds spent, not all costs associated with your project. 

For Support and Elevate grants (general operating support for organizations), we may ask for financial statements and budget documents as part of the final report. We will not ask you to specify which line items were funded by the grant.

For individual artists: We will mail a 1099 form to individuals receiving $600 or more in January of the following year after your grant payment was issued.

Grants Portal

Fill out and submit your grant application or final report on our online grants portal.

View Our Current Grantees

Learn more about our current Create, Support, Develop and SPECTRA Grant recipients.