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.
Grant Cycle 1 - Important Information
August 28 - 30: Grants orientations
Wednesday, August 30: Applications open in the grants portal
September 6 - October 9: Drop-in office hours in Watsonville, Santa Cruz, and on Zoom
Wednesday, October 11 at 5pm: Application deadline - no late applications accepted
January 12, 2024: Grant decision notifications sent to applicants
January - December 2024: Grant period - when all funded activities/expenses must take place
Orientations include a presentation that covers everything you need to know in order to apply, including new changes to the guidelines. The presentation is followed by time for questions. Spanish recording is available.
- Create & Develop grants orientation for artists and organizations (English recording)
- Create & Develop grants orientation for artists and organizations (Spanish recording)
- Support grants orientation for nonprofit and fiscally-sponsored arts organizations only (English recording)
Office hours are informal times when you can get grant application support from Arts Council staff. You can drop in during any of the scheduled times, and since there isn’t a presentation, you don’t have to be there at the beginning of the hour or stay til the end. If lots of folks show up at once, we’ll use a learning circle approach, with each person sharing questions or ideas. If you’re the only one, you will get direct one-on-one support! No questions or situations are too simple or too complicated. Mark your calendars, hope to see you there!
UPDATED 9/12/23. Please note dates/times/locations are subject to change. All changes will be posted here on our website.
Watsonville office hours:
- Saturday September 16, 1-2pm at Pajaro Valley Arts - Porter Building, 280 Main Street, Watsonville
- Wednesday October 4, 5-6pm at the Watsonville Library conference room (2nd floor), 275 Main Street, Watsonville
Santa Cruz office hours:
- Wednesday September 6, 5-6pm at the Arts Council conference room, 1070 River Street, Santa Cruz
- Saturday September 30, 1-2pm at the Arts Council conference room, 1070 River Street, Santa Cruz
Virtual office hours on Zoom:
- Create & Develop grants - Monday evenings:
- Sept. 11 & 18 at 5pm, Oct 2 at 4:30pm (half an hour earlier), & Oct 9 at 5pm - no office hours on Sept. 25
- Click here to join Zoom (ID: 88913958289 Passcode: 266505)
- Support grants - Fridays 11am-12pm:
- Sept. 8, 15, 29 and Oct 6 - no office hours on Sept. 22
- Click here to join Zoom (ID: 85970844253 Passcode: 201791)
Arts Council Santa Cruz County is like a support team that guides and provides you with opportunities to make your creative endeavors into reality.
Equity & Accessibility FAQ
CAC Racial Equity Resource Page: https://arts.ca.gov/learning-center/racial-equity-learning-resources/
Americans for the Arts Cultural Equity Resource Center: https://www.americansforthearts.org/by-topic/cultural-equity-resource-center
Continuum on Becoming an Anti-Racist Arts and Cultural Organization: continuumonbecomingananti-racistartsandculturalorg_2022update.pdf
Accessibility in the Arts: A Promise and a Practice: https://promiseandpractice.art/
Accessibility: Publications, Checklists, & Resources from the NEA: https://www.arts.gov/impact/accessibility/publications-checklists-and-resources
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 firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com).
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
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 email@example.com. 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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com).
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.
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.