Grants Portal
A still from a dance project sponsored by Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music. Photo: Crystal Birns

Support Grants

Apply online in the grants portal from August 30 - October 11 at 5pm

General operating support for Santa Cruz County nonprofit or fiscally-sponsored arts organizations of all budget sizes. Applications accepted once per year for grants up to $7,000.


Please read the guidelines before beginning your application. Guidelines include important information about eligibility and review criteria.

Orientation Video

Watch a recording from our August 29 Support grants orientation.

Orientation Slides

Download the presentation slides from our August 29 Support Grants orientation.

Application Questions

The Support Grant application is an online application. Download this Microsoft Word document to view the list of application questions.

Key Dates

Registration encouraged. The grants orientation will begin with a presentation about Support grants by Grants Program Manager Tamara Liu, including changes from last cycle. There will be time for questions after the presentation. The orientation will be in English only (Spanish translation available if requested in advance).

Join Zoom Meeting: (Meeting ID: 84518250452 Passcode: 715664)


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. Hope to see you there!

UPDATED 9/12/23. 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:

  • Fridays 11am-12pm:

Please plan to submit your application well before 5pm! Late applications due to technical difficulties or any other reason are not accepted. The grants portal is often slower to load as the deadline approaches.

Look for an email on this date, sent to the email you used to log into the grants portal. The email will be sent by, so please make sure to add this address to your safe sender list.

Grant payments will be sent once you’ve signed your award letter.

When grant funds must be used

Support Grant FAQs

  • The review criteria have changed significantly since last year: We are using a new scoring rubric. The Grants Program Objective criteria has been eliminated. Artistic Excellence has been expanded to Artistic Excellence & Relevance with additional items being scored. The Equity & Accessibility criteria rubric has been expanded significantly. Please see the Review Criteria section of the guidelines for more information.

  • In addition to the three review criteria, further consideration will be given to: organizations whose programming primarily takes place in neighborhoods most disproportionately impacted by inequities as indicated by the California Healthy Places Index (HPI). HPI is determined by mapping 23 key drivers of health outcomes — like education, job opportunities, and clean air and water. Click here for more information on HPI.

  • Universities and colleges are ineligible for Arts Council grants, with the exception of providing fiscal sponsorship for one arts program only for a Create or Support grant application.

  • Support and Elevate grantees are no longer eligible to apply for Develop grants, in order to reserve enough of that funding for individual artists and other arts organizations. Support and Elevate grantees also remain ineligible for Create grants.

  • Applicants may only submit one application for one grant per cycle.

Read More FAQs About Our Grants

General FAQs are available at the bottom of our Apply for a Grant webpage.

Contact Us With Questions