CHICAGO REGION ARTISTIC VITALITY
GEN OPS PLUS STRATEGY & GUIDELINES

We support over 170 small, professional arts organizations of all disciplines. We provide general operations grants and an array of other kinds of support to help our arts partners sustain their artistry and strengthen their operations. Please review our strategy and eligibility requirements below.

Illinois

To Value Small Arts Organizations

The ecosystem of arts in the Chicago region is big and diverse, yet most nonprofit arts groups operate on small budgets. Together, small arts groups produce most of the art in our region. They reach beyond downtown into nearly every neighborhood. They ensure a perpetual wellspring of new and emerging talent. They challenge. They risk. They fail. They try again. They blow us away.

 

Many small arts groups – especially the smallest of the small – tend to have fewer options for grants. That’s why we make it our business to support professional arts groups, of all disciplines, that operate on less than $1 million per year.

 

To Support With Few Restrictions

Unrestricted general operating grants are the life blood of small arts groups, big or small. It allows them the flexibility to spend those dollars where they see fit. Multi-year general operating support provides an extra measure of stability.

 

To Grow Stronger

It takes training, discipline and often years of experience to master one’s art. Just as challenging, just as important, is mastering the art of running an arts organization. Stronger, more efficient operations tend to allow more time, attention and resources to go toward the art itself. We support the Arts Work Fund and several other technical assistance providers to help organizations grow stronger.

Illinois

Eligibility

  • If you are new, we have to see your work before you can apply. All potential Chicago Artistic Vitality grantees should send an introductory email to Ellen Placey Wadey, Senior Program Officer, with your intent to apply, any questions they have about the application, and upcoming dates for performances/ shows/ exhibits.
  • You must
    • be a 501(c)(3) public charity. We do not make grants through fiscal sponsors or agents.
    • be in compliance with your Secretary of State.
    • have total annual expenses under $1 million.
    • have completed at least one full fiscal year of operations and one full production season.
    • be producing in the following counties:
      • Wisconsin – Kenosha or Walworth
      • Indiana – Lake, Porter, LaPorte
      • Illinois – Cook, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, Will
    • demonstrate or strongly promise artistic vitality. We take into account how much programming an organization offers and the degree of professionalism, factoring in the artistic discipline, budget size and where an organization happens to be in its evolution.

The following are not eligible:

  • Individuals.
  • Organizations primarily focused on arts education or social service.
  • Amateur or community arts groups.
  • Presenting organizations.
  • Stand-alone or one-time festivals, conferences, or other events.
  • Stand-alone publications, films/videos, or websites.
  • Religious activities, political campaigns, or legislative lobbying.
  • Endowments, capital campaigns, or debt reduction.
  • Groups that are legally, financially, or operationally part of a larger institution, e.g. the art department of a college.
GenOpsPlus_Logo

Organizations are eligible for grant amounts based on annual expenses for the most recently-completed calendar or fiscal year:

    • Annual Expenses
    • Up to $25,000*
    • $25,000 – $50,000
    • $50,000 – $100,000
    • $100,000 – $200,000
    • $200,000 – $300,000
    • $300,000 – $500,000
    • $500,000 – $750,000
    • $750,000 – $1Million

    • Grant Amount
    • $2,500
    • $4,000
    • $6,000
    • $7,500
    • $8,500
    • $10,000
    • $12,000
    • $13,500

DEADLINES

Your complete proposal must be submitted online by 11:59pm Central Time on

  • March 27, 2020 for review at our July 2020 board meeting
  • July 31, 2020 for review at our November 2020 board meeting

It takes about four months from grant application deadline through board decision. After the board meeting, you’ll hear from us within a couple weeks.

HOW TO APPLY

If you are new – 

  • We have to see your work before you can apply. All potential Chicago Artistic Vitality grantees should send an introductory email to Ellen Placey Wadey, Senior Program Officer, with your intent to apply, any questions you have about the application, and upcoming dates for performances/ shows/ exhibits.
  • Start working on your DataArts profile.

Current grantees – 

  • Make sure to complete your final report, due at the same time as the reapplication.
  • For more information about reporting, PRIs, technical assistance, and other tools, check out out the Current Grantees page.

Contact

For questions about your eligibility or content questions about your proposal, please contact Ellen Wadey, Senior Program Officer.

For questions about the application form or process, please contact Clover Morell, Program Associate.