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.
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.
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.
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.
Your complete proposal must be submitted online by 11:59pm Central Time on
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.
Our 2020 deadlines are not yet set, but they are usually the last Friday in March and July.
You’ll be directed to our online grant system to choose and start an application and create a login and password, so you can save and return to your work at any time.
Before you apply: