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Grants in the Performing Arts

Why grants?

Grants are a crucial part of the performing arts economy, and grant writing will be relevant to many performing artists and arts teachers. Grants give you an opportunity to realize new project ideas or keep your organization running.

Finding grant opportunities and writing grant applications requires skills in research, writing, and budget management, in addition to great ideas for projects and organizations. This guide gives you some starting points for understanding grants, finding and evaluating opportunities, locating data and research to back up your requests, and writing a proposal. 

Grant Funding in the Arts

On average about 40% of nonprofit arts funding comes from contributions from individuals, foundations, corporations, and government agencies. A large amount of that funding will go through the form of grants, or monetary awards given for a specific purpose. Types of grants, eligibility, priorities, allowed expenses, and application procedures can vary widely, but there are some strategies for finding, supporting, and applying for grants that can be helpful across the board. This guide will give you some basic tools and resources for:

  •  locating grant opportunities
  • evaluating their fit with your project ideas
  • collecting data to support your proposal and expense estimates
  • synthesizing what you know into a grant proposal


Pie chart showing estimated sources of revenue for nonprofit arts orgs. 60% is from earned income, 24% from individual contributions, 4% from foundations, 3% from corporate donations, 3% from federal governments, 2% from state governments, and 4% from local governments.

From Americans for Arts, 2017. See full page below.