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Grants for Cultural Events

by Michael Evans ; Updated September 26, 2017

Nonprofit organizations, schools and local governments often need grants to produce community cultural events. Funding sources, including private foundations and local, state and federal governments, can help pay for performances, festivals, art exhibitions, historic exhibits and film screenings. Guidelines for support vary, depending on the resource, and often limit awards based on funding priorities or organizational focus. While the majority of resources offer grants for cultural events only to organizations or government entities, others also extend eligibility to individuals.

Private Foundations

Private foundations make grants for cultural events based on the social focus of their organization. For example, the Netherland America Foundation supports programs that foster cultural relationships between the United States and the Netherlands. Programs funded can include the arts, historic preservation, business or public policy initiatives. Past awards have included funding for an exhibit celebrating the discovery of Delaware, produced by the Delaware Historical Society, and restoration of St. Mark's Church in New York City, conducted by the St. Marks Historic Landmark Fund. The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee offers funding to Middle Tennessee organizations to help support arts events and community planning initiatives. As of a February 2011, Community Foundation grants range from $500 to $5,000.

Local Funding Programs

Cities often provide funding for cultural events through local government agencies. For instance, the City of Longmont, Colorado, awards funding for events that celebrate the diversity of Longmont. As of February 2011, the city offers a maximum of $800 to support festivals, public art programs, exhibitions, performance events and ethnic heritage programs. The Longmont program extends eligibility to community organizations, school groups, nonprofit organizations, neighborhood associations and individuals. The Department of Cultural Affairs in Los Angeles, California, helps support cultural exhibitions and arts programs, including dance performances, festivals, theater programs and multi-disciplinary programs.

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State Commissions

States often support community events and arts exhibitions through government-backed arts commissions and councils. The Vermont Arts Council helps fund arts events that serve communities throughout the state. The council awards grants ranging from $1,000 to $5,000, as of February 2011, to nonprofit organizations and educational institutions to produce master classes, lectures, performances, film screenings and workshops. The Tennessee Arts Commission supports arts festivals, performances, workshops and conferences throughout Tennessee. The Tennessee General Assembly funds the commission, which awards grants up to $3,000, as of February 2011.

Federal Cultural Grants

The U.S. government provides funding for cultural events throughout the U.S. through the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Nonprofit organizations producing dance performances, musical events and festivals can apply for funding. The NEA's Our Town program offers support for projects that celebrate or enhance the distinct quality or character of a local community. The program extends eligibility to projects that incorporate the arts, cultural planning or restoration of public spaces. Urban and rural organizations can apply for funding to help pay for exhibitions, performances and festivals. Local governments and nonprofit organizations can apply for Our Town funding, and grants range from $25,000 to $250,000, as of February 2011.

About the Author

Michael Evans graduated from The University of Memphis, where he studied photography and film production. His writings have appeared in numerous print and online publications, including International Living, USA Today, The Guardian, Fox Business, Yahoo Finance and Bankrate.

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