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Making a living as an artist can be challenging at times. How can you get to work on completing your next big sculpture or photography project if you’re worried about next month’s rent?

Thankfully, there are a lot of organizations that offer art grants and fellowships that support artists in creating their work, and free them up to concentrate on creating. Not sure where to start? We’ll help you figure out how to apply, and share some of our favourite artist grants, from grants for emerging artists and performing arts grants to grants for female artists and visual arts grants.

Applying for Art Grants

Grant committees will want to see your work, so make sure that your online art portfolio is in great shape. Use a website builder that offers clean, modern themes and gives you a free trial, so you can see if the site fits your needs.

They’ll also need your artist statement, so ensure that yours is as clear and concise as possible, and up-to-date with all the information about your practice. (Here are some tips on how to write an artist statement.)

Once your portfolio and artist statement are done, you can bone up on how to write better artist grant applications here.

Now that you’ve got all your materials ready and the art grant application skills under your belt, it’s time to get started! Here are 36 of the best grants for artists, and everything you need to know to apply for them.

General Art Grants

These art grants are open to most artists, meaning there are few restrictions on geography, art discipline, or subject matter.

A Blade of Grass Fellowship for Socially Engaged Art

Art discipline: Any

Amount: $20,000

Special notes: Applicants must be 25 or older

A Blade of Grass is an organization that provides resources for talented artists who “serve as innovative conduits for social change.” Its fellowship program is designed to support artists in creating work that highlights social problems, and focuses on funding projects that challenge unfair power dynamics. Along with the financial support, the fellowship grants artists an expenses-paid two-day orientation retreat in NYC to meet fellow artists as well as the organization’s staff and board.

Anything Art Grant

Art discipline: Any

Amount: $1,000

Special notes: $35 entry fee to submit up to three works

Specto Art Space, an art gallery in Virginia, offers this unrestricted art grant to help artists with all the expenses involved with creating great art. It also offers winning artists the option of being included in the gallery’s shows and promotional materials.

Awesome Foundation Grants

Art discipline: Any

Amount: $1,000

Special notes: Has 90 chapters that each give out a $1,000 art grant monthly

The Awesome Foundation is an international organization with 90 chapters. Each of the chapters offers a $1,000 art grant every month. The foundation funds all types of art projects as well as initiatives in community development and technology. “Many Awesome projects are novel or experimental, and evoke surprise and delight,” their website says. “Awesome sometimes challenges and often inspires.”

Each chapter tends to fund projects that contribute to their own communities, so it’s best to apply to a chapter near you. However, there are no restrictions based on location and you can apply to multiple chapters.

Burning Man Global Art Grants

Art discipline: Any

Amount: Up to $10,000

Special notes: Focuses on interactive and community-driven artworks

The Burning Man organization (yes, the one behind the annual festival) offers art grants to help fund projects around the world. It focuses on art projects that are accessible to the public and that encourage the viewers to experience it in other ways than just visually. They love art projects that can be touched, heard, or experienced. These artist grants can range between $500 and $10,000 dollars, but most often they fall between $3,000 and $6,000.

CEC ArtsLink Independent Projects Awards

Art discipline: Performing, design, media, literary and visual arts

Amount: $5,000

Special notes: The artist must be based in another country and plan on traveling to the U.S.

CEC ArtsLink gives art grants to international artists to help them come to the U.S. to collaborate with an American artist or organization. Their criteria for choosing an artist include the artist’s plans for sharing the benefits of the experience with artists and institutions in their home country.

Creative Capital Grants

Art discipline: Any

Amount: Up to $50,000 and career development services

Special notes: Focuses on large-scale, long-term projects

Creative Capital is an arts organization that supports artists across the U.S. with funding, counsel, and career development services. It typically awards grants for artists with plans for large or long-term projects. Most of the projects that get funded have a timeline between three to five years.

FCA Grants to Artists

Art discipline: Visual arts, performance art/theater, music/sound, poetry, dance

Amount: $40,000

Special notes: Grants are given to support artists, not specific projects

The Foundation for Contemporary Arts awards several artist grants annually across five different art fields. Recipients are chosen on the merit and imagination of their past work, and what effect the recognition and support of a grant will have on their careers.

These artist grants are not given to fund specific art projects. Instead, they are meant to support artists financially while they pursue whatever artistic endeavors they wish, including developing new ideas, starting new projects, and completing ongoing projects.

The Gottlieb Foundation Individual Support Grant

Art discipline: Painting and sculpture

Amount: $25,000

Special notes: Only open to “mature” artists

The Gottlieb Foundation gives out 12 artist grants each year. It aims to support “serious” and “fully-committed” artists, meaning those who focus on their artistic goals over other personal or financial responsibilities. The foundation only awards these art grants to “mature” artists, which it defines as having worked for at least 20 years in a mature phase of their art.

John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowships

Art discipline: Any

Amount: Varies

Special notes: No restrictions on how grants are used

Guggenheim Fellowships are art grants that are given to individuals who show “exceptional creative ability” in the arts. The goal is to help provide the recipient with time so they can work with as much creative freedom as possible. Recipients can use the funds in any way they see fit to help with their work.

In addition to this artist grant, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation also provides grants to scientists and scholars. As a result, they receive about 3,000 applications a year, and award about 175 fellowships across these different fields.

Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grants

Art discipline: Painting, sculpting, printmaking

Amount: Up to $10,000

Special notes: Artists must have been working for a significant amount of time and be in financial need

The Pollock-Krasner Foundation provides grants for artists in financial need, whether that’s professional, personal or both. When selecting an applicant, the organization focuses on artists who have been working for a significant amount of time, and who can demonstrate both artistic merit and financial need.

Radcliffe Fellowship Program

Art discipline: Any

Amount: Up to a $70,000 stipend and $5,000 to cover project expenses

Special notes: Involves living at Harvard University for a year.

Each year, the Radcliffe Institute Fellowship Program chooses 50 talented artists and scholars to convene at Harvard University for a full academic year. There they can work on individual projects while benefiting from a multidisciplinary community.

Applicants from any discipline and who focus on any subject matter are welcome to apply. However, there are some subjects that are of special interest to the Radcliffe Institute. For instance, artists whose work involves women, gender, and society will have a better chance of getting chosen.

Sustainable Arts Foundation Awards

Art discipline: Any

Amount: Up to $5,000

Special notes: Only artists with children are eligible

This foundation aims to support artists with families by providing financial awards to parents that are pursuing creative work. Its website points out that parents often put aside their creative impulses to meet the demands of raising a family. So the foundation’s goal is to encourage parents to continue with their creative passions.

Visual Art Grants

These grants are a boon to visual artists looking for support in their practice.

Artadia Awards

Art discipline: Visual arts

Amount: Up to $20,000

Special notes: Artadia has award programs in cities across the U.S.

Artadia is a national non-profit organization that supports visual artists by providing merit-based grants for artists. These awards are unrestricted, so artists can use them however they want. The awards range from $5,000 to $20,000 and also come with ongoing career assistance.

Artadia focuses on recognizing artists in several cities that show a commitment to contemporary art. It currently has award programs in Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and the San Francisco Bay Area. To apply, you have to live in one of these designated cities.

The Ruth and Harold Chenven Foundation Awards

Art discipline: Visual arts (except video)

Amount: $1,500

Special notes: Up to seven awards are granted annually

This foundation gives unrestricted cash awards to help individual artists who are working on or planning a new visual art project. Between four and seven artist grants are given out each year. Applicants have to be living and working in the U.S to be eligible.

Photography Grants

These are some art grants aimed specifically at photographers, including some that will consider both artistic and journalistic photography.

Aaron Siskind Foundation Grants

Art discipline: Artistic photography

Amount: Up to $10,000

Special notes: $25 fee to apply

The Aaron Siskind Foundation gives out art grants annually to support artists working in photography and photo-based art. It selects recipients based on artistic excellence, accomplishments, and the promise of future achievement.

Burn Magazine Emerging Photographer Grant

Art discipline: Artistic and journalistic photography

Amount: $10,000

Special notes: Open to any emerging photographer

The Emerging Photographer grant is intended to support photographers who will become tomorrow’s icons. Recipients can use the money to support themselves as they move forward in their work and continue making a mark.

In addition to the Emerging Photographer grant for artists, which is open to any emerging photographer, Burn Magazine offers a $10,000 award specifically for photographers who are 25 and under. If you apply for the Emerging Photographer grant and meet the age requirement, you’ll automatically be eligible for the award.

Project Launch Grant

Art discipline: Artistic and journalistic photography

Amount: $5,000

Special notes: Applicants should have a completed or nearly completed project

This artist grant is offered by CENTER, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and providing opportunities for gifted photographers. It is awarded to photographers that have either a completed or nearly completed project that would benefit from some financial support. The recipient also has their work published on Lenscratch, and gets to participate in an exhibition at The Turchin Center for the Visual Arts in North Carolina.

W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography

Art discipline: Documentary photography

Amount: $35,000

Special notes: Helps photographers working on major photographic essays

This art grant provides photographers some financial freedom to carry out major photographic essays. The grant was established in 1978 following the death of American photo essayist Gene Smith.

The artist grant is given to photographers whose work demonstrates a commitment to documenting the human condition. A panel of judges selects a recipient whose work follows in the tradition of Smith’s “concerned photography and dedicated compassion.”

Grants for Emerging Artists

These art grants are given to help young or unrecognized artists take their careers to the next level.

The Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation grant

Art discipline: Representational style painting, drawing, sculpting or printmaking

Amount: $15,000

Special notes: Applications are accepted throughout the year with no deadline

The Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation gives grants for emerging artists to develop their skills in artistic expression. Applicants must be 18 or older, in an early or developmental stage of their work, and be able to show a commitment to making art their lifetime career.

Harpo Foundation Grants for Visual Artists

Art discipline: Visual arts

Amount: Up to $10,000

Special notes: $15 application fee

This grant for emerging artists aims to help support under-recognized visual artists. Applicants are evaluated based on the quality of their artistic work and potential to expand aesthetic inquiry. The grant can be used towards any activity that will help with the development of the artist’s work.

Puffin Foundation Artist Grants

Art discipline: Any

Amount: Up to $2,500

Special requirements/notes: Focuses on under-represented artists

This organization aims to provide grants for emerging artists who are “often excluded from mainstream opportunities due to their race, gender, or social philosophy.” It also focuses on new artists, and specifies that established artists are less likely to be considered for a grant. They look for “projects that seek to enrich and inform the public on important subjects such as the physical environment, social justice, civil rights and other contemporary issues facing the country (and the planet), that some organizations might hesitate to fund.”

Performing Arts Grants

Here are some grants for artists specializing in the performing arts, from music and dance to theatrical productions.

APAP Cultural Exchange Fund

Art discipline: Performing arts

Amount: $2,000 for individuals, or up to $10,000 for groups

Special notes: Supports artist to travel outside the U.S. to collaborate with international artists

The Association of Performing Arts Professionals gives travel grants to help American artists travel abroad to collaborate, build partnerships, and experience art from around the world in its cultural context. There are no limitations on the countries the artist can travel to, but APAP encourages applicants to consider choosing a country in Africa, Asia, Latin America, or the Middle East.

Franklin Furnace Fund

Art discipline: Performing arts

Amount: Up to $10,000

Special notes: The grant recipient must travel to New York to present their work

The Franklin Furnace Fund has been awarding performing arts grants to performance artists since 1985. The grants are meant to enable artists to produce major performance artworks in New York. Artists from anywhere in the world are encouraged to apply, but the grant recipient is expected to present their work in New York.

This art grant is typically given to emerging artists. However, the organization’s website says, “every year the panel changes, as do the definitions of ‘emerging artist’ and ‘performance art.’” So, if at first you don’t succeed, apply, apply again.

Jubilation Foundation grants

Art discipline: Music and dance projects

Amount: $5,000 per year for two years

Special notes: The only requirement is that applicants live within the U.S.

Jubilation Foundation performing arts grants are given to individual artists with “an exceptional talent for helping young people feel fully alive through rhythm—as expressed in music and dance.” The foundation’s goal is to promote well-being and the joyful side of human nature through music and movement.

Shakespeare in American Communities

Art discipline: Theater

Amount: $25,000

Special notes: Grants must be matched from other sources

In partnership with Arts Midwest, the Shakespeare in American Communities program provides funds to nonprofit theater companies. The funds are provided to support professional, high-quality productions of Shakespeare plays performed for middle- and high-school students.

Grants for Sculptors

These grants are worth checking out, whether you’re an unknown or well-established sculptor.

Alex J. Ettl Grant

Art discipline: Figurative or realist sculptures

Amount: $5,000

Special notes: Includes promotion in art magazines

The National Sculpture Society (NSS) sponsors a number of annual artist grants for sculptors. One is the Alex J. Ettl Grant. It involves an unrestricted $5,000 grant, a half-page ad in Fine Art Connoisseur magazine, and a quarter-page ad in Sculpture Review magazine. It is awarded to a sculptor who has shown a commitment to sculpting as well as outstanding ability.

Marilyn Newmark Memorial Grant

Art discipline: Animal sculptures

Amount: $5,000

Special notes: Includes promotion in art magazines

This is another art grant sponsored by the NSS and it offers the same exposure in magazine ads as the Alex J. Ettl Grant that’s listed above. The difference is this grant is awarded to sculptors who specialize in animal sculpture.

Virginia A. Groot Foundation Grant

Art discipline: Sculpture

Amount: Up to $50,000

Special notes: Three grants are available every year

This grant for artists was established in 1988 to enable sculptors to devote a substantial amount of time to the development of their work. The foundation offers three grants of up to $50,000, $20,000, and $10,000. Applicants can be at any stage of their career development. The grant winner is chosen primarily on the quality of work submitted. Also taken into consideration is the proposal included in the grant application.

Grants for Female Artists

These artist grants aim to recognize exceptional women in a variety of art fields.

The Bennett Prize

Art discipline: Figurative realist painting

Amount: $50,000

Special notes: Involves creating a traveling exhibition of paintings

The Bennett Prize awards $50,000 to a female artist to help her create a solo exhibition of figurative realist paintings that will travel the country. It aims to assist female painters who haven’t yet gotten full recognition, including new artists and those who have been painting for many years.

Inge Morath Award

Art discipline: Photography

Amount: Varies

Special notes: Focuses on long-term documentary photography projects

This annual award is given to a female photographer under the age of 30 to help in completing a long-term photography project. The specific guidelines change year to year, but they focus on photo essays that document different cultures and contemporary issues.

Money for Women

Art discipline: Visual arts and literature

Amount: Up to $1,500

Special notes: Artists should have substantial work done on their project before applying

Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund is a feminist granting agency that has been around for over 40 years. It gives grants to individual feminist women in the arts to help them complete ongoing projects. The website specifies that, when applying for a grant, the project should already be well underway and the artist should have substantial work to show. (Projects that are not eligible for this grant include play scripts, videos, and work that will be self-published.)

NLAPW Art Grant for Mature Women

Art discipline: Any or all media, including oil, acrylic, watercolor, original works on paper, photography, or sculpture

Amount: $1,000

Special notes: Entry fee of $35

This grant for female artists is intended to encourage mature, talented women to pursue their artistic goals. The money can go towards anything that will help with their creative efforts. In addition to this visual arts grant, NLAPW also offers separate $1,000 grants for mature women in music and literature.

WSW Studio Residency Grant

Art discipline: Papermaking, screen-printing, photography, intaglio, letterpress, or ceramics

Amount: Up to an eight-week residency with a $350 per week stipend, and money for materials and travel

Special notes: Open to artists in any stage of their career

The Women’s Studio Workshop has a residency art grant program. It involves a six- to eight-week residency for artists to create new work. In addition to a stipend of $350 per week, WSW provides $500 for art materials and $250 for travel expenses.

Emergency Grants for Artists

When there’s not enough time to go through a lengthy grant application process, these emergency grants can help out artists who are in urgent need of funding.

Adolph & Esther Gottlieb Emergency Grant Program

Art discipline: Painters, sculptors, and printmakers

Amount: Up to $15,000

Special notes: Helps artists facing financial problems due to unforeseen events

The Gottlieb Foundation gives emergency art grants to help artists overcome catastrophic events. Some examples include fire, flood, or medical conditions. One requirement is that applicants need to be able to show they’ve been working on their art for a minimum of 10 years.

Artists’ Fellowship Financial Assistance

Art discipline: Any

Amount: Varies

Special notes: Applicants must make a living off their art

The Artists’ Fellowship offers emergency financial aid to professional artists and their families in times of need. The support is meant to help artists overcome unexpected hardships including sickness, natural disasters, and bereavement. This financial assistance program is only open to professional artists who create works for sale in galleries, private commission, or reproduction in mass media.

FCA Artist Emergency Grants

Art discipline: Any visual or performing arts

Amount: Up to $2,500

Special notes: Grants to help artists to meet a project deadline

The Foundation for Contemporary Arts offers emergency grants for artists who are urgently in need of funding. The grants help artists who either have a sudden opportunity to present their work to the public but need funding, or those who run into unexpected expenses for a project with an upcoming exhibition date.

The FCA gives out about 12 to 15 emergency grants per month, and they range from $500 to $2,500.

Finding More Grants for Artists

For this list, we’ve tried to focus on grants with as few restrictions as possible so that most artists are eligible for them. But there are many grants out there that are limited to a specific location (whether it’s a state, region, or city) so look for grants in your area. There are also many grants that are geared toward specific cultures, age groups, subjects, and more.

Finding one of these grants with specific requirements can help improve your chances by limiting the number of applicants you’re competing with.

Check out these databases and listings of art grants to help you in your search:


Philanthropy News Digest (select “Arts/Culture” in the search box)


Good luck—may your financial future be worry-free!

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