Artist Support Grants

IMPORTANT NOTICES
Spring Cycle – Applications Open: Monday, Feb. 5  |  Deadline: Monday, March 4
Fall Cycle –
Applications Open: Friday, July 5  |  Deadline: Friday, Aug. 2
Click here
to view the Artist Support Grant guidelines

The Regional Arts Commission’s (RAC) Artist Support Grant (ASG) serves as funding for the career advancement of individual artists. This grant provides funds for an individual artist’s projects, needs, or creative opportunities in all artistic disciplines.

Direct support enables diverse artists of all disciplines to advance their careers and complete creative projects. It is designed to be flexible and accessible and to encourage creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship, and sustained commitment to artistic work.

We strive to set grant applicants up for success and support them in feeling as prepared as possible. For a number of helpful must-see links and to take the guesswork out of the process, please be sure to review the RESOURCES section on this page. Then follow the steps below under HOW TO APPLY.

HOW TO APPLY

CLICK HERE TO START
YOUR APPLICATION

If you do not have an account,
you can create one when you
start your new application.
Already started your 2024 application?
Skip to STEP 3 to sign in and access it!

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getting started!

Once you begin a new
application, a direct link will be
sent to the email you provided.
Now, you can edit, save, revisit,
and submit your application.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN IN
TO YOUR ACCOUNT

Your account is where you
review, edit, and submit an
application that you have already
started or view past applications
you have already submitted.

For technical assistance when using the grant making system, please email MS_RACSTL_Grantmaking@blackbaud.com

frequently asked questions

I CANNOT ACCESS MY ACCOUNT. WHO DO I CONTACT?

Blackbaud Grantmaking is the RAC grant management system. For technical assistance when using the grantmaking system, please email MS_RACSTL_Grantmaking@blackbaud.com.

IS ARTIST SUPPORT RIGHT FOR ME?

Grant funds may be used for a variety of purposes including but not limited to equipment and materials, rental space, arts-related travel, conference fees, living artist wage, project completion, professional and artistic development, training, and other resources for an individual artist or artist collective/co-creator group of any discipline.

IS THERE A PRE-APPLICATION PROCESS?

Due to timeline changes and the reintroduction of a second Artist Support grant cycle, RAC removed the pre-application process that was available in 2023. Although the number of questions remains the same, the application has been simplified. There are four narrative response questions and five required uploads.

Applicants are encouraged to attend workshops and open office hours leading up to the grant application due dates.

WHAT ARE THE KEY GRANT DATES AND DEADLINES?

 Click here for a comprehensive list of important grant dates and deadlines. 

CAN I APPLY FOR AN ARTIST SUPPORT GRANT IN BOTH CYCLES, FALL AND SPRING?

Artists can apply in both cycles but can only receive a single award in 2024. For example, if you apply in Spring and are awarded, you cannot apply in Fall; if you apply in Spring and are not awarded, you may apply in the Fall.

WHAT ARE THE ARTIST SUPPORT GRANT RESTRICTIONS?

 Click here to review the list of programs, projects, or events that RAC does not fund. 

WHAT ARE THE GRANT ELIGIBILTY REQUIREMENTS?

 An individual artist is eligible to apply for an Artist Support Grant if the following requirements are met: 

  • The artist is 18 years or older.
  • The artist is a current resident of St. Louis City or County and has maintained primary residence in St. Louis City or County for at least one year (documentation required).
  • In the past three years, the artist has created and presented their own original works to the public or performed for the public (documentation required; this should be documented in a CV or Resume). 
A LARGER PART OF MY PRACTICE INCLUDES COLLABORATION WITH OTHER ARTISTS. IS A PROJECT FOCUSED ON COLLABORATION VIABLE FOR THE ARTIST SUPPORT GRANT?

Yes, you simply need to list these collaborations as partnerships in the application. If you plan to apply as a part of a co-creator group or artist collective, all artists will need to meet the eligibility requirements and information about each artist who is part of the collective/co-creator group will need to be provided.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO APPLY AS AN ARTIST COLLECTIVE OR AS A CO-CREATOR GROUP?

In 2023, RAC welcomed artist collectives to apply. This allowed artists working collectively (i.e., bands, ensembles, etc.) to apply as a group for artist support grant funding. This year RAC is adding the term co-creator. An artist collective/co-creator group consists of at least two consistent members who have a history of creating together. 501(c)(3) organizations are NOT eligible to apply for an Artist Support Grant. All members of the collective/co-creator group must meet eligibility requirements.

One member of the collective/co-creator group will submit the application. The applying member will be ultimately responsible for submitting the application, and if awarded, the Terms & Conditions Agreement. Artists may apply for either an individual artist grant OR an artist collective/co-creator grant, NOT both. 

CAN AN ARTIST APPLY AS A COLLECTIVE IF THEY HAVE NOT COMPLETED THE WORK FROM THE 2023 RAC GRANT CYCLE?

Yes. RAC is aware there is slight overlap between ASG 2023 and Spring ASG 2024 timelines. This is due to reintroducing the twice annual cycle. Artists are eligible to apply for Spring 2024 even if they received an artist support grant in 2023.

IF AN ARTIST IS INVOLVED IN TWO DIFFERENT COLLECTIVES, CAN THEY APPLY FOR TWO DIFFERENT PROJECTS OR DO THEY NEED TO PICK ONE TO APPLY FOR?

There can only be a single application with an artist’s name on it. Essentially, one application for work as a part of a collective OR one application as an individual artist. At this time, an individual artist can only be tied to a single application.

HOW MUCH IN GRANT FUNDING CAN I REQUEST?

The maximum grant amount an individual artist or artist collective/co-creator group can receive is $7,500.

WHAT ARE THE FUNDING CRITERIA?

Artist Support grant applications will respond to three grant review criteria:

  • Cultural and/or Artistic Essentials (weighted at 40%): A culturally and artistically significant practice or work that contributes to the creative life of the artist and, ultimately, to St. Louis.
  • Community Benefit (weighted at 30%): Artist demonstrates broad community benefit with a practice or work and contributes to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in the community.
  • Capacity & Sustainability (weighted at 30%): Artist is intentional about artistic/practice capacity and sustainability.
WHAT DOCUMENTS ARE REQUIRED AS PART OF MY APPLICATION?
  • Artist Statement (PDF upload with a video link, if applicable)
  • Proof of Residency Documentation – for each member of artist collective/co-creator group (i.e., voter registration, automobile registration, income tax or property tax receipt)
  • Budget (Fillable PDF template download from RAC website)
  • Resume or CV for individual artist or for each member of artist collective/co-creator group
  • Up to 3 work samples (in one PDF document)
  • List of contact information for artist collective/co-creator group members (if applicable) 
HOW CAN I COMPLETE THE RAC BUDGET FORM WITHOUT PURCHASING EXCEL?

RAC has created a fillable PDF budget form that you can download here. If you choose to use Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, or Apple Numbers, you will need to recreate the PDF template. Your budget format must be as close to the PDF template as possible and include all column headers and budget lines. Your budget needs to be saved as a PDF to be uploaded into the system.

IF MY PROJECT HAS NO INCOME, DO I NEED TO INCLUDE THE INCOME SECTION OF THE BUDGET SHEET? IS INCOME REQUIRED TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR FUNDING?

You do not need supplemental or additional income to apply for an artist support grant but indicating diverse revenue streams for the project is usually a good sign to application reviewers. 

Even if you don’t have additional income, the income section of the budget still needs to be included in the application and addressed in the budget narrative. Please note that not having additional income isn’t uncommon in Artist Support Grants. 

I AM APPLYING FOR SUPPORT FOR ARTISTIC/PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT THAT INVOLVES TRAVEL. ARE EXPENSES SUCH AS IN-CITY TRANSPORTATION AND MEALS ELIGIBLE TO BE INCLUDED WITHIN THE BUDGET?

Those items are allowable as line items in the budget. Please note: Travel and per diem costs must be reasonable and the travel has to be an opportunity that impacts the artist’s artistic practice. Please break down the costs in the budget narrative, explain the line item and whether it is subject to change. Additionally, if travel is your project’s scope, it will be beneficial to the application to indicate additional revenue sources. 

CAN I APPLY FOR FUNDING FOR LIVING EXPENSES TO PROVIDE ME WITH THE TIME I NEED TO CREATE?

We will not fund anything that does not advance your artistic practice i.e. rent, groceries, etc. To apply for the “time” needed to create, applicants can apply for a variety of needs. For example, you could include expense items such as paying a collaborator, tech and equipment, creative retreats, and conducting research as expense(s). You could even include an artist fee, which would be how much you charge for your time (if you decide to use this option, explain how you arrived at this total in the budget narrative). 

For income, please include studio space or other items for your practice or project. This could include in-kind support and additional materials needed for the project that you have accumulated already. 

CAN I SUBMIT VIDEOS OR VIDEO LINKS AS WORK SAMPLES?

Yes, you can submit video links as work samples. Please include your links in a word document and upload the document as a PDF. All work samples need to be saved in one PDF document to be uploaded into the system. 

WHAT DOES THE APPLICATION REVIEW PROCESS ENTAIL?

Grant reviewers play a central role in RAC’s annual grantmaking process. Reviewers commit to the following: 

  • Attend/view an online orientation session to learn how to review the applications according to the guidelines and review criteria.
  • Attend/view a bias/cultural competency workshop.
  • Read and rate the assigned applications, including videos, photos, recordings, or other work samples by the communicated deadline. (Reviewers who do not meet the deadline can receive an extension but do not receive the honorarium.)
  • Provide RAC with feedback on the application review process for improvement purposes. 

Note: Grant reviewers will independently read and rate all applications within the Blackbaud GMS online portal. Staff will review the ratings and make final recommendations for funding based on reviewer ratings. 

HOW ARE GRANTS RATED?

There are three review sections that correspond to RAC review criteria: Artistic Essentials; Community Benefit; and Capacity/Sustainability. Each review section has three questions, for a total of nine questions in the application. Each review section is weighted and conveys the corresponding points possible for each question. Application question responses can be rated exemplary, strong, good, fair, or weak—and given a score within the provided point range. 

The maximum number of points available is 100. The points assigned to each question in the application are used to determine the final award amount. Points are combined to provide an overall application score. 

Reviewer scores for an application are then averaged for the final application score. 

Final application scores are determined in whole numbers. Most applications will receive an average that is not a whole number. For example, if an application receives a 60.7 overall score, this means the application’s final score is 60. The final score is determined by the whole number that precedes the decimal and will not be rounded up nor down. 

For more details on the grant rating system, refer to the Artist Support Grant Guidelines. 

HOW IS ARTIST SUPPORT GRANT FUNDING DISTRIBUTED?

The available source of funding for RAC Artist Support Grants is not sufficient to meet applicant demand. The final distribution of funding is dependent on several factors. These variables factor into the final funding matrix: 

  • The available funding
  • The number of applications submitted
  • The applicant score
  • The number of applicants awarded funding 

Given the above information, the percentage for funding for which your application is eligible may not be your grant award amount. 

IF I AM APPROVED FOR A GRANT, HOW WILL I BE NOTIFIED?

If awarded a grant, applicants will be notified via the Blackbaud GMS portal and a direct email. 

WILL APPLICANTS BE ABLE TO VIEW THE SCORES RECEIVED, WHETHER OR NOT THE GRANT WAS MADE? ADDITIONALLY, IF AN APPLICANT DOES NOT RECEIVE RAC FUNDING IN 2024, WILL THE APPLICANT RECEIVE FEEDBACK TO BETTER POSITION THEMSELVES FOR FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES?

You may request your scores and reviewer feedback in order to improve your grant application for the next opportunity by emailing grants@racstl.org. 

AS A GRANTEE, WILL RAC PAY TAXES ON THE FUNDS, OR WILL THEY BE TAKEN OUT ALREADY?

You will be expected to pay taxes on any grant income. 

WHAT ARE THE REPORTING REQUIREMENTS?

RAC will issue final report instructions and the report form through the Blackbaud GMS platform. Each grantee is required to submit a final report in accordance with the timeline. Should a grantee not complete the reporting requirement, they will be ineligible to apply for RAC grants in the future. 

we welcome your questions

Or email us at grants@racstl.org