Home Programs GIG Fund Guidelines


The application deadline has passed, and this opportunity is currently closed. Guidelines for activities occurring between January 1, 2023 and June 30, 2023 will be available in the coming months.

  1. Read the following guidelines.
  2. Prepare your application.
  3. Complete and submit the application form. Only one application will be accepted per organization.

Applicant must:

  • Be in good standing with Arts Midwest, with no overdue or outstanding required reports and/or grant documents.
  • Be located in the Midwest region of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, or Wisconsin and the Federally recognized Native nations that share this geography.
  • Be an organization that is capable of selecting and engaging professional artists to perform/display their work before general audiences as an ongoing and significant component of their organization’s activity.
  • Agree to acknowledge Arts Midwest and the National Endowment for the Arts in all programs and press materials related to funded engagements.
  • Have a valid Unique Entity ID (free to acquire)
  • Comply with Federal eligibility requirements


Examples of eligible applicants include:

  • Nonprofit, tax-exempt 501c3, U.S. organizations
  • Nonprofit colleges and universities
  • Federally recognized tribal communities
  • Units of state or local government

Ineligible Applicants

  • This opportunity is not open to organizations applying on a fiscal sponsorship basis.
  • For-profit business or organizations
  • Artists, ensembles, and artist’s agents

Arts Midwest is currently accepting applications for activities occurring between July 1, 2022, and December 31, 2022. Organizations can use these funds to support a project that engages performing, visual, multimedia, or literary artists. Artistic excellence and merit will be part of the application review.


1. Contract with a professional artist/ensemble of high artistic excellence and merit.

  • The artist/ensemble may be from anywhere in the world including the applicant’s own community.
  • The artist(s) must be a least 18 years of age and not be a full-time student.
  • A portion of the grant award must be used to pay the artist(s).
  • NOTE: Engagements featuring an artist from a country listed on the Office of Foreign Assets Control’s Sanctions Countries are not eligible. This includes Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Somalia, and Venezuela and may be subject to change.


2. Offer at least two highly engaging activities featuring the artist(s) in an accessible facility/space.

Each activity must be at least 30-minutes in length. Activities should build an appreciation for the artist or their creative discipline, and provide additional opportunities for direct interaction between an audience and the artist(s) or art form.

  • Activities may be in-person, socially distanced, and/or virtual.
  • The activities must be accessible to individuals with disabilities. Visit our Accessibility Center, especially the Handbooks + Checklists section, for resources and tips on accessible events, venues, and platforms.
  • At least one activity must be promoted to the general public
  • Examples include performances; masterclasses/workshops; lectures/demonstrations/panel discussions; meet-and-greets; curriculum-based activities; discussions/talkbacks; etc.


3. At least one activity must reach an audience with limited access to the arts. Applicants must ensure the participation of people with limited access to the arts due to one or more of the following factors.


  • Historically underrepresented or marginalized people: This may include BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color); immigrants and/or refugees, people with disabilities, or LGBTQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual) people. This may be achieved through partnerships and the inclusion of participants.
  • Youths (18 or under): This may include a partnership with local K-12 schools or organizations serving youths (i.e. Boys & Girls Club).
  • Older adults (65 or older): This may include partnerships with senior living facilities or care centers.
  • Veterans and active service members: This may include a partnership with the local Veterans Administration or active-service members from a nearby military base.
  • Disability: This may include a partnership with a local organization serving people with vision impairment, deaf or hard of hearing, mental health conditions, intellectual disability, Autism Spectrum Disorder, physical disability, etc.
  • Adults and youths in the justice system: This may include partnerships with organizations or facilities (i.e. prison, detention, residential, or treatment centers) that serve this population.
  • Economically disadvantaged: This may include partnering with a local organization that serves low-income populations and offering free or subsidized tickets.
  • Geographic location: For the purpose of this program, the definition of a geographic location that lacks access is a city with a population of 50,000 or less. To qualify the organization may reside in a city as defined or conduct a performance and/or community activity in a city of 50,000 or less.


Examples of eligible projects

  • A community service organization offering stipends to artists towards the completion of a work of art or installation.
  • A music festival presenting a visiting musician/band.
  • Dance companies hiring a non-company choreographer that will lead workshops and perform for the general public.
  • A library hosting a virtual author talk and writing workshop.
  • A presenting organization contracting with a theatre company to perform a company piece in their space and give an audience talkback.

Examples of ineligible projects

  • Dance/theater companies or independent artists seeking funding for their own self-produced material.
  • Guest artists that participate in the applicant’s self-produced work (e.g., a guest conductor for an orchestra/symphony; a guest choreographer who performs a piece with student/company dancers; or a guest singer appearing with the local opera company.)
  • Theater companies hiring a playwright/director/choreographer to work with company artists on a self-produced performance.
  • Artist fellowships/scholarships
  • Projects that are not arts focused (e.g., food festivals, fireworks displays, conference keynote speeches, etc.)
  • Projects that are part of a benefit or fundraiser.
  • Projects that serve mostly students and faculty with minimal or no general public involvement.
  • Projects that are funded by another Arts Midwest program.
  • Projects funded by another federal source.
  • Projects that are not open or available to the general public.

Grant awards are $2,500 and are federal funds that derive from the National Endowment for the Arts. Determination of awards for each grant period is dependent upon available funds and demand within each state.

Eligible expense examples

These grants will support costs associated with engaging artists in community experiences as safely as possible given the current circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible expenses must be applicable to the project for which the organization is applying.


Examples include: Artist fees (required), design fees for adaption of performance spaces, production fees, allocated time of staff salaries, technology to host virtual performances/exhibitions/workshops/classes, facility rental, equipment purchases for supporting artistic engagements ($5,000 or less), consultant fees, professional development for hosting socially distanced or virtual engagements, accessibility accommodations for individuals with disabilities or auto-immune conditions, market research costs, developing (re)opening promotional plans, etc.


Contact Arts Midwest with any inquiries about eligible expenses not listed above.


Grant recipients must compensate all professional artists and related or supporting professional personnel at no less than the prevailing minimum rate of compensation appropriate in your area and for the work provided. This requirement is in accordance with the regulations issued by the Secretary of Labor in part 505 of Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations Part 505 does not provide information on specific compensation levels.

Examples of unallowable expenses

As a Federally funded program, unallowable uses of funds include, but are not limited to: fundraising costs, refreshments, concessions, alcohol, lobbying, retrofitting or construction of physical space, international travel, bad debts and collection costs, home office workspace, subgranting or regranting, cash reserves or endowments, goods for resale, and prizes.


Do not include these costs in your budget.

Matching requirement

Applicants will be required to demonstrate matching funds on a 1:1 basis for this $2,500 grant (as such, your expenses and revenues should each be at least $5,000). Eligible sources for the required match include salaries and wages, in-kind contributions, volunteer hours, earned revenues (donations, ticket sales, other grants), cash, or other non-Federal grant awards.


Federal funds cannot be used as match.

Additional funds for accessibility expenses

Projects that allocate dollars for accessibility accommodations may be eligible for additional monetary support. Examples of expenses that qualify can include: ASL interpretation or live captioner, mobility aid equipment rental, audio description, closed captioning for a performance, purchase of accessibility equipment ($5,000 or less), accessibility assessment and planning, or translation services. Additional accessibility funds must be matched and are subject to availability and demand.

Additional Funds for Indigenous Artists

We are proud to partner with Western Arts Alliance (WAA) on their Advancing Indigenous Performance Program which promotes the touring and engagement of Indigenous performing artists from the United States or its Territories.


An application that meets the engagement requirements and features an Indigenous performing artist may be eligible for additional funds from WAA. Once the project is considered eligible, Arts Midwest will request that WAA match the support from the GIG Fund. This funding will be determined by WAA, and will be dependent upon available funds for the region. Selected applicants may need to complete additional reporting requirements for WAA and participating artists may be asked to complete a survey.


To qualify for these funds, the artist/ensemble must identify as an Indigenous artist, as defined by WAA: a U.S. citizen or permanent resident who is a member or descendant of a Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian nation or community, including Native/First Peoples of Canada, and U.S. Territories of American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This includes individuals without official tribal status who are members of Native communities, and tribal members or descendants not living in their homelands or home community. All Indigenous artists must be living in the United States or its Territories in order to be eligible. Unfortunately, visual, multimedia, and literary Indigenous artists do not qualify.

  • Arts Midwest staff will review applications for eligibility and completeness.
  • You will receive an email confirmation within a week of submission to confirm receipt of your application or any questions we have before it proceeds to the review stage. It is important to contact us if you do not receive this confirmation.
  • Complete and eligible applications will be forwarded to a group comprised of Arts Midwest staff, State Arts Agency staff, and advisory committee members for review.
  • Allocations will be determined on a state-by-state basis and dependent upon demand and availability of funds for each state in the Arts Midwest region.
  • Geographic diversity of awards by state may be considered.
  • Review criteria includes: Artistic excellence and merit of the contracted artists, depth of engagement with audiences, ability and capacity to carry out the project.
  • Priority will be given to organizations that are led by or engage an artist(s) who is historically underrepresented or marginalized, rural communities, under-funded areas, and organizations that were not funded in Spring 2022.
  • All applicants will receive an email notification of award decisions in June 2022 following approval from Arts Midwest’s Board of Directors.


A final report will be due 30 days after the project is completed. Visit the Tools for Grantees page to view final report requirements. We typically require: in-person and online attendance information for funded activities, artist information, final budget with actuals, pictures or screenshots of funded activities as available, documentation of award acknowledgments/promotion/publicity efforts, and anecdotal information from participants.

Contact Us

Joshua Feist, director of community support, 612.238.8054

[email protected]