Home Programs GIG Fund Guidelines


  1. Read the following guidelines.
  2. Prepare your application.
  3. Complete and submit the application form by Monday, May 3, 2021 at 11:59pm Central time. Only one application will be accepted per organization.

Organization Eligibility Requirements

  • Applicant must be in good standing with Arts Midwest, with no overdue or outstanding required reports and/or grant documents.
  • Applicant must be 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.
  • Applicant must have a non-profit status with the IRS. This opportunity is not open to organizations applying on a fiscal sponsorship basis.
  • Agree to acknowledge Arts Midwest and the National Endowment for the Arts in all programs and press materials related to funded engagements.

Eligible applicants may include performing arts centers located on university or high school campuses, an arts council that contracts with artists for an engagement in a community venue, a traditional theater located in the heart of a community, museums that exhibit arts and culture, or many other types of 501c3 nonprofit arts organizations.

Project Requirements

Arts Midwest is currently accepting applications for activities occurring between July 1, 2021, and December 31, 2021. Organizations can use these funds to support a project that engages performing or visual artists. Artistic excellence and merit will be part of the application review.

  1. Partner with professional performing or visual artist of high artistic excellence and merit.
  2. • The artist/ensemble may be from anywhere in the world including the applicant’s own community.
    • For the purposes of this program, a professional artist must receive a sizable portion of their annual income from artistic activities (pre-COVID-19 pandemic). A portion of the grant must be used to cover artist fees.
    • The primary performer(s) or focus of a public exhibition must be the professional, contracted artist(s) and not children, students, and/or a company’s resident artists.
    • Guest artists/ensembles who perform as part of the applicant’s own performance, concert, or production do not qualify. Examples include a guest conductor for an orchestra/symphony; a guest choreographer who performs a piece with student dancers; or a guest singer appearing with the local opera company. The artist(s) must appear in a standalone engagement.
    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.

  3. Gather the community via at least two activities featuring the artist(s) in an accessible facility/space.
  4. • Activities may be in-person, socially distanced, and/or virtual.
    • The activities must be accessible to individuals with disabilities and promoted to the general public.
    • Activities featuring artists appearing as part of benefits or fundraisers do not qualify.
    • To qualify, each activity must be a minimum of 30 minutes long.
    • Examples include performances; masterclasses/workshops; lectures/demonstrations/panel discussions; meet-and-greets; curriculum-based activities; discussions/talkbacks; etc.

  5. For at least one activity, reach an audience with limited access to the arts
  6. The applicant ensures the participation of people with limited access to the performing 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.

    If you are inviting, marketing to, or providing discounted or complimentary tickets, you must explain how you ensure the participation of people with limited access based on one or more of the above factors.

    As stated in the federal eligibility requirements, all applicants must adhere to the American Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and have a Section 504 Self-Evaluation on file. Being compliant does not equate to the participation of people with disabilities.

Grant Awards

Grant awards are $2,500. Determination of awards for each grant period is dependent upon available funds and demand within each state. Grant payments are split 50/50. The first half of the award will come near the beginning of the project and the remainder will be issued after receipt of a final report.

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. A portion of the grant must be used to cover artist fees. Artists cannot be paid in-kind.

Examples include: Artist fees, 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.

Additional funds for accessibility expenses

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

Additional Funds for Indigenous Artists

We are glad to partner with Western Arts Alliance (WAA) on their Advancing Indigenous Performance Program that promotes the touring and engagement of Indigenous performing (not visual) artists from the United States or its Territories (inclusive of Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, Native American, and other Indigenous artists from the Territories).

To qualify the artist/ensemble must identify as an Indigenous artist according to Western Arts Alliance’s definition of Indigenous, which is as follows: 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.

An application that meets the engagement requirements and features an Indigenous artist may be eligible for additional funds from WAA. Arts Midwest will request that WAA match the support from the GIG Fund, but it 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. WAA will make the final determination of funding for eligible applications.

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). The required match may consist of in-kind, cash, or a combination from the applicant organization or partner organizations. 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. Other federal funds cannot be used as match.

Unallowable costs

Unallowable uses of funds include, but are not limited to: fundraising costs, refreshments, alcohol, lobbying, retrofitting or construction of physical space, international travel, visa costs paid to the U.S. government, bad debts and collection costs, home office workspace, subgranting or regranting, cash reserves or endowments, goods for resale, and prizes.

Review Process

  • Program staff will review applications for eligibility and completeness.
  • You will receive an email confirmation within a week of the deadline to confirm receipt of your application or any questions we have before it proceeds to be reviewed for potential support. It is important to contact us if you don’t receive this confirmation.
  • 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. Priority will be given to organizations that are led by or engage an artist(s) who is historically underrepresented or marginalized.
  • Geographic diversity of awards by state may be considered.


All applicants will receive an email notification of award decisions in June 2021 following approval from Arts Midwest’s Board of Directors.

A final report will be due 30 days after the project is completed which will ask for artist information, a final schedule of activities, audience demographic information, a final budget, narrative questions, and (optionally) images.

Contact Us

Ellen DeYoung, grants specialist, 612.238.8028
Joshua Feist, director of grantmaking, 612.238.8054

[email protected]