Arts & Culture in Chicago Grant Guidelines

  

Overview

The MacArthur Foundation supports arts and culture in Chicago because it believes that a diverse and flourishing cultural sectorc ontributes to the city’s overall civic and economic vitality and the well-being of its people and neighborhoods. The Foundation supports more than 300 theaters, dance organizations, musical groups, museums, exhibitors, and visual arts organizations, small and large, across the region. Its combination of multi-year general operating support and grants designed to strengthen the cultural sector enables arts organizations to develop programs that enrich their audiences and the larger community, to grow artistically, and to build and sustain their organizational strength. This, in turn, strengthens communities, creates jobs, attracts tourism, and provides cultural and educational resources for the city.


Questions about this grantmaking area can be addressed to Program Officer Cate Fox.


 

What MacArthur Funds

MacArthur makes multi-year general operating support grants to a set of organizations in the Chicago region in order to support a high level of cultural vitality. These organizations represent the diversity of artistic disciplines, artists within those disciplines, neighborhoods and citizens. The Foundation also makes targeted, capacity-bulding support grants that address opportunities or needs faced by many arts organizations. The general support provides flexible, stable funding so that organizations can plan ahead and invest in new artistic directions, while the targeted, time limited support strengthens elements of these organizations and the sector as a whole.

General Operating Support

The Foundation makes general operating support grants to arts organizations directly and through partnerships with the Prince Charitable Trusts and the Driehaus Foundation. Organizations apply to one of these three Foundations based on the operating budget of each organization.

Support for organizations with annual budgets of $2 million or more
Inquiries from organizations in the Chicago region with annual budgets of $2 million or more are welcome and should be submitted through our grants portal using the "Submit a New Idea" button. 

In reviewing proposals from arts groups, the MacArthur Foundation considers:

  • quality of the organization’s artistic program
  • strength of its board and staff leadership
  • impact on the organization’s neighborhood, the city or the region
  • sizes and types of audiences served
  • community and educational outreach activities

Support for organizations with annual budgets between $500,000 and $2 million
The MacArthur Foundation has established a special fund with the Prince Charitable Trusts of Chicago to provide grant support for arts and cultural organizations with annual budgets between $500,000 and $2 million. View information about applying for grants for organizations with annual budgets between $500,000 and $2 million.

In reviewing proposals from arts groups, the Prince Charitable Trusts considers:

  • quality of the organization’s artistic program
  • strength of its board and staff leadership
  • impact on the organization’s neighborhood, the city or the region
  • sizes and types of audiences served
  • community and educational outreach activities

Support for organizations with annual budgets of $500,000 or less
The MacArthur Foundation has established a special fund with the The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation to provide grant support for arts and cultural organizations with annual budgets of $500,000 or less. View information about grants for organizations with annual budgets of $500,000 or less per year is available.

In reviewing proposals from arts groups, Driehaus considers proposals that address the needs of small professional companies. The goal is to encourage and advance the richness and variety - aesthetic, stylistic, thematic, geographical, and cultural – in Chicago's vibrant fields of dance and theater. To that end, Driehaus accept proposals only from companies that emphasize professional presentation instead of education or community outreach.

Support for Capacity Building
In the last several years, the capacity building funding has evolved to complement the core operating support grants and support the Chicago-area arts and culture sector as a whole. The purpose of any projects supported by these grants is to strengthen the local arts sector in the Chicago area and to sustain and improve their contributions to cultural life in the city. Current and recent examples of funding in the arts include the following:

  • International cultural exchange and collaboration supported through the International Connections Fund
  • Capacity building supported through mid-sized Capacity Building grants awarded through the MacArthur Fund at the Prince Charitable Trusts; the Professional Development fund at the Driehaus Foundation
  • Access to capital and cash flow management in performing arts organizations supported through the Arts & Culture Loan Fund
  • Availability and usability of space and facility management supported through the renewal of the Performing Arts Venue Fund at the League of Chicago Theatres Foundation
  • Research and information about the local arts sector

 

Active programs accepting applications:

 


Updated July 2018

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