Festival Grants support the presentation of quality arts and culture programming through festival activities, connecting artists and culture bearers (or their artistic work) with communities.
The application period for Fiscal Year 2024 Festival Grants is now closed. The information below is provided only for reference.
What does it fund?
Festival grants support in-person, virtual, and hybrid festivals.
For the purposes of this grant program, a festival is defined as a periodic celebration or gathering that…
- happens in a condensed period of time,
- features a varied and curated program of events, and
- has an easily identifiable and unifying theme or specified focus.
Festivals eligible for Festival Grants must…
- demonstrate a thematic emphasis on arts and culture in their programming,
- last a minimum of one four-hour day, and
- only span the duration of two consecutive weekends
Seasonal series of presented works, as well as freestanding productions or exhibitions, are not eligible activities for this program. Festival activities can include juried processes, but scholarships, pageants or standalone award ceremonies are also ineligible. Please see a more detailed list of ineligible expenses at the end of this document.
Applicants may request grant award amounts ranging from a minimum of $1,000 to a maximum of $5,000.
There is no cash match required for this grant opportunity.
Please note, while an organization or unit of government may be eligible for more than one grant program, the Arts Commission limits the number of applications that may be submitted across programs to one application per entity per funding period. Organizations applying for a Youth Arts Engagement Grant in Fiscal Year 2024 may not apply for any other Arts Commission grants for organizations.
Eligible applicants for Festival Grants include Arizona-based…
- Nonprofit organizations* with tax-exempt status
- Units of government (local or Tribal)
- Local arts agencies
- Tribal cultural organizations
- University/college departments
*An unincorporated organization without tax-exempt status may apply through a nonprofit fiscal sponsor.
Grant funds may be used in the following categories:
Contracted Artistic Services and Artist Fees
Such as guest artist contractual fees including travel and lodging.
Such as insurance, sound, lighting, and equipment rental and operation for the artistic project only.
Stage, space, or venue rental for the artistic project only.
Such as contracted graphic design services the purchase of advertising space and creation of digital and printed promotional materials for the entire event.
Includes closed captioning, interpretation, and translation services, visual enhancements, and listening guides.
Public Health and Safety Compliance
Personal protective equipment, cleaning and sanitation services, and equipment/structuring to support distancing.
Fees related to video live-streaming services, access to webinar and conferencing platforms, closed captioning, translation and interpretation services, and digital ticketing/event management systems.
Funds are delivered approximately 6-8 weeks after all necessary paperwork has been submitted by the grantee. This includes the award agreement, state W-9 and payment form.
Applicants are encouraged to do the following prior to beginning their application:
If you require accommodation in completing this application, or otherwise participating in the grant application process, please contact Organizational Programs Manager Brad DeBiase at [email protected] or (602) 771-6534.
Prepare Narrative Responses
You can type your proposal narrative or you can upload audio recordings of your responses. For each narrative question you will find a maximum word count (not character) and a maximum recording length. If you share your proposal narrative via audio recordings, keep it simple and to the point. Don’t worry about impressing the panelists with your recording technique, just make sure we can hear and understand you. All audio files must be uploaded as MP3 files (.mp3).
Some applicants find it helpful to develop their responses using word processing software, outside the application platform. This allows them to draft responses with team members and monitor their word counts for each question. Click here to download a Word document version of the narrative questions.
Create an Account for Your Organization
In the interest of improving the user experience for applicants and reviewers, the Arizona Commission on the Arts has transitioned to a new submission platform this year. Prior to applying, all applicants will need to register their organization at https://azarts.smapply.io/. For instructions on registering your organization, visit our grantee resources page: https://azarts.gov/grants/applicant-resources/
When you’re ready, click/tap the “Apply Now” button below. You do not have to complete the application in one session; at any point you can save a draft of your application and complete or submit it later.
The application period for Fiscal Year 2024 Festival Grants is now closed.
- Information collected in this section of the application is used for internal and reporting purposes only.
- Organization name and (if applicable) DBA
- Secondary contact info
- ADA Coordinator contact info
Grants from the Arts Commission require compliance with the regulations of Section 504 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA Coordinator is the person who can answer questions about or facilitate requests for accessible programs and services; no special training or certification required.
- Festival website
- Nonprofit status (and file upload)
You will be required to upload an IRS determination letter OR a fiscal sponsor letter of agreement in the “Nonprofit Status” section. Units of government are exempt from this requirement.
- Festival name
- One sentence description (150 words max)
- Festival dates and times (or usual calendar placement)
- Projected number of participants (or average annual attendance)
- Organization mission statement (150 words maximum)
In-person festivals that possess virtual components (e.g. livestreaming performances) would be considered “Hybrid”, and applicants should select the “Virtual” option if their festival activities will be produced and attended exclusively through digital platforms.
- Describe your festival in its entirety. Be as specific as possible about the festival’s arts and culture programming and the artists and culture bearers who will be engaged. How are specific artists identified and selected, and what will participants gain, learn, and or access through the festival activities? (400 word limit, 4 minute audio limit)
- Provide an outline of your festival’s timeline, detailing your processes for planning, outreach, implementation, production, and post-production work. (300 word limit, 3 minute audio limit)
- What communities will you engage through your festival, and how? Please define these communities, considering “community” broadly, beyond simple age- or location-based groups. What demographics and sociocultural identities would you expect to be represented among festival producers, personnel, and participants? (400 word limit, 4 minute audio limit)
- Beyond ADA compliance, please describe how your organization will ensure that all festival programming, facilities, and venues are accessible to and support the participation of people of all abilities. (300 word limit, 3 minute audio limit) See the FAQ section below for additional details.
- Please describe how you will evaluate and define the success of your proposed festival activities. What methods will you use to assess community engagement, impact, public health and safety compliance, etc. (300 word limit, 3 minute audio limit)
Grant Amount Requested
Enter the grant amount you are requesting. Applicants may request between $1,000 and $5,000.
The first column lists the Eligible Expense categories (see Eligible Expenses section above for the category list.)
In the second column, provide a brief description of your eligible expenses in each category.
In the third column, enter the dollar amount for each expense line. Estimates are permissible for the purposes of the application, but the more specific the better.
On the Income page, you will find preset income categories to outline the potential revenue sources supporting your festival activities.
Additionally, please thoroughly review the funding restrictions section below.
Please use this space to describe the festival budget, including eligible fees, any anticipated income, and any substantial in-kind support. This is your opportunity to bring your festival budget to life, as if you were explaining it to the grant review panel. You may also use this Budget Narrative section to explain how you have arrived at certain itemized dollar amounts. (300 words maximum, 3 minute audio limit) See FAQ for additional details.
Your organization’s application materials will be reviewed by an independent panel according to the following criteria. Please note: need is not a criterion. Application merit is based upon strength of response in relation to the review criteria.
Quality Arts and Culture Programming
Application outlines a rich, thoughtful, and well-structured slate of arts and culture festival activities.
What the panelists will be thinking about: Does the application clearly describe the festival’s arts and culture programming and the artist/culture bearers who will be engaged? Does the application make a strong case for what it hopes to make available to festival participants and attendees and how? Does the application outline in detail the structure and timeline of the festival’s programming/activities?
Application makes a strong case for how specific populations will take part in festival activities and planning processes.
What the panelists will be thinking about: Does the application define the communities the festival hopes to directly serve, interact, and engage with? Does the application clearly outline how this will happen? Does the application thoughtfully address access and participation for people of all abilities? Does the application explain how the festival attends to ongoing pandemic-related challenges?
Application demonstrates a strong project plan and appropriateness of budget.
What the panelists will be thinking about: Does the application demonstrate substantial evidence that the festival activities will be realized within the funding period? Does the proposed budget appropriately reflect the scope of work described in the application? Does the application clearly explain how project activities will be produced and delivered?
All applications are subject to a public review process. First, Arts Commission staff review each application for completeness and eligibility. Applications that are incomplete or submitted after the due date are considered ineligible for panel review and funding.
Eligible applications are then evaluated by independent review panels made up of individuals from communities throughout the state who work in or adjacent to the arts. They evaluate each application on its own merits and solely on the basis of the published evaluation criteria.
Panelists first review applications individually. They then meet as a body to discuss the applications and finalize assessment as a group. This meeting is open to the public and while applicants are not permitted to participate in the discussion, they are encouraged to attend or listen-in online. Applicants being reviewed will be notified when panel dates are set. At the conclusion of their deliberations, the panel submits their funding recommendations to the Arts Commission’s Governor-appointed board of commissioners for approval.
This program does not fund the following:
- Grantees that received Arts Commission funding in FY2022, but failed to file a final report by Monday, August 1, 2022.
- Organizations or individuals debarred or suspended from receiving Federal funds (2 CFR 180 Subpart C).
- Entities submitting an application for an FY2024 Creative Capacity Grant, Youth Arts Engagement Grant, or Lifelong Arts Engagement Grant (see FAQ for more information).
- Applications submitted by businesses and for-profit organizations. School districts that would otherwise be eligible for Arts Learning grants.
- An organization’s season or seasonal series of presented work.
- Projects involving construction of facilities.
- Debt reduction.
- Food and beverages for receptions and hospitality functions.
- Fundraising projects.
- Scholarships, pageants or standalone award ceremonies.
- Producing organizations to tour or present themselves.
- Conferences, symposiums and the like.
- Religious institution-led or religious group-sponsored projects not open to participation by non-congregants.
- Religious institution-led or religious group- sponsored projects whose primary purpose is the religious socialization of individuals, or which exist as parts of religious sermons or services.
- Equipment/capital expenditures.
- Lobbying expenses.
- College or university-sponsored projects not open to participation by the community outside the university setting.
- Staff or board member salaries of the applicant organization.
- Indirect costs.
- Grant administration, overhead or processing fees taken by an umbrella/parent organization as a percentage of the total award, with the exception of fiscal sponsors.
- Any costs other than eligible fees.
This list is not comprehensive.
Additionally, according to the Arts Commission’s enabling statutes, “Notwithstanding any other law, no monies from the Arizona Commission on the Arts may be spent for payment to any person or entity for use in desecrating, casting contempt on, mutilating, defacing, defiling, burning, trampling, or otherwise dishonoring or causing to bring dishonor on religious objects, the flag of the United States or the flag of this state.” Recipients of Arts Commission support are further instructed to “take into consideration general standards of decency and respect for the diverse beliefs and values of the American public” within funded programs.
- How can I be sure that my project is eligible for this program?
If you have reviewed the eligibility criteria listed earlier in this guidelines document and are still unsure if your festival is an appropriate fit for this program, we recommend that you reach out to the program manager to determine if your project is a good fit for the Festival Grant program. Arts Commission staff will provide consultation to determine if your proposed festival activities warrant submitting an application.
- My organization is eligible for other Arts Commission grants. Can I apply to those too?
No. Across grant programs, the Arts Commission limits the number of applications that may be submitted by a given organization or unit of government to one (1) application per funding period (July 1 – June 30 of the following year). While an organization or unit of government may be eligible for more than one grant program, they may only apply for one of them in a given funding period. As an example, an applicant who applies to the Festivals Grant program in Fiscal Year 2023 may not apply for the Creative Capacity Grant program or a Youth Arts Engagement Grant that same year.
- What is meant by “a thematic emphasis on arts and culture” regarding programming?
While eligible applicant organizations may not have an expressly arts and culture-focused mission, eligible festival projects must include arts and culture programming as part of the festival’s main goals and objectives. Arts and culture programming must be centrally featured as part of your festival’s activities and should not be peripheral add-ons to the festival’s main emphasis.
- What is meant by “Beyond ADA compliance” in the fourth narrative question?
Applicants are encouraged to consider how their festival activities and venue create accessible programming beyond baseline needs related to physical mobility. How are intellectual, physical, sensory, and neurodivergent/cognitive needs being addressed for attendees of all ability levels and how is this reflected in your festival’s structure? Accessibility considerations may also attend to visual impairments, as well as bilingual services for printed materials.
- My festival utilizes a lot of in-kind volunteer support. How should I reflect this in our budget?
The Arts Commission recognizes the important role of volunteers at festival events. While you are not asked to itemize the dollar value of in-kind support in your budget, you are encouraged to discuss in your Budget Narrative how any substantial in-kind volunteer support helps offset other expenses and contributes to the overall viability of your festival. There are a variety of estimations regarding the dollar value of a volunteer work hour, and the Arts Commission suggests a range of $20.00 to $30.00 per hour based on your festival’s need for personnel and the scope of volunteer work. Please contact Arts Commission staff if you would like to further discuss how to account for in-kind support.
- My festival isn’t taking place until late in the funding period and we are still in a planning phase. Can we still apply for a Festival Grant?
Yes. If you are still in a planning phase for your festival activities and do not have certain specific details finalized at the time you are submitting your application, we advise that you offer insight as to how you are making your decisions, what your options may be for a particular unknown, and what your desired outcome(s) may be for items still in development. Offering a high level of detail surrounding your organization’s planning and decision-making will at least help a panel understand how your festival will likely come into existence even if certain logistics and details are still in development.
Leading up to the application due date, the Arizona Commission on the Arts will present webinar-style information sessions and workshops to help prospective applicants in preparing competitive applications.
Recordings of each session will be posted here the following business day.
Tuesday, February 21, 2023
9:00 am – 10:00 am
Thursday, March 9, 2023
4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Info Session Recording
A recording of the applicant information session for Festival Grants is available below. By hovering over the video, you can access controls for closed captioning or navigate to a specific “chapter” of the video.
How do I register on behalf of an organization?
- Go to https://azarts.smapply.io/
- Click the “Register” button at the upper-right corner of the window. (If you are using a mobile device, tap the “Sign Up” button.)
- Choose the option to “Register as an Organization”
- Enter your name, email address, and a password. (The person who registers the organization in SMApply becomes the organization’s first “member” and the administrator of the organization’s account. Additional members may be added later and/or made an account administrator.)
- Click/tap the “Create Account” button
- Enter the requested information about your Organization, such as the organization’s name, mailing address, and general contact information.
How do I add members to my Organization?
Once you have created your organization you can add additional members to assist with applications and account maintenance.
- Go to https://azarts.smapply.io/
- Login as an organization administrator
- Click “Manage Organization” in the top right corner
- Click “Members”
- Click the “Add Member” button
- Enter the First Name, Last Name, and Email Address of the member
- Select whether the member will have Administrative or Non-Administrative Access
- Click the box to “Notify member by email” (This is useful if the user does not already have an account in the system as they will receive an invitation email and be able to create a password to log in.)
- Click “Add”
For instructions on adding members in bulk, click here.
How do I update my Organization’s Profile?
- Go to https://azarts.smapply.io/
- Login as an organization administrator
- Click on “Manage Organization” in the top right corner
- Click “Profile”
- Update your profile information
- Click “Save”
SurveyMonkey Apply provides a comprehensive FAQ for applicants; in addition to the “how tos” above you can find more information and resources on accounts, completing an application, and managing your organization at https://help.smapply.io/hc/en-