In June 2021 the Arizona Commission on the Arts will begin accepting applications for a trio of grant programs: Festival Grants will open on June 29, while Lifelong Arts Engagement Grants and the new Youth Arts Engagement Grant program are open now. Curious how these programs have changed from previous years in response to the post-COVID landscape and other factors? Read on!

Festival Grants

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, arts festival organizers across the state scrambled to reimagine their programing for a world where travel, direct interaction, and large public gatherings were no longer feasible. While conditions are improving rapidly, many festivals will still be operating in virtual or hybrid models over the next year.

Just as arts festivals have adapted to these unusual times, the Arts Commission has adapted its Festival Grant program to remove obstacles and better address the unique challenges of this moment.

Changes for FY2022:

  • Virtual festival activities are eligible for funding.
  • We have added a new funding track to support professional development opportunities for festival organizers who might not yet be producing events.
  • Grants will be awarded in amounts from $1,000 – $5,000 for festival activities and $500 – $1,000 for professional development support.
  • No match is required.

Grant guidelines will be published June 29 for a mid-September application due date.

Grants for Arts Learning

The Arts Commission administers two separate grants in support of arts learning programs and projects—one for those serving adult learners and the other for those serving young people. In the interest of making a deeper, more meaningful investment in arts learning programs across the state, we’ve made significant updates to both grants this year.

For FY2022, our Arts Learning team has adjusted the scope of the Lifelong Arts Engagement Grant (LAE) program, both in terms of program objectives and investment strategies.

Changes for FY2022:

  • While the ultimate beneficiaries of the program remain defined as “adult learners,” intergenerational programming is now explicitly eligible for support.
  • Grants will be awarded in amounts from $5,000 – $10,000 (the award range was previously $1,500 – $2,500).
  • No match is required.

Additionally, the application and review process will further prioritize participatory engagement and asset-based approaches.

For more information, including grant guidelines, visit https://azarts.gov/grant/lifelong-arts-engagement/.

Meanwhile, the agency’s support of arts learning projects and programs for young people has been completely reconceptualized. In FY2022 we will pilot a new funding program, the Youth Arts Engagement Grant (YAE), which replaces the now-retired Arts Learning Collaboration Grant (ALC).

In alignment with the Arts Commission’s values regarding arts learning for young people, YAEs prioritize youth voice, asset-based approaches, and arts programming that serves the whole person.

As the Arizona Department of Education has re-asserted its commitment to arts education as “an essential part of a well-rounded education system,” in the words of Superintendent Kathy Hoffman, the Arts Commission has further shifted its grantmaking in support of youth-focused arts learning to programs and projects that occur out-of-school and/or outside of regular school hours.

FY2022 YAEs differ from ALCs in many ways, including:

  • Ultimate beneficiaries of the program are defined as people aged 24 and under rather than K-12 students
  • Grants will be awarded in amounts from $5,000 – $10,000
  • No match is ​required
  • Primary applicants may be a school, a school district, or an arts organization

For more information, including grant guidelines, visit https://azarts.gov/grant/youth-arts-engagement/.