Arts Ecosystem Grants

Arts Ecosystem Grants

Funding for this program is pursuant to increased funding for FY2021. Updates will be made if the program becomes available.

Our new Arts Ecosystem provides funding of up to $5,000 to individuals or organizations for projects that help networks of artists. This is a new program for which we are looking for innovative ideas that support building bridges and connections between artists or provide support for artists in ways that don’t already exist.

We are not making many rules for this program because we want to encourage innovation and experimentation. In our discussions with artists, arts organizations, and community leaders, we have found that creating networks of support for artists and the work they do is a real need and that our existing programs were not necessarily helpful to these ideas. We are happy to talk through your ideas before you get too far. Please feel free to email us or call us at (218) 722-0952 to start a conversation.

We would love to support projects that continue or expand the work of events like the Cool and Creative Get Together, the Creative Communities Leadership Institute, or the Twin Ports Arts Align project. But there is no requirement that you participated in one of these events to propose a project.

We encourage you to research ideas that have worked in other locations. Springboard for the Arts’ Creative Exchange website is a good place to look to see what as worked in other places. They have a number of toolkits for artists, organizations, and communities that are worth reviewing.

This is not a program to support festivals or similar activities. Only one of the projects may be located in Duluth.

We have budgeted $15,000 for this program for the current year.

Applications OpenApplication DeadlinePanel Review MeetingBoard Approval MeetingEarliest Possible Starting Date
Applications will be open and available to submit online on this date.Applications must be submitted online by 4:30 p.m. on this date.Grant applications will be reviewed by a panel on this date.Panel recommendations will be approved by the Board on this date.Grant projects may not start prior to this date.
Friday, December 18, 2020Friday, January 29, 2021 Thursday, March 18, 2021, 10:00am - NoonThursday, March 18, 2021Thursday, April 1, 2021


  • Impact (60%)
  • Ability and Evaluation (40%)


Organizations and Individuals are both eligible for this program.

To be eligible to apply for this program, you must be at least eighteen years old, a U.S. citizen or have permanent resident status and be a resident of Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake, or St. Louis County for at least six months, and remain a Minnesota resident for the duration of the project. Individuals enrolled in arts-related degree programs are ineligible to apply.

To be eligible, your organization must be a state-registered and federally recognized nonprofit, tax-exempt organization; accredited school; tribal government; or unit of government, located in one of the following Arrowhead counties: Aitkin, Cook, Carlton, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake, or St. Louis. If your group has not yet received nonprofit, tax-exempt status, you may apply by using another nonprofit organization as a fiscal sponsor.

For complete eligibility requirements, please read the guidelines.

How to Apply:

Please read the guidelines completely before beginning your application, and feel free to contact the Grants Manager with questions.

Arts Ecosystem Guidelines 

Applications must be completed and submitted using the ARAC Grant Portal. Submissions in any other format, including email, will not be accepted. Instructions for navigating the online system can be found in both the guidelines and by clicking on the ‘Apply Now’ button below.

  • The online application process will walk you through submitting your application.
  • To be eligible, your application must include all materials listed as required in the online application.
  • Applications must be received into the online system by 4:30 p.m. on the deadline date. Applications received after this time are ineligible and will not be reviewed. There are no exceptions to this policy.

Apply Now

Grant Questions:

Describe what you would like to do, as well as the anticipated artistic and community value of your project.

  • What is your proposed project? Where will it take place, and what is the timeline of your activity?
  • How will your project create systems and/or connections that will bridge artists together?
  • What is the anticipated community value of your project? The community value of your project might be a public event, increased access to the arts, or some other form of public engagement. Your event does not have to result in a public event, but in most cases the projects will be open to the public and have a public component.
  • What else can you tell us about your project’s significance to the artist community?

Ability and Evaluation:
Describe your capacity to undertake your project. This includes: providing a budget that is realistic, feasible, and demonstrates a clear understanding of the scope of your project; articulating your readiness to undertake the project; and demonstrating a clear vision of what success will look like and articulating appropriate assessment strategies for knowing whether you achieved what you intended.


  • Tell us why we should have confidence you or your organization can complete this project.
  • How will the requested ARAC funding be used? Please provide context and details for the budget you will attach.


  • Goal Statement. What are you trying to accomplish with this work? What are your measurable outcomes?
  • How do you plan to know if the work was a success? Please tell us about how you will assess this work. How will you measure the outcomes stated above?

You’ll be asked to attach appropriate artistic resumes.

Optional Questions:

  • Is there anything else you would like to tell us about your proposal?

Help with your application:

  • All applicants are encouraged to discuss proposal ideas and eligibility with the Grants Manager prior to starting a grant application.
  • ARAC schedules a variety of workshops, office hours, and one-on-one consultations before each grant deadline. Please consult our Announcements page for the most recent information or call/email our grants manager to set up a one-on-one consultation. ARAC also maintains a guest computer in our offices if you’d like to work on your proposal during regular office hours.
  • Applicants may request grant application ‘draft reviews’ no later than 2 weeks prior to the deadline. The Grants Manager will review your application draft and give feedback for you prior to submitting your application for the Board to review. Draft reviews must be requested by contacting the Grants Manager no later than 2 weeks prior to the deadline.

Grant FAQs

Budget Instructions