Arts and Culture Frequently Asked Questions

Overarching Creative Communities Questions

Q: Can my organization apply for funding under multiple Creative Communities strategies?

A:  Yes, organizations can apply for grants under more than one strategy if the project or program strongly aligns with the guidelines of the relevant strategy.

Q: How much should I request in my application?

A: Request amounts vary based on strategy and duration of the grant. Strategy-specific guidance can be found under the respective FAQ section. In general, it is Foundation policy not to fund more than 25% of an organization’s operating budget.

Q: Do I have to meet or speak with a Foundation staff person or host a site visit before I can apply to a Creative Communities strategy?

A: No, you do not. To see the specific requirements of our application process, please visit the How to Apply to Creative Communities webpage. If you have any other questions after reviewing that information, please feel free to reach out to Jasmine Wallack at jwallack@williampennfoundation.org.

Q: I am a returning applicant and noticed the application process has changed a bit. Do I still need to submit a pre-proposal or inquiry?

A: No, you do not. The Creative Communities program has streamlined the application process so that initial inquiries or pre-proposals are no longer required.

Q: How are you defining racial equity?

A: “Racial equity is a process of eliminating racial disparities and improving outcomes for everyone. It is the intentional and continuing process of changing policies, systems, and structures by prioritizing measurable change in the lives of people of color.” (Creating Cultures and Practices for Racial Equity, by Nayantara Sen & Terry Keleher, Race Forward)

Q: How are you defining economic inclusion?

A: Economic inclusion means increased economic opportunity and more shared prosperity in ways that can be sustained for individuals who historically have experienced the most barriers to economic prosperity, such as people of color.

Arts and Culture Hubs Questions

Q: How are the Arts and Culture Hubs grant amounts determined?

A: The annual amount of an Arts and Culture Hubs grant is based on the organization’s operating budget of its most recently completed fiscal year, with ranges associated with Small, Medium, Large, and Very Large organization size. These amounts are consistent with historic Creative Communities general operating support funding amounts. Grant seekers may reference the table below to determine their funding amount.

Budget Category
Operating Budget
Annual request amount range (percentage of operating budget)
Small
up to $1,500,000
10%-20%
Medium
$1,500,001 to $5,000,000
2%-5%
Large
$5,000,001 to $10,000,000
1%-2%
Very Large
$10,000,000 and up
Up to 1%, not exceeding $225K/year

 

Q: How long are Arts and Culture Hubs grants?

A: Typically, an Arts and Culture Hubs grant is awarded for three years (36 months). The grant term will be tied to the organization’s fiscal year.

Q: Are Arts and Culture Hubs grants renewable?

A: These general operating grants may be renewed based on the organization's continued performance and advancement of its goals of racial equity and economic inclusion. However, funding renewals are not guaranteed and are considered against a number of factors including overall funding demand.

Q: What is meant by the term “high-quality” in the Arts and Culture Hubs strategy?

A: We define high quality from a people-centered perspective. High-quality programming and activities leverage or apply artistic knowledge to create positive interactions and impacts. The needs, desires, and perspectives of the community or intended audiences will help determine the programming developed, practices and materials used, artists included, and program/work locations. Recognizing the number of ways artistic expertise is developed and considered, this definition seeks to emphasize the role of artistic skill rather than when or how it was acquired. 

Q: What does the learning and evaluation process look like? How will you monitor and measure the success of grants?

A: As grants progress, we seek to understand the change grantees are experiencing, what they are learning, and how they are adapting. An Arts and Culture Hubs grantee will be required to submit annual interim reports detailing its progress toward the anticipated results of its grant term as well as a final report at the end of the grant term. Additionally, these grantee reports will provide information/data that will help us measure our progress toward our goals for the Arts and Culture Hubs strategy as well as the overarching goal of the Creative Communities program. We determine grant success on a case-by-case basis, based on grantees’ ability to achieve original intended aims and/or ability to shift appropriately given changes in operating environments.

Finally, we greatly value the opportunities to learn from our grantees because ongoing learning is essential to our work as Foundation staff. Projects that do not go as planned often result in the greatest critical learning opportunities. We appreciate and greatly value grantees’ honesty regarding these issues, as it is what enables us to adjust the Foundation’s expectations, effectively advise our grantees, and learn from each grant cycle.

Arts Education and Exposure Questions

Q: Are there activities or materials the Arts Education and Exposure strategy will not fund as part of a program’s budget?

A: The Arts Education and Exposure strategy will consider covering any aspect of a program’s budget. It is preferred that a grant not focus solely on single activities such as student travel or a final/culminating performance, although the strategy may consider these types of focused requests on a case-by-case basis.

Q: What is meant by the term “exposure” used in the Arts Education and Exposure strategy name?

A: Arts exposure opportunities include introductory experiences (e.g., field trip), informal drop-in experiences (e.g., summer programs), as well as low barrier to access programs (e.g., a recreational program seeking to reach children not currently engaged in arts learning).

In addition to entry-level experiences, these programs must be linked to opportunities for sequenced participation and deeper learning (i.e., pre-/post- wrap-around visits or some type of follow-up with more resources/materials/lessons) with a goal of opening up sustained participation, deeper benefits, and longer-term connection to the arts as self-expression and civic participation.

Q: Why are these age ranges broken out in the strategy?

A: In-school work for younger age ranges (K-6) is linked to research that shows these programs stimulate development of social-emotional learning skills such as growth mindset and self-regulation. The middle and high school years (grades 7-12) are well suited for studio-based training that builds skills related to problem solving/cognition, identity formation, creativity, and independence. Funding outside of these grade levels will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Q: What does the learning and evaluation process look like? How will you monitor and measure success of grants?

A: An Arts Education and Exposure grantee will be required to submit annual interim reports, for a grant longer than 12-months, detailing its progress toward the anticipated results of its grant term as well as a final report at the end of the grant term. Additionally, these grantee reports will provide information/data that will help us measure our progress toward our goals for the Arts Education and Exposure strategy as well as the overarching goal of the Creative Communities program.

Arts Presentation and Art Making Questions

Q: Are there any types of funding the Arts Presentation and Art Making strategy will not consider?

A: The strategy does not provide capital support for permanent art installations that do not have plans for ongoing maintenance.

Q: Are there any artistic disciplines or arts and culture practices the Arts Presentation and Art Making strategy will not fund?

A: The Arts Presentation and Art Making strategy categorizes artistic disciplines similarly to the National Endowment for the Arts (e.g., Literary Arts, Dance, Design, Folk and Traditional Arts, Media Arts, Music, Musical Theater, Opera, Multidisciplinary Arts, Theater, and Visual Arts) and seeks to fund a broad range of projects representing different artistic disciplines.

Q: Can an Arts Presentation and Art Making proposal include overhead costs in the project budget?

A: Grantees that are not eligible for general operating support through the Arts and Culture Hubs strategy may be awarded up to an additional 10% to cover overhead costs, not to exceed $100,000. This recommendation for additional support must be discussed with a Creative Communities program officer once an application is determined eligible.

Q: Will Arts Presentation and Art Making grants support existing projects?

A: Yes, as part of the Arts Presentation and Art Making strategy, we will consider funding for a project that is already underway. However, with this strategy, we will only review requests for funding that are for individual, time-limited components of an existing project and is not a request for ongoing funding.

Q: Are Arts Presentation and Art Making grants renewable?

A: The Foundation would be very unlikely to renew an Arts Presentation and Art Making grant but would consider grant proposals with program content that distinctly differs from prior awarded grants and have a clear set of benefits associated with the newly proposed approach.

Q: What is meant by the term “high-quality” in the Arts Presentation and Art Making strategy?

A: We define high quality from a people-centered perspective. High-quality programming and activities leverage or apply artistic knowledge to create positive interactions and impacts. The needs, desires, and perspectives of the community or intended audiences will help determine the programming developed, practices and materials used, artists included, and program/work locations. Recognizing the number of ways artistic expertise is developed and considered, this definition seeks to emphasize the role of artistic skill rather than when or how it was acquired.

Q: Do the projects funded through the Arts Presentation and Art Making strategy have to be offered free of charge?

A: Creative Communities does not require projects and programs funded through the Arts Presentation and Art Making strategy to be offered free of charge. However, any perceived or real barriers to participation, such as cost, should be acknowledged and addressed in order to generate positive impacts and benefits in an equitably and inclusive way.

Q: What does the learning and evaluation process look like? How will you monitor and measure success of grants?

A: As grants progress, we seek to understand the change grantees are experiencing, what they are learning, and how they are adapting. An Arts Presentation and Art Making grantee will be required to submit annual interim reports detailing its progress toward the anticipated results of its grant term as well as a final report at the end of the grant term. Additionally, these grantee reports will provide information/data that will help us measure our progress toward our goals for the Arts Presentation and Art Making strategy as well as the overarching goal of the Creative Communities program. We determine grant success on a case-by-case basis, based on grantees’ ability to achieve original intended aims and/or ability to shift appropriately given changes in operating environments.

Finally, we greatly value the opportunities to learn from our grantees because ongoing learning is essential to our work as Foundation staff. Projects that do not go as planned often result in the greatest critical learning opportunities. We appreciate and greatly value grantees’ honesty regarding these issues, as it is what enables us to adjust the Foundation’s expectations, effectively advise our grantees, and learn from each grant cycle.