Indy Arts and Culture Restart & Resilience Fund: Application and details

The $10 million Indy Arts and Culture Restart & Resilience Fund is designed to support nonprofit organizations based in Indiana and physically headquartered in Marion County. This Fund, made possible by the generous support of Lilly Endowment Inc., will help offset the new, unexpected capital and operating expenses arts and cultural organizations are facing as they work to reopen and serve their communities in a new world informed by COVID-19 realities. Applications are now open.

In this section, you’ll learn more about the program including background information; guiding principles; grant details; application eligibility; and the application process. Please review these details before submitting an application and email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions. 

This is a noncompetitive program and application/review process. Proposals will be evaluated by Arts Council staff and approved by the Arts Council board of directors to ensure sound consideration and integration of public health guidelines and the reopening principles and best practices that have been collaboratively developed by our sector. Grant amounts will be based on an organization's annual operating budget. 

The program will award one-time grants of $5,000 up to $500,000 per organization, based on the organization’s total operating budget for the previous fiscal or calendar year. 

  • Tier 1: Operating budget of $20,000 - $99,999 (may apply for up to $5,000) 
  • Tier 2: Operating budget of $100,000 - $249,999 (may apply for up to $20,000)
  • Tier 3: Operating budget of $250,000 - $499,999 (may apply for up to $60,000)
  • Tier 4: Operating budget of $500,000 - $899,999  (may apply for up to $85,000)
  • Tier 5: Operating budget of $900,000 - $1,499,999 (may apply for up to $110,000)
  • Tier 6: Operating budget of $1,500,000 - $4,999,999 (may apply for up to $195,000)
  • Tier 7: Operating budget of $5,000,000+ (may apply for up to $500,000)

 

Program Background

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Indianapolis was experiencing exciting momentum in the arts and culture sector. According to research by Americans for the Arts, nonprofit arts and culture organizations in central Indiana provide some 30,000 jobs in the region; serve eight million residents and visitors; and generate more than $440 million in annual economic impact. However, surveys and assessments conducted by the Arts Council confirm that the sector has experienced nearly 20,000 COVID-related arts and culture closures and cancellations from March through June, with projections growing to 30,000 by September. 

As a result, nonprofit arts and cultural organizations in Marion County face an uncertain future: 

  • The projected loss of revenue across our nonprofit sector will be more than $50 million by September 2020, and estimates for unexpected expenses and restart costs total an additional $20 million. 
  • These significant costs required to pivot are overwhelming for organizations of all sizes and disciplines. 

Even during the best of times, arts and culture organizations in the United States exist on razor-thin operating budgets. Most rely on smaller percentages of earned income offset by sponsorship and contributed income. Arts and cultural organizations in Indianapolis have been doing their best to address the severe losses to general operating revenue. They are accessing Federal CARES Act support such as the Paycheck Protection Program and SBA EIDL loans. Organizations are tapping limited reserve funds and making difficult decisions to cut expenses including staff layoffs and furloughs that already affect more than half the sector’s workforce. However, the significant funding required to restart and adapt their operations to reflect new COVID realities has been largely unidentified or inadequate, putting their survival and sustainability severely at risk. 

There is an urgent need for funding that will offset expenses incurred by arts and cultural organizations to reopen and operate in accordance with public health guidelines while delivering high-quality, inclusive, accessible programming and experiences. Arts and culture will be essential to our recovery as a society - we need these organizations to be stronger than ever when it is safe to return and when audiences are ready. 

Guiding Principles

The Arts Council’s management of the Indy Arts and Culture Restart & Resilience Fund will be informed by four guiding principles: 

  • Our arts and culture organizations should not have to choose between protecting public health and prioritizing equity. This fund is designed to provide material support to address the unexpected and unbudgeted costs associated with reopening and adjusting operations/mission delivery. Our goal is to help provide organizations with the capacity necessary to reopen and adapt their mission delivery according to public health guidelines while enabling the continuation of their commitment to provide inclusive, equitable access to opportunities for artists and residents to engage in arts and culture. For example, to the greatest extent possible, we don’t want organizations to have to choose between investing in touchless fixtures and deep cleaning versus inclusive programming and community outreach.

  • Arts and cultural organizations of all sizes and disciplines are valued as community anchors. The diversity of our arts and culture ecosystem is a strength of our city. This fund is designed to help ensure the sustainability and future mission impact across our creative economy. Our goal is to help as many Indianapolis arts and culture organizations reopen and adapt to be safer, stronger, and serve our community in new and innovative ways. The eligibility levels are a guiding framework intended to be responsive to the expenses and restart needs of organizations based on their budget size and unique challenges of different operating models.

  • Arts and culture organizations are essential employers and engines for equitable, inclusive community access and engagement. Before COVID-19, our arts and culture organizations contributed to a creative workforce representing 30,000 jobs and served/engaged more than 8 million residents and visitors annually. While we believe relief for individual artists is also critical and we are committed to advocating for individual relief grants as well (building on the Indy Arts & Culture COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund), this Restart & Resilience Fund addresses the vital role our arts and cultural organizations play in employing artists and positively impacting the lives of millions of residents and visitors each year. 
  • The strong stewardship demonstrated by our arts and cultural organizations has informed this fund’s investment in innovation and future benefit versus survival and status quo. We are encouraged and inspired by the thoughtful and strategic way our arts and cultural organizations have managed the significant challenges and complexities of COVID-19. Informed by their sound approach and solid plans, this fund is designed to support future benefit to operations and mission impact. While we are open to proposals that include reimbursement requests for expenses that have already occurred as part of reopening/adapting, applicants must explain how this funding will benefit future-focused priorities. 

 

The Indy Arts and Culture Restart & Resilience Fund will provide one-time grants ranging from $5,000 to $500,000 based on organization budget size as a framework to inform the support needed to reopen and adapt. 

This framework is intended as a guide based on the data available at the time of the assessment. Organizations will be invited to provide updated budget information and will have opportunities to advocate for adjusted eligibility reflective of their specific situation. 

Tier 1: Operating budget of $20,000 - $99,999 (may apply for up to $5,000)

Tier 2: Operating budget of $100,000 - $249,999 (may apply for up to $20,000)

Tier 3: Operating budget of $250,000 - $499,999 (may apply for up to $60,000)

Tier 4: Operating budget of $500,000 - $899,999 (may Apply for up to $85,000)

Tier 5: Operating budget of $900,000 - $1,499,999 (may apply for up to $110,000)

Tier 6: Operating budget of $1,500,000 - $4,999,999 (may apply for up to $195,000)

Tier 7: Operating budget of $5,000,000+ (may apply for up to $500,000)

Eligibility

Qualifying organizations for the Indy Arts and Culture Restart & Resilience Fund will: 

  • Be dedicated principally to the performance, exhibition, and/or presentation of arts and/or cultural programming. The focus on arts and cultural programming must be reflected in the organization’s mission statement. (Also, organizations that are currently funded by Lilly Endowment.) 
  • Be aligned and compliant with public health guidelines and best practices documented in a board-approved reopening plan and budget. 
  • Be committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access as a core priority in the organization’s mission delivery. 
  • Be a nonprofit entity with a determination letter from the Internal Revenue Service declaring the organization exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code - no fiscal agents. 
  • Be Indiana-based and physically headquartered in Indianapolis/Marion County. 
  • Have a minimum annual operating budget of at least $20,000 in 2019. 
  • Comply with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and ordinances, including those that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, or disability. 

In addition, all new applicants to the Arts Council's grants programs are required to attend an Indy Arts and Culture Restart & Resilience Fund grant-writing workshop. We also encourage applicants - new or current - to register for an Office Hours: Reopening with Sara Peterson session and a Reimagining Mission Delivery workshop hosted by SmallBox. Details can be found in the Workshops & Resources section of this page. 

Approved Uses of Funding

Eligible organizations for the Indy Arts and Culture Restart & Resilience Fund will be able to request capital and operating support across the following categories: 

1. Equipment, supplies, and materials necessary for restart (i.e., PPE, virtual technologies, signage, etc.)

2. Professional Services (i.e., increased cleaning, safety planning, video production, consulting services)

3. Physical Environments (i.e., venue changes and adaptations, touchless fixtures, flexible seating, partitions, etc.)

4. Programming Modifications (i.e., more performances, expanding hours, changing locations, increased access to serve more underrepresented audiences in response to increased community need)

5. Staffing (i.e., new models that minimize exposure, training needs, additional hires to cover volunteers) 

Application

Please complete and submit your application here. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any additional questions. 

Awards Process

The Indy Arts and Culture Restart & Resilience Fund is a noncompetitive program and application/review process. Proposals will be evaluated by Arts Council staff and approved by the Arts Council Board of Directors to ensure sound consideration and integration of public health guidelines and thoughtful plans to continue to deliver on their commitment to equity in a new COVID-informed world. 

Applicants should include the following elements in their proposal: 

  • A board-approved reopening plan that incorporates COVID-19 public health guidelines and best practices and reflects realistic costs for necessary accommodations and adaptations. 
  • A demonstrated and defined organizational commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, and access. 
  • Innovative arts and culture program delivery. 
  • Collaboration with other arts and cultural organizations and community partners. 
  • A track record, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, of stable and sustainable fiscal management and ongoing operations. 
Workshops and Resources
Nonprofit arts and cultural leaders will be able to attend weekly webinars and consultation sessions as they prepare their application and reopening plans. These sessions are free to attend. 

Grant Writing Workshops
Presented by the Arts Council of Indianapolis; 11 a.m. on Mondays starting July 13, 2020.
The Arts Council's Grants Services Department will walk you step-by-step through what you'll need to know to apply for the Indy Arts and Culture Restart & Resilience Fund. Please register here and choose your date from the drop-down menu. 

Reimaging Program Delivery
Presented by SmallBox
These webinars have ended, but you can view a recording here. Please skip ahead to the 10:00 mark.
 

Office Hours: Reopening Plans with Sara Peterson
Join Sara Peterson, consultant and the co-creator of the Indy Arts Guide to COVID-19 Resiliency & Reopening, for weekly Zoom office hours at 11 a.m. Thursdays through September 2020. 

Please register through the link above. Questions? Email Sara Peterson at peterson@sarapetersonconsulting.com.

Nonprofit leaders can receive consultation on developing their reopening plans and applying the lessons and instructions in the Indy Arts Guide to COVID-19 Resiliency & Reopening. Sara Peterson will offer updates to the guide and coaching/consulting on safety compliance and best practices. Please register through the link above. 
Frequently Asked Questions

As you prepare your application, please visit our FAQ.

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