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.
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.
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:
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.
The Arts Council’s management of the Indy Arts and Culture Restart & Resilience Fund will be informed by four guiding principles:
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)
Qualifying organizations for the Indy Arts and Culture Restart & Resilience Fund will:
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.
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)
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:
Grant Writing Workshops
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 3 p.m. Tuesdays and 11 a.m. Thursdays through September 2020.
Please register through one of the links above. Questions? Email Sara Peterson at peterson@