Arts Grants

Office of Raleigh Arts

Last updated Apr. 19, 2017 - 9:52 am
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  • *Donna Walker KuhneDonna Walker Kuhne

The City of Raleigh Arts Grant Program is the official vehicle for municipal support to the City's arts organizations. The Commission's Arts Grants Program has been in operation since 1989, distributing over $28 million dollars to qualifying organizations. A major example of City Council's dedication to the cultural development of Raleigh, the program is supported currently by a $5.00 per capita allocation, which resulted in grant awards totaling $1,792,930 for 2016-2017.

Images above from the North Carolina Theatre Conference’s Producing Gathering
July 2016

Universal Access & the Arts Day 2017

When City Council approved the Raleigh Arts Plan, one of its goals was to create a Universal Arts Access Program with the intention that Raleigh become a national model for inclusion of people with disabilities in the arts. Universal Access Day represents a step towards that goal and was inspired by the work of current members of the Learning Community for Universal Access, now in its second year.

The Learning Community for Universal Access is a group of fourteen arts and cultural organizations that collaborate to advocate for and improve access to the arts for people with disabilities. Participants in this year’s Learning Community are Arts Access, Arts Together, Artspace, CAM Raleigh, Cary Visual Art, International Focus, NC Arts Council, NC Museum of Natural Sciences, NCSU’s Gregg Museum, NC State University Theatre, Office of Raleigh Arts, PineCone, United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County, and Visual Art Exchange.

DATE: Thursday, April 20, 2017

COST: All scheduled events, including lunch for those registered for both morning and afternoon sessions, are FREE of charge.

Register Online

Accessibility at Festivals and Multi-Venue Events Workshop
TIME: 9-10:30 a.m.

Raleigh Municipal Building – City Council Chambers
222 West Hargett Street, 2nd floor, Raleigh
Originally presented at last summer’s national Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disabilities conference, this workshop starts with the premise that creating great customer service experiences for people with disabilities leads to improved experiences for all festival attendees. Workshop participants will benefit from the experiences of three festival producers as they compare and contrast everything from services and accommodations to marketing tools, website design, accessibility guides and staff/volunteer training. By the end of the session participants will have actionable first steps for increasing accessibility at their events, as well as tools and resources for implementing them.
The Presenters: Brandon Cordrey (VAE Raleigh-SPARKcon Festival), Jamie Katz Court (PineCone-IBMA’s Wide Open Bluegrass Festival, Brittany Pyle (Chicago Humanities Festival)

Why It Matters – Accessibility as an Asset Presentation
TIME: 10:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

Raleigh Municipal Building – City Council Chambers
222 West Hargett Street, 2nd floor, Raleigh
The Americans with Disabilities Act mandates access for people with disabilities, but the real reasons for developing an inclusive and accessible arts organization is that it makes good business sense. Betty Siegel, the John F. Kennedy Center’s Director of VSA and Accessibility, will make the case for how increasing accessibility makes patron experiences better for everyone and leads to better patron retention and loyalty. Members of Raleigh’s Arts Learning Community for Universal Access will highlight the new ways in which local arts organizations have, over the past year, worked to better engage Deaf and disability community members in the arts.
The Presenters:
Betty Siegel, Esq., John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Learning Community for Universal Access (represented by Brandon Cordrey-VAE Raleigh, Carly Jones-Arts Together, Megan Sullivan-Artspace)

Networking Lunch - Sold Out
TIME: 12:45-2 p.m.

Walnut Creek Wetland Center
950 Peterson Street, Raleigh
Anyone who registers for both the morning and afternoon sessions is invited to attend the networking lunch scheduled before the start of “Best Practices in Accessible Ticketing”. The meal will be provided by the Office of Raleigh Arts.

Best Practices in Accessible Ticketing Workshop - Sold Out
TIME: 2-4 p.m.

Walnut Creek Wetland Center
950 Peterson Street, Raleigh
Whether you are new to box office work or a veteran, you know that every performance venue has challenges when it comes to accessible ticketing and seating. Starting with an overview of best practices in accessible ticketing, this workshop will explore the unique challenges and creative solutions that come with welcoming people with disabilities into performance venues – be they indoors, outdoors, historic structures or new construction. The session will also cover topics like online accessible ticketing, crafting release policies for accessible seats, and approaches for companion seating. An interactive session, participants are encouraged to bring their thorniest questions and most unique ticketing requests with which to stump the presenter!
The Presenter:
Betty Siegel, Esq., John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

How can we help you fully participate?
All facilities for these events are wheelchair accessible. Audio description and ASL interpretation will be provided. The Office of Raleigh Arts is committed to making our programs accessible to everyone. If you require an additional accommodation or service (i.e. open captioning; digital, large-print or Braille materials, etc.) to fully participate, please email Sarah Corrin or call 919-996-4686 at least 2 weeks prior to the event. If an accommodation would be helpful and the lead time is less than two weeks, please let us know so we can make every effort to help you fully participate.


Brandon Cordrey is the Executive Director of SPARKcon producer VAE Raleigh. Formerly the Program + Development Director for Arts Access, he is currently its board chair. Brandon has a particular interest in Deaf and disability arts. Last year he produced VAE’s Tactile exhibition focused on engaging every sense (sight, touch, hearing, etc.) to experience artwork. This May, he is mounting ULTRALIGHT, curated by England’s DADA Fest Founder Ruth Gould, to showcase the work of artists with disabilities. An inaugural member of Raleigh’s Arts Learning Community for Universal Access, Brandon is also a working artist who exhibits his mixed media work across the South.

Carly Jones is Arts Together’s Director of Communications & Development and a member of Raleigh’s Arts Learning Community for Universal Access. She balances dual careers as an arts administrator and professional stage actress/singer, and has worked with a variety of organizations, including The Justice Theater Project, the NC Music Educators Association and The African American Cultural Festival. Carly holds degrees in Vocal Performance, Music History and a minor in arts administration from Miami University

Jamie Katz Court is the Communications & Programs Manager for PineCone, which produces over 30 concerts a year, as well as IBMA’s Wide Open Bluegrass Festival. Jamie is also PineCone's accessibility coordinator, an inaugural member of Raleigh’s Arts Learning Community for Universal Access, and a member of the Content Committee for the Kennedy Center’s 2017 Leadership Exchange in the Arts & Disability Conference. She is passionate in her belief that music and art can bring people together, and her approach to accessibility stems from that core belief.

Brittany Pyle is the Director of Audience Services at the Chicago Humanities Festival, a year-round operation that curates over 140 events in over 30 venues annually. Brittany provides audience analysis and front-of-house strategy, supervises public-facing staff, and directs the quality of audience experience. Brittany leads the organization's efforts to increase accessibility, and since joining the team in 2013, audience participation in accessible services has increased by 1,500%. Brittany has a Bachelor's of Fine Arts in Photography from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and won the 2016 Leadership Exchange in Arts & Disability Conference’s Emerging Leader Award.

Betty Siegel, Esq. has specialized in arts and disability issues for over 30 years starting at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. and now as Director of VSA and Accessibility at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She oversees national and international disability, arts and education programs, including the VSA Network of organizations engaging in disability arts and education and the LEAD (Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability) network of cultural arts administrators addressing access to cultural experiences. She is a respected expert and speaker on topics related to disability rights, compliance with disability laws and regulations, the arts and disability, and to accessibility to cultural programs and venues for individuals of all ages with disabilities. She has been the project manager, writer or editor on numerous publications including Design for Accessibility: A Cultural Administrator’s Handbook. Ms. Siegel obtained her JD in 2009 from the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University and is licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Megan Sullivan is the Operations and Finance Manager for Artspace and an inaugural member of Raleigh’s Arts Learning Community for Universal Access. A working artist who has exhibited extensively both locally and in other parts of the country, Megan received her BFA in Sculpture from UNC-Greensboro and her MFA in Sculpture from Cranbrook Academy of Art.


Thousands of people partake in the cultural offerings of Raleigh every year! The Raleigh Arts Grant Program enriches the lives of residents and visitors, providing support for a diverse range of opportunities including city arts festivals, live theatre, dance and music performances, visual arts exhibitions and youth arts programs.

The Raleigh Arts Grant Program has been critical to the development of many of Raleigh's cultural organizations, helping to bring stability to the city's arts community and providing leverage for groups to seek business, foundation and other agency matching grants. Arts and culture-related industries (collectively known as "creative industries") have provided direct economic benefits to Raleigh by creating jobs, attracting new investments, generating tax revenues and stimulating tourism and consumer purchases.


Subject to eligibility requirements, any nonprofit organization, with 501(c)3 tax exempt status and whose corporate headquarters is located within the limits of the City of Raleigh, may apply for an Arts Grant. To determine eligibility for these grants, please review the grant guidelines below and note the application dates and deadlines.


Innovation Grants, Operating and Program Support

2017-2018 Grant Process
Based on recommendations by the Raleigh Arts Commission, the City of Raleigh awards Arts Grant funding annually to non-profit organizations headquartered in Raleigh. 2017-2018 Arts Grants will support arts programming that runs July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018 and applications are due by Tuesday, January 3, 2017.

Organizations new to the funding process and organizations applying for funding in a new category must notify the Arts Grant Coordinator of their intent to apply.

2017-2018 Grant Workshops
As part of the application process, organizations are required to attend one of two General Arts Grant Workshops scheduled in October and November. Any organization interested in applying for an Innovation Grant must also attend the workshop for that grant category.

Information about the workshops for 2017-2018 grant applicants can be downloaded using the link below.
Grant Workshop Information

2017-2018 Grant Guidelines and Application Forms
Grant Guidelines

Application Form - Innovation Grants
Application Form - Operating Support
Application Form - Program Support
Board Information Form
Finance Forms
Participation Statistics Form
Partnership Information Form
Universal Accessibility Checklist

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