Arts Grants

Office of Raleigh Arts

Last updated May 05, 2016 - 12:04 pm
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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 $1,660,515 for 2015-2016.


When City Council approved the Raleigh Arts Plan in February, 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. The Universal Access and the Arts Series represents the kick-off toward achieving that goal, and is the outgrowth of a yearlong Learning Community of 11 arts and cultural organizations that collaborate to advocate for and improve access to the arts for people with disabilities. Participants in this inaugural Learning Community were Arts Access, Arts Together, Artspace, CAM Raleigh, Cary Visual Art, Office of Raleigh Arts, PineCone, Raleigh Little Theatre, Sertoma Arts Center, United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County, and Visual Art Exchange. The group began its work last July and is now expanding that dialogue to the entire community.

TACTILE: A Multi-Sensory + Universally Designed Exhibition
May 6-26 | First Friday Reception: May 6, 6-10pm

Visual Art Exchange | 309 W. Martin Street, Raleigh

During the month of May, Visual Art Exchange will exhibit 22 pieces of work that can be experienced with more than just sight alone. These multi-sensory pieces were created by 17 artists from seven states across the United States. This exhibition invites visitors to go beyond looking at artwork and encourage them to use their senses of touch, smell, hearing and taste to experience each piece. One of the main goals of TACTILE is to further VAE’s focus on including people with disabilities in its programming. Large-format print materials, Braille transcribed materials, audio described and ASL interpreted tours and additional staff assistance for visitors will be provided during the exhibit.
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Creating Space: Planning Multi-Sensory & Accessible Exhibitions Workshop
Monday, May 9, 9:30am-Noon

Visual Art Exchange | 309 W. Martin Street, Raleigh

Visual Art Exchange developed this workshop to provide participants with knowledge about how to plan, install and market accessible exhibitions. Presenters from the NC Museum of Art, NC Museum of Natural Sciences and Visual Art Exchange will talk about the teams they assemble, where the issue of accessibility comes up in the exhibition planning process, and give an example of something they have done recently to include more people in their exhibits. Arts Access will present information about communicating with people with disabilities, resources to increase programmatic accessibility, and descriptions of popular accommodations.
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Showcasing New Voices: Artists with Disabilities Presentation
Monday, May 9, Noon – 1:30pm

CAM Raleigh | 409 West Martin Street, Raleigh

The Office of Raleigh Arts is thrilled to welcome Ruth Gould of DaDaFest to Raleigh! DaDaFest is an innovative disability arts organization in Liverpool, England that promotes high quality Disability and Deaf Arts from around the world. DaDa celebrated 30 years at the forefront of Disability and Deaf Arts with DaDaFest International 2014, a two-month arts festival showcasing artists from around the globe exhibiting, performing and exploring disability. DaDaFest regularly attracts large audiences that are evenly split between the disability community and the general public. Ruth will share examples of the work showcased at DaDaFest International and talk about how they market and promote the festival to build a diverse audience.
This presentation is free of charge. Register here

Everybody’s Welcome – Accessible Festival Design Workshop
Tuesday, May 10, 10am-1pm

Halifax Community Center | 1023 Halifax Street, Raleigh

Festivals are held for everyone to enjoy, but without accessible design, persons with physical disabilities are not able to fully enjoy or sometimes even participant in these large public events. Learn the ins and outs of accessible festivals from international expert Ruth Gould​, founder and artistic director of DaDaFest, the UK's largest and longest running disability arts festival. Ruth​​ will share her favorite tips on making your events more accessible. This workshop will be facilitated by Brandon Cordrey from Visual Art Exchange and Jamie Katz Court from PineCone, who oversee accessibility for SPARKcon and the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Wide Open Bluegrass Festival in Raleigh. Cordrey and Court are also scheduled to present on this topic at the 2016 Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability Conference in Pittsburgh this summer.
This workshop is free of charge. Register here

Why It Matters – Accessibility as an Asset Presentation
Thursday, May 12, 9-10:30am

Theatre in the Park | 107 Pullen Road, 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. Learn how increasing accessibility makes patron experiences better for everyone and leads to better patron retention and loyalty. Presenter Betty Siegel, Esq. has specialized in arts and disability issues for over 30 years, starting at Arena Stage in Washington, DC and now as Director of VSA and Accessibility at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She is a respected expert and speaker on topics related to disability rights, compliance with disability laws and regulations, the arts and disability, and accessibility to cultural programs and venues for individuals of all ages with disabilities.
This presentation is free of charge. Register here

Everybody’s Welcome – Planning for Accessibility Workshop
Thursday, May 12, 2:30-4:30pm

Walnut Creek Wetland Center | 950 Peterson Street, Raleigh

Ensuring that an organization and its programming are accessible and welcoming for people with disabilities is a constant work in progress. It takes time to make changes and evolving technology creates additional opportunities for improvements. Accessibility plans help organizations stay on track through a focus on setting goals in the areas of policy, programming, marketing and facility access. In this workshop Betty Siegel, Director of VSA and Accessibility at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, will take participants step by step through the process of developing an accessibility plan. A nationally recognized expert in this process, she will provide tools to assess what accessibility assets are or are not already in place, methods for developing sound policies, and ways to get buy-in from the disability community and arts organizations’ staff, board members and volunteers.
This workshop is free of charge. Register here

Learning Lunch: Learning Community for Universal Access Projects
Thursday, May 19, Noon-2pm

United Arts Council of Raleigh & Wake County
410 Glenwood Ave., Ste. 170, Raleigh

Learning Community for Universal Access participants will share their experiences from the past year as they gained understanding about issues of access and made strides toward universal access. Whether you've thought about increasing access in your organization, already made steps toward greater accessibility or felt unsure where to get started, this learning lunch will be a great place to share experiences and inspire each other.
This event is free of charge. Beverages provided. Please bring a brown bag lunch. To attend, please RSVP to

All facilities for these events are wheelchair accessible. ASL interpretation is scheduled for the presentations on Monday afternoon (Showcasing New Voices: Artists with Disabilities) and Thursday morning (Why It Matters – Accessibility as an Asset).

The Office of Raleigh Arts is committed to making our programs accessible to everyone. If you require an additional accommodation or service (such as open captioning; audio description; digital, large-print or Braille materials, etc.) to fully participate, please contact Sarah Corrin ( or 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.


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, tax-exempt organization whose corporate headquarters is located within the limits of the City of Raleigh may apply for a grant. To determine eligibility for these grants, please review the grant guidelines and note the application dates and deadlines.

Technical Assistance Grants - NEW!

The City of Raleigh Arts Commission’s Technical Assistance Grant Program is new this year. The goal of this program is to provide arts organizations with the tools to build capacity, enabling them ultimately to better carry out their missions and creative work.

The program will make strategic investments in three grant categories, and Raleigh arts organizations may apply for as many as four Technical Assistance Grants in any combination this year:

  • Universal Access – designed to increase the accessibility of the arts through the removal of barriers for people with disabilities (maximum award $750)
  • Professional Development – designed to support nonprofit staff and board member skill development (maximum award $500)
  • Organizational Development – focused on strengthening organizations as a whole (maximum award $2,000)

With a streamlined application process, two cycles of funding are scheduled this year:

  • Fall 2015 – Applications due October 15 with grant recipients notified by November 16
  • Spring 2016 – Applications due April 1 with grant recipients notified by May 16

For complete information about the Technical Assistance Grant program, download the guidelines and application forms below.

2015-2016 Technical Assistance Grant Guidelines
2015-2016 TAG Universal Access Application Form
2015-2016 TAG Professional Development Application Form

2015-2016 TAG Organizational Development Application Form

Innovation Grants, Operating and Program Support

Annual Grant Application Process
The 2016-2017 grant application cycle has closed. Guidelines and other information for 2017-2018 grants will be posted by the end of October.

All organizations interested in applying for funding must attend one of the annual grant workshops in late fall. Organizations new to the Raleigh Arts Grant Program and those interested in applying for a different type of funding than they have in the past must notify the Arts Grant Coordinator of their intent to apply. Grant applications will be due in early January 2017.

The 2016-2017 Grant Guidelines and application forms posted below are for reference only until information about the 2016-2017 grant process is posted in the fall.

2016-2017 Grant Guidelines
2016-2017 Universal Accessibility Checklist
2016-2017 Board Information Form
2016-2017 Grant Application Form - Innovation Grant
2016-2017 Grant Application Form - Operating Support
2016-2017 Grant Application Form - Program Support
2016-2017 Grant Financial Forms
2016-2017 Participation Statistics Form
2016-2017 Partner Information Form

Capacity Building

2016 Arts Learning Community – Universal Access
What does it mean for an arts organization to include people with disabilities in its programming? While arts organizations are increasing their accommodations, they still face obstacles to making improvements and have questions about the what, why and how of getting things done.

To support these efforts, the City of Raleigh Arts Commission and the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County are partnering for a second year to offer a yearlong arts learning community that uses a collaborative approach to advocating for and improving access to the arts for people with disabilities. This peer cohort will run this summer through June of 2017. Sixteen representatives of Raleigh and Wake County organizations will be selected to participate.

Organizations interested in participating in this Arts Learning Community must submit a completed application to the Office of Raleigh Arts by Tuesday, April 19, 2016 at 4pm.

For complete information about the Arts Learning Community for Universal Access, please download the Guidelines and Application Form.

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