Art creators

inspiration grants

are project grants for individual artists or small groups of artists. The purpose of these grants is to support ambitious projects of risk, growth, and change for the artist and/or projects that make a positive impact on the community. Visual, dance, music, theater, poetry, fashion, film, and interdisciplinary art applications are welcome. ArtsKC made 33 grants totaling $82,500 in Spring 2023. All grants were for $2,500. 49% of applicants received a grant.

Application Opens: June 22, 2023

Application Deadline: August 30, 2023 at 11:45 PM

  • Activity dates supported by this year's funding: August 31, 2023 - January 30, 2023
  • Committee will meet in October, 2023
  • Grant decision announcements will be made in late October, 2023
  • Impact Reports are due January 31, 2023

Eligible applicants must: 

  • Be a practicing artist with an established record of professional achievement in the arts.
  • Be an adult over the age of 18.
  • Live in the five-county Kansas City metropolitan area (Jackson, Clay, and Platte counties in Missouri; and Johnson and Wyandotte counties in Kansas).
    • Applications from adjacent counties will be considered if the project takes place within our service area, but the five-county area is the main priority.

Not Eligible

  • If you received an Inspiration grant recently, you are eligible to apply again after waiting out one round and completing the impact report from your previous grant.
  • Some Inspiration Grants have been made for workshops, certifications or other forms of continuing education, but are not for regular college tuition.
  • Organizations may not apply for Inspiration Grant funding, which are for individual artists.
  • An individual can only apply for and/or financially benefit from one Inspiration Grant per grant round. You are not eligible if you have already applied for this round and/or are part of a group that has already applied.

Applications are submitted online using the ArtsKC Grant System

If you have not applied before, when you go to the ArtsKC Grant System, click on the “Create New Account” button, and follow the directions there.  If you are a new user but your organization has applied for ArtsKC funding before, email to help set up your user profile.

If you have applied before, log in to your existing account in the ArtsKC Grant System and click on the “Apply” link to start a new application. Use the “Forgot Your Password?” link if you don’t remember what your password is. When you return to work on a saved application, be sure to look for your previously started form!

If you need assistance with the online application process, please see this video: Grant Applicant Tutorial.

*Note: The online grants system is compatible with screen reading systems, but does not have an in-application screen-reader.

Draft applications may be submitted for review by staff.  This step is strongly encouraged for new applicants. Draft applications do not require a full set of attachments or support materials to be reviewed and should be completed via the online grants system. Once the application has been completed for a draft review, email the ArtsKC Grants staff to say that the application is ready for draft review. ArtsKC staff will review applications in the order they are submitted and will provide timely feedback to the applicant. Applicants will be able to make changes directly in the application without having to start the application over. Draft applications must be submitted 30 days before the application deadline in order to allow time for staff to review it.

A preview of the 2023-2024 Inspiration Grant application is linked below:

Inspiration 2023-2024 Application Form (Round I)

Project Budgets

The Inspiration Grant Application form requires applicants to upload a Project Budget that includes all project income and all project expenses. In-kind or donated resources should be included. The income should include the amount of your ArtsKC grant request. The total amount for expenses and the total amount of income should be equal to each other, so your budget is balanced.

We have created an OPTIONAL template that can be accessed below. This shows examples of what could be included. Please also consider setting aside the final payment - 20% of the grant amount - for potential tax liability. 

Budget Template - Word File

Budget Template - Excel File

Inspiration Grants are competitive. Grant recipients are chosen by a continually renewed and representative group of community members with a variety of expertise and diverse perspectives. Committee Members are selected for their artistic knowledge and experience, awareness of community needs and issues, and other contributing factors. An ArtsKC Board Member leads each committee. Each application will be reviewed and discussed by the committee. Applicants may be emailed questions regarding the application. Not all applicants will be sent questions. Grants are then approved by the ArtsKC Board of Directors.

The committee will consider:

  • Artistic Achievement and Quality
  • Career and Community Impact
  • Feasibility and Budget

Committee members will use the following Evaluation Form:

2023-2024 Inspiration Grant Evaluation Form (Round I)

2023-2024 Inspiration Grants will be $2500.

Due to this change, ArtsKC is no longer asking you to define your requested amount. 

To accept a grant, you must return your signed Grant Agreement Letter and W-9 within 15 business days of the notice, or you will forfeit your entire grant award.


You do not have to accept grants. If you have been awarded a grant and would like to turn it down or return it because of a change in plans or for any other reason, please notify ArtsKC Grant Staff immediately.


Grants are paid in two payments. The grant recipient must return a signed grant agreement and W-9 in order to receive the first payment of 80%. To receive the second payment of 20%, the grantee must turn in an Impact Report, which must be approved by ArtsKC. Please allow two weeks after submitting grant agreements and Impact Reports to process checks.

Impact Reports are submitted through the ArtsKC Grant System

You are required to submit an Impact Report by the deadline, or you will forfeit your final payment. We understand that it may become necessary to request a reasonable extension. Please do so by contacting ArtsKC well before the deadline to ensure timely processing of your request. ArtsKC will work with applicants in the event your project is delayed or postponed. Please contact us to discussion the circumstances. If an Impact Report is not received after the agreed upon date, you will become ineligible to apply for ArtsKC grants. Ineligibility can be reversed by the submission of an acceptable Impact Report.

Impact Reports for the 2023-2024 Inspiration Grants are due January 31, 2024. Here is a preview of the Impact Report Form:

Inspiration Impact Report FY24 (Round I)

During the duration of your active status as an Inspiration grant recipient, we ask that you recognize ArtsKC publicly in your promotional materials and programs in a manner consistent with your policy of acknowledging other donors. Please recognize ArtsKC by name, and use the ArtsKC logo, which is available on our website. As part of this agreement, ArtsKC respectfully requests to use your name and any photos you are willing to provide in our promotional materials and online. 


Download ArtsKC's logos and brand guidelines here. 

Please notify ArtsKC staff in writing of any major changes in leadership, programs or operations as described in your grant application. Updates to contact information are also necessary to stay in contact and to mail checks to the appropriate address.

For purposes of the Internal Revenue Service, Inspiration Grants to individuals must be treated as personal income and will be reported as revenue at calendar year-end on a Form 1099 to the applicant.  Please consult with your tax adviser on the consequences of such income, which may be defrayed by the cost of expenses depending on your individual situation and circumstances.  It is the award recipient’s responsibility to plan for and deal with any resulting tax liability.

The 2022-2023 Inspiration Grant Committee:

Chair: Michael Toombs, Artist Director, Storytellers inc

Katelyn Baron - Executive Artistic Director of Rising Tide Productions

Brandon Calloway - CEO & Co-Founder, Generating Income For Tomorrow (GIFT)

Daniel Earnest - Senior Program Assistant, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

Xiao Faria da Cunha - Visual Artist and Founder of Westerlund, Co

Karen Gerety-Folk - Curator of Education, Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Johnson County Community College

Camry Ivory - Audiovisual artist

Ahafia Jurkiewicz-Miles - Musician and Performer

Polly Alice McCann - Managing Editor, Flying Ketchup Press

Danielle Michaels - Visual Artist

Jhulan Mukharji, MD - Cardiologist AdventHealth Shawnee Mission

Lesley Reyes - Cafe Ollama Owner

Hadiza Sa-Aadu - Musician/Singer-Songwriter and Small Business & Non Profit Specialist Kansas City Public Library

Marissa Shell - Lecturer, Visual Arts, The University of Kansas

Harold Smith Jr. - Visual Artist

The 2023-2024 Committee Listing is coming soon!

  1. Start Early! 
  2. Choose appropriate grant category / opportunity 

Are you eligible? 

Will the timing work? 

Is the potential grant award useful to you? 

  1. Look at the Application form and estimate the amount of time it will take to fill out 
  2. Write a brief paragraph of your project, to get started 

Include the basic Who, What, Where, When, Why and How details 

Review your paragraph and start making a list of items you need 

Notice what you’re missing – fee for an assistant, insurance /liability, etc. 

Consider what you could remove, or do without, in case your project is not fully funded, or in order to make your project more feasible 

  1. Begin filling out the application form. The form may help shape your project. 
  2. The most important parts of any grant application, which should tell the same story, or match: 

Project Description – should have all the information except dollar amounts 

Budget- should have dollar amounts for all the items mentioned or needed in the Project Description, with no surprises or new items that are more than $50, or at a very low threshold 

-Should have two sections: Revenue & Expenses, or Income & Expenses, that total the same amount –should be in a gridded format, such as with Excel or Google Sheets, with numbers in columns for easy review and to avoid math errors 

  1. Write clearly, respectfully, and be persuasive. 
  2. Include high-quality work samples that help reviewers imagine and understand what you’re proposing.
  3. Review your application before submitting! Make sure your attachments don’t have a formatting problem, or that they didn’t attach at all. Ask a friend or colleague if they understand it, and better yet, if they would fund it. 
  4. Turn in your application ON TIME or EARLY. 
  5. Make sure you include the most up-to-date Contact Information, and if it changes, UPDATE the funder immediately. 
  6. If your application is Denied, don’t be discouraged about your project. Also, if your application is denied, try not to take it personally, and remember that you took part in a competitive process. Ask the funder if they would recommend applying with them again, or if they can offer referrals to other funding sources that may help. 
  7. If your application is Approved, thank the funder, and watch for communication about follow-up steps. Your funder may prefer that you wait to announce your grant award publicly until after their own announcement, for example. 
  8. Be ready to be represented by your funder publicly. Make sure your website and social media is up to date. Provide photos and any written information your funder needs as soon as possible. 
  9. Grants come with some strings – agreement forms, final reports, logo and funder name recognition, etc. a. Turn in agreement forms and any other paperwork as soon as possible to receive first payments b. Document your project and any changes as you go along, for the Final Report (and yourself) c. Note Final Report dates on your calendar and meet the deadline to receive final payments d. Make sure to recognize your funder in the manner they request 
  10. Remember that applying for grants is a skill that improves with practice. Remember that because most grant processes are competitive, even good projects with great applications are not always funded. It’s best to plan a project that has multiple funding sources just in case: grants, in-kind donations, fundraising efforts like events, crowdfunding, private donations, and personal investment. 
  11. Include grants you receive on your artist resume and any other relevant documents. It’s an honor. 
  12. Do your project, and keep creating art however you can. Document it, and write about it regularly, so that you’re ready for more opportunities. 

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