What is an Inspiration Grant?

Inspiration grants are project grants for individual artists or small groups of artists. Visual, dance, music, theater, poetry, and interdisciplinary art applications are welcome. The purpose of these grants is to support ambitious projects of risk, growth, and change for the artist that also make a positive impact on the community.

Inspiration Grants reach a broad range of artists. For a list of recent recipients, click here.

Inspiration Grant Deadlines:

  • January 10, 2022 – Application opens
  • April 3, 2022 – Application closes

We highly recommend that you review all the information on this page before you apply, whether or not you have applied before. Questions? Ask Grantmaking@ArtsKC.org.

Timelines & Deadlines

Eligibility

Funding

Tax Liability

How to Apply

Project Budget Information

Evaluation

Conditions

Grant System Link and Instructional Video

Inspiration Grant Committee Members

General Grant Application Advice


Timeline & Deadlines

Activity Dates: Applications should be for projects and activities occurring between the dates of April 1, 2022 and January 23, 2022.

  • Application Deadline: April 3, 2022 at 11:45 PM.
  • Funding decisions will be made and announced in May 2022.
  • Impact Reports are due by January 23, 2023.

Eligibility

  • 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 final 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.

Funding

Grants will be $2,500.

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

The last round of Inspiration Grants was in Spring 2021. We made 18 grants totaling $35,468. The average grant was $2,061. 33% of applicants received a grant of any amount.

Payment of Awards and Reporting

Grants are paid in two installments, with 80% paid at the beginning of a project and 20% due upon completion once an acceptable impact report has been received.

Tax Liability

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.

How to Apply

The application process is entirely online. Here’s a PREVIEW of the 2021-2022 Inspiration Grant Application

Click here to access the ArtsKC Grant System. You will be prompted to set up an account with your contact information, then you can fill out the application and include attachments.

Project Budget Information

Many projects have a total Project Cost that is higher than the grant opportunity. The grant application requires a Project Budget document that includes Expenses (what it will cost to do the project) and Revenue (the money you will use to do the project). In-kind or donated resources should be included. The Revenue or Income should also include the amount of your ArtsKC grant request.

The total Expenses and the total Revenue is ideally the same, i.e. a balanced budget.

Expenses should make sense with the proposed project and be well-researched.

Revenue should list all sources of funding for the project, including the Inspiration Grant. For example, other grants, personal funds, and in-kind resources are commonly included. Note if the funding is secured or pending.

Below are two OPTIONAL templates that can be used for the application. These show examples of possible expenses and income sources and are easy for evaluators to read.

Excel Budget Template

Word Budget Template

Evaluation Process

Committee Members are selected for their artistic knowledge and experience, awareness of community needs and issues, and other contributing factors. Each application will be reviewed online and discussed by the committee in person. Applicants may be emailed questions regarding the application. Not all applicants will be sent questions.

The committee will consider:

  • Artistic Achievement and Quality
  • Career and Community Impact
  • Feasibility and Budget
  • and any other relevant factors.

Grant committees make a set of recommendations for funding that is presented to the ArtsKC Board of Directors for official approval.

Here’s a PREVIEW of the Evaluation Form used by the Inspiration Grant Committee.

Conditions

Timely Paperwork and Documentation

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 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. In the event that you forfeit your final payment and do not turn in a late Impact Report, you will become ineligible to apply for ArtsKC grants. Ineligibility can be reversed by the submission of an acceptable Impact Report.

Here’s a preview of the Impact Report Form, which is filled out and submitted in the online grants system.

Acknowledgment

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 Supported” 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.

Communicate Changes

Please notify ArtsKC staff in writing of any major changes in your project as described in your grant application. Updates to contact information are also greatly appreciated.

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

Grant System Link and Instructional Video

Here is the link to our Online Grants System.

How to use our Online Grant System (4 minutes long):

Committee Listing

The FY22 Committee listing will be added soon. Some previous year committee members will be serving again.

For past committees, click here.

General Grant Application Advice

  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
    More detailed advice: Building a Project Budget, NYFA; Applying for Grants: Creating a Realistic Budget, Creative Capital
  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.
  10. Turn in agreement forms and any other paperwork as soon as possible to receive first payments
  11. Document your project and any changes as you go along, for the Final Report (and yourself)
  12. Note Final Report dates on your calendar and meet the deadline to receive final payments
  13. Make sure to recognize your funder in the manner they request
  14. 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.
  15. Include grants you receive on your artist resume and any other relevant documents. It’s an honor.
  16. 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.