Joyce Program Culture

We believe communities are made better by the arts, and the arts are at their best when they reflect their community. 

By supporting arts organizations that commission and exhibit work by artists of color, employ all levels of staff of color, and regularly offer programs with content expressing multiple ethnic viewpoints, we ensure the arts are at their best and the canon is flush with the necessarily diverse expressions of 21st century creativity.  

The goal of the Culture Program is to strengthen arts organizations by ensuring racially diverse program offerings, artists’ commissions, staff, board leadership, and ultimately audience – and do that in measurable, sustainable ways. We also strive to increase the capacity and resources of community-based arts organizations. Additionally, we invest in Midwestern creative capital, partnerships, and community engagement. Click here to learn more about our program's history.

Get updates on our work in Culture and other programs

Promoting Access

The Joyce Foundation helps cultural organizations present the highest quality of art by helping to support diverse artists, staff, board and programming.  If we fund a spectrum of projects around racial equity—from systemic analysis of issues and policies that prevent sustained diversification, to regularly nurturing and supporting artists and arts administrators of color—then the arts ecosystem will become more diverse, more reflective of communities, more relevant in the 21st century, and ultimately will achieve greater financial and artistic success.

Goal

Increase racial equity inside arts organizations, with a special focus on large, well-established ones, to achieve more racially diverse staff, boards, audience, and programming.


Capacity Building

Joyce supports capacity and infrastructure building of small to mid-size arts organizations set in communities of color. We do this through salary support, strategic plan implementation, professional development, audience development plans and artistic program support. We invest in the vital work of these racially diverse arts groups so the art canon and sector can be flush with diverse artists, spaces and audiences.

Goal

Strengthen operations, support artistic programming and support infrastructural resilience for arts organizations set in, run by, and serving communities of color.


Objectives

This funding category considers initiatives to strengthen infrastructure and/or support vital artistic programming of arts organizations set in and primarily serving communities of color. This includes efforts to build programmatic and fiscal sustainability, salaries for high quality professionals, support to help stabilize organizations, professional development opportunities, building the individual donor base and supporting artistic programs.

We seek proposals and projects that support artistic programs, build boards and strengthen fiscal expertise and strategic planning. Additionally, we will seek proposals that address human capital development—meaning recruitment and retention of top talent, compensation strategies, on–the–job training, critical skill building, mentoring middle managers for senior leadership, and succession planning.

Supporting Creativity

Artists dream big, work hard, and implement ideas for a living. These dreamers and doers create nuance, critical thinking, multiple perspectives, and push societies to stretch, evolve, and thrive. We invest in Midwest creative capital with grants to arts organizations that support artists of color in a variety of ways and through our Joyce Awards program.

Through residencies, fellowships and the Joyce Awards, the Joyce Foundation supports commissioning new works by artists of color. By prioritizing community engagement within the Joyce Awards program, artists are able to introduce their work and the creative process to people inside and outside of traditional art spheres. By funding organizations’ work with artists of color, we increase the number of rigorous, substantive and coveted working artists of color in the mix, and the likelihood of realizing a high functioning, relevant, and racially diverse art ecosystem.

Goal

Nurture and support artists of color at critical points in their career trajectories.


Objectives

Our primary vehicle for nurturing creativity is the annual Joyce Awards program, which supports artists of color in creating new work in partnership with nonprofit organizations. The only program supporting artists of color in major Great Lakes cities, the Joyce Awards aims to strengthen cross-cultural understanding by bringing diverse audiences together. We have awarded more than $2.6 million to commission 50 new works since the program started in 2003. 

Because art is happening everywhere, all of the time, the Joyce Awards support the work of diverse artists no matter where they choose to work — whether in the gallery, on the stage, in the church, the schoolyard, or the community center. Any nonprofit organization is eligible, not only art institutions.

What We Fund

We focus on initiatives that make an impact on the Great Lakes region.

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How To Apply

Learn about our submission process for applying for a grant.

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Our Research & Reports

Explore our research & reports across all of our program areas.

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