Creative Organizations & Creative Individuals

Arts organizations and artists are vital to strong communities and contribute to a vibrant arts ecosystem in Chicago and the Great Lakes region. They can act as important community anchors and economic drivers, support diverse artistic expressions and traditions, and nurture the voices, careers, and visibility of artists who have been historically underfunded.

The Culture program aims to support the growth and sustainability of these arts organizations and the artists they present and serve by providing multi-year general operating grants and project grants. Organizations funded by our work demonstrate many of the following characteristics. They:

  • offer robust seasons of professional, thought-provoking exhibitions, performances, and programming in the visual, performing, and multi-disciplinary arts;
  • pursue innovative and strategic approaches to artistic and organizational growth and sustainability;
  • are grounded in the voices, concerns, and artistic visions of historically underrepresented and underfunded artists and communities;
  • are directly and effectively responsive to the needs and the advancement of underrepresented artists; and
  • have built a strong network of arts organizational partners, including community partners.

Our funding also includes professional development grants for artistic residencies, fellowships, awards, and programs supporting early and mid-career underrepresented artists, including artists of color, to advance their careers, strengthen professional networks, and raise visibility for their work to the city, region, and field at large. In addition, we provide a limited number of grants to support the development and presentation of new, innovative, and large-scale artistic commissions, exhibitions, and performances, including our annual Joyce Awards.