Individual grants for the performing arts

Updated July 01, 2018

The performing arts, defined as productions presented before a live audience, include dance, theatre, music and endeavours that support those arts. Individual grants for performing artists, awarded for outstanding merit, allow artists to pursue their craft without undue financial burdens. The National Assembly of State Art Agencies maintains a directory of state-sponsored programs, many of which award grants, prizes and fellowships. A few national foundations provide funding, and universities assist performing-arts students with scholarships.

Creative Capital

Creative Capital provides professional and monetary support to five disciplines of the arts, including performing arts. Other disciplines are Emerging Fields, Film/Video, Innovative Literature and Visual Arts. Past grantees presented their work at the Sundance Festival, the Kennedy Center and on Broadway. Applicants must be US citizens, at least 25 years old and have five years of professional experience. The foundation partners with grantees for two- to five-year periods, offering financial support and providing skill-building workshops, artist retreats and marketing assistance.

Max's Kansas City Project

The Max's Kansas City Project, established in 2001 in memory of Kansas City restaurateur Mickey Ruskin, provides emergency grants for performing artists in need of medical aid, legal aid or housing. Applicants must make their living through their art form. There are no deadlines, and applications are reviewed year round. The foundation accepts works of art, or other tangible goods related to art, for auction to help defray costs, but this is not a requirement. Prospective grantees may not apply more than once a year.

The Puffin Foundation

The Puffin Foundation provides grants to individual artists and arts organisations excluded from mainstream funding because of social philosophy, gender or race. It does not have the funds to cover travel or continuing education. Each grant cycle focuses on a handful of arts disciplines. In 2010, those were dance, video and fine arts. Awards in 2011 will go to theatre, music and photography. Previously awarded grants funded a theatre production about murdered journalist Daniel Pearl and public performances of an electronic sonic symphony.

New York Foundation for the Arts Artists' Fellowships

The New York Foundation for the Arts awards fellowships to residents of the state in many disciplines, including choreography, music and playwrighting. Established in 1971, the foundation had awarded almost £16 million in grants to almost 4,000 artists by 2010. Past recipients have won Academy Awards, Tony Awards and MacArthur Fellowships. Fellowship winners receive an unrestricted cash grant in two payments, one upon acceptance and the other upon completion of a public service activity. Students attending college or graduate school may not apply.

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Meg Jernigan has been writing for more than 30 years. She specializes in travel, cooking and interior decorating. Her offline credits include copy editing full-length books and creating marketing copy for nonprofit organizations. Jernigan attended George Washington University, majoring in speech and drama.