Historical Information

History

For more than 25 years, the City of Chicago has been committed to providing grants to support the local arts and culture community, investing more than $38 million since 1987. The Cultural Grants Program has continued to grow and develop each year with the arts community it serves. In 2012, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events proudly continued this work, providing over 500 grants totaling more than $1.2 million to non-profit organizations and individual artists.

Released in 2012 by DCASE, the Chicago Cultural Plan - the first of its kind in more than 25 years – created a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth. The Plan contains 10 priorities, 36 recommendations and 200+ initiatives within four categories: People, Places, Policies, and Planning Culturally. Since the launch of the Cultural Plan, DCASE has been focused on strategically restructuring its Cultural Grants Program to meet the needs articulated in the Plan and the newly envisioned DCASE Strategic Plan. The updated Cultural Grants Program is focused on supporting the implementation of Cultural Plan goals and filling gaps in the local philanthropic infrastructure, including expanded support for artists and creative, continued investment in general operating support for small to medium-sized arts organizations, and funding for new program development within large cultural organizations.

The new Individual Artists Program provides grants of up to $5,000 for artists and creatives to create work and to seek out professional development opportunities. CityArts, a grant program offered by the City of Chicago or/and its affiliates for more than two decades, previously provided small general operating support grants to Chicago-based organizations of all sizes. In 2013, DCASE made CityArts funds only available to organizations with annual budgets of under $3 million. Since that time, we have been focused on growing our pool of funds to provide grant opportunities to large organizations not met through the CityArts grant program. In 2014, DCASE created the IncentOvate Program, the first City program specifically aimed at organizations with budgets of $3 million and higher. This program seeks to incentivize innovation and foster the creation of new large scale public cultural experiences in Chicago.

To see a comprehensive, searchable list of recent grant recipients and awards, click here.