CityArts Program for Nonprofit Organizations

The 2018 CityArts Application is now closed.


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Program Overview

2018 Grant Calendar

BOLT Exhibition 16th International TheaterWit Arts Of Life ElevArte Carnaval 2012 (Photographer Kyle LaMere) How And Why Storycatchers Operation Ignore

The 2018 CityArts Program guidelines are available. Download the 2018 Guideline Packet (PDF).

This year, organizations of all sizes were allowed to apply for support from DCASE through the CityArts Program.  


Program Overview

The DCASE CityArts Program encourages the attainment of artistic excellence and financial stability through general operating support for nonprofit arts organizations.

Through CityArts, DCASE provides one-year general operating support grants to arts organizations with vibrant artistic or cultural programming. General operating support funds may be used for artistic, administrative and program activities including expenses such as salaries, marketing, insurance, supplies, professional services, fees and training. All grants are one-year grants.

New in 2018, we will also offer the opportunity to apply for project-specific funding in alignment with the City of Chicago’s Year of Creative Youth for organizations with budgets under $2 million. To learn more about the Year of Creative Youth, please visit


General CityArts Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible to apply for funding, applicants must meet each of the following criteria.

Applicants must:

• Be a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization incorporated in the state of Illinois for at least 12 months prior to applying (must have been incorporated as of January 1, 2016).

• Be a resident company in the city of Chicago with a valid street address (P.O. boxes will not be accepted).

• Primarily serve the residents of the city of Chicago; demonstrate that at least half (at least 51%) of programming occurs within the city of Chicago.

• Have primary mission to create, produce, present, provide, or support arts and culture services for the public.  

• Be planning public programming/activities available to the public during the 2017 calendar year.

• Work in one of the following disciplines: Architecture, Curatorial Arts/Museums, Dance, Design (includes Fashion, Industrial, and Costume), Interdisciplinary, Literary Arts, Media Arts and Film, Music, Performance Art, Photography, Public Art, Theater, Visual Arts OR serve as an arts service organization.

The following are not eligible to apply to the CityArts Program:

• Organizations that are serving as or using fiscal agents or fiscal sponsors

• Religious institutions

• Public or governmental agencies

• Schools, school districts, and universities/higher education institutions (some exceptions apply, see guideline packet for more information)

• Athletic teams, social organizations, fraternal organizations

• Consortiums and collaboratives

• Individuals

Beginning with organizations funded through this program in 2013, organizations can receive CityArts general operating funding for three consecutive years in a row before being required to take a year off. If you are not sure if you are eligible, please email Julie Partynski at

Note: DCASE is unable to pay grant funds to nonprofits with outstanding, existing debt with the City of Chicago. Please pay off or clear up any existing debt (parking tickets, water bills, etc.) prior to applying for a CityArts grant. We suggest you contact the City of Chicago Finance Department to check your Indebtedness standing by calling 312-74-GO-BIZ as soon as possible.


2018 Grant Calendar




Grant Period January 1 – December 31, 2018 This is the time during which grant funds must be spent.
Application Assistance Workshops
January 23-February 8
Advance registration is encouraged. Please use the Eventbrite link at to secure your spot.

Application Opens
and Guidelines become available

January 15, 2018         
Application Deadline
February 28, 2018         5pm CST

No Extensions will be Granted

Notification of Results
July 2018
All applicants will be notified via e-mail sent to the address on file in the CyberGrants system.
Contracting Period August-September 2018 Grant agreements and necessary attachments will be completed by grantees and processed by the cultural grants team.
Payments Disbursed
Timeframe is subject to change. Please refer to this calendar for updates.
Final Reports Due January 31, 2019 Reports will be completed electronically through CyberGrants.



ElevArte Carnaval 2012 Photograper Kyle LaMere