Arts Work Fund

Creative Community Response Grants

THINK – EXPLORE – SHARE offers grants to enable arts organizations with operating expenses under $800,000 – or collaborative groups of arts organizations – to identify and test what they can do in the here and now to adapt to challenges posed by COVID-19, or challenges that hampered them before the pandemic (e.g., lack of equity and accessibility for artists of color and artists with disabilities, declining ticket sales). Challenges identified for support can be managerial, production, technological, fiscal planning, and artistic. (If you are seeking a grant for an artistic project, the project should be in service of the organization as a whole, versus in support of a specific piece of work, and have a social engagement goal or address a community issue or need). The goal is to cultivate unconventional thinking to address the immediate challenges of COVID-19 and devise more effective ways for arts organizations to meet their desired outcomes.

THINK grants (up to $15,000) give arts organizations the time and space to think through a question, analyze challenges and opportunities, and develop plans or small tests of change. Competitive proposals will demonstrate how and why the organization selected the challenge or the questions to be examined and how they will structure their exploration. Priority will be given to groups of organizations working together to share and explore answers.

EXPLORE grants (up to $25,000) provide arts organizations who have fully developed ideas with the resources to test and implement the concept. These grants hope to foster the creativity and risk-taking that is essential to creating new and better ways of operating in the current COVID-19 world and addressing some of the aspects of arts organizations that were not working well before the pandemic. Priority will be given to projects that have maximum potential benefit for the organization and the field.

SHARE is a component of both Think and Explore grants. Grant recipients are asked to share their project ideas, progress, and lessons learned via a minimum of three blog posts on the Arts Work Fund’s AWFConnect listserv. We are looking for genuine sharing of lessons learned, and we expect that some projects and strategies will prove failures. Blog posts will replace a final report for the grant and will be scheduled around specific dates with each grantee organization.

Download this grant making overview (PDF) to learn more about eligibility and application deadlines.


To apply for a THINK grant, click here.

To apply for an EXPLORE grant, click here.

Find upcoming grant opportunities in Grant Central