The application for 2020 AiS funding will open July 1, 2019 and close Monday, September 16, 2019.

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Please read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section below. You may also watch or attend one of our information sessions or workshops listed below. RSVP is not required to attend. 

About the application process

Arts in Society has a two-part application process. Applications are accepted in late summer, and upon selection by a panel, are followed by an invitation to submit a full proposal, which is due in early January.

About Arts in Society support

Arts in Society provides both financial and organizational support. In addition to receiving project funding, Arts in Society grantees benefit from the following resources:

Learning Community Meetings - Arts in Society grantees participate in a learning community program through which they meet three times with their annual cohort of grantees throughout the first year following funding. Through these meetings they share resources and learnings, and build a coalition of support. 

Evaluation Support - Through a collaboration with University of Colorado Denver's School of Arts and Media, Arts in Society grantees are participating in an evaluation process that is measuring and helping to illustrate the impacts of the arts in cross-sector projects. The project is led by Dr. Michael Seman, Director of Creative Industries Research and Policy at UCD.

Mini-Documentaries - Through a collaboration with UCD's School of Film and Media, all Arts in Society grantees get assistance in filming a 2-minute documentary so that they can share their work with the world. 

Marketing and Communications - Grantees receive marketing and communications support through various Arts in Society marketing channels, including the Arts in Society Facebook page, Instagram, and by contributing blog posts to the Arts in Society blog. 

AiS Grant Application Regions:

Regional Map.jpg

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

What are the qualifications for the program?

In order to be eligible for a grant, applicants must reside in the state of Colorado, and have an arts idea that engages a social issue. Organizations, individuals, schools, and government agencies are all eligible to apply. Arts in Society funds cross-sector work through the arts; we specifically look for projects that demonstrate a high level of collaboration between artists, organizations, and a target community to address a problem or social justice issue.

What do you mean by cross-sector work through the arts?

This type of work is sometimes referred to as Arts &. The term implies the utilization of arts and culture as an integral part of creating solutions to civic, social, environmental, and health problems. Arts in Society funds projects that integrate arts and culture with other disciplines to improve the health and well-being of Coloradans. Qualifying projects will engage arts organizations and artists as partners in illuminating and finding solutions to a wide array of civic and social challenges in communities across Colorado. Read our blog for some examples of work by past and present Arts in Society grantees.

What’s considered socially engaged art?

Good question. There are many definitions, but we like this one: “an art medium that focuses on social engagement, inviting collaboration with individuals, communities, and institutions in the creation of art that informs a social issue”.

If you want to learn more about this field of practice, please check out the following links:

A Blade of Grass

Creative Time

Pablo Helguera, Education for Socially Engaged Art

How do you define community?

We define community in both geographic and relational terms. A project must work with a community of people who share something in common (interest, geography, heritage, etc.).


Who can apply?

Arts in Society is open to nonprofits and individuals. Basically, all who reside in the state of Colorado can apply. You do NOT need to be an arts organization. We encourage applications from individual artists, non-arts organizations like human service groups, neighborhood organizations or healthcare organizations (as examples).

Can individual artists apply?


Could government entities apply?


Could an organization or artist located outside of Colorado be eligible to apply if they use an eligible local organization as a fiscal sponsor?

Primary applicants must be from Colorado. If you are an organization or artist outside the state of Colorado interested in applying, you must partner with an organization within the state in order to be eligible. A fiscal sponsor does not count as a “partner”. Partner organizations must play a critical role in the implementation of the project.

If I am already a grantee of one or more of the funding partners (currently Bonfils-Stanton, Hemera, and Colorado Creative Industries) can I also apply to this program?



What’s the difference between the application and a “full proposal?”

The application gives us just enough information to understand your idea and its context. If we choose it as a finalist, we will invite you to write a more detailed proposal.

How many applications may I submit?

There is no limit. Each application should be for a different project. We encourage applicants to submit their strongest idea(s).

If I am an artist or arts group, is a non-arts partner required?

No, but if your project addresses or works with a social issue (as it should), the final proposal should speak to your ability and cultural competency in engaging with that social issue. 


How much will be awarded?

Grants will range from $10,000-$50,000 depending on the project.

Is there a matching requirement, or could AiS fund the entire cost of a project?

There is no “match” requirement (i.e. a need to raise matching dollars to what is awarded). Applicants may request the full cost of a project.

Could Arts in Society grantees be awarded less than the requested amount? If so, would the expected scope of work be adjusted to reflect lower funding?

Yes and yes.

If our request is for partial support, how secure does the other funding need to be if I want to have a competitive proposal?

You do not need to have secured other funding in order to be competitive. Applications will be reviewed on the merit of the project idea.

Could funds be used for capital projects - a facility renovation or construction, for example - if it meets the program objectives?


*Please note that all grantees will be required to participate in a series (3 per year) of convenings to discuss what they’ve learned through the process of implementing their projects. Learning Community Meetings (LCMs) will be held at RedLine. Grantees are invited to bring up to three individuals from their project to each Learning Community Meeting. A travel stipend of $300/LCM will be provided to non-metro grantees traveling more than 180 miles. If you are located outside of the metro area, you are encouraged to budget travel expenses for LCMs into your project budget. 


Who reviews my application?

A panel of mostly local and some national experts, with the support of staff representatives of the funding partners will review each application. Ultimately, the final decision lies with each foundation’s board of trustees.

What criteria will be used to review my application?

Panelists will review applications on the following criteria:

  • Artistic Excellence and Merit - How is excellence of the artist’s work and/or artistic process demonstrated? Is there a quality artistic output as a result of the project? In judging artistic excellence, we refer to the Animating Democracy's "Attributes for Excellence in Arts for Change".

  • Relationships- What are the relationships to community, to partners, to artists, or others involved? How authentic are these relationships? Are multiple sectors included?

  • Intent & Viability- Is the scope of this project realistic? Is the intended outcome viable? Are the right partners engaged?

  • Relevancy- How is the need for the project demonstrated? Is the approach informed by the community?

 How do you define artistic excellence?

The arts are central to the project and the proposal reflects an informed understanding of the particular art form(s) being implemented. The criteria for the selection of artist and/or artwork is clearly defined and documented. Please refer to Animating Democracy's Aesthetic Perspectives: Attributes for Excellence in Arts for Changefor a detailed explanation of how aesthetics will be considered in relationship to proposed projects:

If my proposal is not accepted, will I know why?

Due to the number of applications we expect to receive, each one of them will not receive individual comments from the reviewers. As such, we cannot share with you exact reasons for your project being declined.

Grant Awards

When will grants be announced?

April 2020.

When will grant monies be distributed?

May 2020.

If I am funded, how long will I have to complete the grant?

Each applicant will determine the length necessary to complete the project. Projects should go no longer than 24 months and must completed by May 2022.

How soon will we hear back with a decision on our applications?

You will be contacted via email in late October with either an invitation to submit a full proposal or with the decision to decline your application.

What is entailed in the "learning community" work?

All grantees will be required to participate in a series (3 per year) of convenings to discuss what they’ve learned through the process of implementing their projects. Learning Community Meetings (LCMs) will be held at RedLine. Grantees are invited to bring up to 3 individuals from their project to each Learning Community Meeting. A travel stipend of $300/LCM will be provided to non-metro grantees traveling more than 180 miles. If you are located outside of the metro area, you are encouraged to budget travel expenses for LCMs into your project budget. 

What is entailed in the evaluation work?

Dr. Michael Seman, Director of Creative Industries Research and Policy at UCD and his team of students will work with each grantee to create a series of surveys to be administered to project participants, administrators, artists, and audiences. Grantees are responsible for administering these surveys and submitting them to Dr. Seman. 

Whom should I contact if I still have questions?

For information about this program please contact Libby Barbee, RedLine Regranting Manager at



About Bonfils-Stanton Foundation
Bonfils-Stanton Foundation strategically provides grants and fellowships to advance the arts and inspire creative leadership in Denver. Our foundation is richly steeped in Denver’s cultural history, but we are also a contemporary leader in fueling innovation and exploration in our creative economy. Each year we give more than $3 million to arts organizations and nonprofit leaders, because we believe these entities and individuals are critical to building and sustaining a vibrant community.


About Colorado Creative Industries

Colorado’s Creative Industries Division, Colorado’s state arts agency, is a division of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. Established to capitalize on the immense potential for our creative sector to enhance economic growth in Colorado, the mission of Colorado Creative Industries is to promote, support and expand the creative industries to drive Colorado’s economy, grow jobs and enhance our quality of life.  

About The Hemera Foundation
The Hemera Foundation, established in 2007, is a Boulder based charitable organization. The Hemera Foundation supports innovative organizations and initiatives that foster basic human goodness in individuals and society.


About The Colorado Health Foundation

The Colorado Health Foundation is bringing health in reach for all Coloradans by engaging closely with communities across the state through investing, policy advocacy, learning and capacity building. For more information, please visit

About The Scientific an Cultural Facilities District

Since 1989, SCFD has distributed funds from a 1/10 of 1% sales and use tax to cultural facilities throughout the seven-county Denver, Colorado metropolitan area (Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson counties). The funds support cultural facilities whose primary purpose is for enlightening and entertaining the public through the production, presentation, exhibition, advancement or preservation of visual arts, performing arts, cultural history, natural history, or natural sciences.