2018 Guidelines: Organizational Support

Access application - CLOSED

grants range from: $1,000 - $5,000

SUBMISSION DEADLINE Thursday, OCTOBER 26, 2017 by 5:00 PM

Art Access Grant supports Queens-based organizations and collectives, that enhance the cultural vibrancy in Queens’ communities and neighborhoods where they live and operate and makes the arts accessible to all.

This program is supported in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Greater New York Arts Development Fund, in partnership with the City Council.


  • All disciplines including, performance, literary, media and visual arts projects that enhance quality of life Queens
  • Increase overall cultural awareness in the community
  • Queens-based nonprofit organizations of various ethnic, social, and geographic areas providing arts and cultural programming
  • Arts and cultural activities taking place within Queens in the 2018 calendar year
  • Artists' fees
  • Direct administration costs
  • Marketing and publicity costs
  • Supplies and materials needed for the execution of the project
  • Funded projects that culminate with a public exhibition or presentation in 2018 calendar year and are accessible to the general public of Queens.



       1. Nonprofit Organizations

  • Queens-based nonprofit organizations producing arts and cultural programming that directly serves the citizens of Queens
  • Organizations that have limited access to existing funding sources with a grant to provide public arts events to the Queens community
  • Organizations that represent all disciplines of art programming        

       Organization Eligibility

  • Applicant organizations who have existed for at least one year
  • Applicants must be a 501(c)3 organization and must provide proof of nonprofit status with a 501(c)3 determination letter from the Internal Revenue Service
  • Organizations that have operating budgets of less than $100,000 in at least two of the last three years

2. Organizations without a Nonprofit Status

  • Queens-based organizations without nonprofit status, including artist collectives may apply with a nonprofit organization acting as a fiscal sponsor.
  • A letter of commitment for the partnering applicant organization confirming the partnership is required 


  • Meets the same organization eligibility requirements as outlined above for nonprofit organizations
  • Does NOT need to be a Queens-based nonprofit however, the funded project must take place in Queens
  • May NOT be both a fiscal sponsor and a direct applicant to the QAF Arts Access grant.
     There are other funding opportunities through the QAF program.
  • A letter of commitment on the fiscal sponsor's letterhead is required.
  • Funds, if awarded, will be dispersed to the fiscal sponsor. The fiscal sponsor will allocate the funds according to the letter of commitment

Applicants that receive direct NYC DCLA support cannot serve as fiscal sponsors

WHAT Arts Access Grant CAN NOT FUND

  • Individual artist projects
  • Applicants who cannot demonstrate at least 25% of the total project cash income coming from sources other than Queens Council on the Arts
  • Organizations that received direct support from NYC Department of Cultural Affairs in any amount for DCA’s FY18 grant cycle (projects occurring between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018)
  • Organizations funded previously who failed to submit final reports, or who failed to credit NYC DCA and the Queens Council on the Arts as stipulated in their cultural contract
  • Establishment of new organizations
  • Projects that exclude the general public, including members-only access
  • Equipment or capital expenditures
  • General operating expenses
  • New York City public school districts, private or parochial schools, and/or public colleges or universities (However, PTA's with nonprofit status independent of the school and providing activities to the community at-large are eligible)
  • New York City agencies
  • In-school arts in education programs
  • Recreational, rehabilitative, or therapeutic art programs
  • Fellowships, scholarships, or endowments
  • Cash awards for juried exhibitions
  • Acquisitions
  • Entertainment costs including openings, receptions, catering, or fundraising


 Priority will be given to nonprofit arts organizations and artists whose primary mission is to provide arts and cultural programs at the community level in Queens as well as:

  • First time applicants
  • Cultural activities that benefit under-served communities
  • Cultural traditions and/or contemporary creative expression of cultural ethnicity


A diverse panel of artists, arts professionals, educators and local civic, business and community leaders reviews applications. The panel recommends a level of funding according to the following equally important criteria:

  • Quality and clarity of proposed project description
  • Artistic merit of organization’s past work and activities; artistic merit of artists involved in project
  • Demonstration of community interest and level of community interaction, and audience benefit
  • Clearly defined ability to successfully complete the project
  • Accurate and clear project budget. Appropriate budget must demonstrate at least 25% of total cash income coming from other sources of funding. QCA will not fund 100% of your project.
  • Non-duplication of comparable existing program in the same geographical area

    Applications are Reviewed Each Year in Context of:

  • Evaluation criteria
  • Available funding
  • Competitive evaluation against other applicants

Panel recommendations are presented to the Queens Council on the Arts Board of Trustees for review and approval. The QCA Board has final approval. The QCA staff facilitates the panel process and does not state opinions or make recommendations during panel deliberations.

ALL 1st Time APPLICANTS and Applicants that have not applied in the last 2 years MUST ATTEND AN APPLICATION INFORMATION SESSION in one of the following ways:

1.  Attend an informational group session. - CLOSED
2. Attend a one-on-one meeting with a QCA staff member. - CLOSED

QCA encourages all applicants to attend an information session and to contact the QAF Staff to discuss your project before submitting your application.

On-line Tutorials are available for your future reference. You can access the video HERE.

Support of organization in the past does not guarantee funding.


Applications must be completed online HERE - CLOSED
QCA does not accept paper copies of the application or hard copies of supplemental materials

 Deadline - Thursday, October 26th by 5:00 PM

No exceptions




art access grant FAQ's

  1.  When is the deadline for the Arts Access Grant Application? 
    Thursday October 26, 5:00 PM is the deadline for all QAF Grant Applications. NO EXCEPTIONS.
  2.  How do I apply for a QAF Grant?
    All eligible QAF applicants must fill out and submit a grant application. Access the online application HERE - CLOSED
     If you are new applicant you must create an account with a working email and a password in order to login to the online application.
    If you are a returning applicant you can use the same email from previous applications but you must create a new password for your 2018 QAF application login account.

    Please retain your email and password, as this login information will give you access to the application and all reporting forms if funded.
  3.  Do I need to attend an information session?
    If you are a NEW 2018 APPLICANT or have not applied within the last 2 years then YES you MUST ATTEND AN APPLICATION INFORMATION SESSION in one of the following ways:

    1. Attend an informational group session. - CLOSED
    2. Attend a one-on-one meeting with a QCA staff member. - CLOSED

    If after attending one of the above you need more help, the QAF staff is available or you can view the On-line Tutorial for your future reference available HERE.
  4. I have questions regarding my project ideas and would like my application draft read. 
    Contact Grants and Resource Director, Lynn Lobell at or (347) 505-3015. OR
    Grants Assistant, Dan Bamba at, (347)-505-3017
    All requests for review should be made at least two weeks in advance of the application deadline.
  5. How much time do I have to complete a QAF funded project?
    QAF funding is for the calendar year. All proposed projects must be completed between January and December of the year you receive the grant.
  6. What happens after I turn in my QAF application?
    QCA staff will review your application for completeness and contact you via email if your application is incomplete. Please check your email regularly after submitting your application as you will have a limited amount of time to fix any application problems. A panel comprised of 5-7 art administrators, community leaders and artists will review the QAF applications and decide on funding recommendations. The QCA executive board will review the recommendations and DCA will provide final approval. This year the panels will meet in December 2017.
  7. When will I find out if I received a QAF grant?
    Letters of notification will be made upon approval of the Board and sent to applicants no later than early January.
  8. What can I do if I disagree about the panel decision regarding my application?
    QCA wants to ensure that organizations are given full and fair consideration in the QAF competitive funding review process, hence the existence of an Appeals Process. 
    Grounds for Appeal are limited to:
    a.) Non-presentation of information: Information known to the QCA staff prior to the panel’s decision that was not presented and that might have altered the decision;
    b.) Misrepresentation of information: Information known to the QCA staff prior to the panel’s decision that was changed in its presentation and that, if presented differently, might have altered the decision;
    c.) Improper procedure: Contention by the applicant that: 
    review of the funding request by the appropriate panel was biased;
    decision by the panel was arbitrary and capricious.                                                                           
    Appeals must be made in writing to the Executive Director of Queens Council on the Arts within 7 business days of the written notification of the funding.                                                             
    The Appeals will be reviewed by a panel different from the original QAF panel.
    The QAF Grants and Resource Director should be contacted for information regarding panel comments and assistance on proper appeals procedures before writing the appeal to the Executive Director.
  9. When is the QAF money awarded?
    Once the notifications are sent out you will be required to sign and return a QAF Cultural Contract as well as a W-9 Form. A Change of Scope form may also apply, (see #11).
    Checks are issued up receipt of grantees' signed contract. Please be aware that moneys may not become available until mid-year. Please plan your projects/programs accordingly.
  10. What are my responsibilities if I receive a QAF grant?
    Grant recipients must sign a cultural contract with QCA before receiving the award check. 
    The cultural contract outlines grant recipient responsibilities:
    Maintenance of level of service: Grant recipients agrees not to materially reduce or vary the scope of its service to the general public as set forth in the application for support without the express written consent of QCA.
    Risk of operation: Grant recipients shall assume all responsibility for the risk of operation related to program(s) supported by such assistance and hereby absolve and hold QCA harmless of liability relating to the program(s).
    Insurance: Grant recipients shall carry all insurance required by law
    Reporting: Grant recipients agree to Final Reports by the designated deadline. Interim Reports are longer required. At any time during your contract period, QCA is available to help assist you in anyway.
    Mention of support: In any and all publicity produced for the projects covered in this Contract (including but not limited to programs, publications, books, catalogs, films, videos, exhibitions, web pages, e-blasts, newspaper and journal articles, etc.), the Grantee shall credit the Queens Council on the Arts and the appropriate funder.

    In the event of failure to comply with all the terms of the cultural contract, grant recipients will be held liable to return the entire grant amount to the Queens Council on the Arts.
  11. What happens if I do not receive full funding for my project?
    If you are receiving less than 50% of your original request, you will be required to turn in a “Change of Scope” Form prior to receiving your cultural contract. This form will require to fill out a revised budget as well as a change to proposed project, if necessary.
  12. Can I find out what was said about my application in the panel review?
    Yes, do not be shy, please call QCA to receive your panel comments. If you did not receive any funding, the comments will inform your eligibility for the appeals process. If you did received funding, it is helpful to review panel comments as they provide applicants valuable information for future grant applications.
  13. Can an organization apply for more than one DCA-funded grant?
    No. However, organizations are welcome to apply to both the DCA-funded Art Access Grant and the NYSCA-funded Community Arts Grant. Review all guidelines thoroughly to ensure your eligibility. QAF is a competitive process and not all requests are funded. Applicants are encouraged to select the grant which best suits their needs and submit a complete and detailed application. Please keep in mind that organizations that have never been funded will be given priority in the panel meeting.
    It is important that the applicant organization shows that at least 25% of the project's total expenses is funded by non-QCA sources. This additional funding should be listed on the grant application under the Budget-Income section.
  14. Do I need to have a letter of agreement from the Queens venue where my proposed project is going take place?
    No. However, your organization is highly encouraged to submit a letter of agreement from a proposed Queens venue, on the venue’s letterhead, where proposed project will take place. Proposals with letters show a well-thought-out and determined plan.


  1. What does it mean to have fiscal sponsorship?
    Please reference QCA’s Fiscal Sponsorship Worksheet. The worksheet consists of a sample letter of commitment and a detailed explanation of fiscal sponsorship.
  2. Does my fiscal sponsor have to be based in Queens?
    Organizations, without nonprofit status, applying to the DCA-funded Arts Access grant fiscal sponsor need NOT be Queens-based.
  3. If I am using a fiscal sponsor, whose contact information should I use on the application?
    Information for the fiscal sponsor will be listed under the “Applicant Information” section of the application. List your individual or organizational information under the “Project Contact Information” section
  4. If I am using a fiscal sponsor, whose budgetary and financial information should I use?
    Use financial information for the sponsored organization, not the fiscal sponsor. Do use the fiscal sponsor’s proof of nonprofit status.
  5. May I use a non-arts organization as a fiscal sponsor?
    Yes, any 501(c)3 organization may serve as a fiscal sponsor.
  6. Do I need to submit a letter confirming fiscal sponsorship?
    Yes. You must submit a letter of agreement on the sponsoring organization's letterhead, signed by the executive director or administrative equivalent. This confirms your organization's use of the sponsor's nonprofit status.


  1. How do I access the application?
    You must create an account to access the application. - CLOSED
    If you are new applicant you must create an account with a working email and a password in order to login to the online application. If you are a returning applicant you can use the same email from previous applications but you must create a new password for your 2018 QAF application login account.

    Please retain your email and password, as this login information will give you access to the application and all reporting forms if funded.
  2. I am not good with computers, can I mail my attachments?
    No, QCA will not accept any mailed materials. Please contact QCA well in advance of the deadline with questions or find a technology savvy friend to assist you.
  3. How do I find out my legislator district numbers?
    Enter your address into the search section at "Who Represents Me?" on the League of Women Voter’s NYC website. There are tabs for city, state and federal representatives. You only need to include the district numbers, not the representatives' names.
  4. What are the guidelines for submitting work samples and supplemental materials? What is the maximum file size?
    To make your application competitive you should submit samples from your organization’s past work.

    * You may combine work sample types if that best represents your artistic practice, but you cannot exceed 6 work samples total and only 2 of the 6 can be video samples.
    * No promotional videos or stills.
    * All jpg, doc, pdf and audio files should be uploaded to the application. Each uploaded work sample cannot exceed 10 MB in size.
    * Video work samples are not subject to this restriction because they are uploaded to YouTube first.
    * Each uploaded supplemental material file cannot exceed 10 MB in size. Pdf files are recommended but not required.
  5. How do I attach a video work sample to my online application?
    All video work samples must be uploaded to YouTube and the YouTube URL must be provided in the corresponding YouTube URL box in the online application.
  6. I would like to keep my YouTube video sample private rather than public. How do I do this?
    While you cannot use a password protected private YouTube video, you can change the video’s settings to be “unlisted.”
    This means only those with the direct link can view the video. Read more about YouTube privacy settings
  7. Where should I apply if my project isn't in Queens?
    Every NYC borough has an arts council that grants city and state funds through programs similar to ours. The NYC local arts councils are:

    * Manhattan: Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC)
    * Brooklyn: Brooklyn Arts Council
    * Bronx: Bronx Council for the Arts (BCA)
    * Staten Island: Staten Island Arts

    Most local arts council grant programs require residency in the borough you are applying in and require you to do your project in that borough.


How do I get selected to serve as a QAF Panelist?

Interested in serving as a Queens Arts Fund Panelist? Check out the QCA website here and if still interested complete the Nomination Form here.

      A QAF staff member will contact you and request your resume and determine your availability.

Got More Questions?

Did we miss something? Do you have a question specific regarding your project?
Please contact Grants and Resource Director, Lynn Lobell at 347-505-3015 or OR
Grants Assistant, Dan Bamba at, (347)-505-3017