Arts Access Grant

2020 Arts Access Grant - Organization Support

Grants range from $1,000 to $5,000

For this category, applicants can make only one project request not to exceed $5,000. Organizations that apply as a grantee cannot also fiscally sponsor a different applicant in the same year.

Applications for 2020 are NOW OPEN!

Application Timeline

Application Deadline: October 29th
Panel Meetings: January 2020
Grantee Notification: February 2020

The Arts Access Grant supports Community-based organizations and collectives in Queens, providing access to arts and cultural projects or activities that enhance the cultural vibrancy in Queens communities and neighborhoods where they live and operate to make the arts accessible to all.

These are project-based grants, so even non-arts organizations can apply, as long as projects provide cultural or arts programming.


The Arts Access grant supports:

  • Queens community-based nonprofit organizations offering cultural activities

  • Queens community-based organizations that do not have nonprofit status, but apply through a NYC-based fiscal sponsor

Project Funding is available for:

  • Performing, literary, media and visual arts projects that enhance quality of life Queens and increase overall cultural awareness in the community

  • Projects and programs by 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 2020 calendar year

  • Grant funds can be used for:

    • Artists' fees

    • Direct administration costs

    • Marketing and publicity costs

    • Supplies and materials needed for the execution of the project

    • Venue rental for the project (general home/office rent is not eligible)

Applications must show how the requested funds will:

  • Strengthen community bonds

  • Increase overall awareness and greater access to cultural activities in Queens

  • Advance the applicant organization’s mission

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.



1. Nonprofit Organizations

  • Queens-based nonprofit organizations producing arts and cultural programming that directly serves the communities of Queens

  • Organizations that have limited access to existing funding sources to provide public arts events to the Queens community

  • Organizations that represent all disciplines of art programming

  • Nonprofit Organization Eligibility

    • Applicant organizations must:

      • Have existed for at least one year

      • 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

      • Have an operating budget 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 outlining the scope of the fiscal sponsor’s partnership with the partnering applicant organization is required.


  • Fiscal sponsors must meet the same organization eligibility requirements as outlined above for nonprofit organizations

  • However the sponsor does NOT need to be a Queens-based nonprofit, only NYC-based, but the funded project must take place in Queens

  • Fiscal sponsors can 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)

Applying with a Fiscal Sponsor

  • The proposed cultural project must be a collaborative partnership between the applicant and the fiscally sponsoring organization

  • A letter of commitment on the sponsor's letterhead is required; the letter of commitment must outline the scope of the partnership, including both the partner and applicant’s investment or contribution (in-kind and/or cash) towards the proposed project.

  • Funds, if awarded, will be dispersed to the fiscal sponsor. The fiscal sponsor will allocate the funds according to the letter of commitment.

  • The proposed cultural project must be a collaborative partnership between the applicant and the fiscally sponsoring organization. This can include, but is not limited to, assistance with volunteers, outreach, venue, or general project support.

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


Who Cannot Apply:

  • 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 FY19 grant cycle (projects occurring between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019)

  • 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

  • Applicants who are out of compliance with any Queens Council on the Arts funding contract.


WHAT Projects Arts Access Grant CANNOT FUND

  • Establishment of new organizations

  • Projects that exclude the general public, including members-only access or in private residences

  • Equipment or capital expenditures

  • General operating expenses (including rent)

  • 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 (Afterschool activities that are open to the general public are eligible)

  • Programs in which children (under 18) are paid as professional artists

  • Non- arts related activity including:

    • Entertainment costs including receptions, catering, or fundraising events

    • Recreational, rehabilitative or therapeutic art programs

    • Activities that are commercial art or entertainment, including balloons, clowns, magic, culinary arts

  • Fellowships, scholarships, or endowments

  • Cash awards for juried exhibitions

  • Acquisitions of works of art

  • 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

  • Artist-driven projects that are collaborative between artists and/or organizations.

  • 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 important criteria:

  • Quality and clarity of project description

  • Artistic merit of organization’s past work and activities; artistic merit of artists involved in project

  • Demonstration of community benefit and level of community engagement

  • Clearly defined ability to successfully complete the project

  • Accurate and clear project budget.

    • Appropriate budget must demonstrate at least 25% of total income coming from diverse sources of outside support.

    • The 25% match can include in-kind contributions and monetary contributions.

    • The panel will evaluate more favorably project budgets that display a diverse mix of outside support, with a greater emphasis on monetary contributions.

    • 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 the context of:

  • Evaluation criteria

  • Available funding and funding priorities

  • Competitive evaluation against other applicants

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

 Support of organization in the past does not guarantee funding.

Attend an Information Session

First time applicants must attend a QAF Information Session

Applicants that have not applied in the last 2 years are strongly encouraged to attend.

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

REGISTER For an information Session

To stay up to date on the Queens Arts Fund, please sign up for our mailing list here

More Questions?

Contact Dan Bamba, Grants and Residencies Manager at / 347.505.3017, or Jenna London, Grants and Residencies Assistant at / 347.505.3015

Access Grant Guidelines in Mandarin:

Access Grant Guidelines in Spanish:
Ver debajo para las pautas en español:


  • Denied applicants will have 10 days from the date of notification to make an administrative appeal of the funding decision

  • To begin the appeals process, the applicant must first speak with QCA staff to receive application feedback and panel notes

  • Once the applicant has received application feedback and grounds for appeal are valid, a formal letter to the Executive Director of QCA must be submitted. The formal letter must specifically cite the ground(s) for the appeal, and must request that the decision be appealed

  • The three grounds for appeal are:

    • Non-presentation of information

    • Mis-representation of information

    • Improper procedure: Contention by the applicant that: 1) the review of the funding request by the appropriate panel was biased; 2) the decision by selection panel was arbitrary and capricious.

NOTE: Dissatisfaction with a denial of an award or with the grant amount is not eligible grounds for appeal.