2020 Community Arts 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. This limit does not apply to applicants acting as fiscal sponsors or community partners for the Community Arts Grant. 

Applications for 2020 are NOW OPEN!

Application Timeline

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

The Community Arts Grant supports community-based organizations providing access to artist-driven 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 Community Arts grant supports:

  • Queens community-based nonprofit organizations offering cultural activities

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

  • Artist collectives working in partnership with Queens-based organizations

  • Individual artists working in partnership with nonprofit Queens-based community organizations

Project Funding is available for: 

  • Performance, literary, media and visual arts projects that include a public component that benefit the Queens communities

  • 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 by New York State Council on the Arts, Decentralization Community Arts Program with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.



1. Nonprofit Organizations

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

  • Applicants must have an active and legal street address in Queens (PO boxes not accepted)

  • All funded activity must take place in Queens within the 2020 calendar year.

  • Applicants must have existed for at least one year

  • Applicants must provide one of the following proof of nonprofit status:

    • A 501(c)(3) determination letter from the IRS

    • Documentation of charter by the NY State Board of Regents under section 216 of the State Education Law

    • A current NY State Bureau of Charities filing receipt

    • Documentation of incorporation under section 402 of the NY State Not-for-Profit Corporation Law

  • Applicant organizations must have an active board of directors that meets to determine and review policy

 2. Organizations without Nonprofit Status

  • Queens-based community organizations without nonprofit status, including artist collectives, may apply if partnering with a Queens-based nonprofit acting as a fiscal sponsor.

  • A letter of commitment for the partnering applicant organization outlining the scope of the partnership is required. (See FAQs for more information on letters of commitment)

3. Artist Collectives and Individual Artists

  • Queens-based artist collectives and individual artists can apply when working in partnership with a Queens-based nonprofit organization that meets the criteria above.

  • A letter of commitment outlining the scope of the fiscal sponsor’s partnership with the partnering applicant organization is required. (See FAQs for more information on letters of commitment)


  • Applicants that applied directly to New York State Council on the Arts in the current calendar year

  • Applicants that received QAF NYSCA Community Arts Program support, consecutively, for the past three years

  • Applicants funded previously who failed to submit final reports, or who failed to credit NYSCA DEC and QCA as stipulated in their cultural contract

  • QCA Staff or QCA Board

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

Fiscal Sponsorship Eligibility

  • Meets the same organization eligibility requirements as outlined above for nonprofit organizations

  • Must be based in Queens, however, the sponsored applicant is not required to reside in Queens

  • Eligible non-profit organizations may both be a fiscal sponsor and a direct applicant to the QAF NYSCA Community Arts grant.

    • The sponsored request does not count towards the $5000 limit for the direct QAF Community Arts application.

  • 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 NYSCA support cannot serve as fiscal sponsors or partner organization regardless of the status of their NYSCA application



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

  • Start up or seed funding for the establishment of a new organization

  • General operating expenses (including rent)

  • Operating expenses of privately owned facilities (e.g. homes and studios)

  • Equipment or capital improvements

  • Events that take place in private homes

  • Proposals that primarily benefit financial gain of an individual or organization

  • Historical societies, unless proposed project has a significant arts programming component

  • Social service programs when the focus is primarily for rehabilitative or therapeutic or worship

  • 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

  • Arts in education in-school activities and programs (Afterschool activities that are open to the general public are eligible)

  • Public school districts, private or parochial schools, and/or public colleges or universities

  • New York State agencies

  • Acquisitions of works of art

  • Fellowships, scholarships, or endowments

  • Cash awards for juried exhibitions or students

  • Regrants by applicants to fund other activities

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

  • Out-of-state travel costs

  • Contingency funds


Priority will be given to nonprofit arts organizations and individual 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 provide cultural access for 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 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:

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  • 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.