CNY Arts, Inc.


Community Arts Grants

2021 Applications are now open!

The CNY Arts Community Arts Program support activities of individual artists, collectives, and community nonprofit organizations for projects and activities that enable Central New York and Mohawk Valley communities to experience and engage with the performing, literary, media, and visual arts. 

Through this grant program, CNY Arts will award $145,000 for projects taking place in the counties of Cortland, Herkimer, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, and Oswego between January 1 - December 31, 2021.

Funding is made possible through the Decentralization program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts.

Application Deadline: Wednesday, June 30, 2021, by 11:59 PM
(late or incomplete applications cannot be accepted)

Who May Apply: Nonprofit organizations, individual artists with an eligible fiscal sponsor or community-based partner

Award Amount: $500 - $5,000 

Match Requirement: None

Project Period: January 1 – December 31, 2021

Review the Program Guidelines

Start an Application

Dates/Locations for Seminars & Webinars have not been scheduled. Please check back again later.

Eligible Applicants

  • Must be located in Cortland, Herkimer, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, or Oswego counties.
  • Must have a permanent address in the same county the project is taking place.
  • Nonprofit organizations, NYS incorporated nonprofits, agencies of local government (not New York State agencies).
  • Individual artists, groups or collectives, unincorporated entities with an eligible Fiscal Sponsor or Community Based Partner in the same county the project will take place.

Ineligible Applicants

  • Public, private, or parochial secondary and elementary schools and districts.
  • Departments or agencies of New York State (this includes BOCES and SUNY Schools).
  • Applicants with outstanding final reports or open contracts from CNY Arts grants.
  • Applicants outside of the county in which the grant project is taking place without a fiscal sponsor. 
  • Organizations or Individuals that have applied directly to the New York State Council on the Arts for the 2020 grant cycle, regardless of funding status. This includes NYSCA REDC and the A.R.T./New York Creative Opportunity Fund (Opportunity to Create). These organizations may not serve as fiscal sponsors or community partners.

All applications are evaluated and scored by the panel according to the criteria listed below and must demonstrate a sufficient level of competency within each criterion: Artistic Merit, Community Impact, and Feasibility for a maximum score of 15 points.

Artistic Merit (5 points)

  • quality of artistic samples and credentials of proposed artists or personnel
  • project design
  • audience experience

Community Impact (5 points)

  • service to under-resourced area/population
  • collaboration with other organizations, artists, businesses
  • cultural diversity in programming
  • consideration of community needs/interests
  • accessibility (financial or physical)
  • non-duplication of comparable existing services/programs
  • committed and proposed community support/partners

Feasibility (5 points)

  • overall clarity and thoughtfulness of project proposal
  • reasonable plan and capacity for implementation
  • realistic proposal based on personnel, budget, timeline, and stated goals
  • effective plan for promotion and outreach to core audience(s)

Program Priorities                                                                              

  • New or pilot projects from returning grantees
  • Growth or expansion in existing projects from returning applicants or grantees
  • Projects from first-time applicants
  • Projects from applicants that have not received consecutive funding in the past two years
  • Fees or compensation paid to artists or artistic groups

Eligible Expenses

Remember this is a project support grant program, all expenses should be related to supporting a specific project:

  • Artist fees for performing, teaching, or providing services
  • Marketing/publicity costs
  • Project-related administrative expenses
  • Expendable, project-related supplies and materials
  • Project-related travel expenses (no out-of-state travel)
  • Project-related rental of space and equipment
  • Project-related technical fees

Ineligible Expenses

Funding will not be provided for the items listed below. By including ineligible expenses in your budget or narrative, you may disqualify your entire application from being considered. If you have questions about expenses, just ask!

  • General operating expenses
  • Any activity that takes place outside of the county where the applicant is registered
  • Operating expenses of privately owned facilities
  • Events that take place in private homes or studios
  • Purchase of permanent equipment
  • Capital improvements or building construction/development
  • Acquisition of works of art
  • Cash prizes, scholarships, fellowships, awards to students
  • Regrants by applicants to fund other activities
  • Juried shows and competitions
  • Camps, clubs or activities restricted to the general public (exception Arts Education)
  • Food/drink or hospitality-related costs
  • Galas, benefits, receptions, parties or fundraising events
  • Activities that raise funds for another organization, individual or cause
  • Entertainment such as balloons, clowns, magicians, “sip and paint”
  • Creation of textbooks or classroom materials
  • Programs in which children are used as professional artists (paid a fee)
  • Projects that are recreational, therapeutic, rehabilitative, or religious in nature including at-risk/social service programs when the purpose is primarily for rehabilitation, therapy or worship
  • Lobbying and advocacy-related expenses · Projects that involve payment(s) to direct NYSCA applicants (please see list).
  • Direct NYSCA applicants MUST NOT:
    • handle box office or ticketing
    • profit from the DEC program (ticket sales, donations, etc.)
    • include DEC funded programs as part of their season/programming
  • Completed Submittable Application Narrative
  • CAG Project Budget Form
  • Proof of Nonprofit Status
  • Staff List & Board Member Affiliation List
  • Financial Statement for your most recent fiscal year
  • Bios/Resumes of Key Artist(s) & Personnel

Additional requirement for an individual with a fiscal sponsor:

  • Fiscal Sponsorship Agreement

Optional, but strongly encouraged for all applicants to include:

  • Work Samples & Support Materials
  • Letters of Support

Decentralization 2020 Grantees

Decentralization 2019 Grantees

Decentralization 2018 Grantees

Decentralization 2017 Grantees

Decentralization 2016 Grantees

All questions that are asked to the Program Director are posted below with answers.