Applying for a 2017 Project Grant: What You Need to Know

Martha McDonald performs “Songs of Memory and Forgetting” as part of RAIR: Live at the Dump. Photo by Mike Persico.

At The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, we encourage an ongoing dialogue with the cultural community regarding our application process and your creative project ideas. You’ll find full application guidelines and details about the types of grants we award on our Apply page—but we’ve rounded up some of the most commonly asked questions here, to help you get started.

What types of grants does the Center award?

Our grant types include Project grants for implementation and discovery, Advancement grants, and Pew Fellowships (for individual artists, awarded through a nomination process). Each of our funding programs—Exhibitions & Public Interpretation, Performance, Advancement, and Pew Fellowships—has a set of annual guidelines detailing the types of grants available and eligibility criteria. Project grants and Fellowships are made through a panel adjudication process. Advancement grants are approved directly by the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Board of Directors.

Can individuals apply?

Yes, individual artists in Performance, as well as curators, and other cultural practitioners may apply for Project grants, provided that they meet the eligibility requirements. However, individuals must discuss their applications with the appropriate Center program staff to determine their eligibility. Individuals applying directly may be eligible for grants of up to $60,000, while organizations may be eligible to apply for grants of up to $300,000.

Full eligibility details can be found on page 6 of our Project grant guidelines.

What do Project grant funds support?

Project grants are for making big ideas happen: bringing urgent, ambitious, and substantive performances, exhibitions, or interpretation projects to fruition. Discovery grants are for focused exploration that will seed future project proposals.

We encourage you to review our list of past and latest grants and grantees. Please see page 5 of our Project grant guidelines for full details on the types of support available.

How are applications evaluated?

Project grant applications are reviewed by a peer review panel composed of five to nine panelists from outside the greater Philadelphia region. Three criteria will be used by the panel to evaluate these applications: excellence, ability to realize the project, and impact. Applicants will be asked to articulate a project’s curatorial thesis and its artistic and programmatic urgency. Please see page 9 of our Project grant guidelines for a full list of application questions.

What is my first step in applying?

Talk to us: Before beginning a Letter of Intent to Apply (LOI), you are strongly encouraged to make an appointment with the Center’s Senior program staff to discuss any eligibility concerns, the amount of funds being requested, and your project concept and its fit within the Center’s goals and priorities. Please keep in mind that the process of submitting an LOI includes answering a series of questions, along with submitting work samples. We strongly recommend meeting with the appropriate Center staff no later than October 15, 2016.

To schedule an appointment contact:

Exhibitions & Public Interpretation
Chloe Reison
267.350.4950, creison[at]

Erin Read
267.350.4970, eread[at]

What are the 2017 Project grant application deadlines?

November 16, 2016 at 4 p.m.—Letter of Intent to Apply deadline
By December 23, 2016—Notification of invitation to apply
March 1, 2017 at 4 p.m.—Full Project grant applications deadline

When will applicants be notified of their status?

Announcements of grant recipients will be made in June 2017.

Fall kicks off with a packed schedule of Center-funded projects, including exhibition openings from Temple Contemporary and The Galleries at Moore, and performance premieres at the 2015 Fringe Festival that push the boundaries of genre and form.

RAIR will screen the children’s science fiction movie WALL-E at its outdoor recycling facility in Northeast Philadelphia.

Grants & Grantees

The Philadelphia Photo Arts Center is a nonprofit organization devoted to the study, practice, and appreciation of photography in the Philadelphia region.

Collaborators & Colleagues

New York City-based conceptual artist Fred Wilson is known for repurposing objects and artifacts to lead people to see them in a different way.

The next phase of a multi-part conversation about historic preservation, first initiated in 2011, Gray Area 3 will convene community members around the “adaptive re-use” of two vacant Philadelphia buildings of historic, cultural, or architectural significance.

Grants & Grantees

Kukuli Velarde is a visual artist and a 2003 Pew Fellow.

Choreographer Lucinda Childs visits Philadelphia to recover dances she choreographed in the 1960s and ’70s.

Congolese choreographer and dancer Faustin Linyekula discusses why he believes that theater is “a lab for how we live as citizens.”

Congolese choreographer Faustin Linyekula discusses why he is “constantly trying to find ways of being in dialogue with the city.”

Collaborators & Colleagues

C. Spencer Yeh is recognized for his interdisciplinary activities and collaborations as an artist and composer, as well as his music project Burning Star Core. Yeh served as an LOI panelist in Performance in 2015.

The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia opened to the public in 1954 and is located in the former home of brothers Philip and Dr. A.S.W. Rosenbach, international dealers in rare books, manuscripts, and fine and decorative arts.

Grants & Grantees

Eleone Dance Theatre is a Philadelphia-based troupe dedicated to dance that celebrates intergenerational and multicultural themes.