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.

Grants & Grantees

Susan Rethorst (Pew Fellow, 2014) is an internationally renowned choreographer and teacher of choreography.

Ain Gordon, the Center’s 2011–13 Visiting Artist, spoke with choreographer and director Merián Soto about her Center-supported piece, SoMoS.

On May 3, 2010, two of contemporary visual arts’ most distinguished figures visited the Center for a compelling conversation addressing the practice of painting, the making of painting exhibitions, and the relationship between the two.

The City of Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy manages the largest and oldest public art program in the country, while The Mayor’s Fund for Philadelphia seeks to improve quality of life for all Philadelphians by facilitating collaborations between the city’s public, private, and non-profit sectors.

Anthony Romero and AUX Performance Space present an evening with “post-proletarian punk,” Serhiy Zhadan, and Philadelphia Poet Laureate and 2013 Pew Fellow, Frank Sherlock.

Network for New Music commissioned six new works for the Network Ensemble that paired composers with visual artists.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Pieranna Cavalchini is the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s Curator of Contemporary Art, where she has organized over 20 exhibitions.

Opera Philadelphia’s 2013 production of Silent Night received media attention in the New York Times and the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Grants & Grantees

Francis Di Fronzo is a visual artist and a 2004 Pew Fellow.

InterAct Theatre Company produced a play in which the symbolism of the “sports entertainment” industry isused to explore Americans’ fears of terrorism, extremism, and globalization.

Collaborators & Colleagues

John Andress is associate director of performing arts at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston.

Grants & Grantees

The world premiere of a new chamber opera by composer-in-residence Missy Mazzoli and librettist Royce Vavrek, inspired by the 1996 film by Danish auteur Lars von Trier, tells the harrowing tale of a naive newlywed who has chosen to marry outside of her strict Calvinist community in coastal Scotland.