CNY Arts, Inc.


Community Arts Grants

The Community Arts Grant supports and enables emerging professional artists and organizations to grow professionally and to enhance the cultural climate in the Central New York and Mohawk Valley communities. Example of CAG projects may include, but are not limited to: exhibitions, workshops, performances, festivals, screenings or readings. All funded CAG projects must be community based and open to the general public.

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  • Application Deadline: December 16, 2022, at 11:59 pm
  • Who may apply: Nonprofit organizations or individual artists with an eligible Fiscal Sponsor or Community Based Partner
  • Award Amount: $500.00 to $5,000.00
  • Match Requirement: There is no longer a match requirement for this program. The grant will fund up to 100% of cash expenses.
  • Project Period: July 1 2022 to December 31, 2023
  • Project Location: Must occur in Cortland, Herkimer, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, or Oswego counties

 Program priorities

  • Projects that employ artists from historically excluded communities, especially those marginalized on race, geographic location, and ethnicity.
  • Projects that engage historically excluded communities.
  • Projects from first-time applicants.
  • Projects that prioritize grant funds for artist fees and compensation.
  • Growth or expansion of existing projects from returning applicants
  • New or pilot projects from returning grantees

Review the Program Guidelines

Funding is made possible through the Statewide Community Regrants Program (SCR, formerly known as Decentralization or DEC), a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts.

Eligible Applicants

  • Must be 18 years of age or older.
  • Must be a resident of Cortland, Herkimer, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, or Oswego counties.
  • Must have a permanent address in the same county as the project location.
  • Must provide proof of nonprofit status (including 501(c)(3) status, NYS nonprofit status, and governmental or tribal organization status) OR
  • Must be an individual artist, collective, or other unincorporated entity with an eligible Fiscal Sponsor or Community Based Partner in the same county as the project location.

Ineligible Applicants

  • New York State agencies and departments (including BOCES and SUNY).
  • Public, private, or parochial elementary and secondary schools.
  • Students enrolled in a two-year or four-year degree program.
  • Applicants with open contracts or outstanding Final Reports from previous grant cycles with CNY Arts.
  • Applicants who have applied directly to the New York State Council on the Arts for the 2022 grant cycle, regardless of funding status. This includes A.R.T./New York's Creative Opportunity Fund.
  • Ineligible organizations may not serve as Fiscal Sponsors or Community Based Partners for other applicants.

All grant applications are reviewed for completeness and eligibility before they enter the Peer Review Panel Process. All applications will be evaluated and scored according to the three criteria listed below for a maximum total of 15 points.

Creativity (5 points)

  • Quality of submitted samples of past works
  • Proposed artists and personnel should have experience and/or credentials that are well-matched to the project's goals.
  • High level of originality, innovation, and relevance.
  • Quality if project concept and design.

Access & Inclusion (5 points)

  • Engagement with historically excluded communities.
  • Consideration of community needs and interests (non-duplication of comparable existing programs or services).
  • Outreach and marketing plans for core audience should be appropriate and effective.
  • High level of collaboration with other organizations, artists, and businesses.
  • High level of cultural depth in audience experience.

Feasibility (5 points)

  • Overall clarity of project proposal with defined objectives.
  • A reasonable plan for implementation and evaluation.
  • Previously demonstrated ability to implement projects.
  • A realistic and achievable budget and timeline.

Eligible Expenses

All SCR grants are designed to provide project support. As such, all expenses must be related to supporting the proposed project. Applications with ineligible expenses included in the Budget Form or otherwise described in the project proposal may be disqualified.

  • Artist fees for performing, teaching, or providing services.
  • Project-specific administrative fees.
  • Space and equipment rental fees and other technical fees.
  • Equipment purchases of up to $1,000.00 of the total budget
  • Project-specific supplies and materials (not including food or drink).
  • Printing, advertising, promotion, and postage.
  • Travel and other necessary transportation (not including out-of-state travel).

Ineligible Expenses

  • General operating support.
  • Entertainment, such as balloons, clowns, magicians, or "sip and paint".
  • Individual equipment purchases exceeding the $1,000.00 maximum.
  • Cash prizes, scholarships, fellowships, regrants, or other monetary awards.
  • Juried shows and competitions.
  • Social activities, such as galas, benefits, receptions, parties, or any fundraising events.
  • Food, drink, or any other expenses related to hospitality.
  • Expenses related to any activity that takes place outside the same county as the project location.
  • Expenses related to events that take place in a private home or studio.
  • Expenses related to events that are restricted to the general public, such as camps or clubs.
  • Expenses for projects that are primarily recreational, therapeutic, religious, or rehabilitative in nature (including worship, health, and social service projects).
  • Building construction or development, capital improvements, or acquisitions of art.
  • Creation of textbooks and other classroom materials.
  • Expenses related to lobbying or any other advocacy.
  • Fees paid to children.
  • Any fee, payment, or financial benefit to direct NYSCA applicants, regardless of funding status.

Direct NYSCA applicants are prohibited from handling box offices or ticketing for any project funded by SCR. Direct NYSCA applicants may not profit from SCR through donations or ticket sales, and they may not include projects funded by SCR in their season or programming.

Applicants must have a permanent address in Cortland, Herkimer, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, or Oswego counties.

The following documentation may be accepted as proof of residency:

  • NYS driver’s license.
  • 2020 tax return.
  • Utility or any other bill containing the individual's name and address, dated no earlier than 2019.

The following documentation may be accepted as proof of nonprofit status:

  • Letter of Determination from the IRS indicating tax exempt status under section 501(c)(3).
  • Documentation of charter by the NYS Board of Regents under section 216 of the NYS Education Law.
  • Documentation of incorporation under Section 402 of the NYS Not-for-Profit Corporation Law.
  • Current NYS Bureau of Charities (Office of the Attorney General) filing receipt.
  • Official authorization as an arm of local government (i.e., a formal letter on official stationary signed by the appropriate county, city, town, or village executive).
  • Sign and adhere to the terms laid out in the project contract (funding agreement).
  • Conduct all funded activities as described in the project narratives in the application.
  • Provide CNY Arts with copies of promotional materials and an advance schedule of all funded events.
  • Provide CNY Arts with complimentary tickets for all funded events.
  • Submit a Final Report within 30 days after the completion of a project.
  • Attend the CNY Arts Awards Ceremony (anticipated March or April, 2022).
  • Immediately and in writing notify CNY Arts of any changes to the project, including dates, locations, admission fees, artists hired, or activities conducted. All changes to funded projects are subject to approval.
  • Prominently and correctly include credit language for the grant award:

This project was made possible with the funds from the Statewide Community Regrants Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Governor's Office and the New York State Legislature and administered by CNY Arts.

  • Credit language must be accompanied by the CNY Arts logo. The language may not be accompanied by the NYSCA logo.

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.

What is a Fiscal Sponsor?

Individual artists or collectives who do not meet eligibility requirements may apply to the Community Arts Grant or either of the other two DEC Grants through a fiscal sponsor. The entity serving as a fiscal sponsor must meet the same eligibility requirements as an applicant organization. Some things to note:

  • The fiscal sponsor must be based in the county that the proposed project is taking place. The sponsored applicant is then not required to reside in that county.
  • A fiscal sponsor may sponsor more than one applicant, as well as apply for the Community Arts Grant themselves. Sponsored applications do not count towards the award cap of $5,000.
  • Direct NYSCA applicants may not serve as a fiscal sponsor.

Fiscal Sponsors are further responsible for:

  • Knowledge and understanding of the Community Arts Grant criteria and relevant guidelines
  • Ensuring that the project occurs within the appropriate contract period and required service area
  • Consulting with the artist or collective regarding project eligibility and conveying all relevant grant application information, including deadlines and online access details
  • Registering requests and submitting applications with all required supporting information, including an Organizational Budget and Events Schedule (where applicable)
  • Execute a letter of agreement with the sponsored artist that clearly outlines the administration of the grant and defines mutual responsibilities
  • Informing sponsored artist of funding decisions in a timely manner (prior to the expiration of the appeals period)
  • Receiving and disbursing granted funds and ensuring that all relevant tax filings and reporting are executed as appropriate
  • Submitting a final report on the expenditure of the grant funds after the end of the contract period