Erie Arts & Culture distributes more than $300,000 in grants to individual artists and not-for-profit organizations located throughout Northwestern Pennsylvania each year. Grants are designed to support a variety of arts and cultural activities to help strengthen the vibrancy and vitality of the Erie region as well as enrich the lives of our residents and visitors.

The Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator Program is designed to pair access to existing small business consulting services with financial resources for creative entrepreneurs who aspire to start their own for-profit business or who operate an existing for-profit micro business.


The Program’s purpose is to help creative entrepreneurs to grow their business, audience, and revenue. The Program will advance the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts’ overarching value of diversity, equity, and inclusion and prioritize investments to creative entrepreneurs who identify Black, Indigenous, or people of color ("BIPOC") and those who are located in and whose work benefits low-income communities.


Application Deadline
Applications will be accepted from October 1 - December 31 at 11:59pm. Applicants will be notified of funding decisions by February 1.


Grant Amounts
Grants are $2,000.


Eligibility
Creative entrepreneurs, if funded, are eligible to reapply for the Creative Entrepreneurs Accelerator Program once every three years.


Applicants must:
1. Be at least 18 years of age and a current resident of Pennsylvania for at least one year.
2. Have a business with gross revenue less than $200,000.
3. Be a creative entrepreneur intending to form a business or operating a business in Pennsylvania within one or more of the following creative industry areas:

  • Marketing – Advertising and marketing agencies & professionals
  • Architecture – Architecture firms & architects
  • Visual Arts & Crafts – Galleries, artists, artisans & makers
  • Design – Product, interior, graphic, and fashion design firms and designers
  • Film & Media – Film, video, animation, TV & Radio businesses
  • Digital Games – Companies, programmers & individuals producing games.
  • Music & Entertainment –Producers, venues, musicians & performers
  • Publishing  – Print or electronic businesses & content creators, editors & writers


Eligible Uses of Funds
Funds must support business formation or development. Eligible uses of grant funds include:

  • Professional fees for workshops, consultants, and career coaching.
  • Participation in events, trade shows, festivals, etc. that offer access to audience and revenue generation potential.
  • Business development fees for courses or seminars for business skills.
  • Research and development.
  • Marketing and promotion.
  • Development or upgrades to technology related to business practices.
  • Studio/rehearsal/retail space rent.
  • Reasonable fees for supporting/collaborating artists.
  • Purchase of supplies and equipment.


Grants funds cannot be used for the following:

  • Activities outside the grant period.
  • Activities that have a religious purpose.
  • Payments to lobbyists.
  • Activities for which academic credit is given.
  • Offsets to regular business operating costs, including regular salary or wages.
  • Hospitality, food, or beverages.


Step 1:
Before applying, all applicants must first have a consultation with a Referral Coordinator. The Referral Coordinator assists with the logistics of starting a business including the development of a business plan and continued growth strategies. Local Referral Coordinators for Erie Arts & Culture can be found at the bottom of this webpage.
Step 2:
Upon receiving a referral form from a designated Referral Coordinator, applicants may submit application materials through Erie Arts & Culture. Submissions must include the creative entrepreneur’s application form, business plan, 12 month budget projection, and referral form.


Tips: 

Successful applicants to the CEA program have:

  • Consistently accessed resources before and after receiving grant support (including consulting, accelerator programs, skill building workshops, etc.)
  • A relevant business plan
  • An understanding of their target market
  • Demonstrated their business' growth 
  • Created a plan for CEA funds that addresses needs and will grow the business, audience, and/or its revenues     
    • Can demonstrate matching funds (if proposed use of funds exceeds the $2,000 grant amount)

     


Questions? Contact Casey Corritore, Program Officer of Capacity Building: casey@erieartsandculture.org | 814-452-3427 x 108

Non-profit arts organizations in Erie County that present music performances are eligible to apply to the Clarence E. Beyers Fund for partial project and program funding. Requests that support innovative projects and/or audience development initiatives are especially competitive.

Applications will be accepted October 1 - December 15 at 11:59pm. Applicants will be notified of funding decisions by February 1. 


Grant Cycle

February 2024 - January 2025
 


Erie Arts & Culture intends to fund projects of all musical genres that exemplify one of more of the following principles of artistic "quality":
 

  • Commitment - the creative process and result demonstrate conviction to a cause championed by the work
  • Cultural Integrity - the work demonstrates ethical use of material with specific cultural origins and context
  • Communal Meaning - the work facilitates collective meaning that transcends individual perspective and experience
  • Emotional and Sensory Experience - the work evokes an emotional experience and/or includes vivid sensations that deepen the audience’s experience
  • Openness - the vision and intent of the work is open to interpretation and encourages questioning
  • Coherence - vision and intent of the work is strong and/or explicitly stated
  • Disruption and Risk-Taking - the work challenges convention by subverting dominant narratives, aesthetics, or standards



Funding Criteria
The Beyers Fund strictly supports music performance projects in Erie County. This means grant funds should not be requested in support of recurring programs or capital improvement projects. Projects seeking funding shall meet the following requirements explicitly:
 

  • Project deliverables must be intended to provide an artistic or social benefit to stakeholders of Erie County.
  • Any events or activities supported through this grant program must be open to the public. 
  • Open to the public does not necessarily mean free to the public. 
  • No activities supported through this grant program may have a religious or political purpose.
  • This grant program is not designed to provide financial support as reimbursements for expenses incurred outside of the grant activity period.
  •  No awards will be made to individuals or in support of capital expenditures



Projects that align with at least one of Erie Arts & Culture’s strategic priorities will be prioritized:
 

  • Increase the capacity and impact of creative and cultural sector in the NWPA region
  • Fund opportunities for the arts in lifelong learning
  • Preserve, enhance and promote diverse cultures
  • Facilitate placemaking initiatives



Erie Arts & Culture will only consider applications and projects that are grounded in commitment to Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (IDEA).

Applicants will be notified of funding decisions by February 1.

Questions? Contact Casey Corritore, Program Officer of Capacity Building: casey@erieartsandculture.org | 814-452-3427 x 108.

For subgrantees of the Northwestern PA Arts Recovery grant, a Final Report is required as part of the grant agreement.  These reports are due 30 days after the conclusion of grant-funded projects, and no later than January 30, 2024. This Final Report should include a Narrative Report, Financial Report, and an NEA Subgranting spreadsheet, all of which can be completed using this online form.

For subgrantees of the Northwestern PA Arts Recovery grant, a Final Report is required as part of the grant agreement.  These reports are due 30 days after the conclusion of grant-funded projects, and no later than January 30, 2024. This Final Report should include a Narrative Report, Financial Report, and an NEA Subgranting spreadsheet, all of which can be completed using this online form.

Erie Arts & Culture seeks grant review panelists to help create panels to review applications submitted to the organization for funding consideration throughout the year, including grants for individual artists as well as those for arts organizations. Panels are integral to the grantmaking process, providing a critical review, comments, and scores of all applications to a particular grant program.

We work hard to balance the composition of these panels by artistic discipline, race/ethnicity, ability, arts experience, and gender expression. Panels are composed of individuals who represent a broad range of artistic and cultural viewpoints and geographic and ethnic diversity. Panelists may be experienced in a specific art form or be a person that is knowledgeable about the arts but not engaged in the arts as a profession. We welcome you to apply to share your expertise and talent as a grant panelist.

As a volunteer panelist, you will have the opportunity to develop connections with peers who share your passion for art and culture while supporting your community. Panelists are a vital force in the decision making process, get an up-close look at the grantmaking process and learn about the many ways artists and art organizations make a difference across the community.

As volunteers, panelists are not compensated for their service.

Panelist Qualifications

  • Be an adult 18 years of age or older.
  • Have education, experience, or appreciation of arts and culture. We welcome a variety of experience - this could include work in the sector, an active or past artistic practice, or simply just a passion for arts and culture. Consultants, attorneys, community leaders, educators, philanthropists, non-profit administrators, and arts enthusiasts are all encouraged to be a panelist.
  • Some financial or organizational management experience is a plus, but not required.

Panelist Responsibilities

  • Read and rate each grant application according to criteria established by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) or by the Erie Arts Endowment. You will be commenting on the grant application quality and artistic merit of each application. Reading the grant applications must be done in advance of the panel meeting on your own time. You should expect to spend several hours reading, reviewing, and scoring the applications.
  • Attend the panel session. The panel meeting is typically 2-3 hours and is a one-time commitment where you will discuss the applications and come to a consensus on the scores with your fellow panelists.

Overview

In October 2021, Erie Arts & Culture commissioned a mural on the exterior of the former Wayne School, which is now home to the Erie Center for Arts and Technology, the United Way of Erie County, and several other service-based organizations. This mural, along with a trip to Flint, Michigan, where they created 200 murals in a two-year time span, encouraged Erie Arts & Culture to be more strategic in our approach to future public art initiatives. With that in mind, we approached United Way of Erie County to discuss an initiative through which we would strategically locate murals along identified Safer Walking Routes to Community Schools.

Started in 2022 and spanning through 2023, EAC is curating and commissioning 50 new murals along the routes that students use when walking to and from school. This initiative was seeded with a grant from the City of Erie through the American Rescue Plan, which covered the cost of the first 10 murals. Additional contributions have been obtained through the Erie Community Foundation and the Young Erie Philanthropists, Erie Insurance, and private donations from local businesses, families, and individuals.

This year 2023, all the remaining murals will be created as part of a festival that will showcase and celebrate urban art and culture. The festival is slated for June 1-13, 2023. It is during this time period that we expect all murals to be installed. 


Artist Selection Process

EAC is committed to an inclusive and transparent selection processes for lead and assistant artists – including prioritizing hiring artists from within the neighborhoods where the murals will be installed and extending opportunities to artists who have historically been under-resourced. EAC values and appreciates all artistic disciplines, but artist assistant positions through this initiative are reserved for painters, specifically painters who are interested in gaining knowledge and developing skills related to the design and creation of outdoor murals.

Erie-based artists interested in being considered for a lead or assistant position should submit an application through Submittable. National and international visiting artists will be selected on an invitation-only basis.


Artist Qualifications

  • Be an adult 18 years of age or older.
  • Must demonstrate a skill set related to painting as an artistic discipline. 
  • Have education, experience, or appreciation of arts and culture. We welcome a variety of painting and mural experience - this could include work in the sector, an active or past artistic practice, or simply just a passion for arts and culture. 

Final Reports for 2021-2022 Erie Arts & Culture Ignite Arts Grant are due 30 days after completion of projects, or no later than January 31, 2023.

Erie Arts & Culture