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.

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.

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 as defined by the Small Business Administration.

Application Deadline

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Funding decisions will be made on a quarterly basis, in April 2022, July 2022, October 2022, and January 2023.

Grant Amounts

Grant amounts range from $500 to $2,000.


Creative entrepreneurs are eligible to apply 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. Creative entrepreneur’s business must have 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 local Small Business Development Center, known as the 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 here: Updated CEAP Contact Information

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 and referral form.

As part of the terms and conditions of the Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator Program, all recipients must submit a Final Report to Erie Arts & Culture. These reports are due 30 days after funding has been exhausted and no later than January 31, 2023.

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