Grant Resources


Grant writing tips

Grants are cash support given for arts projects, programs, and organizations by government agencies, foundations, corporations, individuals, and private arts organizations. You most often need to fill out an application and submit it to the grant-making organization for consideration. If you are looking for funding for a particular art project or organization, here are a few tips and resources to help guide you.

Basic tips:

  • Think about your project or organization in the future. Start with the end in mind. Look at your project or organization's big picture. Who are you? What are your strengths and priorities?
  • Create a plan, not just a proposal.
  • Do your homework. Research prospective funders. Search locally first. Target funding sources that have an interest in your organization, program, or project.
  • Make sure the priorities of the foundation, corporation, or government agency you're applying to are the best match for your work or organization. Go to their website. See who they've funded in the past. Review their eligibility requirements. Make sure you or your organization fits who they fund.
  • Quality writing counts. A clear, concise, well-written proposal makes a difference. If you don't have much experience writing grants or don't feel confident in your writing skills, find someone who does to review your grant before you submit it. Always proof your application.
  • Get help if you need it. Take a grant-writing workshop.
  • Get face-to-face time. Meet with the program officer for the grant you are applying to. Many funders have staff available to help answer questions or review draft proposals. Making a personal connection with funders before submitting an application can be invaluable in putting together the strongest application possible.

Tips for Individual Artists

  • Have a well-written artist statement (a half-page version, a one-page version, and a two-page version). Do not overuse "art speak" terms/language. Write for an audience who has never interacted with/seen your work. Keep it simple, clear, and straightforward. The committee reviewing your proposal needs to understand the proposal the first time they read it.
  • Have good documentation/support materials of your work. Photographs and video documentation need to be done well. Save articles and reviews of your work. Project your images to make sure they project well. Check the viewing order of the visual support materials you are submitting carefully. Make sure the order makes visual sense to viewers. For example, if you are submitting a diptych, submit an image of the entire diptych first, followed by the details of the piece.
  • Have two copies of the grant guidelines/form on hand (or make copies). Use one of the forms as your working document. Follow the directions/guidelines closely.
  • Start the grant well ahead of the deadline and have someone proofread your proposal.
  • Do not send extra materials that aren't asked for.
  • Do not make lots of calls to the organization about the grant. Be organized with all your questions. They should be asked in one or two phone calls.
  • For the budget, factor in your labor time as well as the cost of your materials. Make a list of things you'll need and their price. When you look for in-kind donations you will have a better idea of what you need.
  • Organize a group of artists to research grant opportunities. It will take you much less time to research grants with more people looking and you can proofread each other's grant proposals.

Additional resources for grant writing tips and information are:

Artist Trust
Puget Sound Grantwriters Association
Non-Profit Guides

Getting the word out

Want to get the word out about your arts or cultural event or exhibit? Here are some tips on sending out information to the public and local media.

Step 1. Gather all the details: who, what, where, when, and why.

Step 2. Gather graphics for publicity. Gather photos, create a logo if necessary, work with a designer on the look and any printed materials.

Step 3. Write a press release and/or prepare a press kit and send it to the media.

Social Media

  1. Like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram. Also, be sure you’re signed up for our email newsletter.
  2. Post about your grant/event/program, and tag us! On Twitter, tag us by typing “@SeattleArts”. On Instagram, tag us by typing “@SeaOfficeofArts”. When you tag us, we get notified and can respond. On your Facebook post, type in “@Seattle Office of Arts & Culture”, and select our office’s page from the drop-down menu.
  3. The sooner you tell your Project Manager about your event, the more likely we’ll be able to fit it into our social media calendar. We have a lot of news and events, and schedule posts and activities weeks out.
  4. If you have promo materials, please remember to send anything you have produced (press releases, postcards, brochures, etc.) to your Project Manager. These items should include the Office of Arts & Culture name and/or logo. We rebranded our Office in 2013, so if you’ve been funded before, please make sure to update our logo.

We recommend circulating these items at least two weeks prior to your event to increase awareness and attendance.

The Press Release

Press releases inform the media about your event and can inspire the media to publish a calendar listing or even cover the event. Click here for a description and example of the anatomy of a press release.

  • Try to let the media know what makes your event unique or relevant.
  • Be genuine. Exaggeration or inaccuracy will only hurt your chances of being a reliable media source. The more a press release reads like an actual news article, the better. Many smaller publications love releases they can print verbatim.
  • Press releases should look professional and be easy to read. Type double-spaced.
  • Make sure the organization's name, address, website, and contact information are visible.
  • Include the media contact's name, direct phone line, and e-mail address near the top of the first page.
  • Include a "pull date" (the last date of the event) near the top of the first page.
  • Include a headline that summarizes the event and invites people to read the details.
  • All the most pertinent information should be included in the first paragraph - the five W's. Who is presenting what, where, and when? Why should people attend? Include information on how people can attend or buy tickets, locations of ticket venues or website, e-mail, and/or box office phone-line information.
  • Additional paragraphs can provide more descriptive information about the event, artists involved, and quotes.
  • Use your mission statement or general description of the organization at the end of the press release.
  • If the press release is longer than one page, write "-More-" at the bottom of each page. At the end of the last page, include "# # #" to indicate the end of the release.

The Press Kit

Press kits provide useful background information for members of the press writing previews or reviews of your arts or cultural event. A press kit should be organized in a folder and generally includes:

1) Organization Information (front to back on the left side of the folder)

  • Mission statement
  • Brief organizational history
  • Organizational brochure
  • Feature articles on the organization or lead staff
  • Board list
  • Business card for media contact

2) Specific Event Information (front to back on the right side of the folder)

  • Press release for the event
  • Photos or artwork related to the event
  • Event postcard or flyer
  • Event program
  • Artists' bios, if not in the program
  • Preview articles about the event

Note: Do not include reviews of the event or previous events in the press packet. Most reviewers do not want to be influenced by the opinions of others.

Online calendars

There are numerous websites with online events calendars to use to publicize your event. Here are a few:

Daily and Weekly Papers

Send your press releases to local newspapers. Here are some of the dailies and weekly papers to begin with.

Neighborhood Newspapers


Most radio stations accept a written public service announcement (PSA). Some will take a pre-recorded PSA. Check the website of the radio station you think best matches your audience. Many stations belong to the Puget Sound Broadcasters Association or Washington State Association of Broadcasters. Both organizations list links to their members.


Seattle Channel, the city's municipal television channel, is committed to covering local arts and culture. Art Zone with Nancy Guppy on the Seattle Channel specifically covers the local art scene.

Local television stations are:

More Resources

4Culture works to enhance the quality of life in King County by providing residents and visitors with a broad range of programs and services in the arts, heritage, historic preservation and public art. Find current funding opportunities for artists and organizations.

Artist Trust
Artist Trust provides grants, resources and career training to musicians, visual artists, writers, dancers, craft artists, filmmakers, cross-disciplinary artists and more. The organization also provides free resources for artists, including a wealth of services, artist opportunities, calls for artists, funding sources and much more.

Washington State Arts Commission (WSAC)
WSAC is charged with the growth and development of the arts throughout Washington state offers grants for artists and performers, organizations and schools.

Western State Arts Federation (WESTAF)
WESTAF offers grants and fellowships for artists and arts organizations.

Humanities Washington
Humanities Washington supports non-profit organizations, agencies and groups that produce programs and projects related to the humanities.

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)
NEH is an independent grant-making agency of the United States government dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities. NEH grants typically go to cultural institutions, such as museums, archives, libraries, colleges, universities, public television, and radio stations, and to individual scholars.

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)
The NEA offers grants to individuals and non-profit organizations to advance artistic excellence, creativity and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA funds the visual arts, performing arts, literary arts, folk and traditional arts, museums, arts education and arts agencies.

Arts & Culture

Gülgün Kayim, Director
Address: 303 S. Jackson Street, Top Floor, Seattle, WA , 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 94748, Seattle, WA , 98124-4748
Phone: (206) 684-7171
Fax: (206) 684-7172

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The Office of Arts & Culture promotes the value of arts and culture in, and of, communities throughout Seattle. It strives to ensure that a wide range of high-quality artistic experiences are available to everyone, encourage artist-friendly arts and cultural policy.