In light of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the artist community, Foundation for Contemporary Arts has operated the FCA Emergency Grants COVID-19 Fund since March 2020.
If you have had a performance or exhibition canceled or postponed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be eligible for the FCA Emergency Grants COVID-19 Fund. Please visit that page for more information on that program.
If you are seeking support for an upcoming performance or exhibition opportunity, you may be eligible for a normal Emergency Grant. Please continue reading below for Emergency Grants eligibility requirements. If you have previously received a grant via the FCA Emergency Grants COVID-19 Fund, you are still eligible for an Emergency Grant.
Created in 1993 to further FCA's mission to encourage, sponsor, and promote work of a contemporary, experimental nature, Emergency Grants provide urgent funding for visual and performing artists who:
- Have sudden, unanticipated opportunities to present their work to the public when there is insufficient time to seek other sources of funding
- Incur unexpected or unbudgeted expenses for projects close to completion with committed exhibition or performance dates
Emergency Grants is the only active, multi-disciplinary program that offers immediate assistance of this kind to artists living and working anywhere in the United States, for projects occurring in the U.S. and abroad.
Each month FCA receives an average of 95 Emergency Grant applications and makes approximately 12-15 grants. Grants range in amount from $500 to $2,500, and the average grant is now $1,600.
We recommend that artists review all of our eligibility guidelines and FAQs before applying. You may also complete our Eligibility Questionnaire, but please note that the questionnaire is not a substitute for a thorough review of program guidelines.
- Applicants must be living in the United States or U.S. territories and have a U.S. Tax ID Number (SSN, EIN, ITIN, or other)
- Applicants must have committed performance or exhibition opportunities, and be able to provide specific dates at the time of application.
- Applicants must be individual artists, or an individual representing an artist collective, ensemble, or group. Curators, producers, workshop organizers, organizations, or arts presenters are not eligible to apply.
- Applicants may not reapply for a project for which they have previously been denied funding.
- For the purpose of providing COVID-19 relief, we are temporarily suspending the three year waiting period between grants. If you have received a grant from the Foundation in the past three years you may apply for an Emergency Grant.
- To confirm that your application meets program guidelines, please review our Emergency Grants F.A.Q.s.
Emergency Grants do not support
- Life-related emergencies such as food, rent, medical bills, childcare, and other basic necessities
- Reimbursement for expenses that you have already incurred
- Projects with no scheduled exhibition or performance dates
- Fees for participation in a residency program, or other educational and artistic development opportunities. Review our Emergency Grants F.A.Q.s for residency-related questions.
- Deposits and registration fees for participation in an exhibition, fair, or other presentation opportunity
- Projects taking place in commercial gallery spaces
- Youth or educational programming
- Requests to attend, present at, or organize professional training, workshops, lectures, symposiums, conferences, or competitions
- Students (high school, undergraduate, graduate, Ph.D., doctoral candidates, and other students enrolled in any degree program at the time of application) are not eligible to apply
- Production of CDs, albums, or music videos
When to Apply
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. To meet artists' last-minute needs in a timely manner, FCA's Emergency Grants panel meets monthly to review requests.
We recommend applying 6-8 weeks before your presentation date. We review applications received within a shorter timeline, but please keep in mind that you may not hear back from FCA until your project is underway.
You may not apply for a project that is more than eight weeks away, for a project that has already happened, or to request reimbursement for expenses you have already incurred.
Applicants should not request more funding than needed.
How to Apply
Emergency Grants applications are accepted through an online form.
If you have difficulty with internet access, please call or email the Foundation for a hard-copy application.
FCA's Emergency Grants panel is comprised of established practicing artists. All panelists have an active or former teaching practice and are familiar with emerging work and contemporary practices. Most panelists have also served on other peer review processes.
Panelists consider the urgent nature of each request, the opportunity for which the artist is applying for funding, the impact an Emergency Grant would have on the artist's ability to carry out the project, the clarity of the written request, and the strength of the work samples submitted.
Panelists serve for two-year terms; to prevent lobbying by applicants we do not disclose panelists' identities.
Receipt of your application will be acknowledged via an automated email. Please be aware that communication from FCA may unintentionally go to your Spam folder.
Please do not contact FCA about the status of your application. All applicants will receive notification of the panel's decision following the monthly panel meeting. Grant checks are mailed to awardees the same week.
FCA has a small Programs team that is responsible for reviewing all Emergency Grants requests. We appreciate applicants refraining from calling with phone inquiries.
Other Important Information
There is no longer a two-time cap on the number of Emergency Grants one may receive in their lifetime.
FCA has a small fund supported by the Trust for Mutual Understanding for unexpected or unbudgeted travel-related expenses for cultural exchange between the U.S. and the following countries:
Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
FCA also has a small fund for L.A.-based artists to support grants to artists living in the greater Los Angeles area.
Emergency Grants are generously supported in part by grants from:
Amphion Foundation, Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, John Baldessari Family Foundation, Lawrence B. Benenson, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, The Cowles Charitable Trust, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, New York City Council District 33/Council Member Stephen Levin, Mertz Gilmore Foundation, Robert Gore Rifkind Foundation, in honor of Stephanie Barron, The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, Louisa Stude Sarofim/The Brown Foundation of Houston Inc., and Trust for Mutual Understanding. This program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.