Home   :   About Us   :   What's New   :   Arts Calendar   :   The Hub   :   Contact Us   :   Foundation

SC Arts Commission Grants Programs

Statewide Arts Participation Initiative Grant Guidelines


Please note: The SC Arts Commission is not currently accepting applications for this grant program.


What is the Statewide Arts Participation Initiative?



To help South Carolina arts organizations develop long-term initiatives that will broaden, deepen or diversify public participation in the arts.

The participation grant is intended to fund arts initiatives that meet one or more of these goals:

  • Broaden participation of audience, creators, or stewards
  • Deepen participation of audience, creators or stewards
  • Diversify participation of audience, creators or stewards


Helpful Participation Terms

Broaden: build relationships with people similar to those already engaged in your organization.

Deepen: build more committed relationships with participants already engaged in your organization.

Diversify: build relationships with people different from those you already engage.


Audience: those who attend or visit your artistic offerings

Creators: those who take an active part in the creation of art (e.g., professional and amateur artists)

Stewards: those who take an active part in supporting and developing your group's efforts (e.g., staff, board members, donors, volunteers)


Inclined: believes in your group's type of work but doesn't attend regularly or become involved

Disinclined: does not exhibit any current interest in your group's type of work


South Carolina arts organizations may apply for funding for participation grants (up to $10,000). Applicants that receive funding will demonstrate best cases for creating systems or new ways of operating that broaden, deepen or diversify participation in the arts and lead to long term operational changes within the organization.


Because this is a highly competitive process, organizations considering this grant application should contact their county arts coordinator.


Grant Eligibility Requirements

  • Open to arts organizations in South Carolina interested in building participation in the arts that have not received a Wallace Participation Grant previously from the S.C. Arts Commission.
  • Applicant must be a S.C. charitable organization currently registered with the Office of the Secretary of State of South Carolina AND have its own federal tax-exempt status with the IRS or is applying through a qualified Fiscal Agent/Receiver; OR
    • Applicant must be a unit of government
  • K-12 schools are not eligible for funding in this program.
  • Applicant must be a S.C. organization that reflects S.C. as its primary address on all current official organizational documents.
  • In accordance with federal government policy, the S.C. Arts Commission requires all organizations to include a valid DUNS number as part of their grant applications. Effective October 1, 2012, applications will not be accepted from organizations that do not have a DUNS number. What's a DUNS number, and how do I get one?


Additional Requirements of this Grant:

Applicants whose proposals are funded in this statewide initiative will commit to becoming part of a statewide learning community with the following provisions:

  1. Two organizational representatives that include the organization's executive director and a project manager or other key personnel will commit to attend three meetings tentatively set for Sept. 15-16, 2009, in Columbia; January 25-26 and April 12-13, 2010 (each meeting will be in a South Carolina location to be determined). These meetings will be in-depth learning sessions around the practical and theoretical work of participation. An additional one-day meeting will be held the Fall of 2010 (TBD) to review progress and next steps after the grant funding period has ended.
  2. The initiatives that are funded will be those that are designed as three-year efforts. Organizations agree to nurture their work of participation over this time period. This would include structured, ongoing reporting, documentation and evaluation; continued tracking of targeted groups; possible additional meetings as needed; occasional updates to the SC Arts Commission as requested; and possibly mentoring other organizations interested in the work of participation.
  3. Funded projects may also be selected to be showcased at upcoming arts conferences.


Deadlines for the Two-Part Grant Process

  1. Part One: Project Concept - Deadline: April 15
    The South Carolina Arts Commission will review concept descriptions and extend an invitation to selected organizations to develop the proposed idea into a full grant proposal. Project Concepts must be postmarked on or before April 15, or hand-delivered to the South Carolina Arts Commission offices before 5:00 pm, April 15. Project Concept Guidelines >>>

  2. Part Two: Full Grant Application - Deadline: June 15
    After review of the project concepts has been completed, selected groups will be invited (in early May) to proceed to Part Two with a full grant application. Only those applicants who have been invited will be considered. Applications must be postmarked on or before June 15, or hand-delivered to the South Carolina Arts Commission offices before 5:00 pm, June 15. Guidelines for the Full Grant Application >>>



Part One: Project Concept - Due April 15

Your Project Concept contains two sections: an organization profile form and a project description.


Section One: Organizational Profile


Section Two: Your Proposed Participation Initiative

  • Please complete this section on your organization's letterhead.
  • Note the grant program (Statewide Arts Participation Initiative) at the top of the first page along with executive director's name, email address and phone.
  • Total number of pages of this Project Concept must not exceed two pages (font must be no smaller than 12 points and margins no smaller than one inch all around).
  • Please organize your Project Concept using the numbered headings (1 - 7 below).
  • Once complete, both the executive director AND the board chairman must sign the Project Concept.

Project Concept Description

  1. Current participants and community -
    Please give a brief description of your current participants and the community in which you work.
  2. Targeted group -
    For your proposed initiative, who will you target and why? Will you broaden, deepen or diversify participation? Is the targeted group inclined or disinclined toward participation with your organization? How do you know?
  3. Change -
    What change in this group's participation do you hope to see? What will you do to bring about that change?
  4. Importance -
    Explain why this work is important in the long term for your organization.
  5. Initiative leaders -
    Who will lead this initiative in your organization? Please provide names and titles.
  6. Others involved -
    Please list other staff or board members who will specifically be involved and their current functions.
  7. A recent innovation -
    Describe a recent innovation your organization implemented, its success or status and what this demonstrates about your operation.


Additional Information - Please remember:

  • The submission - Section 1 (Organization Profile) and Section 2 (Project Concept) - must be postmarked or hand-delivered by Wednesday, April 15.
  • You will be notified in early May if you are invited to proceed to a full grant application.
  • You must complete and submit a Project Concept in order to be invited to Part Two of the application process.
  • If you have questions about this process, contact your county coordinator.


Please mail or deliver your Project Concept submission to:

Statewide Arts Participation Initiative

South Carolina Arts Commission

1026 Sumter Street, Suite 200

Columbia, S.C. 29201



Part Two: Full Grant Application

Only those applicants who have submitted a Project Concept and have been invited to submit a Full Grant Application will be considered.



June 15, 2009

Applications must be postmarked on or before June 15, or hand-delivered to the South Carolina Arts Commission offices before 5:00 pm, June 15.


Grant Period

September 1, 2009 to August 31, 2011


Grant Awards

Up to $10,000 for the 24-month grant period



1:1 (applicant: SC Arts Commission); 50% of the applicant's match must be cash.


Filing Fee



Interim reports, documentation and tracking

All grantees will be required to submit interim reports that provide data, documentation and evidence of tracking related to their participation initiatives.


Grant Payments

Payment will be on an expense reimbursement basis only. After submitting an interim report that is approved, grantees may submit up to two interim payment requests totaling no more than 80% of the grant award. Final grant payment will be released upon receipt and approval of grantee's final report.


Review Process

Please contact your SC Arts Commission county coordinator for guidance on completing your application.


IMPORTANT NOTE: As part of the grant review and selection process, each applicant will be required to present a five-minute overview of their proposal followed by a question and answer period up to 10 minutes in length. The panel date is set for July 22, 2009.


The preliminary review of applications will focus on accuracy and detail of budget, clarity of narrative, completeness of packet, compliance with grant requirements, and confirmation of required support materials.


Individual panelists (members of Arts Commission staff and board and arts consultants) will review and rate grant applications on the basis of specific criteria listed in the guidelines. Staff will then develop funding recommendations based on panel ratings for the SC Arts Commission Board of Commissioners, which makes final award decisions.


Review Criteria
Organizations that receive Participation Initiative funding will demonstrate:

  • An understanding of arts participation issues for their communities, organizations and/or art forms (20 points)
  • Best cases for creating systems or new ways of operating that will broaden, deepen or diversify participation in the arts (20 points)
  • Commitment to work towards organizational change (10 points)
  • Potential for success and long-term impact of the proposed initiative (20 points)
  • Capacity to implement the initiative successfully, track and assess the results over a three-year period (20 points)
  • Relevance of the initiative to the organization, community and/or art form (10 points)


Final Report

All grantees are required to file a Final Report no later than the end of the grant period. The Final Report Due Date is printed on the contract. Failure to file the final report by the due date will result in cancellation of the award and repayment of funds received. SCAC will not fund applicants who have outstanding final reports. Submit only original final report forms with original signatures. Do not submit copies or fax your final report form.



Required Application Materials

Each page/item of materials must be labeled with the name of the applicant and be submitted in letter size (8½ " x 11") format suitable for copying. Typeface must be legible, and no less than 12 point with one inch margins. Do not submit copies or fax your application. Do not use 3-ring binders, folders, staples, or bind the application materials in any way other than with binder clips or paper clips.


The application package must include one complete collated set of items as follows:



Originals, completed and signed. Forms are in portable document format (PDF). How To Use PDFs



Please use this logic model to diagram how your initiative will be structured.


Logic Model Evaluation Planning Template






Whose participation do you want to increase?

What change do you want to see?

What will you do to help make this change?

What will be the tangible evidence of change?

How will you measure this change?



The Narrative should not exceed three numbered pages and must address the topics A-F below. Each item in the Narrative should be identified by the appropriate letter and topic heading.

  1. Introduce Your Participation Initiative
    In an introductory paragraph, please provide a detailed description of the participation initiative you propose. Include a profile of your current participants. Set the scene for the participation work you want to do. Describe briefly how your initiative will broaden, deepen or diversify participation. Explain why this work is important to your organization and community. Please include names of organizations and/or artists, if any, you plan to collaborate with in order to accomplish the initiative. Then use the following headings under which to answer each section's questions:
  2. Whose participation do you want to increase?
    Who are the people whose participation you are trying to increase? Describe their characteristics and any previous experience, if any, they have with your organization. Are they inclined or disinclined? Describe the barriers to participation that these people may experience between themselves and your organization. Are the barriers perceptual, practical or experiential? Describe research you have done that supports the initiative you propose and give relevant examples of data you have collected.
    Why is their participation important to your organization?
  3. What change do you want to see?
    Describe your vision for the most positive outcome of this participation initiative. What will the targeted group gain from a relationship with your organization? What will your organization gain from their greater involvement?
  4. What will you do to help make this change?
    Describe the plans for your initiative. What actions will you take to accomplish this increase in participation? How will you overcome the barriers that you have identified? Where will activities take place? Who will lead this initiative? Who will the other key players be? What changes in your organization do you expect to make in order to achieve this increase in participation? Over a long term period, how will you sustain the engagement of those who are targeted in this initiative?
  5. What will be the evidence of change?
    Results: What specific, measurable changes in participation do you plan to track and use as data for analysis of your initiative? What tools, or access to tools, are in place to help you do this work?
  6. Grant request
    How much are you requesting in this grant to help implement this initiative? Please explain how the requested funds will be used in the 24-month grant period (Detailed Budget form should reflect 24-month period only). Please also explain how funding will be generated to support this initiative beyond the 24-month grant period.



Who will represent your organization at the three follow-up meetings in FY10 (Sept 15-16, 2009; Jan. 25-26 and April 12-13, 2010) and at the final meeting scheduled for Fall 2011? What role do they play in the organization? NOTE: The organization's chief executive must be one of the representatives. Include résumés (not to exceed two pages each) as support material.



Explain the timeframe for major activities and elements of your initiative, and who is responsible. This timeline should cover a three-year period to reflect long-term tracking, evaluation and follow-up activities.


The following format must be used:


Major Activity

Who Is Responsible?






If your organization will work with one or more partner organizations as part of this initiative, include a one-page description of each organization, its role in this initiative and key personnel involved. Also include a copy of a letter of agreement for each partner organization that enumerates the duties of each party in this partnership project. Each letter of agreement must be signed by the applicant and the partner organization.



All applicants must include a copy of applicant organization's IRS tax-exempt letter


If applying through a Fiscal Agent/Receiver,
a. A copy of Fiscal Agent/Receiver's IRS tax-exempt letter AND
b. A copy of a letter of agreement, signed by both the applicant organization and the Fiscal Agent/Receiver that outlines the working relationship and responsibilities of both parties.


Incomplete applications will not be accepted. Use this optional application checklist (PDF) to ensure a complete Statewide Arts Participation Initiative Grant application package. (How To Use PDFs)


Submit to:
Statewide Arts Participation Initiative Grants Program
South Carolina Arts Commission
1026 Sumter Street, Suite 200
Columbia, SC 29201


NOTE: The SC Arts Commission will no longer require a copy of an applicant's current SC Charities registration letter. Instead, applicant information will be provided to the SC Office of the Secretary of State. In accordance with the SC Solicitation of Charitable Funds Act, charitable organizations must maintain current registration with the SC Office of the Secretary of State. Failure to register and renew the registration annually may result in severe fines by the SC Office of the Secretary of State.


In addition to this page, you must read the following for complete guideline information:

Back to Grants Home

South Carolina Arts Commission Accessibility Statement

Be notified of
page updates
it's private
powered by ChangeDetection