Artists’ Ventures Initiative (AVI) Grants
The application deadline for FY21 funding has passed. Application materials for FY22 are scheduled for release in Spring 2021.
To encourage and enable the creation, expansion, or modification of artist-driven, arts-based business ventures that will provide career satisfaction and sustainability for South Carolina artists.
Professional-caliber South Carolina working artists (individuals and collaboratives)
Up to $3,500 for a one-time project/single purchase; up to $5,000 for an ongoing business venture
July 1, 2020 - December 31, 2021
About This Grant
To encourage and enable the creation of new artist-driven, arts-based business ventures that will provide career satisfaction and sustainability for South Carolina artists.
South Carolina artists (individuals and collaboratives) may use AVI funding to help launch a new arts-based business venture (or significantly alter an existing venture) that will operate in an ongoing manner, or to help execute a temporary venture (a one-time project or single purchase), that will provide career satisfaction and sustainability. A one-time project/single purchase may be awarded up to $3500. An ongoing business venture may be awarded up to $5000.
The applicant must:
- Be a professional-caliber working artist or group of artists working in collaboration;
- Be a legal resident of the U.S. and S.C. with a permanent residence in the state for at least one year prior to the application and throughout the grant period; and
- Not be a degree-seeking, full-time student during the grant period.
Note: Funding will be awarded to the individual artist identified as the primary applicant, not to a business entity.
Applicants whose proposals are funded in this initiative will commit to:
- Attendance at no fewer than two convenings designed to further the professional development of participating artist entrepreneurs. These meetings will take place during 2020 and 2021.
- Submission of quarterly progress reports (narrative and financial statements) over the course of the first 18 months of the grant.
Part One: Letter of Intent to Apply (Open to All) – January 15
Part Two: Full Grant Application (By Invitation Only) – March 16
Applications may be submitted until 11:59pm (Eastern Time) on the deadline date. However, please be aware that staff members will not be available to assist you with questions or technical difficulties after the Arts Commission closes at 5:00 p.m. that day.
July 1, 2020 – December 31, 2021
- Up to $3,500 for a one-time project/single purchase
- Up to $5,000 for an ongoing business venture
100% of the grantee’s match must be cash. No in-kind or creative time is allowed as part of the grantee’s match.
How to Apply
AVI grants are managed in our online grants management system, from application, to approval and contracts, through payments and final reports.
To apply for an AVI grant, the applicant must have an active account in our online grants management system.
Applying for an AVI grant is a two-part process.
Part One: LOI (Letter of Intent to Apply)
The LOI deadline has passed. The submitted Letters of Intent and related materials (Part One of the AVI application process) are currently being evaluated.
Part Two: Full Grant Application
Based on review of the submitted LOIs, selected applicants will be invited to develop their proposal into a full grant application. Only those invited to proceed to Part Two will be eligible for AVI funding.
After You Apply
Part One: LOI (Letter of Intent to Apply)
Grants Office staff will review submitted LOIs for completeness and compliance with guideline and application requirements.
LOIs will then be evaluated, based on the published criteria, by SC Arts Commission program staff and management who will recommend whether an applicant should be invited to develop their proposed venture into a full grant application.
LOI Review Criteria
- The business’s mission statement
- A description of the business’s operations (its work and the processes that accomplish that work)
- The business’s marketing strategy (where and how the product or service is sold, as well as a description of the market research that has led to the choices)
- A clear explanation of how requested funding will be utilized (Financial statements are not necessary at this point.)
- Whether this AVI proposal supports a one-time project/single purchase or an ongoing business venture
- Work Samples which
- Show evidence of a professional-caliber working artist or group of artists
- Are representative of the type(s) of work proposed in the artist venture
- Are less than five years old
Part Two: Full Grant Application
Grants Office staff will review submitted applications for completeness and compliance with guideline and application requirements.
Applications will then be evaluated, based on the published criteria, by business professionals. Applicants will receive panel information and instructions prior to the panel meeting. An applicant’s panel feedback is available to them upon request.
Based on the panel ratings, staff will develop funding recommendations for the Board of Commissioners, which makes final award decisions.
Full Application Review Criteria
Artistic Venture – 40%
- The proposed venture’s mission statement aligns with the planned activities, products, goals, and objectives.
- The proposed venture is clearly explained.
- The locations and timeline are appropriate for the project, product or service.
- The proposed venture will help build a satisfying and sustainable career for the artist(s).
- The applicant demonstrates business savvy, acumen, and commitment to the venture.
- The applicant has a plan for
- Liability concerns (environmental, health, safety, and security)
- Necessary permits and insurance coverage
- Trademarks, copyrights, patents, etc.
Marketing Strategy – 20%
- The project, product or service provides a feasible creative or artistic value to the marketplace.
- The target market is clearly understood, and there is a sound strategy for reaching this market and getting them to buy/utilize the product/service.
- Current and potential competitors are identified and there is a distinct plan for differentiating the product or service.
- Price and distribution channels are identified and feasible.
Personnel – 20%
- There is a strong team in place that has the capacity to bring the product or service to the market.
- The staffing composition, selection, and compensation are appropriate for the artistic product and operational processes required by this venture.
Financial Support – 20%
- There is evidence of financial health and capacity to responsibly carry out the work.
- The application shows reasonable financial projections for this venture.
If your application is funded, you (and your fiscal agent/receiver, if applicable) will enter into a contractual agreement with the SC Arts Commission, and you must comply with all requirements stated in that contract. You will receive notification and instructions when your contract is available in our online grants management system. You must submit your completed Contract Packet, including signatures and other documentation as instructed, by the date indicated in the system. You must also complete all other assigned Follow Ups by the due date given.
Please note: Any significant revisions to grant-funded activities must be approved in writing, in advance, by the SC Arts Commission.
Additional details about managing an SCAC grant are available on our agency website.
Payment will be on an expense reimbursement basis only.
An accurate Pay Request, listing only expenses allowable under the program guidelines for the certified time period, must be submitted in order to receive payment for the grant award.
Grantees may request a maximum of two interim payments, totaling no more than 80% of the grant award. Final grant payment will be released upon receipt and approval of the grantee’s Final Report.
ALL GRANTEES are required to file a Final Report at the end of the grant period. The Final Report Due Date is printed on your contract. Failure to submit an accurate and complete Final Report by the due date will result in cancellation of the award and repayment of any funds received. The S.C. Arts Commission will not fund applicants who have outstanding Final Reports.