Arts Sustained Support
Sustained Support assists with the day-to-day needs of arts organizations over two-year cycles—this reliable, consistent support lets creativity flourish in the places that make King County a cultural hub.
Steps to Apply
1 What Sustained Support Funds
1 What Sustained Support Funds
Arts organizations and Local Arts Agencies all over King County use Sustained Support funding as a modest but dependable building block in their annual budgets. Sustained Support provides operational funding that organizations and agencies receive for the robustness, creativity, and quality of the overall artistic services they provide to King County residents and visitors.
We fund all of our grants through a competitive process, carefully evaluating each application. For this particular grant, we focus on different criteria depending on how your organization is structured and what type of work you do. (Below, under ‘Are You Eligible?’, we outline all the different types of organizations that can apply, and what we’ll look for—please contact us if you’re unsure of what category you fit into.)
For arts organizations:
- Resilience: your organization has clearly stated plans to remain in operation through 2023-2024. You have demonstrated organizational adaptability to changes in your community. You have demonstrated responsiveness to your community’s needs.
- Public benefit: your organization offers substantial public benefit through your programs, activities, and services. Public benefit may include – but is not limited to – any free or reduced cost admission, events, or programs that increase access to artistic services in King County.
- Equity: your organization has a focus on marginalized communities, especially communities that are disproportionately impacted by structural racism. This is not a requirement for funding.
- Artistic substance: your organization provides artistic services that are robust, creative, and engage with your community.
For Local Arts Agencies (LAAs):
Note: if you are not sure if you are an LAA, you are probably not; see below, under Are You Eligible?, for more details.
- Quality, scope, diversity, and impact of your annual programming.
- Commitment of local government through dedicated staff, commission structure, and annual financial investment in cultural programming.
- Responsiveness to community needs—including diverse populations—through strategic planning, programming, funding, collaboration, technical assistance, convening, and communications.
- Growth and development of resources, scope, impact, and community participation.
4Culture recognizes that where an organization is based or provides its services, as well as the communities it serves, can affect access to funding and other resources. To take a step towards balancing these disparities, we award additional funding to organizations that are based in an Equity Investment area or that focus on marginalized communities, especially communities that are disproportionately impacted by structural racism.
Organizations qualify as being in an Equity Investment area by meeting one or more of the following requirements:
- Your organization is outside of the City of Seattle.
- Your organization is located in Seattle but is also in a 2010 US Census tract area with a Communities of Opportunity index percentile of 60% or greater. These locations are shown in purple on the map below.
- Your organization is collectively determined to merit an Equity Investment by the panel of peer reviewers who evaluate the Arts Sustained Support applications.
For Firefox users, you may find it easier to view the map using this link.
Note: organizations with an annual budget over $3.5 million do not qualify for this additional funding.
Organizations that apply for our Sustained Support and Cultural Facilities grants are evaluated by teams of on-site reviewers, who attend a scheduled event or open hours and provide written comments for use by grant review panels. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the On-Site Review program is on hiatus for 2022. We aim to resume the program in 2023, reviewing both online/virtual programming as well as in-person programming. After receiving their award letter, organizations that receive Arts Sustained Support awards for 2023-2024 are encouraged to contact Bret Fetzer at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange for an On-Site Review.
Public Benefit: Why It Matters
Every time a visitor to Washington State stays in a hotel, they pay a Lodging Tax—this is where our funding comes from, and our mission is to put it back into the community. As you work through your application, tell us exactly how your fellow King County residents will be able to enjoy and learn from your work. Here are some ways you can provide public benefit:
- Free performances, exhibitions, workshops, screenings, or readings.
- Events in the often under-served areas of suburban or rural King County, to low-income, youth and senior groups, individuals with limited physical abilities, recent immigrants, or residents from minority races or ethnicities.
- Free, electronically accessible materials, including literary publications, audio, or video recordings.
2 Are You Eligible?
2 Are You Eligible?
Sustained Support is available for King County-based non-profit organizations, local arts agencies, municipalities, and tribal governments. We award these funds based on an organization’s overall mission and activities—this grant is not project-based.
The following types of organizations may apply:
Local arts agencies (LAAs) and arts organizations with a 3-year minimum operating history and a record of artistic or cultural accomplishment.
- LAAs are designated municipal agencies or nonprofit organizations that provide a range of arts services for a specific King County community (for example, the Kent Arts Commission or the Maple Valley Creative Arts Council).
- Arts organizations are nonprofit entities that provide arts programming to the public and/or that provide services—training, administrative support, technical assistance, and more—to arts professionals (for example, Seattle Art Museum, Kirkland Choral Society, Annex Theatre, or Washington Lawyers for the Arts).
- Arts organizations that do not have 501(c)(3) non-profit status may apply, but if they are selected for funding they will need the fiscal sponsorship of another 501(c)(3) “umbrella” organization in order to claim their awards. If your organization is not a non-profit, please contact 4Culture staff for advice or recommendations for fiscal sponsorship.
3 Helping you succeed
3 Helping you succeed
4Culture staff will do their best to answer questions or provide assistance for Arts Sustained Support applicants. However, as the deadline approaches, it will become less and less likely that they will be able to respond to your queries (the number of applicants is expected to be between 400-500). The earlier you prepare your application, the more support 4Culture staff will be able to offer you.
Workshops can make a major difference in the strength of your application! 4Culture Arts staff will be available to answer questions, discuss project details, and review draft applications.
All workshops will be held remotely. Please register via the links provided to receive Zoom meeting information. You will need a Zoom account in order to attend a workshop. If you are unable to attend, a workshop recording will be available.
If you are unable to join a Zoom workshop, you can view this recording:
Watch this step-by-step application tutorial video to assist you through the process of creating an account, starting your application, and saving it for later.
View last cycle’s Arts Sustained Support recipients on our Past Grants page.
You can also read through the application questions before getting started:
- Provide a short, one sentence description of your organization. Suggested word count: 100 words
- Please describe your community. (Consider audiences, artists, collaborators, supporters, volunteers.) Some prompts: Who experiences your artistic services? Who experiences the public benefit your organization offers? How do they access your programs and services? Suggested word count: 250 words
- Rather than give us an overview of all of your programming, describe the program that currently excites you most and tell us why. Some prompts: If you have new programming, what inspired that? If you are most excited by ongoing programs, how have they changed in response to the pandemic? Suggested word count for this section: 250 words
- How does your organization make decisions? Give an example. For example, if you have launched a new program, how was it proposed? How was it developed? What did it take to make it a reality? Suggested word count for this section: 250 words
- Please describe the Public Benefit your organization provides. If you are awarded Sustained Support funding, your answer here will be used as a public benefit statement for your contract. Because this will need to be used for the next two years, do not be overly specific about the coming year; describe what you would offer in a typical year. Here is a generic example of what we’re looking for. It is for a performing organization, but should give a sense of the kinds of information we need from any arts organization: Generic Arts Organization offers 3 productions to the public in a typical year. Each production includes one pay-what-you-can performance and discounted tickets for youth/seniors/military. At least one performance features ASL interpretation. We also offer two educational workshops at no cost and one educational program with scholarships for low-income applicants.
Translation and Assistance
If you anticipate a barrier to your participation due to limited English writing ability, visual impairment, or would like to request assistance to access this application, please contact us at email@example.com or 206-296-7580 or TTY 711.
Si anticipa una barrera para su participación debido a la capacidad limitada de escritura en inglés, discapacidad visual, o desea solicitar asistencia para acceder a esta aplicación, contáctenos en firstname.lastname@example.org o 206-296-7580 o TTY 711.
4 After You Submit
4 After You Submit
The next application deadline for this grant will be in the fall of 2022. Most 4Culture grants take approximately three to four months from application deadline to when we announce our funding decisions.
Due to the complications of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021-2022 biennium was split into two individual years of funding. For 2023-2024, Arts Sustained Support will return to a regular, biennial award cycle, meaning that award recipients will receive the same award amount in each calendar year.
The 2022 Sustained Support awards took into account whether an organization had received 4Culture Recovery Fund or King County Revive & Thrive Awards. Because of this, these 2022 awards are not indicative of future award amounts.
After the application deadline, 4Culture Program Managers first review all applications to ensure eligibility. We then facilitate panels of peer reviewers (artists and arts administrators) to evaluate all eligible applications. The peer reviewers change from cycle to cycle. 4Culture staff do not score applications or try to influence the outcome.
Award amounts will have three components:
- A base award determined by the recipient organization’s budget size.
- A possible additional award for organizations that the panel agrees demonstrate exceptional merit.
- A possible Equity Investment based on geographic location and/or an organization’s score on the Equity criterion (see Equity Investments section under “What Sustained Support Funds,” above).
The panel’s award recommendations are then sent to the Arts Advisory Committee for review, and then onto 4Culture’s Board for final approval. The entire process, from application deadline to final award notification, takes three to four months.
Contracts and Payment
If we select your organization for funding, your grant manager will work with you to create a contract outlining a payment schedule.
Requirements and Appeals
Learn about what will be required if you are awarded a grant, and about the process for appeal of a 4Culture decision.
Once you’ve started your application, you can save after each step and sign out—your application will be saved as a draft that you can continue to work on up to the deadline. Once you hit “Submit,” your application is final. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions during the process.
What’s in the Application
In addition to the application itself, we will not consider your application without the materials listed here. We strongly recommend assembling them before you login and begin your application. We encourage you to call or email us with any questions as you work on these materials.
Your organization profile in our portal must provide demographic information for your board and staff for the current year. We use this information to help us understand how well we are doing in our efforts to reach all communities in King County.
For nonprofit organizations:
- Operating budget, formatted in the 4Culture forms that are in your account.
For Local Arts Agencies:
- List of staff dedicated to arts programming and the percentage of time allocated.
- List of commissioners and board members.
- List of annual arts programming for the most recently completed program year. Include date or date range, number of occurrences, location, and estimated attendance.
- List of arts program related expenditures and income. The most recently completed cultural plan, if applicable.
Note: Municipalities may submit an application to both Arts and Preservation Sustained Support, if that municipality meets the separate Arts and Preservation funding criteria. All other organizations must choose the one funding program that best fits their mission and goals—either Arts, Heritage or Preservation—and submit only one application for this round.