The Arts Council awards grants to 501(3)(c) nonprofit arts organizations incorporated and doing business in Fairfax County. Individuals and unincorporated groups may not apply but an eligible nonprofit organization, known as a fiscal sponsor, may apply on behalf of an individual or unincorporated group in certain grant categories. Please see program specific guidelines and applications for detailed eligiblity criteria. Individual artists residing in Fairfax County are also eligible to apply for Strauss Artist Grants.
Online Application Process
The Arts Council has transitioned to an online application system for all grants programs. We are providing training on the new system to prospective applicants throughout the various grants cycles.
The Arts Council uses a multi-step process involving staff, peer review panels, a grants committee, and the full Board of Directors.
The Arts Council’s staff verify applicant eligibility and review application materials for completeness. In each program category, peer review panel(s) convene with staff and grants committee representative present. Each year, over 25 people volunteer their time and expertise to help the Arts Council fairly and openly distribute public funds to arts organizations. The panel is composed of a diverse group of arts professionals from throughout the region with relevant and specific expertise. The Arts Council accepts nominations for panelists from the general public. To nominate an individual for panel service consideration, please send a resume and letter of interest to the Grants Coordinator.
The panel ratings form the basis for funding recommendations from the Grants Committee to the full Board of Directors. Applications are evaluated according to artistic merit, organizational effectiveness, community outreach, and appropriateness of the budget.