Annual Arts Funding

    Guidelines and Forms


    Access Online Application


    About Annual Arts Funding

    The City of Columbia Office of Cultural Affairs (OCA) provides annual funding support to the arts. By contracting with local 501(c)(3) arts organizations to provide high quality arts services and programming in the community, the OCA serves the general public, artists, and arts agencies. The OCA’s Commission on Cultural Affairs assists in the process by evaluating requests and recommending funding levels.  The City Council finalizes allocations.

     MISSION: The City of Columbia’s arts funding program nurtures the new and existing arts organizations thereby bringing greater appreciation for all arts forms to Columbia’s diverse populations. – adopted October 2001

    Please note…this is not a grant program. Allocations of city dollars represent the purchasing or contracting of services from arts organizations. As such, the reach of the Office of Cultural Affairs into the community is extended and programs of local arts organizations are enhanced with additional dollars.

    Funding Amounts. City arts funding is limited and is allocated in a competitive process. In fiscal year 2017, a total of $106,500 is going to support 27 agencies and their projects. Requests ranged from $1,473 to $10,000 with the average award $3,944. Contact us for statistical information on awards made in previous fiscal years. Organizations are encouraged to use this information in developing reasonable requests. Requests may not exceed $10,000; project budgets of less than $1,000 are not accepted.

    Collaborations, Partnerships and Working with Schools & Other Groups. Collaborations and partnerships are encouraged. Collaborators play a significant role in the planning and implementation of the proposed project(s). Partners are involved to a lesser degree, perhaps as a sponsor or special venue.  In either case, a nonprofit arts organization must serve as the lead agency. Signatures must be obtained from all collaborators.

    A  school or other group simply attending a performance or event does not constitute a collaboration or partnership. If their participation is detailed in your narrative, however, confirmation from the school(s) or group(s) that they have been contacted and plan to participate must be provided with your application. 

    Other Funding Opportunities. The OCA provides year-round opportunities for arts organizations to apply for support. The Small Requests program may provide up to $750 for projects. Basic eligibility is similar to these funding guidelines.  If a project is funded in the annual funding cycle, however, components of it are not eligible for a Small Request. Proposed projects should be innovative, unique and, in most cases, one-time opportunities.  Established projects are not likely to be funded as a Small Request. Contact us for more information and the application or access the Small Request application information here.