Annual Arts Funding

Guidelines and Forms

Download summary of changes for FY19 Annual Arts Funding process. The recommended changes were approved by the Commission on Cultural Affairs at its Jan. 8, 2018 meeting.

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 2018, a total of $108,500 is going to support 29 agencies and their projects. Contact us for statistical information on awards made in previous fiscal years. Organizations are encouraged to use this information in developing reasonable requests.

FY19 Requests
Organizations may request up to 25% of last fiscal year’s total revenue*, with a minimum request of $1,000 and a maximum request of $7,500. If an organization’s last year’s total revenue is less than $4,000, up to 50% may be requested, not to exceed $1,000. Proposed projects must be matched dollar-for-dollar with cash, in-kind contributions, or a combination of both. 

New in FY19: There will no longer be a minimum award amount (i.e. if an organization requests $1,000, they may be funded less than the request)

*Last fiscal year’s total revenue is defined as the actual (not budgeted) amount of money (cash or in-kind) that the organization received in exchange for goods and/or services that it provided. Total revenue includes support: revenue that consists of contributions or grants to the organization.

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 $500 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.