Arts Funding Process & Timeline

Guidelines and Forms

 Application Process

  • Applicant must submit all required information in accordance with instructions using the online application system by Monday, April 27, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. to be considered for FY2021 funding. The Commission on Cultural Affairs will only consider complete applications.
  • Access online application. Create only one account per organization (note: organizations funded in FY17-FY20 already have active accounts).
  • Budget forms are provided and must be used. Additional sheets will not be accepted.
  • Specific artists must be named as well as the specific program(s).
  • Applications completed by April 1, 2020, may be reviewed by OCA staff with feedback by April 15, 2020.
  • After Commission review, appropriation levels will be recommended to the City Council for final action as part of the city’s overall FY2020 budget process.

Project Period

Applications must address projects occurring between October 1, 2020, and December 31, 2021. Please note that due to the city’s fiscal year, approved projects in October and November will not receive funding before they occur.

Review Process

After the deadline, each member of the Commission on Cultural Affairs reviews applications. Commissioners may contact the applicant if they have questions about the application, but applicants should not initiate contact with Commissioners as they should not feel as if they are being lobbied. 

Scoring and allocation

  • Commissioners score each application based on the project guidelines and evaluation criteria, with the best possible score of 100. 
  • Scores are then averaged – the high and low score for the application will be eliminated before the average score is calculated. The average becomes the basis of a ranking for all applications.
  • An adjusting percentage will be used to determine award levels. Adjusting percentage is determined by dividing the total available funds by total requests. For example, if the available funding were $110,000 and the requests totaled $250,000, the adjusting percentage would be 44% (available funding/request total = 0.44).
  • Awards will be determined by the following formula:
    Amount requested x total average score (dropping high and low) x adjusting percentage
  • For the top three scoring applications at or above 95%, a bonus award of $500 will be allocated.
  • Applications receiving an average score of 59 or less will not be funded.

Dollars are allocated using the above mathematical formula to determine preliminary funding levels, which are then finalized by the Commission. The formula has a direct relationship to each application’s score and ranking, thereby rewarding those applications that most clearly and directly meet the guidelines and address the criteria of the funding program. 


  • Mid-February – Online applications first available. Eligible organizations are able to set up accounts with Foundant Technologies (only one account per organization).
  • Funding Application workshops – Attend one of the scheduled application workshops to get an overview of the funding process and putting together application materials. Alternatively, you can schedule a time to meet with OCA staff. 
    • Workshop schedule TBD
  • By appointment – Contact OCA for an overview of the funding application process. Staff can assist in questions about putting together an application and the overall funding process.  
  • April 1, 2020 – Optional draft deadline for OCA staff review of application for completeness
  • April 15, 2020 – Staff feedback to organizations submitting for the optional draft review
  • April 27, 2020 – Application due by 5:00 p.m. 
  • June 3, 2020 – OCA staff will send each applicant preliminary comment packets from Commissioners (no scores) ahead of full Commission meeting. Request for written response to any factually inaccurate comments by 12:00 p.m. noon on Monday, June 8. Staff will share responses during the meeting. 
  • June 8, 2020 – Commission on Cultural Affairs funding work session, 5:15 p.m. Contact the OCA to confirm meeting location. Meeting is open to the public; applicants are encouraged to attend to observe.
  • TBD – Letters to applicants with Commissioner’s funding recommendations and comments
  • July 13, 2020 – Commission second funding meeting to finalize scores along with preliminary funding recommendations. Contact the OCA to confirm the meeting date, time and location. Applicants are encouraged to participate in public hearing after Commissioner discussion. 
  • August 2020 (date TBA) – Funding recommendations presented to the City Council for approval during the city’s overall budget process
  • October 2020 – Contracts prepared and presented to City Council for approval; contracts sent to arts organizations with information regarding stipulations and revisions
  • December 15, 2020 – Signed contract due back to the OCA. Submit revised narrative, budget, and response to any stipulation(s) are due back to OCA. Funding cannot be released until all paperwork is completed and on file with the OCA. Failure to return the executed contract and required revisions by the due dates may result in the loss of city funding for current fiscal year.

Please Note

  • Due to the city’s fiscal year, projects in October and November will not receive funding before they occur.
  • City funding is conditional on meeting the timeline herein set out. If guidelines are not met, the Commission on Cultural Affairs may recommend to City Council that a funding award be withdrawn.
  • If funding is received, a final report of the project is due within 45 days after its end date; 10% of each contract will be held until the report is submitted. If the report is not received after 90 days, the 10% is forfeited.