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About Arts Midwest

We support, inform, and celebrate Midwestern creativity—building community and opportunity across our region and beyond.

A group of dancers circles around two of them holding one up in the air.
Photo Credit: Governors State University

Amplifying Midwestern Creativity

Arts Midwest amplifies the power of our region’s creativity. We support, inform, and celebrate arts organizations and creative communities in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, the Native Nations that share this geography, and beyond.

As one of six nonprofit United States Regional Arts Organizations, we work to strengthen local arts and culture efforts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, state agencies, private funders, and many others. Since our founding, we have awarded more than 6,000 grants totaling nearly $60 million. Each year, we serve more than 700,000 individuals across more than 300 communities in the Midwest and beyond. We nourish the creative roots of the Midwest, confident that our region will continue to sow the seeds that inspire the world.

A map of the United States with Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin highlighted.

Arts Midwest’s work is shaped by our guiding values: equity, integrity, and learning. We believe that creativity lives in everyone. Therefore, we do everything we can to help people show up fully, speak their truth, and grow together. We embrace the full spectrum of humanity. We approach each other with trust and humility. We have brave conversations and learn from new perspectives. Living these values helps us build connections that make our beloved places bolder, more welcoming, and seen for the beacons of brilliance that they are.

We’re here to build unprecedented opportunity in the Midwest by advancing creativity. To support the artists and organizations that define and redefine this place. To share ideas that make Midwesterners more visible and connected. To raise up the stories that challenge assumptions. And to build flourishing communities that are powered by opportunity, authenticity, and a deep sense of belonging.

That’s our Midwest: a place of extraordinary possibility.

Our Mission + Vision

MISSION: To build unprecedented opportunity across the Midwest by advancing creativity.

VISION: Midwestern creativity powers thriving, entrepreneurial, and welcoming communities.

Two people in yellow outfits perform outside in front of children and adults. They leap joyously through the air with smiles on their faces.
Photo Credit: Public Space One

Our Values

EQUITY: We commit to actionable, measurable, and reportable ways to respect, honor, and embrace all of humanity.

INTEGRITY: We approach our partners and each other with a spirit of cooperation, trust, humility, and accountability.

LEARNING: We value learning and growing. We commit to having honest conversations with our partners and each other.

A person is adding paint to words on an outdoor mural that reads: "When there are many worlds you can choose...walk into each day." (The person is blocking part of the quote).
Photo Credit: Kathleen Quinn

Our Focus Areas

SUPPORT: We invest in efforts that use creativity to connect people, ideas, and solutions.

INFORM: We share data and ideas to support Midwestern communities in being more visible, sustainable, and interconnected.

CELEBRATE: We honor the people, places, and creative organizations that compose the Midwest.

At the ArtsLab final retreat in September 2014, a person adds a post-it note with writing on it to a giant piece of poster paper, while a person behind them observes.
Photo Credit: Ackerman + Gruber

Living Commitment to Native Nations

Native Nations and Indigenous people are still here and will be here beyond the boundaries of time and politics. Native people, Native land, Native history, and Native futures are essential and intrinsic to the region that is now called the Midwest.

Read Our Committment
Big Read Brings Native American Voices & Culture to LSSU. Linda Batiste-Cohen and Michelle Reed performing in 2021.
Photo Credit: Brenda Austin
Linda Batiste-Cohen and Michelle Reed performing in 2021.

Guiding Racial Equity Principles 

As part of our ongoing commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access, in August 2020, the Arts Midwest Board of Directors adopted the National Arts Strategies Racial Equity Principles as core guiding principles for our programs, strategies, and operations.

The NAS Racial Equity Principles were created by a global group of NAS Chief Executive Program alumni, including Arts Midwest President & CEO Torrie Allen.

Learn More About Racial Equity Principles
Paulo Padilha demonstrates how to play the pandeiro for a group of Rushville students.
Photo Credit: Eric Smith
Paulo Padilha demonstrates how to play the pandeiro for a group of Rushville students.

Accessibility and Arts Midwest

At Arts Midwest, accessibility is directly tied to our values of equity, integrity, and learning. We believe that compliance to the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) is important, and that creating a culture of access and inclusion goes beyond the ADA. We strive to embody accessibility in our attitudes, approaches, proactive planning, and design.

Read Our Accessibility Policy
Briana Shelstad puppeteers her large-scale art based on "The Chariot" tarot card in the parking lot at Interact Center for the Visual and Performing Arts.
Photo Credit: Alana Horton
Interact Center for the Visual and Performing Arts. Interact artist Briana puppeteering her large-scale art based on “The Chariot” tarot card.

Theory of Change

Our Theory of Change guides Arts Midwest’s long-term strategies and our day-to-day work, mapping what success looks like and how we might get there.

Introducing Arts Midwest’s Theory of Change 
A man with dark skin holds a screen up for a group of young musicians with instruments.
Photo Credit: Jessica Altfillisch
Harmony School of Music partnered with Michigan vocalist-cellist Jordan Hamilton for their Community Music Day festival as part of the GIG Fund.

Frequently Asked Questions

As one of six U.S. Regional Arts Organizations, Arts Midwest supports, informs, and celebrates Midwestern creativity. Learn more about our grants and programs, explore our resources, and read our stories about the many creative people and places that power this region.

Regional arts organizations were created by state arts agencies and the National Endowment for the Arts in the 1970s in order to transcend state boundaries and give citizens access to a greater and richer variety of arts experiences. Learn more about Regional Arts Organizations.

Arts Midwest supports, informs, and celebrates creativity throughout our nine-state service region, which includes:

  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • South Dakota
  • Wisconsin

This region was determined by the National Endowment for the Arts in the 1980s. If your state is not listed here, please check out the U.S. Regional Arts Organizations website to find the organizations that serve your area.

We also support the 42 Native Nations that share this geography. Learn more about our Living Commitment to Native Nations.

We offer a variety of programs and grants that help connect audiences to the arts. Please visit our Get Support page for more information on applying for a grant or bringing one of our programs to a community near you.


Most of our grants and programs are focused on supporting organizations in the Midwest.

However, we do offer two national grantmaking programs, NEA Big Read and Shakespeare in American Communities. Learn more about those opportunities.

If you are not located in the Midwest, please visit the U.S. Regional Arts Organization that serves your home state for more information on available grants and services.



At this time, Arts Midwest has one award program for individuals, the Peter Capell Award for Midwestern Creativity and Entrepreneurship. This award supports one Midwestern arts leader per year.

Arts Midwest also promotes JazzRoad, a program run through South Arts, which provides touring and residency funds for jazz artists. Artists from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin should contact us with any questions related to your application or interest in a tour. Outside of the Midwest? Visit this page to find a contact near you.

We encourage artists looking for direct support to contact their state arts agency for further information on possible funding opportunities available to them at the state level.


World Fest, our regional touring program, will post calls to work with artists via our email newsletter. Please subscribe in the footer of our website to stay connected to those opportunities.

We The Many, our artist residency program, invites artists to join our roster by emailing our program manager. 

Reports and Financials

Have questions? Contact us!

We’re here to help, and hearing from you makes our day. Feel free to email or call us to get the answers you’re looking for.

Contact Our Team