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Applying for the GIG Fund

The GIG Fund is a grant of $2,000-4,000 that supports creative projects and educational events in the Midwest. These funds help organizations present artists in their community by supporting programming and touring costs.

A group of students ride in a Japanese river boat down the water, with a person in back steering. A group of students stands on the land behind them, smiling and taking pictures.
Photo Credit: Fred Zwicky

How to Apply

  1. 1

    Grab the guidelines and resources

    Download a copy of the guidelines, which includes all the application questions and some additional resources like sample applications.

  2. 2

    Prepare your application

    Visit our grants portal, SmartSimple, to begin this process. Access detailed instructions on how to get set up in SmartSimple.

  3. 3

    Complete and submit the application form

    The next cycle of applications has an intent to apply form due on May 23, 2024 at 11:59p.m. Central time and the full application due by June 12, 2024 at 11:59p.m. Central time. Only one application will be accepted per organization.


  • Intent to Apply (Required): Due May 23, 2024 @ 11:59 p.m. Central Time 
  • Application Deadline: Due June 12, 2024 @ 11:59 p.m. Central Time
  • Notification of Award Decisions: July 2024
  • GIG Fund Activities Take Place: September 1, 2024 – May 31, 2025


The GIG Fund welcomes applications from a variety of organizations, including first-time applicants; organizations serving Native Nations, rural and urban areas; and organizations with organizations with annual expenses of $1 million or less.

Who should apply?

  • 501c3 non-profit organizations and tribal organizations with annual expenses of $1 million or less.
  • Organizations located in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, or Wisconsin, and the Native Nations that share this geography.
  • Arts and cultural organizations in any arts discipline (literature, performing arts, visual arts, traditional arts, multidisciplinary arts, etc.) or nonprofit organizations that provide arts programming (social service agencies, etc.)
  • Priority will be given to new applicants to the program.
  • Organizations will need to have a UEI number from SAM.gov in order to receive grant funds. You may apply to GIG Fund even if you do not have a UEI number yet. However, you will need to have one on file by late June 2024. Apply for a UEI at SAM.gov.
  • Organizations applying for GIG Fund grants should not have any overdue reports or funding moratoria with Arts Midwest.

Examples of eligible applicants include:

  • Nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)3, U.S. organizations
  • Nonprofit colleges and universities
  • Federally recognized tribal governments
  • Units of state or local government

Ineligible Applicants include:

  • Organizations applying with a fiscal sponsor
  • For-profit business or organizations
  • Artists, ensembles, and artist’s agents

This round of GIG Fund grants is for activities taking place between September 1, 2024, and May 31, 2025.

Organizations can use these funds to support a project that engages performing, visual, multimedia, or literary artists. Artistic excellence and merit will be part of the application review.

1. Contract with a professional artist/ensemble of high artistic, educational, or cultural value as understood by the target community.

  • A portion of the grant award must be used to pay the artist(s).
  • The artist/ensemble may be from anywhere in the world, including the applicant’s own community.
  • The artist(s) must be a least 18 years of age and not be a full-time student.

2. Offer at least two activities featuring the artist(s) in an accessible facility/space.

  • Activities should feature an educational component that allows direct interaction between an audience and the artist(s) or art form. Examples of activities include masterclasses and workshops; lectures, demonstrations, and panel discussions; meet-and-greets; discussions/talkbacks; etc.
  • Activities must include at least one performance or exhibition that is open to the general public.
  • Activities may be in-person and/or virtual.
  • The activities must take place in an accessible facility or on an accessible online streaming platform.

3. At least one activity must reach an underserved audience.

Underserved refers to groups whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited relative to geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability. Audiences could include, but are not limited to, communities of color, people with disabilities, older adults, rural areas, reservations, lower income communities, LGBTQ+ communities, veterans, and justice-impacted citizens.

Project examples
Sample activities include:

  • A rural community hosting a short artist residency at a local school.
  • An artist hosting a creative writing program with justice-impacted citizens.
  • An artist talkback or meet & greet in an exhibition featuring the work of LGBTQ+ photographers.
  • Presenting a concert series focused on the music of BIPOC composers.
  • Initiating a new partnership to provide art classes with people with disabilities.

Check out a list of previous GIG Fund grantees.

Examples of ineligible projects
This fund does not support the following types of projects:

  • Capital projects
  • Dance/theater companies or independent artists seeking funding for their own self-produced material. (e.g., funding to help underwrite an annual company production of A Christmas Carol.)
  • Independent artists seeking funding for their own self-produced material.
  • Projects that feature mostly student performers.
  • Artist fellowships/scholarships
  • Projects that are not arts focused (e.g., food festivals, fireworks displays, conference keynote speeches, etc.)
  • Projects that are part of a benefit or fundraiser.
  • Projects that are funded by another Arts Midwest program.
  • Projects funded by another federal source.


Organizations may request a grant between $2,000 and $4,000. These grants are federal funds that derive from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Eligible expense examples

Eligible expenses include: Artist fees (required), allocated time of staff salaries, software licenses to host virtual activities, facility rental, equipment purchases for supporting artistic engagements ($4,000 or less), accessibility accommodations for individuals with disabilities or auto-immune conditions, promotion, and artist travel.

Matching requirement

Organizations will be required to demonstrate matching funds on a 1:1 basis for the grant amount.

To demonstrate the match, your expenses should be at least double your GIG Fund grant. Potential sources for the match include salaries and wages, in-kind contributions, volunteer hours, earned and contributed revenue (donations, ticket sales, other non-Federal grants), or cash from the applicant or partner organizations.

Federal funds cannot be used as match.

Examples of unallowable expenses
As a Federally funded program, unallowable uses of funds include, but are not limited to: refreshments, concessions, alcohol, fundraising costs, lobbying, retrofitting or construction of physical space, international travel, bad debts and collection costs, home office workspace, subgranting or regranting, cash reserves or endowments, goods for resale, and prizes.

Do not include these costs in your budget.



There is a two-step application process. Submit an intent to apply by May 23. Submit a complete application by June 12.

  • You will receive an email confirmation to confirm receipt of your application.
  • Arts Midwest staff will review applications for eligibility and completeness. We will follow up with any questions or corrections before applications proceed to the review stage.
  • All complete and eligible applications will be reviewed by a panel. The panel will consider the following criteria:
    • Activities provide artistic, educational, and/or cultural value.
    • Depth of planned engagement with audiences, as evidenced by the activity summary.
    • Ability and capacity of the applicant to carry out the project, as evidenced in the budget and activity summary.
    • Project commitments to DEIA (diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility) in partnership with communities. Specifically for this last criterion, the panel will review the applicant’s plan for including audiences with limited access to the arts and the accessibility measures undertaken to ensure access for members of the public.
    • Priority considerations will be given to organizations that are new applicants to the program. Geographic spread of awards within each state may be taken into account with the final award determination. Awards are not guaranteed based on priority status.
  • All applicants will received an email notification of award decisions in July 2024 following approval from Arts Midwest’s Board of Directors.
  • Funded project activities occur between September 1, 2024 and May 31, 2025.


A final report will be due 30 days after the project is completed. Visit the Tools for Grantees section of our website to view final report requirements.



Arts Midwest works to ensure that grant guidelines, presentations, and any other written materials are created with accessibility and disability experiences in mind.

For all grant applications, we use an online platform called SmartSimple, unless applicants request another route. SmartSimple has a dedicated Quality Assurance Team and a consultant who helps test usability on a quarterly basis.

We’ve used other tools for grant applications and are happy to work with you such as providing an adapted form in Microsoft Word or taking verbal responses.

Please complete this form so we can help make a grant or program accessible to you.

Visit our Accessibility Policy for more information on our commitment to accessibility.


Arts Midwest is now collecting applications through a new grants management platform called SmartSimple. Before you apply for a grant opportunity, you’ll need to register your organization in the system.

Learn More

A person sits on a bench holding a guitar, with an amp and a variety of pedals on the ground below.
Photo Credit: Deidre McPherson

Have questions about the GIG Fund?

We’re happy to answer any questions you have about the GIG Fund. Be sure to check out our FAQs, and if you’d like to talk to us we’re just an email or a phone call away. 

GIG Fund FAQ Contact Our Team