The Arts Are Vital: Emergency Funding for Artists and Arts Organizations

Applications are now closed. 


The arts are vital. Amidst current challenges and fears our community cannot afford to lose the voices, perspectives and creativity of artists and arts organizations who help us process the world around us. The Arts are Vital Grant is an emergency relief program for Lee County’s arts organizations and individual artists formed in partnership with the Meisenberg Family Trust and the Alliance for the Arts to ensure the impact of the arts is not lost during a time when we need it most. The program provides one-time grant awards to arts organizations and professional artists of all disciplines operating and residing in Lee County, FL with urgent financial need. These funds are unrestricted and may be used by the organizations and artists to help with financial issues due to the impact of COVID-19 on their organizations, lives and livelihoods.



Subject to the availability of funds. 

Arts Organizations

  • Eligible organizations will be nonprofit organizations exempt from Federal income taxes under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • Eligible organizations must be located in and primarily serve residents of Lee County.
  • Eligible organizations must be governed by a volunteer board of directors.
  • Eligible organizations will have a mission that is clearly focused on the arts.
  • Eligible organizations must have a minimum of one (1) paid employee.
  • Eligible organizations must conduct business without discrimination on the basis of race, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability, national origin, or religious affiliation. 

Individual Artists

  • All professional artists residing in Lee County for at least one year at the time of application are eligible to apply for this one-time grant. 
  • A professional artist is defined as a person who, over a sustained period of time, has:
    • created and presented a recognized body of original artwork (e.g., visual and media artists, composers, choreographers, playwrights, poets, theater/film directors, costume designers, etc.); OR
    • established a career as an interpretive artist (e.g., actors, musicians, dancers, singers, etc.); AND
    • who is striving to achieve the highest level of professional recognition. 
  • Eligible applicants demonstrate a sustained commitment to their artistic work, on an ongoing basis, and pursue this work as a means of livelihood.
  • Eligible applicants must demonstrate a serious and urgent need for financial assistance to be considered for this support.
  • Eligible applicants must be over 18 years of age.



Arts Organizations

  • Political Campaigns 
  • Lobbying or similar activities 
  • Advancement of a particular religion or faith 
  • Organizations with a mission that is NOT focused on the arts 
  • Units of government are ineligible, as well as, (c)(4) and (c)(6) agencies
  • Organizations that are currently shut down (organizations that are adapting programming or programming on a lesser scale in response to COVID-19 CDC guidelines are eligible) 
  • Organizations that are funded or staffed by a municipal entity
  • Organizations with current Alliance for the Arts board members on staff

Individual Artists

  • Students pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees, non-professionals who engage in the arts as a hobby, or current Alliance for the Arts board members or staff, or their families


Subject to the availability of funds. 

Arts organizations will receive $5,000 upon meeting eligibility and advancing in the review process. 

Individual artists will receive $500 upon meeting eligibility, advancing in the review process and submitting a signed W-9.


  • Available funds
  • Alliance for the Arts members 
  • Need based on Financial Impact of COVID-19


  • Organizations and artists demonstrating a commitment to equity 
  • Organizations and artists demonstrating a commitment to accessibility
  • Organizations that operate a venue
  • Organizations with two or more full-time employees or equivalent


Applications can be submitted for organizations and artistsAll submissions must be received by 11:59 pm on July 12, 2020.  Awards will be announced in August 2020.  Rather than a traditional grant report, grantees are asked to share content with the Alliance for the Arts as a demonstration of collaboration no later than December 1, 2020.  While grantees are not expected to produce any new programs or work with awards, shared content could include, but is not limited to: public art on the Alliance for the Arts campus, video of artist’s process or work space, or an image and description of artists work. The goal is to showcase the grantee to the Meisenberg Family Trust, the Alliance’s audience and members while, simultaneously, supporting the important role the Alliance for the Arts plays in Lee County. 


Please note: Our grant application does not allow applicants to save their work and return to the application at a later time/date.  When the grant is available, we recommend you download the application, complete all your responses, and then copy and paste them into the application form in your browser.

Arts Organizations

  • Current Organization Operating Budget (upload)
  • Most Recent IRS Form 990 (upload)
  • List of Board of Directors, Including Professional Affiliations (upload)
  • Names and Job Titles of Paid Staff, please note full time or part time employee(s) (upload)
  • Copy of 501(c)(3) Determination Letter (upload)
  • Statement of artist mission (2000 Character Limit)
  • Organization’s current total number of full-time or full-time equivalent employees
  • Statement of current activities/programs (2000 Character Limit)
  • Statement on equity work (2000 Character Limit) OPTIONAL
  • Statement on accessibility (2000 Character Limit) OPTIONAL
  • Total estimated financial impact of Covid-19 on your organization (estimated amount)
  • Statement of need (2000 Character Limit)



Individual Artists

  • Resume or CV (PDF preferred) (Upload)
  • Artist Bio (2000 Character Limit)
  • Artist Statement (2000 Character Limit)
  • Total Financial Impact of COVID-19 on Your Artistic Practice (estimated amount)
  • Statement of Need (2000 Character Limit)
  • Proposed shared content (2000 Character Limit)
  • Up to 3 Work Samples (Optional)




In the event we need to request additional information to complete our review of your applications, we will be reaching out between July 13 and July 23.  

AWARDS: Grant awards will be announced August 2020.