Overview of Our Grant Programs

The Arts Council of Hillsborough County supports the arts sector in Hillsborough County through grants to nonprofit arts organizations, to individual artists and by providing professional development programs to both grantees and non-grantees of the Arts Council.

The Arts Council’s grant programs are primarily funded by the Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners. We provide:

  • Cultural development grants for nonprofit arts and cultural organizations,
  • Professional development grants to accomplished individual artists
  • Organizational development grants to nonprofit arts organizations (suspended for 2016-17 due to lack of funds) and
  • Micro grants for Hillsborough County public school arts teachers (as funds are available).

Cultural Development Grants for Organizations

The Arts Council administers an annual grant program open to nonprofit arts organizations in Hillsborough County for the purpose of cultural development locally. Recipients have ranged from small to large groups working in a variety of areas. The grant cycle follows the Arts Council’s fiscal year which begins Oct. 1 and the application process is opened in late summer.

Applicants are judged on artistic and cultural merit; organization merit; and community outreach by a panel of art professionals. Grant funds may be used for either general operating support or for specific projects occurring during the grant year, Oct. 1 through Sept. 15. For specific qualifications for applications please refer to the information on the Cultural Development Grant page.

Funding for the program is allocated by the Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners and administered by the Arts Council. 


Career Advancement Grants for Individual Artists

The Individual Artist Grant program is typically opened for application in December through January with awards made for March 1-Sept. 30. Funding is to artists for projects that will take their career or new work to a higher level. The program is open to experienced artists in the theatre, visual, dance, music, literary, media and folk art disciplines.

Applications are reviewed by a panel of arts professionals and their recommendations are voted on by the Arts Council’s Board of Directors. Artists interested in applying should download related documents from our Individual Artist Grant page where you can see the guidelines, application, and tips on applying for artist grants.


Professional Development Grants for Organizations

This program has been suspended due to lack of funds. We hope to offer it again in the future. 

The Professional Development Grant program is a capacity-building program supporting the governance, leadership, technology and professional development needs of non-profit arts and culture organizations in Hillsborough County. Applicants are encouraged to make a long-term commitment to continuous improvement and to develop skills that result in benefits not only to the organization, but to the larger arts community.

This is a reimbursement grant and applications are reviewed monthly. Awards are made as long as program funds are available.


Teacher Incentive Grants

The Arts Council awards small grants annually to support a variety of arts education experiences in public schools.  Teachers may ask for support for a specific program or project as well as equipment, fees, supplies, or services. Applicants must be full-time K- 12 arts teachers (visual art, music, dance, theater / drama) in Hillsborough County Public Schools. 

The call for applications is announced through the school system and the Arts Council’s communications. For more information, please contact the Arts Council at 813-276-8250.

Where the Arts Council Gets Money for Grants

The Arts Council’s grant programs are made possible thanks to funds from the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners, donations received from individuals and fundraising events such as FIVE by FIVE and Heart of the Arts.

More than $750,000 has been awarded to local artists since the program’s inception in 1989 and nearly $11.5 million in annual and special grants to cultural organizations since 1991. We are grateful for the continued support of our community, the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners and the Hillsborough County Economic Development Department that makes art happen.

If you have questions about the Arts Council’s grant programs or if you are interested in establishing a named grant fund to support artists, arts organizations or art projects in our area, please contact Terri Simons, Director of Program Services, at (813) 276-8250.