Professional Development for Artists Grants

The Arts Council’s Professional Development for Artists (PDA) Grant Program was established in recognition of the value and important contributions of creative individuals to the cultural vitality of the Hillsborough County. The program’s intent is to support and develop a vibrant, creative community that inspires, energizes and stimulates prosperity for residents and visitors alike.  

PDA Grants provide support to Hillsborough County artists with established success on local, national or international levels. It is an annual grant program that provides funding to emerging or established artists in a variety of disciplines for a single purpose: Attendance at a professional development experience or purchase of equipment that is pivotal to the advancement of the artist’s career. Funding for this grant program is provided by the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners through the Economic Development Department. 

This program is different from our past artist grant programs. The Program Guidelines give more details on eligibility, requirements and application as well as answers to frequently asked questions.

2019 Grant Program

Beginning this year, the Arts Council is using an online system for all grant proposal applications. Application forms are filled out online. Certain documents and current work samples are uploaded to us through the online system.

Artists may apply for funds for one of two proposal purposes:

  • Education Experience – residency, workshop, conference
  • Equipment – Permanent, non-disposable equipment 

This is a reimbursement-based grant program, meaning you must be able to pay for your proposal expenses. You are reimbursed for expenses after submitting paid receipts. 


  • An active literary, performing or visual artist
  • Must be 21 years of age or older
  • Permanent resident of Hillsborough County since December 1, 2017 and remain so throughout the funding period
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Have not received any type of artist grant from the Arts Council within the last three years (2016, 2017, 2018)
  • Full-time, arts-related faculty in higher education are not eligible
  • Applicants and recipients may not enroll in, or be currently enrolled in, any undergraduate or graduate degree program during the time their funded project is in progress.

2019 Application Requirements

Complete the application online. No paper applications will be accepted. You will need:

Grant Panel Review

The grants are reviewed by a panel of professionals with experience in the arts. We select the panelists based on their overall knowledge of the arts, their backgrounds and familiarity with grant-making. Panelists use a detailed scoring matrix to score the applications. 

The Grant Panel Review meeting for the 2019 program will take place Tuesday, January 29, 2 pm at Hillsborough County’s Entrepreneur Collaborative Center in Ybor City. The panel will discuss applications and announce their scores. The review panel meeting is open to the public and all current applicants and any artists considering applying for a grant in the future are strongly urged to attend. Listening to panel comments are a great way to develop your grant writing skills. 

Online Submissions

When you are ready to submit your application, be sure you upload ALL the required documents. The following documents must be uploaded to our Dropbox in order to be eligible:

  • Completed application including professional artist resume
  • Work samples (except videos)
  • Proof of residency document
  • Completed cultural equity survey
  • Other supporting documents as required 

Please refer to the 2018 PDA Guidelines document for more information and how to apply. If you have questions, please call Terri Simons, Director of Programs and Communication, at 813.276.8250. 

Key Changes in the Program from Previous Years

There are several important changes to our artist grant program (now called Professional Development Grants for Artists) that differ from past years’ programs. Some of those are: 

  • All aspects of the application are online. No paper applications will be accepted.
  • Now open to emerging AND established professional artists. Past programs only allowed accomplished professional artists.
  • Residency requirement: Must be a resident of Hillsborough County for 12 continuous months before application. This changed from 24 months to 12 months.
  • Lifetime limit on number of grants you can receive has been removed. Artists who received a grant in prior programs ARE eligible to apply unless the artist received a grant in the last three years. Artists must wait three years before they can apply again.  
  • Grant purpose/project: The new grant program only supports two types of “projects:” The project must be one of two things — either an education experience that will make a difference in the artists’ career growth OR a piece of non-disposable equipment that would be pivotable to advancing the artist’s career. 
  • Work samples: Simplified requirements for all disciplines. 

Logos, Credit for Funding

Arts organizations and artists receiving funding must display the Arts Council logo and Hillsborough County logo on all promotional materials and give proper credit for funding (as stated in the grant contract) to increase awareness of local funding for the arts and its importance. Artists are expected to display credit for funding on their website, through social media, printed and electronic collateral via display of logos and/or a text statement such as: 

Support for my career has been received through a 2019 Professional Development for Artists Grant from the Arts Council of Hillsborough County and the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners. 

 Download logos from this page. 

The Arts Council’s grant programs are made possible thanks to funds from the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners. We are grateful for the continued support of our community that makes art happen.

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