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Dance, Drama, Literature, Music, Visual and Traditional Arts
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Institutional Support Guidelines

To apply for a grant, or for more information, please visit:

**ALL organizational applicants who apply for a grant from the NDCA are now required to register for a DUNS number online before receiving grant funds. The process for registering is simple and easy and only takes a few minutes. To register visit

The Institutional Support Program is designed to benefit artists, arts organizations, and the general public. The program provides general support for qualifying arts and cultural organizations that have proven they have strong management and leadership, quality artistic programming and services, and are an important part of the arts infrastructure in their communities. Applicant’s primary activity must be presentation, production, or service to the arts.

Draft Review Deadline 

  • A draft review deadline will be instituted one month prior to (February 15) to the grant application deadline.
  • Staff will review all draft applications, but will no longer contact organizations regarding corrections to or incompleteness of applications submitted after February 15.

Grant Application Deadline

  • Applications must be submitted before March 15, 2016 for projects taking place in the upcoming triennium that begins July 1.
  • Applications submitted after March 15 will not be accepted. No faxed applications or materials will be accepted.

Grant Amount

  • Minimum grants in this category are $2,000 per fiscal year.
  • No more than 50% of the total cash operating/programming costs may be requested from the Council on the Arts. 
  • Only one Institutional Support grant application will be accepted from an organization per triennium based on 501(c)(3) status.


  • Assist arts institutions and cultural organizations in improving artistic or administrative standards. 
  • Encourage arts organizations to attain financial stability by developing a diversified funding base. 
  • Expand cultural opportunities to new audiences and underserved areas.
  • Increase opportunities for local artists and others to participate in a wide range of arts activities.
  • Expand public value of the various art forms.

Grant Period

Institutional Support funds are awarded to organizations serving North Dakota for a three-year period that coincides with the NDCA's NEA federal grant cycle. This is accomplished through a competitive review process. Successful applicants will be awarded a proportion of available funding in each fiscal year based on their panel score, compliance during the grant period, and other NDCA policies. Successful applicants are not guaranteed a specific dollar amount for the entire three year period; all grants are subject to available funding from the NEA and the North Dakota State Legislature. Funds must be expended in the fiscal year for which they are awarded. Unused grant funds cannot be carried over into the next fiscal year.


Applicant organizations must: 

  • Comply with all Eligibility General Policy Guidelines.
  • Comply with applicable State and Federal laws.
  • Have at least part-time paid staff and four (4) event dates/programs per year.
  • Submit a complete and accurate application and provide at least 50 percent of the total cash cost of the project (1:1 cash match). 
  • Submit a copy of a strategic plan for current and future goals (3 to 5 years) and measurable objectives for the organization. 
  • Applicants whose operating budget exceeds $200,000 must submit an independent audit for the most recently completed fiscal year. 
  • Presentation, production, or service of the arts must be the primary activity of the applicant organization. This must be reflected in the applicant's strategic plan and mission statement.
  • Organizations are required to be in existence, and have had their 501(c)(3) status, for a minimum of four (4) years.

Examples of Funded Activities

  • General operating expenses (may include salaries).
  • Honoraria for artistic and technical staff/services.
  • Production costs for performances, exhibitions, and publications. 


  • Organizations supported through the Presenter Support, Community Arts Access and Special Projects grant programs.
  • Capital architectural improvements or purchase or long-term rental of equipment or property.
  • Benefits or hospitality (food, refreshments) costs.
  • Fellowships, scholarships, or tuition fees.
  • Activities restricted to an organization's membership.
  • Proposals which match federal funds with federal funds.
  • Items listed in the Ineligible General Guidelines and Policies section.
  • Effective July 1, 2005, only organizations with a separate 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status may apply for an Institutional Support grant. A fiscal agent will no longer be accepted.

Application Procedure

  1. All applicants must submit a letter stating their intent to apply no later than January 15 (postmark). Letter must be printed on either the applicant organization's letterhead or e-mailed directly to the NDCA (
  2. All applicants must apply via NDCA's online grant program available at
  3. Complete the online profile and grant application.
  4. Mail in (postmarked by March 15) the "Grant Application" page signed in ink by the person legally authorized to commit the organization's funds (i.e., the president, board chair or executive director); and any additional materials unable to upload.
  5. Upload ALL word documents and support materials through pdf documents. Panelist review grants online, and this will benefit your application. Support materials may also be mailed in with the signed "Grant Application" page if you are unable to upload them.
  6. Send draft submission if staff review is desired.
  7. Click the "Submit Application" button once complete.

Support Materials

  • All applicants must submit materials that illustrate their program’s quality and demonstrate their ability to provide art services to the public.  Applicants must submit appropriate support materials as indicated by the discipline code. The quality of this support material directly affects the review panel’s opinion of your organization and their subsequent evaluation.
  • Support materials may be picked up at the Council office after May 20. Applicants who want these materials returned by mail must include a self-addressed, stamped envelope of sufficient size and postage.


  • Organizations must submit one 10-minute edited CD, or DVD of excerpts from an actual performance given during the current season that represents your current work. This must be labeled with the following information:
    - Name of organization
    - Title of work(s) and composer(s)
    - Date and location of performance
    - Any featured artist
  • Also include copies of one program from a recent performance.


Dance, Theatre, and Opera

  • Organizations must submit one 10 minute edited CD or DVD of excerpts from an actual performance given during the current season that represents your current work. This must be labeled with the following information:
    - Name of organization
    - Title of work and composers/choreographers/playwright
    - Date and location of performance
    - Any featured artist
  • Also include copies of one program from a recent performance.


Visual Arts, Design Arts, Photography, and Media Arts

  • Organizations must submit 10 images in CD or DVD showing gallery space and the quality of displays. A matching written sheet must contain the following information:
    - Name of organization
    - Name of exhibition(s), artist(s)
  • Also include one catalog or program from a recent exhibition.  



  • Organizations must submit five copies of the most recent publication or five copies of a sample of work (20 pages per copy maximum) included in a previous publication or activity, clearly labeled as to content. If writers are commissioned for special projects, include 5 copies of up to 10 pages of that writer’s work.


Folk Arts

  • Organizations submitting folk arts applications must use the same support materials as listed for the other disciplines above. That is, a folk music project will submit a 10-minute edited CD or DVD, a folk dance or non-music performance will include an edited 10-minute sample, and visual folk arts applicants will submit 10 images. 



  • If an organization presents more than one arts discipline, support material for the major activity should be submitted as outlined above. If there is no major discipline, the applicant may submit copies of up to four programs representative of the variety of programs presented.


Application Review Process

  • Following the application deadline, the Council will convene an advisory panel of peers to review all the applications.  Panel composition will include the major art disciplines of dance, theatre, music, traditional, and visual arts, as well as arts administration.
  • Panels will evaluate applicants on the following: Quality of Artistic Programs, Meeting Community Needs, and Management, including fiscal viability.
  • The formula will take into effect the size of your cash budget, your previous award and how many Institutional Support requests are being funded in your region.
  • The NDCA Board of Directors will review the panel scores and recommendations at the May board meeting and make final decisions on the grant awards.  Notification of the award amounts will go to grantees no later than mid-June.

Panel Score

  • Awards will be based on the applicant’s panel score.
  • Scores attaining less than 60%will not be funded.

Notification and Payment

  • Notice of grant awards will be made by June 15. 
  • Grant funds cannot be released until after July 1, providing all final reports required for previous grants have been submitted.
  • Grant payments are made according to the Notification and Payment General Policy on Requesting Funds
  • The final 10 percent of the award will be released upon receipt of required final reports. Final reports must be received within 30 days of the ending project date to receive final payment. If this is not possible, you must contact the NDCA office no later than July 31 following the fiscal year that ended June 30.
  • Future awards will take into account late and or missing reports.

Credit Line

All publicity materials and programs for supported events must contain the NDCA logo and the credit line listed in the Funding Agreement. Logo slicks will be provided to those awarded grant funds.


A Final Report will be required within 30 days of the completion of the project. These reports will include financial and attendance information and  a narrative evaluation.


Questions? E-mail or call (701) 328-7592.

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