-Minnesota State Arts Board - Minnesota North Star

Operating Support grant program

Operating Support provides general support to high quality, established arts organizations that produce, present, or exhibit works of art; to organizations that provide a broad range of services to practicing artists; and to community arts schools and conservatories that make arts learning available to Minnesotans of all ages and abilities.

The Operating Support program recognizes that organizations with an established record of programmatic service and administrative stability should have access to funds to support their organizational goals and objectives, and to maintain their ongoing programs, services, and facilities without special emphasis on new initiatives as justification for funding.

First time applicants are encouraged to carefully review the Program Overview and Application Instructions and then call the program officer prior to beginning an application.

Program overview and application instructions

FY 2024 Operating Support Program Overview and Application Instructions — All applicants should read this document thoroughly before beginning an application.

Application deadline and project period

FY 2024 applications must be submitted and accepted before 4:30 p.m. on Friday, January 20, 2023. For more information about the application timeline and the project period, see the calendar page.

General eligibility

To be eligible for the Operating Support program, an applicant must be structured in one of the following ways:
   •  A nonprofit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt arts organization with an arts focused mission; or
   •  An arts affiliate, operating as a distinct arts focused program hosted within a Minnesota
      public or nonprofit 501(c)(3) nonarts institution

AND must be one of the following:
   •  An arts producing organization,
   •  An arts presenting organization,
   •  A community arts school or conservatory, or
   •  An artist service organization

Additional eligibility information, along with definitions for the terms above, can be found in the FY 2024 Operating Support Program Overview and Application Instructions.

Multiyear funding: full and interim applications

Arts organizations and arts affiliates must submit an Operating Support application each year to be considered for funding.

Depending on the type of applicant, a full or interim application is required. The application requirements for full and interim applications are different.

Full application - The following types of applicants must submit a FY 2024 full application:
   •  Applicants that have never received an Arts Board Operating Support grant.
   •  Applicants that may have received an Arts Board Operating Support grant in a previous year,
      but not in FY 2023.
   •  FY 2023 Operating Support grantees who are in the final year of their four-year Operating
      Support grant cycle(*).

Interim application - The following applicants must submit a FY 2024 interim application:
   •  FY 2023 Operating Support grantees who are not in the final year of their four-year Operating
      Support grant cycle(*).

(*) Current, FY 2023 Operating Support grantees should refer to the FY 2023 grantees - interim or full application list to ensure they submit the correct application.

Grant amount

Varies; minimum award amount is $15,000

Operating Support grants include two components: formula award and merit award. The formula award will vary, depending on the overall number of grantees and the total dollars available for this program, and will be based on the applicant's qualifying expenses, averaged over fiscal year 2018 and fiscal year 2019. The merit award will vary based on the number of grantees in the applicant's assigned budget group that are recommended for merit awards, the merit dollars available for this program, and the merit score assigned by the advisory review panel.

Resources for applicants

Information Session
A virtual information session was offered on December 16. It was tailored to first time applicants or staff at current or past grantee organizations who will be preparing an application for the first time. Open this link to view the recorded information session.

Sample applications
The following applications were submitted by fiscal year 2023 grantees.
The files may take several minutes to download.
   •  Lanesboro Arts
   •  YellowTreeTheater

If you have questions or need assistance
For questions about eligibility or content of the application, please contact:
Lindi Holliday, program officer
(651) 539-2653

For questions about the required financial documents, please contact:
Dave White, director, finance and grants administration
(651) 539-2669

For questions about the technical aspects of the online application form, or about how to submit the online forms, please send an e-mail message to:

For questions about accessibility, or to request materials in an alternate format, please contact:
Annick Dall-Desbois, outreach and accessibility coordinator
(651) 539-2651 | Minnesota Relay 711

All staff can be reached toll-free at (800) 866-2787.

How to apply

Application method
All applicants are required to use the WebGrants system to apply, and will submit all materials electronically. Applicants must be a registered user. New users need to register in advance in order to create an account and set up a user ID and password.
Two online tutorials are available to acquaint users with the WebGrants system:

Grantee reports
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