-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 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 2023 Program Overview and Application Instructions — all applicants should read this document thoroughly before beginning an application.

Application deadline and project period

FY 2023 applications must be submitted and accepted before 4:30 p.m. on Friday, January 21, 2022. 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, applicants 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 may be found, along with program definitions for the terms above, in the FY 2023 Operating Support Program Overview and Application Instructions.

Multiyear funding: full and interim applications

The Operating Support grant program uses a four-year grant cycle. First time applicants or applicants that were not funded in the previous grant cycle are welcome to apply in any application round.

A full application is required for new applicants and those returning applicants who have reached the end of a multiyear grant cycle. An interim application is required for returning applicants in each subsequent year of the multiyear commitment. The application requirements for full and interim applications are different; current grantees should refer to the FY 2022 returning grantee 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
To help applicants prepare to apply for the Operating Support grant program, the Arts Board offered a one-hour information session on December 7, 2021 . The session focused on program basics and applicant questions. If you were unable to attend the Information Session, a recording of the online video is available.

Sample applications
The following applications were submitted by fiscal year 2022 grantees.
The files may take several minutes to download.

If you have questions or need assistance

If you have questions about the content of the application form or narrative, please contact:
Richard Hitchler, program officer
(651) 539-2653

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

If you have questions about the technical aspects of the application form, or questions about electronic submission, please contact:
Justine Pearson, WebGrants manager
(651) 539-2663
E-mail is preferred.

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:

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