Arts Education Innovation Grants Program

Arts Education Innovation Grants Program

 Please Note: The Arts Education Innovation grants  application process is being managed by Creative Sonoma. Applications will open March 7th. To learn more, email or go to and sign up for their newsletter. We will also post the 2018 information here.  For reference, the following is an overview of the 2017 program.

2017 Arts Education Innovation Grants

The Issue

We believe that everyone deserves a full, vibrant creative life and that access to a high-quality arts education for young people builds the foundation necessary to foster such a life. Unfortunately, access to arts education is not always equitable.  There are those who lack access based on race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, socioeconomic status, or religion. We seek to address these disparities and expand access to typically underserved students with a new grants program open to both established and grassroots arts and cultural organizations that share our commitment to equity.

The Grant Program

In 2017, in partnership with Creative Sonoma, we are launching a competitive grants program to support new and innovative ideas that specifically engage students ages 2-18 with limited access to high-quality arts education. Ideas for projects could include but are not limited to:

  • Developing unique partnerships that increase access to arts education to new participants.
  • Piloting untested, innovative arts education programs that extend opportunities to underserved participants.
  • Arts education programs that are culturally relevant to students and build on established community connections.

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants can include a diverse range of organizations from small, grassroots groups to well-established arts education organizations. Those who have a creative, innovative, equitable approach to expanding access to arts education are encouraged to apply. Projects can occur in or out of school settings.  Applicants must demonstrate 501(c)(3) status or apply with a fiscal sponsor.  Grantees of Community Foundation Sonoma County Arts Education Innovation grants, whose projects will occur between July 1 and September 15, 2017, are not eligible to apply for a Creative Sonoma Summer Arts Youth Program Grant.

Strong applicants will be able to demonstrate:

  • How students are participating in the creation of visual, performing, literary or media arts.
  • How the program or project increases students’ knowledge of a particular art form.
  • How the program or project increases students’ knowledge in other related areas, i.e., cross-discipline learning about arts and healing, arts and the environment, etc.
  • How the program or project reaches a student demographic that typically does not have access to arts education.
  • For programs or projects that will develop unique partnerships, evidence that all entities engaging in the partnership are fully committed to success.

The maximum grant award is $7,500.

Please note that programs or projects that do not engage students in the act of creating art, but are solely based on viewing a performance are not eligible to apply. To learn more about eligible organizations and projects, please visit our Grant FAQs page.

Application Timeline

  • Tuesday, February 21st, 2017: Grant application opens online
  • Friday, March 24th, 2017: Grant application closes at 4 p.m.
  • Thursday, May 4th-Friday, May 12th, 2017: Applicants informed of grant awards

How to Apply

Community Foundation Sonoma County uses an online process for submitting grant applications. If this is your first application using the online program, you will be asked to set up an account, provide your IRS Tax ID (or Fiscal Sponsor Tax ID) and take a short eligibility quiz.

If you have an established account, you will be asked for your password to either access existing application drafts or to open a new application.

Once you’ve opened an online account, you will be asked a series of question that include your contact information, funding request amount, project start and end date and a series of narrative questions. We highly recommend that you complete your application in a Word document and then copy and paste the content into the online template; click here to download a Word version of the narrative questions.

Applicants will also be asked to upload the following documents (templates will be provided for those documents with an asterisk):

A word of caution: When working in the electronic application program, save your work as you go along and, if you want to leave and then return to complete your application later, save your work before you exit the program. Once you’ve exited without saving, your unsaved work is lost. For answers to frequently asked questions, click here.

For questions about the Arts Education Innovation grants program, please contact Karin Demarest, 707.303.9621,

For questions about the online application process, please contact Annette Williams: 707.303.9639,