​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Artists to Work Program​​​

​The Artists to Work Program supports the creation and presentation of original, new, or in-process artistic work by practicing Phoenix artists. Awarded artists will be required to complete a public presentation inside the city of Phoenix boundaries that primarily benefits Phoen​ix residents.​

Due to the pandemic, the arts and culture sector was hit hard, with nonprofit arts organizations reducing their workforce with furloughs, layoffs, and eliminating artist contracts. Individual artists make their living from sales and commissions to individuals, from work at nonprofit arts organizations or creative businesses, or working jobs outside of the arts. Artist grants and fellowships are scarce in Arizona, and several arts funders have put their programs on hiatus. The Artists to Work program will help support individual artists who have lost income due to cancellations, budget cuts, closures, and lack of access to project support to funding due to the pandemic. 

This program is part of the funding the Phoenix Department of Arts and Culture (POAC) received from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) through the Phoenix City Council.

In the second cycle, our office received over 149 letters of interest from artists. Out of those, panelists reviewed over 126 artists' letters of interest, and only 48 artists were selected to move to Step Two and submit a full application. For the year 2024, only 21 artists were recommended funding. 

​View the aw​arded artis​ts here​ ​

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Overview

The Artists to Work grant program supports the creation and presentation of original, new or in-process artistic work by practicing Phoenix artists. Awarded artists will be required to complete a public presentation inside city of Phoenix boundaries that primarily benefits Phoenix residents.

Unlike other opportunities offered by the Department of Arts and Culture, for this grant, an application will be made in two steps. Those interested will first fill out a letter of interest (LOI), which will be reviewed first for eligibility and completion by staff and then against evaluation crtieria by artist panelists. From there, only 45 applications will be invited to the second step of the applicatio​n process where they will respond to additional questions and supply support materials, which will then also be panel-reviewed and scored. Please read on to learn more about this new process.​

This program is part of the funding the Phoenix Department of Arts and Culture (POAC) received from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) through Phoenix City Council.

Award Cycle

Applying is a two-step process.

Step 1: Letter-of-Interest
The portal to submit a letter-of-interest (LOI) will be open from August 2, 2023, through August 20, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. (Arizona Time). The LOI will be accepted either as a written or video submission.

Step 2: Narrative and Support Materials
Those applicants who have been selected to move forward in the application process will have from September 8, 2023, through October 1, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. (Arizona Time) to submit their application.

Proposal Category

At the time of submission of the letter-of-interest, all applicants will be asked to declare one proposal category for their project. Each category has unique evaluation criteria, and applications will be evaluated by panelists using one of the lenses below.

Background and Proposal demonstrate (identify one primary focus):

Community-integration: Community is directly or indirectly involved in the development of applicant's creative work. Ethical community integration practices will be considered when evaluation is conducted.

Experimental: Applicant generates work that extends the boundaries of their art form in terms of materials, processes, techniques, and/or themes.

Commitment to artistic growth: Applicant demonstrates lifelong commitment to artistic growth and development. ​


Applicants must be:

  • City of Phoenix resident at both the time of LOI submission (August 20, 2023) and award notification (November 2023). Evidence of residency​ must be provided at the time of Step 1.
  • 18 years or older by August 20, 2023
  • A practicing artist who is currently generating original, new and/or in-process artistic work
  • Proposing a project that has art as the primary medium of the proposed project (literary, film, visual, dance/other performance, music, theater, interdisciplinary, etc.)

Applicants may not be:

  • An immediate family member of POAC staff or a currently serving Phoenix Arts and Culture Commission member
  • Applying on behalf of an artist team/collective, company, nonprofit, organization, fiscal sponsorship, or community group
  • A current Artists to Work grantee (awarded in fall 2022)​


Application, LOI Recommendations,​ and Support
August 2 – 20 at 11:59 p.m.: Portal to submit Letter-of-Interest (LOI) is open (SurveyMonkey)
August 2 from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.*: WebEx webinar about eligibility, process, and LOI submission (*Staff to stay through 12:30 p.m. for any remaining questions.)
August 21 – 25: Eligibility review and selection (conducted by POAC staff)

August 28 - September 5: LOI panelist review

September 8: Selected applicants invited to submit full application (Email)
September 8 – October 1 at 11:59 p.m.: Portal to submit full application is open (MARGO online grants portal)
September 13 from 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.*: WebEx webinar about full application submission (*Staff to stay through 2:30 p.m. for any remaining questions)

​September 16 ​ 23: Applicant working groups (Dates and Locations TBA)

October 1 at 11:59 p.m.: ​Notifications sent to applicants

Final ​Panel Review and Notifications
October 2 – 6: Panel preparation (conducted by POAC staff)

October 9 – 27: Individual and full panel review of 2nd step applications
October 30: Notifications sent to applicants

November 8 at 11 a.m.: You’ve Been Funded! What’s Next webinar session for awardees (WebEx; registration required)
November 8 – 30: Grants conditions reviewed and completed, and invoices processed 

January 1 – December 31, 2024: Award term

Review Process

Artists are awarded grants through a competitive process.

Step 1: Review

  • Staff will review LOI submissions checking first for eligibility.
  • All eligible letters-of-interest will then be reviewed by a group of conflict-free reviewers using a scoring guide (below). Reviewers will provide recommendations to POAC staff.
  • Applications will then be considered through the dual lens of equity and geographic parity in accordance with Phoenix Department ​of Arts and Culture's commitment for the program. No more than 45 applications ​will be invited to complete a full application.





Artistic background

Vaguely refers to experience, education, and/or informal or formal artistic training

Includes some specificity, but experience, education, and or/informal or formal artistic training may be unclear or confusing

Clearly and specifically tells a story of an artistic path and background of experience, education, and/or formal and informal training that led the applicant to the current moment of their artistic practice

Artistic identity

Vaguely explains oneself as an artist but doesn’t communicate a vision or purpose tied to the artist identity

Speaks somewhat to vision, purpose, and/or themes in one’s work.

Able to identify confidently as an artist Clearly and articulately communicates  

Draft Proposal

Vaguely refers to arts project

Specifies arts project but lacks connection to artist background and identity

Specified arts project shows a clear connection to the background and identity and the primary focus

Step 1: Letter of Interest Questions

  1. Select the primary focus of your proposal:
    • Community-integration
    • Experimental
    • Commitment to artistic growth
  2. Select your primary artistic discipline/form
  3. Tell us about your artistic background. Consider learning experiences and accomplishments (informal or formal education and training, residencies, cultural and creative participation, awards or grants, etc.) that formed you as an artist and contributed to the artist you are today. Be specific and include dates, if possible (300-word limit or 2-minute video)
  4. Tell us about your identity as an artist. Consider touching on the following themes (300-word limit or 2-minute video) :
    • artistic discipline(s)/form(s) (what form(s) do you practice?)
    • artistic vision and purpose (what inspires the creation of work?)
    • past and/or current ideas in your work
    • influences and guides (who/what influences your life today as an artist?)
  5. Tell us about the project you would like to make happen using these grant funds. Make sure there is thread line between your proposed project and your primary focus category and ​​ artistic background and identity. This is a rough proposal. However, for applicants invited to complete the full application, the main idea of the draft project proposal must carry over into the full application. (300-word limit or 2-minute video)

Step 2: Narrative and Support Materials

A panel per discipline comprising conflict-free artists and arts workers will review all completed applications and ultimately select projects for funding based on the evaluation criteria shown below.

An application is considered complete if it has responded to all the narrative questions and has included the required attachments (artist resume, artist statement, and work samples). Project budget will be considered by panelists throughout their review and scoring.

Step 2 evaluation criteria and scoring rubric will be available by August 2, 2023.

Recommended Projects

Applicants will be recommended for funding by the panel to complete and present new in-progress or completed work between January 1, 2024, and December 31, 2024. After they are recommended for funding, they will need to complete the following:

  • Register as a City of Phoenix vendor or confirm previous registration
  • Attend a “You’ve Been Funded! What’s Next” new grantee meeting facilitated by POAC grants staff
  • Sign a grants conditions form that agrees to the following:
    • Participate in a public presentation of in-process or completed grant-funded work within city of Phoenix boundaries by January 30, 2025, either:
      • Coordinated and sponsored by POAC, or
      • Coordinated and sponsored by the awardee
    • To use POAC logo when promoting public presentation of grant-funded work
  • Payments are made in two installments: 1.  Upon submission of the grants conditions and completion of vendor registration and 2. Completion of the public benefit event.

Eligible Use of Grant Funds

  • Direct project expenses (including research costs and awardee/subcontractor artist fees)
  • Supplies and materials
  • Equipment/space rentals
  • Insurance, licenses, permits
  • Publicity/marketing
  • Transportation
  • Documentation
  • Technology (non-equipment)

Ineligible Use of Grant Funds:

  • Organizations
  • Capital equipment
  • Any division of local, state or federal government.
  • Religious projects or projects within a larger religious or proselytizing event/organization
  • Debt reduction
  • Re-granting
  • Lobbying expenses
  • Expenses related to the construction of facilities
  • Food and beverage for receptions and hospitality functions
  • Fundraising projects
  • Political projects
  • Academic-related projects (e.g., theses, applied projects, etc.)

Final Report

Applicant agrees to complete a brief final report by January 30, 2025, detailing how grant award was used to enable the creation and presentation of new work. While this is not a reimbursement grant, by agreeing to the grant conditions, a grantee will keep a log of purchases with details as it relates to use of grant funds. The final report may ask the grantee to provide that information at a later date, if needed.​​​​​​

 2024 Artists to Work Applicant Demographics



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Staff Contact

Sarah León,
Grants and Community Engagement Director,

Schedule virtual meeting​ ​​

The Basics

Application: CLOSED (Opened August 2, 2023)

Amount Awarded: $7,500

Number of Awards: 18-20

Eligible Disciplines: All Disciplines 

Residency Eligibility: Phoenix, Arizona only

Deadline to submit: Sunday, August 20, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. (Step 1)

Application Materials and Links

Apply to Become Grant Review Panelist