Mayor Emanuel and DCASE to foster Cultural Innovation with new Grants Program

June 2, 2014

IncentOvate funding will advance Chicago Cultural Plan, Cultural Tourism Strategy

Jamey Lundblad     312.744.2493

The City of Chicago announced today a new grants program aimed at bolstering the city’s major cultural institutions and fostering innovation in the arts. “IncentOvate” is a program of the Cultural Grants Program administered by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) – made possible by the $1.25 million allocated in the City’s 2014 budget for Chicago Cultural Plan initiatives. A total of $500,000 in new funds will be available. This is the first increase in the Cultural Grants Program budget in several years.

Grants ranging from $50,000 up to $200,000 will be awarded to 501(c)3 nonprofit arts organizations to incentivize innovation and foster the creation of new, large-scale cultural experiences for the public. Chicago-based cultural institutions with budgets higher than $3 million, many of which have not been eligible for City of Chicago cultural grants until now, are urged to apply by visiting The application deadline is Friday, August 1, 2014 at 5pm CST.

“The IncentOvate Program will further Chicago’s long history of innovation in the arts,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “We are pleased to support the work of Chicago’s major museums, theaters and dance companies – which help build our reputation around the world as a cultural capital.”

“IncentOvate grantees will help advance the Cultural Tourism Strategy unveiled by Choose Chicago earlier this year,” said Michelle T. Boone, DCASE Commissioner, “as well as several priorities of the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan, including: fostering cultural innovation, strengthening Chicago as a global cultural destination, strengthening capacity of the cultural sector, elevating and expanding neighborhood cultural assets, and expanding access to the arts.”

The Cultural Grants Program is administered by DCASE to support artists and arts organizations. It serves as a catalyst to foster a robust, healthy arts community where artists, nonprofit arts organizations and creative industries thrive. DCASE provides more than $1.2 million annually ($1.7 million in 2014) in direct funding for Chicago’s arts community through its Cultural Grants Program. Designed to reach artists and nonprofit arts organizations across every community in Chicago, grants provide operating funds as well as support for professional development, the creation of new work and instructional arts programs. Grants are awarded through a competitive panel review process. For more information, visit or


Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors.


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