City of Chicago Opens CityArts Program Grants Applications

January 20, 2020

Arts and Culture Organizations of All Sizes May Apply for General Operating Grants or Project Grants That Support the 2020 Year of Chicago Music

Mayor’s Press Office    312.744.3334,


Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events are pleased to announce that applications are now open for the 2020 CityArts Program, offering grants to nonprofits arts and culture organizations of all sizes. This year’s program will include opportunities to apply for general operating grants across all artistic disciplines, as well as project grants in alignment with the City of Chicago’s Year of Chicago Music. Project grants will support initiatives that have the potential to impact the Chicago music sector at large. Complete eligibility criteria and applications are available at and must be received by February 28, 2020, at 5pm CST in order to be considered.

The Mayor recently announced that the City of Chicago is increasing 2020 funding for cultural grants by $1 million, fulfilling a commitment to prioritize equitable grantmaking and microfinancing to individual artists, organizations and arts corridors throughout Chicago — particularly in communities of need. This new investment increases the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) Cultural Grants Program budget by 59% from $1.7 million to $2.7 million. At least $500,000 will be restricted for projects taking place on the South and West sides and in wards that have traditionally been least served by the Program.

"Chicago’s beating heart is manifested in the creativity, innovation and the voices of our artists from every neighborhood," said Mayor Lightfoot. "The arts are an economic engine and reflective of our great city's diverse cultures, but the arts also have the power to generate jobs and unprecedented opportunities for residents in all 77 of Chicago's community areas."

The goal of DCASE’s CityArts Program is to encourage the attainment of artistic excellence and financial stability, and to incentivize innovation related to citywide priorities. General operating grants range from $2,000 to $25,000 with about 150 grants given per year. Project grants range from $5,000 to $50,000 with 5 to 25 grants given per year.

“These grants celebrate our vibrant cultural community and continue our work to further improve access to the arts in every neighborhood throughout Chicago,” said DCASE Commissioner Mark Kelly. “Mayor Lightfoot’s increased cultural grants funding will ensure that more local arts and community organizations have an opportunity to advance their missions, engaging residents and visitors alike.”

Informational/training workshops will be conducted to assist organizations with information on how to apply and answer any questions with the Grants Team at Claudia Cassidy Theater on the second floor of the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.) on the following dates/times:

  • January 28, 9:30–11:30am
  • February 3, Noon–2pm
  • February 4, 5:30–7:30pm

Since 1984, the Cultural Grants Program has served as a catalyst to foster a robust, healthy arts community where artists, non-profit arts and culture and creative industries thrive. For more information and to apply, please visit


Year of Chicago Music

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the DCASE have recently designated 2020 as the 'Year of Chicago Music.' The City of Chicago and its partners will launch a marketing campaign for Chicago music; provide additional financial grants for music projects; encourage dialog around inclusion and equity; and call on civic, philanthropic, arts and business leaders to support the music industry. The citywide, year-long focus on music is one of the first of its kind in the United States.


Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events 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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