Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot Announces $6M in DCASE Grants for Chicago Nonprofit Arts Organizations

February 7, 2022

2022 CityArts Program provides increased support to local arts organizations of all sizes and types including project grants aligned with the #YearofChicagoDance

DCASE Communications

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CHICAGO—Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) today announced applications are open for the City of Chicago’s 2022 CityArts Program grants for Chicago nonprofit arts organizations. This year, there is a more than 250% increase in the funds available through the program, climbing from $1.7 million in 2021 to roughly $6 million this year. The 2022 CityArts Program provides general operating support and project grants to local arts organizations of all sizes and across all artistic disciplines. Grant amounts have also increased for greater impact — from one-time grants of $2,000 – $25,000 previously to $10,000 – $50,000 grants renewable for one year. The number of organizations receiving grants will also increase. Project grants are aligned with the #YearofChicagoDance. To learn more; register for webinars on February 10, 16, and 28; and apply by Tuesday, March 22 at 5pm, arts nonprofits should visit

“The continued, equitable revitalization of our arts and culture scene remains essential to our ability to recover from this pandemic on a socioeconomic level,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “I’m proud to increase our grant funding in support of local artists and arts organizations to advance our recovery and bring beauty and life back to our neighborhoods. I encourage arts organizations of all types and sizes to take advantage of this opportunity to enrich the City’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy.”

As previously announced, the 2022 City budget provided $26 million in new arts and culture investments — including $10 million for a dedicated revenue stream from the City’s corporate budget to guarantee a baseline of funding for Cultural Grants, which will no longer be subject to the vagaries of the hotel tax.

“In 2022, with additional funds — including a transformational increase in our Cultural Grants budget from $2.7 million to $20.7 million — and our operating budget being largely restored to pre-pandemic levels, I’m thrilled that DCASE is now poised to serve the needs of Chicago’s vital arts community this year and well into the future,” said DCASE Commissioner Erin Harkey.

The goal of DCASE’s annual CityArts Program is to encourage the attainment of artistic excellence and financial stability, and to incentivize innovation related to citywide priorities. The program continually strives toward an equitable distribution of funds across the city. In 2021, Cultural Grants were awarded to artists and arts organizations in 50 wards as compared to 35 in 2016.

DCASE recently partnered with Arts Alliance Illinois and the Chicago Cultural Alliance on a series of input sessions throughout January to gather perspectives on the challenges and opportunities faced by Chicago creatives. The series included two DCASE informational sessions, four deep-dive focus groups and a digital survey. These sessions and survey results alongside recent research conducted by SMU DataArts have informed DCASE’s increased investment in general operating support and will inform additional updates and new strategies to be implemented as part of the Cultural Grants Program over the next two years. Changes made to the 2022 program are in direct response to needs raised by the local community for larger, more flexible grant terms.

Large amounts of data and research document the continued hardships faced by the arts sector due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as summarized by Arts Alliance Illinois. Annual, unrestricted support of nonprofit organizations is necessary to provide our local arts sector with the stability it needs to thrive. Additional relief grants will be made available later in 2022 as part of the Chicago Recovery Plan, focusing on organizations not able to access other forms of federal economic support.

The DCASE Cultural Grants team will offer a series of virtual info sessions for all 2022 CityArts applicants. The webinars will cover updates to CityArts guidelines and application review criteria while also providing tips and guidance to help applicants prepare the strongest application possible. Applicants are not required to attend a workshop, however all applicants, regardless of having previously applied for or received a DCASE CityArts grant, are encouraged to attend.

  • Thursday, February 10 at 5–7pm
  • Wednesday, February 16 at 9:30–11:30am
  • Monday, February 28 at 12–2pm

For eligibility criteria and to register for webinars and apply by Tuesday, March 22 at 5pm CST, visit


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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 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. For more information, visit