Apply for Funding

Applications for the Keep Indy Creating Relief Fund are now open.


  • Applications open Nov. 5 and close December 31, 2020. 
  • Grants will be awarded in the amount of $1,000.
  • Individuals may receive funding once during this period.
  • Applicants will be notified within two weeks of their submission. 

Please read the FAQ section below before submitting an application. Additional questions? Email


The Indy Keeps Creating Relief Fund was created for individuals working in the arts sector who continue to be impacted by the COVID-19 public health crisis. Primary concern is for the health and well-being of individuals: specifically independent artists and staff working for nonprofit arts and cultural organizations who have been laid off or furloughed due to COVID-19 circumstances and can demonstrate dire need when it comes to food, housing, childcare, or medical care. 

Those with immediate critical needs that expand beyond financial assistance will be directed to the United Way support center via calling 211 or 

Eligibility Requirements 

  • Applicants must live in Marion County or one of the seven surrounding counties.
  • Artists must work in at least one of the following disciplines: Music, literature, dance, theater, visual, and/or media. (Commercial artists working in video, graphic design, promotion, events, event photography, etc., are not eligible. Please see business resources from the Indy Chamber here.)
  • Applicants must have documented proof of consistent work in the arts sector for two years prior to March 2020. 
  • Individuals must make at least 40% of their income from their artistic practice.
  • Priority will be given to individuals who do not have health insurance and/or access to sick days and who demonstrate dire financial need.

Fund Administration 

The Keep Indy Creating Relief Fund will be administered by the Arts Council of Indianapolis in partnership with lead philanthropic partners and with guidance and support from Indy Music Strategy, Indiana Humanities, Create Indy, and others.


We encourage you to read the FAQ section before submitting your application.


What is the difference between the Keep Indy Creating Relief Fund and the Indy Arts & Culture COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund?

The Indy Arts & Culture COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, launched in March 2020, was designed to provide approximately three months of emergency relief funding for Indy artists and arts and culture workers as a bridge until federal and state programs were more widely available. Artists could apply for $500 grants every 30 days. That Phase I fund has closed. 

The Keep Indy Creating Relief Fund is Phase II of that effort and will reflect the evolving needs of artists and arts organizations. Artists will be able to apply for a one-time $1,000 grant during a more simplified process. 

Will this grant affect my unemployment benefits?

This grant is reportable income. If you are receiving unemployment benefits, please be sure to report this income to remain compliant with state unemployment laws.

Why does the application ask if I have applied for unemployment? Does it affect my chances of being awarded funding?

We ask if you have applied for unemployment benefits to better understand how artists in our community are accessing or using unemployment benefits. Your answer does not affect the outcome of your application.

The guidelines state commercial artists are not eligible. I do wedding photography and graphic design, but I also create my own creative fine art photography that I sell at galleries and art fairs. Am I eligible?

To be eligible, you must be able to demonstrate that at least 40% of your income is generated from the creative fine art aspect of your career. The remaining 60% may come from commercial ventures such as wedding photography, graphic design, event promotion and marketing, event videography, etc. 

What do I need to provide to show that 40% of my income comes from the arts?

Applicants must provide some kind of verifiable evidence. Usually your resume will suffice, but if it doesn’t tell the complete story, consider sharing a website, past projects, events, jobs, etc., on the application form. These items must show at least 40% of your income comes from your art practice. This does not include commercial “fee for service” jobs, which can account for 60% of your resume/income.

I don’t make 40% of my income from my art practice because my work is more conceptual, but I do spend 40% of my time creating art. Am I eligible?

Grants will be awarded on a case by case basis, depending on individual applications.

If you do not make 40% of your income from your art practice due to the nature of your practice, meaning your art practice involves highly conceptual work or is based in social practice art that does not consistently garner substantial wages, your time spent creating this work may determine eligibility. You will need to make the case that your art practice is done at a professional level even though it does not produce 40% of your income. Please email for further instructions.

When the Indy Arts & Culture COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund was launched in the spring, artists were asked to produce proof of canceled events and lost wages. I haven’t had events cancelled recently because there were no events to cancel. How do I show my lost wages?

We understand this and that’s why proof of canceled events is no longer a requirement for this phase of the program. The focus of this grant opportunity is on dire financial need facing artists at this time, appreciating the cumulative impact of the closures and cancellations on our sector. 

What is your definition of “dire financial need?”

Right now, almost everyone has some sort of financial need, but some among us are clearly in greater need, and the funding is limited. For the purpose of this grant, we define dire financial need as the lack of/or imminent endangerment of being able to afford essentials such as housing, medicine, childcare, and/or food. We ask applicants to consider the next two months when responding to five specific questions about their current status regarding these basic living essentials. 

I have support from family and have received unemployment benefits for the past few months. I am making it work, but it is still very challenging. Am I eligible?

As a general rule, if you have identified funds to cover your basic needs for the next two months, you are not a priority candidate for this fund. Basic needs for these grant purposes are: immediate need of financial support to sustain food, housing, or medical care.   

I was laid off from my job at an arts organization and 40% of my income comes from the arts but I am not an artist. Can I apply?

Yes, current/former staff members from a qualifying nonprofit arts & cultural organization may apply if they have been laid off indefinitely or furloughed due to COVID-19.    

In Phase I of relief funding (the Indy Arts & Culture COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund), only small to medium nonprofit organization staff/contractors were eligible. Is that still the case?

No, this phase does not have organization size restrictions. Arts and cultural organizations of all sizes have been severely affected by the pandemic and laid-off or furloughed employees are eligible to apply.

In Phase I, I was able to apply once per 30 day period pending available funding? Can I apply again 30 days later?

No. Artists may apply once during this program phase (November 2-December 31, 2020). We have increased the award to $1,000 which is equivalent to two awards in the spring phase of this program. 

If I am awarded an emergency grant, when can I expect a payment? How will I receive it?

Everyone will be notified within two weeks after their application is received. Someone may also contact you to request additional information. You may email to inquire after two weeks.

Payment will be made via a paper check mailed to your home address. The process will take 5 – 10 business days once you have been notified of your award. You will be asked to respond quickly via email with a W9 form for tax purposes. 

If I don’t have a resume, what can I submit?

You can submit an alternative to the traditional resume, such as a bio, a website and/or social media posts that support your work history.  We realize these are not the only ways to show your work history, so please provide whatever will help the review panel to understand the creative work you have been doing, how long, and to what extent.

I’m a musician. What should I submit as artwork documentation?

You should submit the URL for your professional recordings or performances from a website such as SoundCloud, Band Camp, YouTube, etc within the grant application.

I lead a small or midsized nonprofit arts organization. Can I submit an application for one or all my employees who have been furloughed?

Each current or former employee must submit their own application. Organizations cannot apply on behalf of their employees. The role of the organization is to provide the documentation to support the case for relief as needed/requested by applicants.

I am a freelance photographer who spends equal amounts of time on my own fine art projects and on “service for hire” projects such as weddings, family portraits, and event photography. Am I eligible?

Yes, if your fine art projects were canceled, you are eligible. If your “work for hire” projects such as wedding and event photography were canceled, that is outside of the scope and spirit of this funding. Those cancellations and losses are not eligible for this grant program. Small business owners or creative entrepreneurs should look at Indy Chamber’s Rapid Resource Hub for resources.

Confidentiality Statement

All applications submitted to the Keep Indy Creating Relief Fund are confidential. The information you share with us will only be viewed by persons necessary to determine if you are eligible for the grant. For reporting purposes, individual data from all applicants will be aggregated and presented as a group. Narrative responses and comments you provide through your application form may be shared verbatim, without your name or personal information. 

Thanks to Our Funders & Partners

American Structurepoint
Barnes & Thornburg LLP
Bose Public Affairs Group
Browning Investments, Inc.
Citimark Real Estate Investment Company
Eskenazi Health
Fifth Third Bank
Gregory & Appel Insurance, Inc.
Indiana Sports Corp
Indianapolis Airport Authority
Ice Miller LLP
Indiana Sports Corp
Indianapolis Airport Authority

Indianapolis Public Schools
Indianapolis Colts
Indy Chamber
Katz, Sapper & Miller
KERAMIDA Foundation
Messer Construction
Schmidt Associates
Shiel Sexton
Strada Education Network
TAG Consulting LLC
16 Tech
Generous individual donors 


Arts Council of Indianapolis

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