AWF Interviewing Tara Mallen: Founder & Artistic Director, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble. Read More...
The Arts Work Fund is a funder collaborative created to help strengthen the management and operations of small arts and cultural organizations in Chicago and Cook County.
We are changing and expanding our grant opportunities for the coming year in response to the extraordinary challenges Chicago’s cultural community is currently facing. We have:
Think through a question, analyze challenges and opportunities, and develop plans or small tests of change
Test and implement fully developed ideas with resources to support creativity and risk-taking
Forget grant reports. Strengthen the community through genuine sharing of lessons learned—failures and triumphs
Think • Explore • Share grants will enable arts and culture organizations to develop and test possible solutions to challenges posed by COVID-19, or challenges that hampered nonprofits before the pandemic (e.g., lack of access to resources for artists of color and artists with disabilities, declining ticket sales, etc.). Challenges can relate to management, production, technology, fiscal planning, or artistic mission. Multiple organizations can apply to collaborate on a shared challenge.
Our goal is to allocate 65% of all grants to organizations led by, for, and about BIPOC communities.
July 31, 2021 @ 5 pm CST, decision September 2021
November 30, 2021 @ 5 pm CST, decision January 2022
March 31, 2022 @ 5 pm CST, decision May 2022
AWF Connect is a discussion list specifically geared for the arts community. Members of the AWF Connect list include: seasoned arts administrators, funders of the arts, artists, and other amazingly talented folks in the arts community.
AWF Interviewing Eugene Park : Executive Director - Full Spectrum Features Read More...
A conversation with three AWF grantees working to provide holistic supports and address trauma within their communities. Read More...
From the beginning, it was clear that COVID-19 would have a devastating impact on the arts and cultural sectors and that Arts Work Fund needed to pivot to provide unrestricted, immediate support to arts organizations as they grappled with the fallout. In short order, a robust collaborative was formed between Arts Work Fund, 3Arts, Arts Alliance Illinois, the City of Chicago, the State of Illinois, the local philanthropic community, and individual donors. Called the Arts for Illinois Relief Fund, Arts Alliance Illinois administered the fund, 3Arts leveraged its expertise to make grants available to artists, and the Arts Work Fund focused on grants to nonprofit arts organizations. Read More...
Throughout 2019, the Arts Work Fund AWF partnered with 21 African American, Latinx, Arab American, Asian American, and Native American arts leaders to co-design a new grant program and refine our grantmaking criteria and processes. COVID-19 interrupted the launch of our new grant program as we shifted to respond to emergency relief efforts. But we have instituted the grant making refinements that emerged from this process. Read More...
I think the Arts Work Fund is particularly unique in that they are excited to–this is going to sound nuts–but, they're excited to see how you can fail and learn and grow.
Kate Piatt-EckertExecutive Director, Steep Theater
If you really want to get something going, you've got to think outside the box and do it a little different. Arts Work Fund helped us get there.
Billy OcasioPresident & Chief Executive Officer, National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture
What makes the Arts Work Fund so different is that there is a lot of risk taking. There are arts organizations who are coming to them with big bold ideas. We certainly saw that in our grant cycle.
Lauren SivakManaging Director, 2nd Story
Arts Work Fund was pivotal for reimagining what True Star 2.O would be. It was the first kind of investment into us imagining what our next steps would be.
DeAnna McLeary-ShermanFounder, True Star Media & Foundation