Grants for Arts Organizations

To ensure a robust art and culture ecosystem for both residents and visitors to the City, Cultural Affairs offers grant programs for Santa Monica-based arts and heritage nonprofits.

Continue the Process:

Guidelines and Application for 2021-22 (Microsoft Word Document download). Submit completed applications to artgrants@smgov.net.

Deadline: Rolling, from September to November (or until annual funds are depleted) 

Applications Available: Annually in September the week after Labor Day

The City of Santa Monica Arts Transportation Grant Program funds public transportation to and from arts and culture destinations throughout Los Angeles County. Any Santa Monica school or nonprofit organization wishing to visit a cultural destination in L.A. County may apply. Trips must take place between October and June.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the fall or until funds are depleted. Most of the funds are appropriated by mid-November, but cancellations do occur, so applicants are encouraged to contact the City to find out if applications are still being accepted through the winter.

This is a reimbursement program; grant funds may be used only to reimburse the costs incurred by transporting Santa Monica residents and students to and from cultural destinations, such as performing arts venues and museums. Destinations must be accessible to individuals with disabilities.

Support comes from the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s Proposition A Local Return funds. The MTA requires that program services be made available to all members of the public in an age-appropriate manner, not limited to a specific group. For example, a third-grade class trip to the Getty Museum must be reasonably prepared to accommodate any Santa Monica third-grader who requests a seat (if seats are available). All excursions approved in this program will be listed on the Cultural Affairs website with contact information so that a parent from another school, for example, may reserve a place for a child to participate in the funded activity.

Questions about this program should be directed to Nathan Birnbaum, nathan.birnbaum@santamonica.gov.

Sample Guidelines: OSP Grant Guidelines
Deadline Closed: March 18, 2019

Next Applications Available: January 2023
Next Deadline: Winter 2023

General operating support grants are vital to a thriving cultural scene. Santa Monica’s Organizational Support Program (OSP) was created in 1996 to provide multi-year support to the City’s nonprofit cultural institutions. This robust program makes grants of up to ten percent of local organizations’ budgets. Grants are awarded after an application process, currently on a two-year cycle.

Resident organizations are defined as those whose primary administrative office and primary location of programming (more than 50%) are within Santa Monica city limits. Organizations receiving grants will:

  • Increase world-class artistic production and exhibition in Santa Monica
  • Offer opportunities for creativity, artistic participation, and greater understanding of cultural heritage to diverse members of the community
  • Promote high standards of organizational management
  • Position the City as an international creative center
  • Open avenues of discourse to broad topics of human creativity and learning among the general public

Sample Guidelines: CAP 2021-22 Grant Guidelines
Deadline Closed: April 5, 2021, by 11:59 pm PT
Sample Application: Applications for 2021-22 

Next Applications Available: January 2022
Next Deadline: April 2022

To fill out an application, visit https://smcad.gosmart.org/navigate to "Current Programs & Applications" and choose "Community Access & Participation 2021-22." Applicants new to the system must begin by creating a profile. 

All applicants must read the guidelines above before completing an application. Budget instructions for the application are available in the application itself. 

Informational sessions will be held online on Saturday, March 13, 2021, at 11:00 a.m. and on Wednesday, March 17 at 7:00 pm. Applicants who have not received a CAP grant in the past three years must attend one of the CAP informational sessions. All applicants, however, are strongly encouraged to attend. Email nathan.birnbaum@smgov.net to reserve a place for one of the sessions and get the Zoom link.

Important New Guidelines for the COVID-19 Pandemic Era

Unlike previous years, the 2020-2021 worldwide pandemic has presented major challenges to public health and the economy. It has been particularly damaging to the arts. Recovery in our sector may take years. Santa Monica Cultural Affairs has responded by adjusting the traditional CAP categories to reflect three new priority areas. As before, applicants may submit a maximum of two applications, but they must be in different categories. Applicants may not submit more than one application in any category, nor may they apply to more than one category for the same program.

Category 1: Readiness to Reopen – for projects supporting the applicant organization’s ability to re-open for business and return to income-producing operations.

Category 2: Community Recovery – for projects that assist Santa Monicans in the economic and community recovery process. These projects may promote jobs or economic activity within the City or address community healing and resiliency. All projects in this category must be executed with distancing, masks, and in compliance with all LA County Health Dept directives.

Category 3: New Virtual Programming – for projects that represent new online artistic programming for your organization or a new virtual component of an existing artistic program.

Latino CAP: Under the pandemic guidelines, the CAP program will continue to prioritize funding for Latino programs that preserve and stimulate Santa Monica's rich Latino cultural heritage. Each applicant will be given the opportunity to indicate whether they wish to be considered under this priority area. Applicants who submit two CAP applications may submit one or both of their applications under this category, as they wish. Applications will no longer be limited to one proposal in this category.


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