Creative Industry

Arts Access Assistance: Creative Aging and Lifelong Learning

FY2022 Grant Guidelines and Instructions

Application Deadline: October 6, 2021

The Kentucky Arts Council strongly encourages you to read and understand the guidelines before accessing the application.

Like all programs of the arts council, the Arts Access Assistance program is guided by the agency’s core values. Successful applications will embody these core values, and all applicants are strongly encouraged to read and reflect upon them before submitting an application

Core Values of the Kentucky Arts Council


Program Purpose

The purpose of the Arts Access Assistance: Creative Aging and Lifelong Learning Grant is to support quality arts programming for underserved populations in the Commonwealth in environments where arts are not the primary emphasis.

FY2022 Theme

“Creative Aging and Lifelong Learning” is the theme for grants submitted in FY2022. Eligible grant projects use the arts to directly serve individuals age 55 and older or communities of individuals with a majority of representatives age 55 and older.


  • To extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations.
  • To use the arts to enrich lives.
  • To promote lifelong learning in the arts.
  • To increase participation in the arts.

Proposals must also address one or more of the following elements:

  • respect the high capabilities of older adults by challenging them to develop their artistic skills and creative techniques.
  • offer sequential arts instruction that allows participants to broaden or deepen their creative practices in a sustained and organized fashion.
  • deepen community or social engagement.

Who May Apply

  • Public libraries, co-operative extension offices, social service agencies, health departments and other community-based organizations serving Kentuckians.
  • Kentucky nonprofit organizations with 501(c) (3) status who do not conduct arts programming as a primary activity. Verification of your tax-exempt status may be found on the IRS website (
  • Government agencies, colleges and universities are eligible if the project primarily serves the population defined by the theme.
  • For-profit social service agencies with resident populations (nursing homes, mental health facilities, independent living centers, group homes, etc.) and correctional facilities.

Contact the program director to verify your eligibility before beginning an application if you are unsure.

Program Description

Grants support arts projects that serve populations whose opportunities to experience the arts may be limited by age, in addition to other factors such as geographic location, race or ethnicity, economic status, or disability. Grants increase the resources of organizations that may currently serve this population in other capacities. The involvement of professionally trained, experienced artists, arts professionals and/or an arts organization is essential, as is teaching skills to constituents served through the grant.

Applicants are required to partner with one of the following to provide arts programming and education to their target audience:

Performance Expectations

Applications will be assessed using the following performance expectations.

  1. Planning and Communications (40 points)
    • Identification of and strategies to overcome barriers to participation in the arts.
    • Use of public input to inform the programming.
    • Promotion of lifelong learning in, about and through the arts.
    • Program evaluation/measurement of success.
    • Community and public awareness of activities and events.
  2. Artistic Quality/Public Value (30 points)
    • Value of project in serving the population defined by the theme and through arts programming.
    • Involvement of professionally trained, experienced artists, arts professionals and/or an arts organization.
    • Methods used to ensure artistic quality.
  3. Implementation (30 points)
    • Capacity of organization and staff to implement project.
    • Evidence of necessary resources for the project, including staff, sponsorship, in-kind contributions, etc.
    • Collaborations and partnerships.

You may wish to refer to the Panelist Assessment Sheet to better understand how your application will be evaluated.

Grant Amounts and Additional Funds

Grants are available for up to $5,000. Applicants must complete a project budget sheet and submit it along with their application. The project budget should include all project-related expenses and must include:

  • Amount of grant that will be spent on supplies and related expenses to execute the proposed programming.
  • Amount of grant, and breakdown of rates, to be paid to Teaching Artist(s) or Kentucky Arts Partnership organizations to plan and implement programming. (For example: 2 teaching artists @ $50 an hour for 20 hours each = $2,000; or negotiated rate with Kentucky Arts Org for $3,000, etc.)
  • Any in-kind or external partnership contributions to the project, service or financial. This excludes artist fees as artists must be paid for their work on the project. (For example: My project is a series of painting classes and an art store in my community has agreed to donate the canvases and paint supplies needed for the classes.)

A note about Covid-19: Because of the ongoing pandemic, the arts council realizes it may be difficult to design or carry out projects in person. Applicants will be asked for an alternative plan for how you will carry out this project in the event that statewide mandates related to the COVID-19 pandemic may alter or delay your project. It is acceptable to submit projects for consideration that will be carried out online, by telephone, and otherwise not in person. Contact the program manager to discuss this requirement in detail if you have questions while filling out the application.

Supporting Materials

Applicants may submit relevant supporting materials such as letters of support, organizational brochures, event flyers, sample programs, reviews and feature articles, videos and digital recordings, which provide the panel with an understanding of your program, organization, community and proposed grant activities. Please be sure that each item has your organization's name clearly marked.

It is recommended that supporting materials be limited to 5 pages/pieces of any combination of the above. Letters of support, reviews and other photocopied materials should be combined into one pdf document and uploaded in the grant application system. Applicants should carefully prioritize and select supporting materials. Excessive supporting materials will not be forwarded for panel review.

Work Samples

Work samples are the primary way that panelists assess the artistic and professional quality of artists and arts professionals involved in your activities. Include no more than five work samples with your application that demonstrate the arts organization’s, artists’ or arts professionals’ artistic excellence. Consider your choice of work samples carefully in relation to the program performance expectations. Be sure to describe important points about the quality, scope and depth of the artists’ work in the application narrative. All work samples should be recent (within the last four years) and support the selected discipline(s) or medium(media) for the project (e.g. visual artists should include digital photographs of art, literary artists should include excerpts from written text, and performing artists should include audio or video samples). Samples should be submitted via web links, labeled and listed on a one-page WORD or PDF document and uploaded in the online application system.


Organizations receiving general operating support from the Kentucky Arts Council may not apply but may participate in projects as a partner.

Organizations whose primary mission is emphasis on the arts or arts programming may not apply. Please contact the program director to confirm your organization’s eligibility before beginning an application.

Kentucky Arts Council funds may not be used for the following purposes:

  • Purchase of equipment, property, library holdings or acquisitions.
  • Capital improvements, facility construction, structural renovations and restorations.
  • Publications or recordings for commercial purposes.
  • Scholarships or other activities related to academic credit or degrees.
  • Activities intended primarily for fundraising.
  • Food, beverages or other refreshments.
  • Requests designed to reduce or eliminate existing deficits.
  • Interest on loans, fines, penalties and/or litigation costs.
  • Expenses incurred before the starting date of the period covered in the grant request.
  • Investments of any kind.
  • Programs that have sectarian purposes.
  • Indirect costs such as utility bills (water, electric, gas); non-project (permanent/current) staff salaries or benefits; and rental for currently owned or leased properties (office space or other facilities, car payments and maintenance).
  • The application of new artistic work to historic buildings or structures unless approved by the state historic preservation office as being in compliance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties (contact the Kentucky Heritage Council at 502-564-7005 or

No arts council funds may be used to match another grant from the arts council. In addition, the same matching funds may not be used for more than one Kentucky Arts Council grant. In some cases, arts council grants may be used to match National Endowment for the Arts or other federal grants; call staff for clarification before committing funds for such purposes. The arts council also reserves the right to make special stipulations on how specific grants funds may be spent.

How to Apply

  • Carefully review the program guidelines {link}.
  • Design an arts program that includes collaborations with artists, arts professionals and/or arts organizations.
  • Select supporting materials and work samples for submission.
  • Submit your application via the online system before 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time Oct. 6

Program Timeline

Application deadline
Oct. 6, 2021
Review of applications by panel
Oct. 29, 2021
Applicant notification
After approval of recommendations
Use of grant funds may begin
Nov. 1, 2021
Use of grant funds must conclude
June 15, 2022
Final report due
July 1, 2022

Application Deadline

Applications must be submitted online in the Go Smart Grant Application System by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time Oct. 6, 2021, in accordance with the program guidelines. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit all materials well in advance of the cutoff time as the application system can take a few minutes to accept your completed application. If the arts council does not receive the electronic application and all required documentation by the deadline date, your application will be considered ineligible.

Program Support

The arts council offers the following support to ensure program standards and goals are met:

  • Assistance from arts council program directors with program, guidelines and application questions.
  • Consultation regarding applicant eligibility, competitiveness for funding, budget issues, etc.
  • Referrals to potential partners for programs.

Panel Meeting

A panel of arts professionals and other individuals with relevant experience will review all applications according to the performance expectations. Please be aware that panels are comprised of people from both inside and outside Kentucky who may be unfamiliar with the state's organizations, artists and/or communities.

The Kentucky Arts Council conducts an open panel review process for this program. This means applicants and other interested people may, and are encouraged, to attend the panel meeting, listen to panelists' deliberations and briefly respond to direct questions from the panel. The arts council will send notification of panel dates to applicants after the application deadline

Arts Council Board Meeting

The panel’s recommendations are forwarded to the arts council’s governing board for approval.

Grant Agreements

Applicants that receive a favorable recommendation enter into an agreement with the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Agreements cannot be altered without prior approval from the arts council’s appropriate program manager. Grantees are required to promptly notify the arts council in writing of any changes in their grant activity. If grantees do not notify the arts council about changes before they file a final report, future funding will be jeopardized. Grants are for the period specified in the approved application. Funds must be spent or committed for activities taking place within the period stated unless an extension has been approved in writing. Funds spent before the period starts are not eligible and must not be included in the budget.

Funds granted must be expended solely for the activities described in the approved supplication unless specific approval has been received in writing. Any funds granted but not spent must be returned to the arts council. Grant agreements must be signed and returned within 30 days.

Public Value Reports (Final Reports)

All arts council grantees must submit a final report within 30 days of completion of the grant period. If a grantee fails to submit the required final report for any grant, the Kentucky Arts Council will accept no future applications until an acceptable report is received.


There are no appeals in this grant category.

For More Information

Emily Moses
Executive Staff Advisor