Audio workshop, Jack Straw Cultural Center
Jack Straw Cultural Center's education program gives students the opportunity to work with professional artists to learn about the arts and to develop ways to express themselves creatively. Photo courtesy of Jack Straw.

First Step Grants

Grant amounts range from $1,000 to $5,000. Matching funds from the applicant are required.

First Step grants support new and growing partnerships between schools, arts organizations, and community partners. Partners work together to identify and support the “first steps” in attaining high-quality arts learning programs. These programs work toward long-term, participatory, meaningful arts learning experiences for all students. First Step programs must reach K-12 students as part of the regular school day.

First Step grants can support:

  • Arts instruction for K-12 students as part of the regular school day.
  • Program development, such as a needs-assessment or curriculum development.
  • Professional development for arts educators.

This grant does not support extra-curricular arts education. It does not support programs that only provide one-time exposure to an arts event.

Application Information

The application deadline for Fiscal Year 2020 (July 1, 2019-June 30, 2020) was March 20, 2019. The next opportunity to apply will be in March 2020. Updated guidelines will be posted here by January 2020. You can view the FY20 materials here so that you can learn more about the application expectations and process.

First Step Application Guidelines

First Step Evaluation Criteria

Grant Writing Tips and Budget Sample

Equity and Access Resources | Tools to support your equity and access goals

Arts Education Research and Resources | these resources may support your Arts Education project design

Apply Online Via ZoomGrants

You will find the application link here when the next application cycle is open. The ZoomGrants application is easy to use. We recommend that you read the Guidelines before starting your application so that you have a full understanding of the requirements and expectations. Please use the following suggested browsers: Firefox, Chrome, or Safari. We do not recommend using Internet Explorer.