Building for the Arts (BFA) is a program that awards state grants to nonprofit community-based organizations to buy, build, or renovate arts and cultural facilities. It is managed by the Washington State Department of Commerce. These capital project grants can cover up to 33% of the total costs for construction.
The maximum grant award for the current biennium is $2,000,000. There is no minimum grant award amount.
The 2023-2025 Building For the Arts grant application is currently closed. The next funding opportunity will be in the spring of 2024.
Building for the Arts info session #1: Feasibility | February 14 | view recording
Can you take your Building for the Arts project from idea to reality? Join ArtsWA to get the basics on measuring community interest, conducting a feasibility study, and determining a reasonable budget and timeline for making it all happen.
Building for the Arts info session #2: Funding | February 21 | view recording
How can you secure funding for your planned renovation or building purchase? Join ArtsWA to learn fundraising strategies and the basics of a strong capital campaign.
Building for the Arts info session #3: Grantee Roundtable | March 7 | view recording
Join ArtsWA and special guests for a roundtable discussion with past Building for the Arts grantees. Ask your questions during a Q&A section at the end of the roundtable discussion.
The program was created in 1991 by The Boeing Company and its purpose is to help direct state funds to arts and culture capital projects in Washington State. Soon after, the legislature appointed the Department of Commerce as the program administrator. The program is funded entirely through the sale of state bonds and does not involve federal funds. Since it began, BFA has provided $129 million in grants to over 262 capital projects. ArtsWA is working in partnership with the Dept. of Commerce to promote the program and ensure equity in funding across the state.
Who Can Apply for the Grant?
Applicants must meet these requirements when they submit their application:
- Be a tribe or registered nonprofit organization in the state of Washington
- Have binding control of the project site, either by owning it or having a long-term lease (at least 15 years from application date). Operating agreements are not eligible
- Have a legally constituted board of directors
- Agree to LEED certification for the project (or file an exemption)
- Agree to pay state prevailing wages for project labor
- Have either secured all non-state funding for the project OR have made substantial progress in a capital fundraising campaign
What types of projects are eligible for this grant?
Eligible projects must be arts related. They must include construction, purchase, or renovation of facilities. The facilities must focus on arts-related activities. This is defined as the active interpretation, performance or exhibition of aesthetic traditions, practices or works of art that characterize cultural values.
How does the process work?
ArtsWA will work with organizations in the early stages of the process to help them determine if they are ready to pursue this opportunity There are six steps in getting a Building for the Arts grant.
- Decide whether you are eligible and ready to apply
- Decide whether to seek LEED certification or exemption
- Complete your application online
- Application review by a citizens advisory board
- Negotiate a contract
- Submit reimbursement materials
You can learn more about the steps in the process here.