Administration & Financial

Does it cost anything to apply to the Ignite Fund?
  • No, there is no application fee.
How many proposals may I submit?
  • You may submit one proposal as a Lead Applicant. However, you can be listed as a collaborator in other proposals.
How many grants are awarded each year?
  • Up to 13 grants per year, for a total of $60,000 distributed to artists.
How will payments be dispersed?
  • Payments will be dispersed to the Lead Applicant via check or direct deposit.
Is a grant from the Ignite Fund taxable?
  • Yes. Ignite Fund grants are considered taxable income. Lead Applicants are responsible for receiving the grant funds and 1099 IRS tax forms.


Who is considered the “Lead Applicant?
  • Individual artists and artist-led collectives (up to 6 people) are eligible to apply for Ignite Fund grants. Throughout the application process, individual artists and the main contact for an artist-led collective will be referred to as the Lead Applicant.
Who can apply for an Ignite Fund grant?
  • Lead Applicants (individual artists or primary contacts for artist-led collectives) must meet the following eligibility requirements:
  • Visual artists or artists with a history of presenting their work in visual art contexts/venues. (Performance, film, text, and sound artists are eligible if their proposed projects center the visual arts.)
  • Must legally be able to receive taxable income in the United States. Citizens, permanent residents, or anyone who can provide a W9 and a Social Security Number (SSN) or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) are eligible.
  • Current residents of the Chicago metropolitan area (Cook, DuPage, Kane, McHenry, Lake, and Will counties).
  • 18 years or older.
  • Not currently enrolled in a full-time degree-granting program.
  • Have an active artistic practice and be able to demonstrate recent work.
Are there any additional eligibility requirements for artist-led collectives?
  • If applying as an artist-led collective, your group can be either long-standing or formed specifically for this opportunity. Each collective must identify one Lead Applicant to serve as the primary applicant and grantee contact. The Lead Applicant is responsible for: the receipt, management, and distribution of the funds; handling all communications with the Ignite Fund; and completing all necessary grant reporting. See previous question for Lead Applicant criteria.
Does everyone involved with the project need to identify as an artist?
  • No. The Lead Applicant must identify as an artist. However, collaborators do not need to identify as artists.
Do I need to identify as a “professional artist” to apply for this grant?
  • Please note, Ignite Fund does not use the phrase “professional artist.” The Ignite Fund asks that you identify as an artist who can show recent work. You are not required to make money or financially sustain yourself from your art practice to apply to this grant.
What type of projects are eligible?
  • Projects must center contemporary visual arts practice as the primary root and impulse; other media and performing arts aspects are eligible if visual arts will be the central element of the finished work.
  • Projects that can be completed within a one-year grant term.
  • Projects that have a clear public component and robust community engagement. Eligible examples include exhibitions, public events/talks, roundtables, community collaborations, public art projects, screenings, publications, festivals, workshops, etc.
What type of projects are NOT eligible?
  • Projects that are not based in the Chicago metropolitan area.
  • Projects led by incorporated entities (LLCs, B Corps, 501(C)(3) and 501(c)(4) organizations), universities and schools (private, public, charter), and religious entities.
  • Projects led by full-time students.
  • Projects with Lead Applicants who are younger than 18 years old. (Projects can include collaborators who are under the age of 18, but the Lead Applicant and collective members must be at least 18 years old.)
  • Projects seeking support retroactively or seeking reimbursement for a past project. Proposals for funding for a solo exhibition, individual artist's ongoing work, travel costs, etc.
  • Projects proposed by an individual artist to present their own work.
  • Projects that do not have a substantial public component.
Can web-based projects have scope beyond the Chicago area?
  • Web-based projects should have their home in and primarily serve the Chicago metro area.
Are works that will tour through Chicago eligible?
  • Projects should have their home in and primarily serve the Chicago metro area.
I want to work with an organization or institution as part of my Ignite Fund project. The organization is not able to pay artist fees or provide monetary support. Can I apply to cover costs?
  • Projects supported by the Ignite Fund must be artist-initiated and cannot be part of the organization's regular programs. Funded projects can be presented at a variety of venues and organizations throughout the Chicago area that may be providing additional support (use of their facilities for a performance or event). The Ignite Fund will not cover production costs that should be covered by another host organization that made an explicit invitation to the applicant(s) to present work at their venue or as part of the host organization's regular program.
My project involves working with students. Can I still apply?
  • Yes, you can still apply. However, the Lead Applicant and main collaborators cannot be a full-time student.
How long is the grant period?
  • The Ignite Fund grant period is one year from the date funds are awarded (September 2023-September 2024).
Why does the application require a section on accessibility?
  • Because the Ignite Fund supports public-facing work, we want to encourage applicants to consider accessibility and as broadly as possible. We encourage you to reflect on accessibility for Deaf and/or disabled audience members, as well as any barriers that may prevent audiences from having access to your work (transportation, language, etc).
  • If you need help thinking through this, review our Accessibility page, which includes examples, resources, and providers.
Does the Ignite Fund support work outside of the visual arts?
  • The Ignite Fund can support interdisciplinary practices. However, projects should be strongly grounded in the visual arts. Performing, media, or other arts are eligible when visual art is the key component of the finished project.
What does it mean for a project to be ambitious and experimental?
  • The Ignite Fund will not define what ambitious and/or experimental means. In the application, applicants will have the opportunity to define these words for themselves and their practice.
What does it mean for a project to be strongly grounded in the visual arts?
  • The Ignite Fund has a broad understanding of the visual arts. If your project is connected to the visual arts and you can communicate this within your application, you are eligible. This could include visual/multidisciplinary artists who create original work in photography, video, fashion, ceramics, drawing, artist books, body art, weaving, installation art, painting, printmaking, curatorial concepts, sculpture, 3D/object work, media art, sound-based art, performance art, social practice, fiber/textile, illustration, murals, animation, design, and more.

  • If you are uncertain, please reach out to our team to determine your eligibility. You can reach us at info@ignitefund.org

Why aren’t full-time students allowed to apply as a Lead Applicant?
  • Ignite Fund grants are intended to support independent artists who have an active creative practice outside of their degree program. Although full-time students may not apply as the Lead Applicant, they are permitted to be part of your project as collective members or as collaborators.
I’ve received an Ignite Fund grant. Can I apply again?
  • Past Ignite Fund grantees must wait 1 year after the completion of their project to be eligible again. This means if applicants were awarded in 2022, their funding period would end in 2023, and they would not be eligible to apply again until 2024.

Application & Selection

Do I need to have a confirmed venue to apply?
  • No. We do not require you to have confirmed venues in place at the application stage. Further, we do not require that you have a written commitment from any service, affiliate, presenter, or space you choose to engage. However, your application may be considered stronger or more feasible if you can describe your proposed plans in detail, including potential or secured partners, venues, etc.
Can I apply for a grant to cover equipment?
  • Yes. Equipment necessary for the completion of your project is an allowable expense, but the focus of your funding should support the production of the work and its public engagement.
In the Project Budget, can I include payment to myself?
  • Yes. We encourage applicants to pay themselves and their collaborators.
What does the panel evaluate in an application?
  • Projects will be reviewed on the basis of overall artistic vision & creative strength, community engagement & impact, capacity, and accessibility. This is described in more detail in the Apply section of the Ignite Fund website.
  • Projects that support inclusion, diversity, equity, and access will be prioritized. In-person projects must incorporate COVID-19 safety protocols for the health and safety of participants and the audience
  • Applicants also will be required to submit examples of recent and relevant work.
Who is on the jury panel for Ignite Fund grants?
  • Proposals to the Ignite Fund are reviewed by a panel of jurors made up of five artists and/or arts professionals currently working in the arts and culture field, including one representative from another Regional Regranting Program partner.

Grantee Requirements

Are there any reporting requirements for the grant?
  • There is a mandatory midterm check-in meeting with the Ignite Fund program manager. This conversation is an opportunity for grantees to reflect on their progress to date and discuss the successes and challenges. A brief final report, due at the end of the grant period, is the only written report required. In addition to the written report, a 30-minute Zoom interview will be required for grantees at the end of the grant period.
If I receive an Ignite Fund grant, am I considered a grantee of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts or 3Arts?
  • No, you would be considered an Ignite Fund grantee.

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