Culture Works provides Community Arts Grants to organizations that enrich and inspire the Dayton Region through world-class performances, exhibitions, and acclaimed educational programs for all ages.

The funding for these grants comes from our annual Campaign for the Arts—a community-wide fundraising effort that draws support from thousands of individuals, local companies, and foundations.

In 2018-2019, Culture Works provided Community Arts Grants to 11 organizations: Bach Society of Dayton, The Dayton Art Institute, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Dayton Performing Arts Alliance, Dayton Public Radio (WDPR), Dayton Visual Arts Center, The Human Race Theatre Company, K12 Gallery & TEJAS, Kettering Children’s Choir, Muse Machine, and the Springfield Symphony Orchestra.


What is the source of the funding used to provide Community Arts Grants?

The source of funding for these grants is money raised through the Culture Works’ annual Campaign for the Arts. Individuals and companies throughout the region participate, with more than 50% of the funding coming from workplace giving campaigns. The annual Campaign allows individuals to support not just one art form or organization, but to invest in the fundamental value of arts and culture to our community.

How are funding decisions made?

In 2014, Culture works implemented a new outcomes-based funding model to better evaluate the effectiveness of applicants in aligning with larger community objectives. Under this model, a panel of knowledgeable local citizens evaluates the applications and determines scores based on the following criteria:

  • Public Benefit & Access

  • Artistic & Cultural Vibrancy

  • Organizational Capacity

Panelists also make site visits to applicant organizations—attending a performance, exhibition, or education demonstration—to gain additional insights into the organization beyond the information included in the application.A Public Grant Panel Meeting will be held on May 31, 2018 in the Schuster Center Donor’s Lounge, time TBD. At this meeting, the panel will discuss the applicant organizations and assign scores. These scores will then be entered into a funding formula that takes into consideration the total amount of funding available, the number of applicants, and each applicant organization’s budget to determine the grant amounts for 2018-2019.

Why has Culture Works changed its grantmaking process?

In 2014, Culture Works changed its process to provide more fairness, transparency, and accountability. We also wanted to have more precise outcomes to report back to those who support the annual Campaign for the Arts to show that their gifts are truly making a difference. We take our responsibility to be good stewards of the funding entrusted to us through the annual Campaign for the Arts very seriously.

Is there a precedent for this kind of grantmaking process?

Absolutely! An outcomes-based process with a panel, scoring mechanism, and public grant process is used by the Ohio Arts Council to make funding decisions, and by other state arts councils. The same process is also used by the National Endowment for the Arts and a majority of local area arts agencies across the country. Culture Works is now much more aligned with national standards for best practices through the changes that we have made to our grant making process.

Who serves on the panel?

Panelists bios coming soon.

How are grant applications scored?

Each application is scored based on a Scoring Rubric, which is available here. Applicants will receive a score from each panelist based on their responses to the grant application questions. This funding criteria has been developed to align with desired short-term, mid-term, and long-term outcomes that benefit the community. You can view the Logic Model and the desired outcomes here.

Why are organizations required to support the annual Campaign for the Arts in order to apply for Community Arts Grant funding?

Conducting a united arts fund campaign is only one of the programs of Culture Works. Organizations that choose to not support the Culture Works annual Campaign are still eligible to take advantage of the marketing, advocacy, and other support provided to every cultural organization in the Dayton Region by Culture Works. However, if organizations wish to benefit directly from the pool of money gathered through the annual Campaign, we think that it is important that these organizations commit to partnering with us to achieve the best possible outcomes for the annual Campaign by being champions for this effort. Organizations not funded in the past can become part of the funding pool in the future by demonstrating a 2-year history of support.


Friday, December 7, 2018

Deadline for organizations receiving 2018–2019 funding to submit a 2019 Intent to Apply for Funding form, current board roster, and desired time frame for grant panelist site visits to be eligible for 2019–2020 funding. This is also the deadline for new organizations not currently receiving funding but eligible for 2019–2020 funding to submit the same information.

January 1 – May 23, 2019

Grant panelist site visits take place

January 31, 2019

Progress report due from 2018-2019 grantees

Monday, March 4, 2019

2019 grant eligibility requirements and application posted to the Culture Works website

DATE CHANGED: Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Grant Application Workshop for prospective 2019 applicants at Culture Works office, 10am

Friday, April 12, 2019

2019 grant application deadline—must be received by 5pm. This is also the deadline for applicants to schedule a time for Culture Works leadership to speak to the board about the Campaign for the Arts.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Public Grant Panel Meeting—Schuster Center Donor’s Lounge, 9:30am to 1:00pm (Tentative)

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Grant recommendations reviewed by the Culture Works Board of Trustees

Friday, June 28, 2019

Deadline for organizations not currently funded by Culture Works to meet eligibility requirements to be eligible for funding in 2020.

By June 30, 2019

Applicant organizations are notified of 2019-2020 award status

Additional Grant Application Workshops will be added based on demand. Please contact Culture Works at 937-222-2787 if you have additional questions.

A panel of individuals will evaluate grant applications based on a set of criteria designed to determine evidence of:




Panelists will conduct a site evaluation of each applicant organization, after receiving a formal written application. Panelists will visit a production, exhibition, or other artistic offering of applicant organizations. A Public Grant Panel Meeting will be held to determine applicant scores. A minimum score of 70 is required to receive funding.


2018 Artist Opportunity Grant recipient Morris Howard with the Land of Funk mural.




The Artist Opportunity Grant Program is intended to provide financial assistance to Montgomery County artists to further their careers through professional development opportunities and through opportunities associated with new works. This program is made possible by funding from the Montgomery County Arts and Cultural District (MCACD) and is administered by Culture Works.


Artist Opportunity Grants help advance the careers of individual artists by supporting expenses related to specific, unique opportunities that have the potential to significantly impact an artist’s work and professional development. The purpose of these grants is to empower artists at critical stages in their creative lives. The goal is to assist artists in Montgomery County in furthering and innovating their work, to elevate the quality and raise the profile of individual artistic work in the region, and to help artists achieve their artistic and career goals through the pursuit of new works or professional/career development opportunities in the field, thereby making them competitive in the creative marketplace. Grants are intended to fund an artist’s vision or voice, regardless of the level of his or her artistic career point (emerging, mid-career, mature) or genre. Grants typically range from $500 to $3,000.



To be eligible for the Artist Opportunity Grant Program, applicants must:

  • Be a resident of Montgomery County, Ohio with a valid street address (no P.O. boxes) demonstrated by a driver’s license, utility bill, bank statement, voter registration document, etc.

  • Be a United States citizen or a permanent legal resident

  • Be at least 18 years old

  • Be a professional artist or creative entrepreneur. This is defined as someone who:

    • Has specialized training in the field (not limited to academic training; may be self taught)

    • Is recognized as a “professional” by peers (artists working in the same discipline)

    • Has at least a one-year history of public presentation or publication.

It should be noted that the word “professional” refers to the nature of the artist’s commitment, particularly as it is conveyed on the artist’s resume.

Note: The project or opportunity for which an applicant seeks funding must take place between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2019. If the grant is to complete a project already in progress, it must culminate with a completed work in 2019. Projects anticipated to not be completed by December 31, 2019 will not be considered.


All proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

Artistic Merit: The professional capabilities of the applicant; the artistic strength, quality, vision, originality of the applicant’s work as demonstrated in the application, previous, work, and artist’s statement.

  • Work is of compelling artistic vision and singular voice

  • Work is inventive, imaginative, substantive in form and content

  • Work is self-reflective/critical, demonstrating internal development and willingness to take risks, as appropriate

Potential Impact of the proposed project to advance/further the applicant’s work/career.

  • Opportunity is unique and not a repeat of past experiences (i.e. is it juried selectively, time-sensitive, prestigious for the artist’s field, a “first” for the artist?)

  • Potential for the opportunity to facilitate subsequent creative work

  • Potential impact of the proposed opportunity on the professional development of the applicant, i.e. clearly defined, realistic, attainable goals based on the artist’s level of achievement.

Quality of Proposed Project: The artistic strength, quality, vision and originality of the proposed project.

  • Artist demonstrates an understanding and awareness of professional practice and standards in his/her field

  • Artist has demonstrated capacity to be self-directed and is well positioned to take full advantage of the opportunity the grant affords

  • Work is well-executed and well-produced, demonstrating control of craft/materials/production values and technique, as appropriate and clear intentionality of purpose

  • Work reflects awareness of the history and contemporary practice of its field and its relationship to both

Administrative Capability: The feasibility of the proposed project as determined by the applicant preparing and clearly articulating a logical, well-conceived project plan that can be reasonably executed, clear goals, and an accurate budget.

  • Professional resume, including education, artistic training, and level of achievement and/or evidence of commitment to personal artistic development as demonstrated through efforts to attain performances, exhibits, etc.

  • Artist has a history of active engagement in creating artwork and presenting it to the public, with a record of professional accomplishment appropriate to career stage

  • Completeness and clarity of the application. The reasonable likelihood that the project can be completed based on the itemized budget and proposed timeline. The grant cannot be the sole source of funding for the project. Other funds, regardless of the amount, may come from personal savings or income, other grants, gifts, etc. No specific dollar amount or percentage is required. However, personal investment by the artist demonstrates his/her commitment.

Public Benefit: The applicant seeks to increase access to and direct participation in high-quality arts and cultural resources that celebrate diversity and foster creativity within Montgomery County.

  • The applicant is actively involved in the arts and cultural community.

  • The applicant has experience sharing his/her work through public exhibition/performances and plans to do the same with this project.

  • Applicant has capacity or is actively seeking to share through exhibits, performances, readings, marketing, local artist organizations, personal website, newsletter or advocacy.

  • Applicant has identified ways to share about this opportunity with the public.


All applications will be reviewed by staff for completeness and eligibility before being submitted to an independent grant panel for consideration.

Grant Panel

Culture Works and MCACD will identify an independent panel consisting of artists, arts administrators, educators, and community leaders who understand and have an appreciation for the careers and professional development of artists. Every effort is made to avoid conflicts of interest.

Panelists are provided online access to eligible applications, supporting materials, and artistic samples. Panelists review the applications independently and assign scores based on the criteria outlined above. The highest possible score an applicant can receive is 25.

Panelists then discuss eligible applications, assign final scores, and make funding recommendations at a public panel meeting.

Public Panel Meeting and Funding Recommendations

The panel meeting will be open to the public and will begin with introductions of everyone in the room. The audience will be given a brief overview of the grant review and scoring process.

Each application will be reviewed using the following process:

  • a) The first reader (discussion leader) will lead the panel in a general discussion of the application.

  • b) After all panelists have had a chance to comment, the panel facilitator will draw the discussion of the application to a close and each panelist will have an opportunity to adjust their scores if necessary.

When desired, panel members will be given the opportunity to review an artist’s application and/or documentation. This is done for clarification purposes. As a result of the panel discussion or further review of an applicant’s application or documentation, panelists may change their scores. Because materials will have been previously reviewed by panelists, they may or may not ask to review the same materials for every applicant.

After all applications have been discussed and final scores have been submitted, the panel will enter a closed session to review a master list of all applicants, ranked from highest to lowest regardless of program category and artistic focus. Funding recommendations will be made based on these rankings and the funding that is available.

This year’s application process is now closed. Please check back in summer of 2019 for information about our next grant cycle.





The Culture Works Leonard P. Roberts Scholarship was established in 1993 in honor of Mr. Roberts, who was the Chairman of the Dayton Performing Arts Fund (now Culture Works) at the time of his death. Since the first scholarships were awarded in 1994, more than $400,000 from the Leonard P. Roberts Scholarship Fund has been provided to 200 students to assist them in their educational pursuits.

Culture Works is pleased to offer scholarships to students who demonstrate participation in and patronage of the arts. Candidates must be graduating high school seniors living in the Dayton Region (Butler, Clark, Darke, Greene, Miami, Montgomery, Preble, or Warren County) or college students at any level who live in and attend college in the Dayton Region. Priority will be given to students majoring in arts disciplines, business, and engineering; however, all majors may apply. Scholarships will be awarded in the amount of $1,000 – $4,000.


  • Plan to be a full-time student for the entire upcoming academic year
  • Demonstrate participation in the arts
  • Demonstrate financial need
  • Have a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA
How to Apply:

Culture Works is now accepting applications for the 2019-2020 Leonard P. Roberts Scholarship through The Dayton Foundation’s ScholarshipCONNECT. This year’s application deadline will be Friday, March 8, 2019 at 4:00pm EST.

Past Scholarship Recipients:


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