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How to Apply


The Arts & Culture program funds organizations across many artistic disciplines and cultural practices. Our grantee partners offer support structures that equip and empower artists and culture bearers to practice, to produce, and to lead. We also work with key partners to provide fellowships and regranting to support individual working artists.

Individual Artists
For individual artists and culture bearers, learn more about the McKnight Artist Fellowships, the Distinguished Artists Award, the Regional Arts Councils, and Forecast Public Art’s grants.

Arts Organizations
For arts organizations, the first step is to familiarize yourself with our approach. You may also want to review our funding FAQs and the arts organizations in our grants database.

McKnight has a one-step grant application process. To help you prepare, you can preview the grant application (PDF, Word).

If, after reading our approach and funding FAQs, you feel your organization fits within our funding strategy, please contact the Arts & Culture team before submitting an application. This will clarify any questions you might have and help us explore if your organization is a potential fit.

We will make a decision within three months of receiving your application. Given year-end priorities, grants submitted and reviewed in the fourth quarter may take additional time. We recommend submitting your request by September 1 if funding in the current calendar year is critical.

Eligibility & Types of Support

We provide general operating (unrestricted) and specific program/project (restricted) grants to organizations, groups, and Tribal Nations primarily in Minnesota. We make limited grants outside of Minnesota that demonstrate a clear benefit to Minnesota artists and culture bearers. We consider limited capital grants, typically to current grantees.

Government entities, including Tribal Nations, may apply for funding for unique programs or projects. However, we generally will not fund activities that are traditionally the sole responsibility of a government.

Although most applicants funded are classified by the Internal Revenue Service as tax-exempt nonprofit organizations, nonprofit status is not mandatory to receive funding. Please connect with program staff if you have questions regarding eligibility.

What We Don’t Fund

Foundations can be most effective by concentrating their resources in a few areas. This means we cannot support worthy projects outside our program interests. For example, we do not generally make grants for organizations, groups, or projects that:

  • do not pay artists and culture bearers
  • primarily present rather than produce/create art
  • offer singular productions, events, exhibitions, conferences, or festivals
  • primarily serve youth, or are primarily arts education or social service based
  • seek support for scholarships
  • are seeking to create or grow endowments
  • engage in lobbying prohibited by the Internal Revenue Code

Also, generally we do not fund organizations that are at the very beginning of their formation.

A note on lobbying and public policy analysis: 

The Foundation may consider funding requests for efforts such as advocacy. As required by the Internal Revenue Code, however, the Foundation will not fund attempts to influence specific pending or proposed legislation, including referenda, local ordinances, and resolutions.

Learn more about our general funding guidelines.

Application & Timeline

McKnight has a one-step application process and accepts proposals on a rolling basis. We strive for a three-month turnaround time from your application to a decision and, if your grant is approved, receipt of payment.

Important Notes

  • To access saved applications or to check the status of a report, use the Account Login link (upper right corner of any page on this website).
  • If you have any trouble with the online application system call us at (612) 333-4220 or send an email to our Arts & Culture team.

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