Skip to content

How to Apply


For individual artists, learn more about the McKnight Artist Fellowships, the Regional Arts Councils, and Forecast Public Art’s grants.

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

If, after reading our website, you feel your organization fits within our funding strategies, contact the Arts team before starting an application.

To help you prepare, you can preview both the initial inquiry and full proposal application forms at any time.

We will respond via email four to six weeks after receiving your inquiry, either to decline funding or to provide instructions to submit a full proposal online.

Eligibility & Types of Support

We provide operating and project grants to organizations in Minnesota. We consider capital grants only in exceptional circumstances. With very few exceptions, applicants must be classified by the Internal Revenue Service as tax-exempt, nonprofit organizations to be eligible for a grant.

Government entities may apply for funding for innovative projects. We generally will not fund, however, activities that are traditionally the sole responsibility of government.

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 with these characteristics:

  • do not pay their artistic staff
  • are historic in nature
  • use art primarily for rehabilitation or therapy
  • primarily present rather than produce art
  • have produced art for less than two years
  • primarily serve youth, or are primarily arts education or social service based
  • have operating budgets of less than $100,000

In addition, we generally do not fund the following:

  • singular productions, events, exhibitions, or festivals
  • scholarships or direct support for individuals
  • conferences, including attendance or travel (except when related to existing McKnight support)
  • endowments, except in rare cases
  • activities that have a specific religious purpose
  • lobbying prohibited by the Internal Revenue Code

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.


McKnight’s initial inquiry deadlines are quarterly. If invited, the inquiry submission date will determine when a full proposal is considered by our board. Please note the online application system is open approximately two weeks prior to the deadline so the open dates below may vary from year to year by a day or two.

Application Opens Initial Inquiry Due Board Consideration
January 2 January 15 May
April 1 April 15 August
July 1 July 15 November
October 1 October 15 February

Important Notes

  • All new initial inquiries start here. Inquiries that are in progress can be accessed from within your online account.
  • 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 team.

Initial Inquiry Instructions

The online application system is only accessible for two weeks prior to deadline.

Initial Inquiry Deadlines
January 15
April 15
July 15
October 15