Arts Innovation Fund Print E-mail

To support the state's premier cultural institutions as they advance their artistic vision and deliver innovative, aspirational programming.

The nonprofit arts and cultural sector faces major challenges brought on by technological advances, demographic changes and shifting consumer behaviors. The Arts Innovation Fund is designed to support innovative ideas, projects and directions that address these challenges and provide leadership opportunities for the organization.

Begun in 2006, the initiative funds innovation in three areas: artistic capacity, constituency engagement and organizational management. We encourage organizations to:

  • Create new work, experiment with new aesthetics or develop new programming
  • Reach into their community to broaden, deepen or diversify audiences
  • Lead effectively through innovative management, board and staffing structures
  • Build valuable knowledge for the arts and culture sector

Defining Innovation

For the purposes of this initiative, we define innovation as instances of organizational change that stem from a shift in underlying assumptions and provide new ways to fulfill the mission. Innovation may be achieved in an organization's products, its processes or its structures. By focusing on a specific innovation, and learning from the experience, organizations develop their ability to adapt.

Grant amounts in this category represent a major investment by Irvine. Accordingly, there are a relatively small number of grantees each year. Funding through this initiative is one-time in nature and does not imply ongoing support.

Selection Criteria

Competitive organizations in this initiative will:

  • Have an annual operating budget of $7.5 million or more
  • Offer a compelling artistic vision and a clear case for how grant funds will further the institution's artistic aspiration, risk-taking and innovation, or advance its current level of excellence
  • Demonstrate a track record of artistic achievement
  • Demonstrate significant administrative and managerial capacity, thoughtful organizational planning and a proven record of capable execution