Arts Education Grants: Applying is Easy. It Really Is!

By Chad Swan-Badgero

Editor’s Note: This is hard to believe, but Chad says, “Arts in Education grants often go unused and the money is sent back to the state to be redistributed elsewhere.” Read this blog and learn how you can apply for grant money to bring arts and creativity to your classroom.

Ok, after reading that headline you may have snorted and thought, “Yeah right! Applying for a grant is NOT easy, and I probably wouldn’t even GET the grant if I applied.” Well let this be my pitch for why you can, and SHOULD, apply for an Arts Education grant to support the work you’re doing in your classrooms.

Every state in the country has an arts council, and The Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) is Michigan’s council. We receive funding from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and from the Michigan state budget to grant out to organizations and schools engaged in arts and culture programming.  This is the list of ALL the grants that schools can apply for:

  • Arts in Education Grant: you can apply for up to $20,000 for an arts-based project taking place in the preK-12 classroom. Deadline June 1.
  • Arts Project Minigrant: you can apply for up to $4,000 for an arts-based project. This is a smaller version of the grant above. Deadline August 3.
  • New Leaders Grant: you can apply for up to $4,000 for projects LED BY a young person. Deadline June 1.
  • Arts Equipment & Supplies Grant: you can apply for up to $1,500 to purchase arts supplies/equipment or repairs of arts equipment. Rolling deadline.
  • Bus Grants: you can apply for up to $500 to take an arts-related field trip – when those are allowed again. Rolling deadline.
  • Arts & Humanities Touring Grant: you can apply for up to $3,000 to help support the fees and expenses of touring performers, artists, exhibitors, and humanities presenters. Rolling deadline.

That’s SIX different grants you can apply for, and receive, in one year to bring the arts to your school (or bring your school to the arts)! And the shocking reality is that every other grant program that MCACA offers has close to four times more the requests than we have money for, but our Arts in Education grants (listed above) often go unused and the money is sent back to the state to be redistributed elsewhere. For someone who works every day to support educators and schools and who hears constant stories surrounding lack of funding in schools, this is mind-blowing for me! These are pots of money that are going unused, and we want YOU to apply for them! So, now when you think about applying for a grant, you know that if you follow the instructions, you’ve got a great chance of being funded.

And we’ve worked hard at MCACA to make the process of applying as accessible, easy and step-by-step as possible. If you visit our website ( you’ll find the guidelines for each of the programs listed above (for the Arts & Humanities grant, go here: You will also find instructional videos, tutorials on writing your grant narrative and directions on how to apply in our online system, plus there are examples of past successful projects that have been awarded funding. My contact information ( is listed there as is information for the rest of the MCACA staff (there’s only six of us), who can answer questions throughout the process.

So, put aside your fears that applying is hard. If you can bake cookies, you can write a grant – we’ve made the process just like following a recipe.

MCACA exists to support your work as educators and administrators. We believe that access to arts education is a right of all young people in the state, and we want to help you bring quality arts experiences to your students. We hope to see an application from your district this coming year, and please contact me with any questions. I am waiting to hear from you!

 Chad Swan-Badgero serves as the Arts Education Program Manager for the Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs and is a proud Big Brother through the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program in Lansing. Mr. Swan-Badgero is also the Artistic Director for the Peppermint Creek Theatre Company and the Renegade Theatre Festival in Lansing and was awarded the Arts Council of Greater Lansing’s Individual Artist Applause Award in 2016. Chad is most proud of being a daddy to Sawyer.

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