Please note that our guidelines are changing for the 2021 grant cycle. Over the next few months, we will update our website to reflect these changes, please check back at that time.


  • Nonprofit institutions and organizations of any size located in Los Angeles County that have obtained an IRS Letter of nonprofit status reflecting their Los Angeles address.
  • Must have had nonprofit status for at least two years by June of application year.
  • Must have had at least two years of current documented public programs by June of application year.
  • Each nonprofit is limited to one submission per grant cycle. If an institution has multiple eligible programs (i.e. universities, government agencies, etc.), the institution must decide which program should apply for the grant cycle. Nonprofits proposing a project that will be presented at another nonprofit’s venue should reach out to that venue to make sure they are not applying for a MKFA grant as well.
  • Projects must be publicly presented by December of the following year. For example, if you are applying for the 2020 grant cycle, your project must take place by December 2021.
  • If you were awarded an MKFA grant, you must wait two years (two grant cycles) before applying again. (i.e. if you were awarded a grant in 2019, you would not be eligible to apply until the 2022 Grant Cycle.)
  • If an institution was awarded an Artist Project Grant in a previous grant cycle and presented a solo artist project through that grant, project proposals to fund another solo project for that same artist will not be accepted from other institutions. As such, an artist can present a solo project through an Artist Project Grant only once (group exhibitions are not subject to this limitation). To see the artists who have presented solo projects through our grants, please visit our past grantee pages or contact the Foundation for a complete list.
  • Projects may include collaborations with additional groups or organizations, including those without nonprofit status, as long as the lead applicant organization is a nonprofit in good standing.
  • Organizations without nonprofit status can propose to use a fiscal sponsor, and these requests will be evaluated for eligibility on a case-by-case basis, at the Foundation’s discretion. Both the organization and the fiscal sponsor need to have been in operation for at least two years, as described above, be based in L.A. County, and the LOI must come from the fiscal sponsor. See FAQ for details and contact the Foundation early to discuss fiscal sponsor plans.
  • Generally, MKFA grants are designed to support projects at visual arts organizations. The Foundation recognizes, however, that disciplinary boundaries are often fluid. As such, other types of presenting organizations with a compelling project, and/or history of interdisciplinary work, will be considered on a case-by-case basis, at the Foundation’s discretion.

Grant Cycle Timeline for 2020 Award Year

  • July 31, 2019 Letter of Inquiry (LOI) due through our online grant application platform, Submittable
  • August 15, 2019 Qualifying organizations receive invitation to apply
  • October 31, 2019 Final application due through our online platform, Submittable
  • Spring 2020 Awards announced


Grant budgets include three parts:

Part 1) Artist Fee; The Foundation recommends a $4,000 artist fee per artist. If your project is time or labor intensive, you might consider a higher fee. If your project involves multiple artists, you’ll be asked to propose a compensation structure that makes sense for your project, and to explain it in a budgetary note on the application form.

Part 2) Direct Project Costs; Direct project costs may include fees for non-staff curators and other outside participants/partners, research, project meetings, travel, fabrication, materials, installation, equipment, shipping, insurance, promotional costs, public programs, and documentation, among other expenses.

Part 3) A Portion of the Organization’s Overhead Costs; These are costs associated with your organization’s capacity to carry out the proposed project/program, such as staff salaries, rent, utilities, etc. You need not itemize these costs for us in the grant application; you will simply give us one figure as a single line item. This amount should generally not exceed 15% of the overall grant budget total.

Projects should take place between June of the grant year and December of the following year. Please note that if a grant is awarded, any project related expenses incurred prior to the grant award date cannot be covered by MKFA funds. We therefore ask that you plan accordingly.

Grants will generally range from $10,000 to $50,000 depending on the nature of the project, number of participants, size of the host organization, and the grant applicant pool. Please consider your request amount in proportion to your organization’s overall annual operating budget.

Review Process and Criteria

MKFA grants are awarded on a competitive basis and evaluated by an independent panel of peer reviewers based on the: 1) significance of the project; 2) past work of the artist(s); 3) past work of the host organization and its capacity to carry out the project; and 4) appropriateness of the budget.

The Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts reserves the right to deny any submission at its own discretion.