Local Grant Opportunities for Individual Artists

Critical Mass for the Visual Arts presents up to three artists or artist collaborations with $1,500 for their use as creative operating capital along with the opportunity to present their work in a group exhibition.

Great Rivers Biennial is a collaborative program presented by Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (CAM) and the Gateway Foundation. Winners receive a grant of $20,000 and are featured in an exhibition at CAM.

Illinois Arts Council Agency offers fellowships and makes individual artist support grants.

The Luminary’s Futures Fund supports innovative, experimental and future-oriented projects. Grants average between $2,500 and $8,000.

Mid-America Arts Alliance, which serves Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas, has several competitive grant programs that support individual artists.

Missouri Arts Council’s Featured Artists Program promotes and supports individual artists and demonstrates the variety of creative Missouri talent. Four artists are featured each month. The artists receive a $300 stipend/license fee to feature their work online.

The Rauschenberg Medical Emergency Grants program provides one-time grants of up to $5,000 for medical or dental emergencies. The grants are available to visual and media artists, and choreographers living anywhere in the U.S. Artists of color, artists with disabilities, and artists living outside of the East and West coasts are encouraged to apply.

Regional Arts Commission provides funds to artists in two areas: Artists Fellowships ($20,000) and Artists Support Grants (up to $5,000).

Sloup hosts Sunday soup dinners that support community-based creative projects.

Copyright, Trademark & Patents

U.S. Copyright Office is the federal government’s official copyright site containing circulars (up-to-date and authoritative information prepared for a general audience), online registration forms, a search portal to investigate whether a work is under copyright protection and more. The Copyright Claims Board is available to resolve disputes of a relatively low economic value as an alternative to federal court.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is the federal government’s well-organized site for patent and trademark information.

Center for Social Media & Impact at the School of Communications at American University promotes awareness of many media-related issues, including fair use. The center conducted the research that ultimately led to the groundbreaking Documentary Filmmakers’ Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use.

Copyright Alliance is committed to promoting the cultural and economic benefit of copyright and to providing information and resources on the contributions of copyright.

Creative Commons offers creators a way to protect their work while encouraging certain uses of their rights through “some rights reserved” licenses.

St Louis Public Library’s Patent and Trademark Resource Center is located in the Science & Technology Room on the First Floor of Central Library, 1301 Olive Street.

Saint Louis University’s Pro Bono Patent Program

Saint Louis University has an agreement with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to help financially under-resourced inventors apply for patents. SLU’s program serves Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma.

Estate Planning

Creating a Living Legacy (CALL) is an initiative of the Joan Mitchell Foundation that provides a range of support to visual artists in organizing, inventorying, archiving and creating a comprehensive documentation of their artworks and careers. The site includes excellent tools, including the CALL Career Documentation Guide,  Estate Planning Workbook for Visual Artists and Estate Planning for Visual Artists: Workbook for Attorneys & Executors.

Elder Artists’ Legal Resources You may be asking yourself, why do I need to plan my estate?  What are the steps in the process?  How long will all of this take?  This website was created to answer these questions and more on your way towards successful estate planning.  Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (New York) is one of the collaborating organizations.

The Missouri Bar offers free fillable Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, Health Care Directive and HIPPA Privacy Authorization forms (with helpful instructions).

Fiscal Sponsorship

Archs, (Area Resources for Community and Human Services), which designs, manages and evaluates education and social service programs, offers fiscal sponsorship services to fledgling programs, including arts-related projects. NEED TO CONFIRM

Fiscal Sponsorship Directory Produced and maintained by the San Francisco Study Center, this directory is searchable by state, issue and keyword.

Fractured Atlas is among the country’s largest arts fiscal sponsor. The organization’s program is open to artists and arts organizations nationwide and in every artistic discipline.

MAPS (Midwest Artist Project Services) offers fiscal sponsorship for working artists in all disciplines, collectives and emerging arts organizations in the St. Louis region and beyond.

National Network of Fiscal Sponsors promotes the understanding and professional practice of fiscal sponsorship. Check out these best practices guides: Guidelines for Comprehensive Fiscal Sponsorship and Guidelines for Pre-Approved Grant Relationship Fiscal Sponsorship.

New York Foundation for the Arts fiscal sponsorship program  is open to all artists with a U.S. Social Security number, regardless of location.

Free Speech

American Civil Liberties Union is the nation’s foremost advocate of individual rights–litigating, legislating, and educating the public on a broad array of issues affecting individual freedom. State organizations: ACLU of Missouri and ACLU Illinois

Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is dedicated to the protection of the First Amendment rights of the comics art form and its community of retailers, creators, publishers, librarians and readers.

Electronic Frontier Foundation works in the public interest to protect fundamental civil liberties, including privacy and freedom of expression in the area of computers and the Internet.

National Coalition Against Censorship is an educational and advocacy network of artists, arts organizations, audience members, and concerned citizens formed to protect and extend freedom of artistic expression and fight censorship.

PEN America unites writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.


Artists from Abroad provides detailed and practical information about the most recent regulations affecting artists coming into the US and is designed to aid presenters navigating through the visa process.

Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis site offers general legal information for the public and a lawyer search portal.

Illinois State Bar Association provides videos and brochures on a variety of topics and assistance with finding a lawyer.

Missouri Bar offers resources for the public on its site including a find a lawyer search option.

Nolo Press is a publisher of self-help legal books and software. The company’s site includes helpful articles.

Insurance and Safety

Alliance of Nonprofits for Insurance Risk Retention Group is a tax-exempt nonprofit insurance company that provides reasonably priced liability insurance for nonprofit organizations.

CERF+’s emergency relief programs provide assistance to help sustain a craft artist’s career when an emergency occurs. The organization also provides information on emergency preparedness and prevention, including The Studio Protector. And check out this free Business Insurance Guidebook for Artists.

MusicCares provides a safety net of critical assistance for music people in times of need. MusiCares’ services and resources cover a wide range of financial, medical and personal emergencies, including addiction recovery services.

Nonprofit Risk Management Center
 helps reduce risk for nonprofit volunteers and paid staff. It produces excellent, easy-to-read publications. Many are free.

Taxes, Accounting and Small Business

Internal Revenue Service created a surprisingly helpful and well-organized site providing free publications and downloadable forms. Highly recommended are the Guide to Free Tax Services (Publication 910), Your Federal Income Tax (Publication 17), Tax Guide for Small Businesses (publication 334) and Charitable Contributions: Substantiation and Disclosure (Publication 1771).

MOSourceLink connects entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses to the resources they need to start and grow businesses,

Nonprofit Accounting Basic in-depth information on finance and accounting for small and mid-sized nonprofits provided.

The Wallace Foundation Resources for Nonprofit Financial Management provides a library of resources to help organizations become “fiscally fit.”

Photo Credit: Washer link chain by Sarah Colby