2021 Pew Center Grants to Support Recovery Projects & Artists: What’s New This Year

19 Jan 2021

The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage will focus its 2021 grant making on assisting arts- and history-based organizations in the Philadelphia region to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, pivoting from its usual project grants for individual public programs and events. The new recovery project funding is intended to help current and past Center grantee institutions emerge from this challenging period as more resilient and sustainable institutions. We are pleased therefore to share the new application guidelines for our Re:imagining Recovery grants.  

These grants are designed to support eligible organizations in undertaking critical adaptations to their infrastructure needed to stabilize and reshape operations, as well as reimagine and expand approaches to programming and audience accessibility and engagement. Our support of individual artists in the Philadelphia region continues through the Pew Fellowships in the Arts program, which annually awards 12 unrestricted grants of $75,000. 

Below, we offer details about this year’s recovery project grants, as well as Fellowships. On our Apply page, you will find our 2021 guidelines for Re:imagining Recovery project grants. 

We encourage all potential applicants to stay up to date on our grant making and other Center news by joining our email list

New in the 2021 Grant Cycle

What will Re:imagining Recovery grants fund? 

Recovery project grants are designed to bolster the resurgence of the arts and history sectors by providing funding for strategic projects that strengthen organizations for the future. Rather than focusing on the presentation of public programs and events, funded projects in this cycle may include, but are not limited to: evolving business models and institutional structures, expanding digital programming and other creative methods to reach and engage audiences, upgrading technology capabilities, reconfiguring and redesigning indoor and outdoor facilities for safety and enhanced accessibility, and organizational efforts that include a stronger commitment to diversity and inclusion.   

Who is eligible to apply? 

To deepen our commitment to our core constituency, 2021 Re:imagining Recovery project grants will be directed to support organizations whose primary mission is the presentation of art or public history. Eligible applicants will have been project grantees of the Center within the last five years (2016-2020) and have an annual operating budget of $300,000 or greater; additional criteria are outlined in the Center’s 2021 application guidelines

Are there changes to the Pew Fellowships in the Arts awards? 

Our Pew Fellowships in the Arts program will continue to provide $75,000 unrestricted grants to 12 artists. However, the Pew Fellows-in-Residence program, which brings two artists from outside the region to live and work in Philadelphia for a year, will be paused for 2021 in light of ongoing COVID-19 travel restrictions and to allow the Center time to host and engage with the four Fellows-in-Residence selected previously, who will be joining our community in 2021 and 2022. Therefore, all 12 Fellowships in 2021 will be awarded to artists currently working in the Philadelphia region. 

Are you awarding the same amount of funding this year? 

Yes. The Center annually awards between $8 million and $10+ million to Philadelphia area cultural organizations and artists. In 2020, we awarded more than $10.5 million through 29 Project grants and 12 Pew Fellowships. 2021 Re:imagining Recovery project grants are awards of up to $400,000 for a single organization or an aggregate of up to $800,000 for collaborative efforts. These amounts are the same as with our previous Project grants, and they will be tiered to each institution’s operating budget. Also, as in past years, an additional 20 percent in unrestricted general operating support will be added to each award. Pew Fellowships remain as $75,000 unrestricted grants awarded annually to 12 artists. 

How are grant decisions made at the Center?  

2021 recovery project grants will be made through the same process as Project grants in previous years, including peer review of Letters of Intent to Apply and full grant applications. The Pew Fellowships nomination process will remain the same: Nominations will be collected from an accomplished group of Philadelphia-based cultural practitioners with deep knowledge of artistic practices in the region, and applications will be reviewed by a panel. 
Review panels are composed of a rotating group of distinguished, internationally recognized experts who come from outside the region and are selected for their expertise in the disciplines and issues represented in the applicant pool. Staff from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage and staff from The Pew Charitable Trusts do not serve on the peer review panels and do not determine grant recipients.

What is my first step in applying for a Re:imagining Recovery project grant? 

Following your review of the application guidelines, contact the Center’s program staff at apply@pewcenterarts.org no later than Friday, January 29, to express your interest in applying. Following that, you must schedule a meeting to discuss your eligibility and proposed recovery project. Applicants should be prepared to submit a statement that distills the core purpose of their recovery project proposal prior to this meeting. 

What is the grant calendar this year? 

Please note these deadlines in our 2021 grant-making cycle. 

  • Friday, January 29: Deadline to contact Center staff to express interest in applying and request a meeting  
  • Wednesday, March 31: Deadline for eligible applicants to submit Letters of Intent to Apply 
  • Tuesday, April 13: Date by which the Center will notify applicants of an invitation to submit a full application 
  • Wednesday, May 26: Deadline to submit a full application 

Grant recipients will be announced in late summer of 2021. The implementation period for recovery project grants extends from August 1, 2021, to July 31, 2023. 

Visit our Apply page for further details. 

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