Applying for a 2020 Pew Center Grant: What You Need to Know

06 Jan 2020


Taylor Mac, A 24-Decade History of Popular Music. Presented by Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, 2018. Photo by Teddy Wolff.

The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage is pleased to share the 2020 guidelines for Letters of Intent to Apply for Project grants in our Exhibitions & Public Interpretation and Performance programs. We are gratified to continue our annual support of the greater Philadelphia region’s cultural community, in service of our mission to enhance civic life and raise Philadelphia’s visibility as a major cultural destination.

Below, you’ll find important dates and information on our Letter of Intent (LOI) process. Full 2020 LOI submission guidelines can be viewed and downloaded on our Apply page.

We encourage all potential applicants to stay up to date on the 2020 application process and other Center news by subscribing to our newsletter.

What's New in 2020

We are releasing our guidelines in two parts to provide greater clarity to our applicants and to assist you in better meeting the requirements of each part of our application process. Full application guidelines will be available for those applicants recommended to move forward to that stage.

We have introduced a preliminary review to the Letter of Intent to Apply (LOI) vetting process, requiring initial text on the project that distills the core artistic/creative purpose of the projet idea. This should not be more than 75 words and will determine an applicant's eligibility to apply. Please see the deadlines for this process below.

Important 2020 Deadlines to Remember

These dates have been revised, as of March 23, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read full details about current Center operations here.

  • January 15: Deadline for applicants to discuss the submission of an LOI with Center senior staff.
  • January 29 at 4 p.m.: Deadline to submit a written distillation (75 words or fewer) of your proposal's artistic/creative purpose.
  • February 12: Date by which the Center will notify applicants who meet the eligibility criteria to submit an LOI.
  • March 25 at 4 p.m.: Deadline for eligible applicants to submit their LOIs.
  • April 17: Date by which the Center will notify applicants of an invitation to submit a full application.
  • April 17: Fellowship applications due.
  • June 24: Project grant applications due.
  • October: Notification of grants awarded.

>>Find full LOI submission details on our Apply page.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do Project grant funds support?

Project grants are for making bold ideas happen: bringing artistically and programmatically excellent, ambitious, and substantive performances, exhibitions, or interpretation projects to fruition. Projects can take various forms and be produced by single organizations or multi-organizational collaborators. Discovery grants are for focused exploration that goes beyond normal capacity building efforts and that will seed future project proposals.

We encourage you to review our list of past grants and grantees. Please see page 6 of our LOI guidelines for full details on the types of support available.

Who is eligible to apply for Project grants?

Organizations that have a 501(c)(3) designation, sound financial health, and paid, professional artistic and managerial project staff may be eligible to apply for Project grants up to $300,000. They must be located in the five-county Philadelphia area and have a record of presenting professional public programs.

Organizations may be eligible to apply for Special Opportunity and Multi-Organizational Project grants of up to $400,000 for projects that demonstrate new levels of ambition in content, scope, and scale. Up to three organizations may pool their individual grants towards a collaborative effort, not to exceed $800,000 in total.

Individuals must apply with an organizational partner. The organizational partner will be the formal recipient of the grant and will be responsible for collaborating fully with the individual to manage the funds and the project. This includes production, programming, fiscal management, reporting, and marketing. Refer to pages 7 and 8 of our LOI guidelines for further eligibility requirements.

Can an organization or individual apply for multiple grants in different categories?

Organizations can only apply for a single grant per cycle, either in Performance or Exhibitions & Public Interpretation, provided they meet eligibility requirements and have completed all prior reporting requirements on previous Center-funded projects. If a proposed project has elements of both performance and exhibition/public interpretation, Center staff will work with the applicant to decide which grant category would be most appropriate.

Individuals who have been nominated for and are submitting a Fellowship application may not participate in a Project grant application as a commissioned or key featured artist within the same grant cycle.

How are grant decisions made at the Center?

LOIs are assessed by an outside panel of reviewers who evaluate the applicant’s potential to address the Center’s grant-making goals and criteria to produce a competitive application.

Grants are made annually through rigorous peer-review panels composed of a rotating group of distinguished, internationally recognized experts. These panelists come from outside the region and are selected for their expertise in the disciplines and issues represented in the applicant pool. Three criteria are used by the panel to evaluate grant applications:

  • Excellence
  • Ability to Realize the Project
  • Impact

Staff from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage and staff from The Pew Charitable Trusts do not serve on the peer review panel and do not determine grant recipients. Please see our Project grant guidelines for full details.

What is my first step in applying?

All applicants are required to discuss the submission of an LOI with Center senior staff by January 15, 2020. To schedule an appointment, contact:

Exhibitions & Public Interpretation
Amaka Eze, Program Assistant
267.350.4950, aeze[at]

Carlos Diaz, Program Assistant
267.350.4970, cdiaz[at]

Special Opportunity and Multi-Organization Grants
TJ Hunt, Executive Assistant
267.350.4953, tjhunt[at]