Asian American Arts Alliance

Grant Opportunity: The Indie Theater Fund 2017 Artist Pay and Leadership Grants

Request for Proposals

The Indie Theater Fund 2017:  Artist Pay (and now: Leadership) Grants!

What do you mean by “paying artists”?  We mean just that. Paying the artists you work with. That can be your actors, your director, your designers, your stage manager. Anyone who contributes creatively to make your play development and productions happen.

In addition, there is a new grant this year, and a whole new hat to fish from!  This is a grant to pay your organization’s leaders — that is, anyone who participates in the administration of your organization.  We know these leaders are often (if not usually) the same people who are making the art. That’s OK! To us, this seems like just another reason to acknowledge their herculean efforts.  

There are further guidelines for who these artists and leaders might be. Read on to learn more.  

Why earmark grants for paying artists? We survey our participants annually.  Without a doubt, the top two things our community would like to see funded are artist pay and real estate costs/expenses. At this point in our life as a fund, our impact is bigger when we grant fees to artists.

Is your process still radically transparent? From the get-go, the Fund has had no interest in being an arbiter of art or artists or in convening a traditional panel to adjudicate for us. We want to keep rules for eligibility simple and ensure that participation feels neither onerous nor competitive. Everyone wants to pay artists, so everyone gets a shot. Our grants are determined by old-fashioned lottery!  Put your company’s name in that hat!

What’s happening this year? We are giving TEN grants in $1,000 increments to ten deserving companies, for a total of $10,000. Whoo-hoo!  And they’ll go like this:

The first five $1,000 grants continue our pledge to help you pay artists. Last year’s initiative earmarking grant funds to artists of color, in recognition of the added challenges they face in entering the field, reflected a mandate to build a fundamental commitment to equity and diversity into the values and culture of our young organization. It was a clear statement of our values; based on feedback from participants like you, it expressed our community’s values as well. In fact, you recommended that we expand the scope of the initiative to include additional perspectives that are underrepresented in our field.  

Taking that one step further, we believe that diverse leadership in our participant organizations is essential to encouraging diverse and equitable practices. Therefore, as described above, our second five $1,000 grants this year will support artists and others who work in our participant organizations in a leadership, management or administrative capacity. 

To be eligible for either grant, companies or venues must commit to using their grant to pay artists or leaders of color and/or artists or leaders who bring an underrepresented perspective to our community through gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, economic disadvantage, refugee/immigration status or for other reasons you define.  

The grant money can be paid to one artist or leader or split between several; paid to artists working on one show, reading, workshop in your season or split between more than one; use however you see fit within the grant period.

How do we apply?   


First up: Below is a link to a very simple Fact Sheet/Application designed to gather pertinent information about you and your company. Scroll down for the link!  This is how you raise your hand to say you want this money, and for us to make sure you are eligible for it.

Please submit the facts using the Google Form linked from this document (below), no later than September 8th. If the Google form is not possible for you, please request the fact sheet in Word by emailing In addition to the facts, we are requesting a photo from a past performance or rehearsal for inclusion in a slide show and/or social media campaign featuring our participants. You can upload that through the link in the Google Form.

Due date: September 8th.

Second:  Our board will check that your proposal meets eligibility requirements (that you have worked on or in three productions in NYC theaters with 99 seats or less; that you are producing a show in the next 12 months in a theater in NYC with 99 seats or less; that you are committed to using the grant to pay artists or leaders who provide underrepresented perspectives. That’s it!

Monday, Sept 18th:  You will be notified via email that you are, in fact, eligible for a grant. Then…

Tuesday, October 3rd!  We throw a big party (also a mini-fundraiser for the Fund, suggested donation/tithe of $5 at the door) at which we pull 10 applicant companies out of two hats — one for artists, one for leaders — and recipients take home their grants!

Your company can be in both hats! Oh, and best of all, we get to be in the same room together, mix and mingle with our community in a big and lovely space with DRINKS!  A reward in itself. 

Last year was a blast!  This year, to make it even more so, we are committed to facilitating more interaction between companies. This happy event creates an opportunity for all of us to get to know more members of our community, and maybe even make some productive connections — we think we can help that along a little better, stay tuned.

Very important: you or a colleague representing your company or venue must be present when the names are pulled to win one of the ten $1,000 grants. Checks will be cut that night and you’ll be on your way to paying artists and leaders! Mark your calendar now: the party is Tuesday October 3, at the Performance Project at University Settlement, 184 Eldridge Street (on the corner of Rivington Street). Send one person or come as a company. Bring friends! It is going to be an awesome night.

Be in touch with us anywhere down the line if you have any questions at all.  We are here!

A few important notes:

– To be eligible, you must plan to produce at least one show in the 12 months following the give, even if you are only applying for leadership funds (October 2017 to September 2018).

– You may not receive a grant two years in a row. If you were a 2016 recipient you are not eligible for a 2017 grant. (Come to the party and celebrate anyway!)

– All eligible participants may apply for both grants! If your name is not drawn for a theater leadership grant, it will be added to the hat to contend for an artist pay grant.

– Checks will be cut to companies or venues, not directly to artists.

– You must have a bank account set up in the name of the company or venue which is accepting the grant check or be working with a fiscal sponsor that can receive the funds.

– Grant money can be paid to one artist/leader or split between artists/leaders; paid to artists working on one show, reading, workshop in your season or split between them; use however you see fit within the grant period.

– A report consisting of simple documentation of how grant funds were disbursed is required by the end of the one-year grant period. This will let us know how many artists and leaders were served by the ten grants.

– Recipients of grants may be asked to participate in marketing videos or photos or may be asked for quotes on the impact of this funding.

– You must be an Indie Theater Fund participant to receive a grant. If you are not one already, become one here.


In Summary:

Fill out the fact sheet/application in Google Forms linked below by September 8th

You will hear from us confirming your eligibility by September 18th

Come to our party and bring friends on October 3rd to participate in the lottery to receive a grant!

If you have any questions at all please email Randi at



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