The Jim Henson Foundation awards grants each year for the creation and development of innovative works of puppet theater. Production Grants of $7,000 are awarded for the production of new works ready to be presented in the coming year. Workshop Grants of $3,000 are for the development and workshopping of these pieces. Workshop Grants and Production Grants can be combined over a two year period for the greatest benefit to the piece; keep in mind, however, that a Production Grant does not need to be proceeded by a Workshop grant and a Workshop Grant in no way ensures a future Production Grant.
Family Grants of $4,000 fund the development of new and innovative work specifically for children, families, and teenagers. Please keep in mind that Family Grants will be evaluated by the same high artistic standards as works for adults.
Since we began awarding grants in 1982, there has been astonishing growth in both the quantity and quality of puppet theater in this country. This has made it increasingly difficult to narrow the applicant pool, so we have instituted a policy that we hope will more evenly distribute our funds among the many artists worthy of support. Artists who received a grant in the previous year are not eligible to submit a proposal in the current year. Artists who received a Workshop Grant in the previous year are eligible to apply in the current year, but only for a Production Grant to further develop the previously funded piece.
Grants are made only for the development of new works of live puppet theater. The Foundation does not award funds for the presentation or remounting of existing work. Grants cannot be applied retroactively; substantial portions of a proposed project must take place after the funds are awarded. We do not fund publications, parades, pageants, exhibitions, spectacle, festivals, film or television projects, projects for school credit, workshops, education or outreach activities, or purely digital performance.
We would like to emphasize that live puppet performance needs to be an integral element of any proposed project. While we will consider productions that utilize other media and genres, a substantial portion of the piece must feature puppetry that is well-executed in both design and performance.
Awards can be made only to IRS tax-exempt organizations. We welcome applications from individual artists, but those without 501(c)(3) status must apply through a fiscal sponsor. Applications for international collaborations are accepted, but the primary artist and fiscal sponsor must be a US citizen. Projects that will only take place outside of the Unites States are not eligible for funding.