Program Funding

Each grant category has its own guidelines and scoring criteria. Visit the Applicant Portal [linked here] to review grant guidelines, eligibility requirements, criteria, and the application procedure before beginning the application process.

Scope of Funding

All grant applications are evaluated on their merits and in competition with other applicants. Grant awards are subject to the availability of federal and state funds.

The South Dakota Arts Council has established policies regarding categories of grant support requiring special attention or clarification. Over the years, the following policies have been adopted:

Professionalism. Rather than attempting to define the term “professional artist,” the consensus of the Council is that the basis for awarding grants to artists shall be the quality of the artist’s work (as provided and presented within the application).

Support of resident artists and South Dakota arts organizations. The Council recognizes the crucial role of South Dakota’s artists and arts organizations. Priority is given to those projects involving South Dakota artists and arts organizations.

Continuing grants. Arts Council support should be considered supplementary. Although continued support may be awarded to an organization, no guarantee can be made for support from year to year.

Accessibility. All events funded by the South Dakota Arts Council (SDAC) must be accessible to persons with disabilities, including accommodations for those with visual, hearing, mobility, and learning impairments.

SDAC does not discriminate against any person on the grounds of race, color, national origin, sex, or physical or mental disability. The Council has the responsibility of ensuring that all programs using federal funds allocated by SDAC are equally accessible to all people. The Council adheres to federal Fair Labor Standards and non-discrimination guidelines stated in Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act. The Council requires that those accepting SDAC grant money also comply with these guidelines.

Arts Expansion and Equity. In addition, the Council strives to build active cultural participation with all ethnic and minority groups, particularly American Indians living in the state through the Council's Arts Expansion policy statements:

  • The Council promotes the development of artistic work and presentations suited to the state's diverse resources and needs of small towns and geographically isolated areas.
  • Educational opportunities at the state's post-secondary institutions are encouraged and supported for the development of artists to work in South Dakota.
  • The Council strives to encourage private and public-sector support of cultural development, planning, and funding of the arts in South Dakota.
  • The Council seeks to remove social, economic, and physical barriers to cultural activities to ensure that all citizens have a role in cultural policy and decision-making.

Funding Priorities

South Dakota Arts Council encourages the development of new projects and those which strengthen existing arts programs.

The SDAC funds quality arts projects that:

  • Employ professional artists, especially those living in South Dakota.
  • Focus on underdeveloped arts disciplines.
  • Recognize and relate to the cultural needs of the state and community.
  • Make the arts available to new, minority, and geographically isolated audiences.
  • Bring the arts into schools with the support of the local school.
  • Reach beyond a town’s boundaries to attract new audiences.
  • Train local talent to follow through on future projects.
  • Include financial contributions from participants of workshops.
  • Advance the role of the arts in economic development efforts.
  • Enhance cultural and heritage tourism.

Funding Restrictions


  • fiscal agents for regranting to or on behalf of organizations that do not have nonprofit, tax-exempt status.
  • religious organizations engaged in arts projects/activities that are religious, occur during a religious service, and/or benefit a limited audience/community.
  • anyone pursuing a high school diploma, or a graduate, undergraduate, or professional degree.
  • individuals and organizations seeking funds for the same project.


  • activities, events, programs, or projects that fall outside of the grant period.
  • costs of goods for resale, including concessions, promotional merchandise, or any items purchased for sale, even if related to your programming.
  • any recognition/award to an individual (including any level of prize money), awards to individuals or organizations to honor or recognize achievement.
  • meals, social activities, receptions, parties, galas, etc., and any associated costs including food, catering, alcoholic beverages, as well as costs for the planning, staffing, and supplies, for such activities.
  • fundraising activities or events, and any associated salaries or other costs for any fundraising activities, including those for donors, or that benefit the organization.
  • activities/projects that exclude the public, including performances and workshops which are only available through a subscription, season tickets, or membership. activities that occur during a religious service.
  • any activities when the primary purpose is to generate academic credit or towards academic or professional degrees, including academic research, formal study, tuition assistance, and scholarships.
  • emergency relief funds for housing, food, etc. to individuals/artists.
  • construction (new or permanent structural change), renovation, or restoration.
  • endowment funds.

How to Apply

Each grant category has its own guidelines and scoring criteria. Visit the Applicant Portal [linked here] to review grant guidelines, eligibility requirements, criteria, and the application procedure before beginning the application process.

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