Skip to main content

Creative Catalyst Grant

General Information

Creative Catalyst Grant is a new IAC grant program that offers support to Illinois artists and non-profit organizations for arts-related projects, programming, events, and/or professional development. 

Creative Catalyst replaces IAC’s previous grant programs: Artstour & Live Music, Short-term Teaching Artist Residencies, and Individual Artist Support Grants. Applications previously considered under those grant programs are all eligible for Creative Catalyst. 

The FY25 Creative Catalyst Grant is an open deadline grant program with an award amount up to $12,000 per applicant. Applications will be accepted until the funds have been expended. Each IAC region has its own allocation so regions may close at different times. Applications must be submitted to the IAC’s Salesforce grant portal a minimum of 8 weeks prior to the start date of the arts project being considered for IAC funding.

IAC General Operating Support (GOS) grantees must demonstrate how the project is a unique opportunity outside of their daily operations and programming.

Creative Catalyst opens July 10, 2024

Eligibility Requirements

All applicants must apply using a registered Salesforce account and include proof of eligibility at the time of application.

Educational/Organizational applicants must serve as one the following:

  • A registered 501(c)(3) Not-For-Profit Organization in good standing with the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State
  • Branch of Government (e.g., Municipal, County, Libraries, Park Districts, etc.)
  • Charitable Trust 
  • Institutions of higher education and Religious Organizations  
  • PTOs, PTAs and other School Affiliate Organizations

Organizational applicants must:

  • Have a valid FEIN and UEI number

Individual applicants must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Certify that they are:
    • A U.S. citizen or have been granted permanent resident alien status
    • Currently and have been a legal resident of the state of Illinois for at least 12 months prior to the application deadline
  • Submit a copy of one of the following:
    • A valid Illinois driver’s license which includes the date issued and expiration date (entire front and back)
    • A valid State of Illinois identification card which includes the date issued and expiration date; (entire front and back)
  • NOT be enrolled in any degree or certificate granting program (including high school, bachelor, or masters-degree programs) at the time of application or during the award period. (Ph.D. candidates need to have completed their course work by the application deadline to be eligible.)

Application Tips & Tools

  • Use Chrome as your browser when working in Salesforce.
  • Once logged into Salesforce, complete updates to the Applicant Information tab first. This includes uploading the Accessibility Worksheet.
  • Submit all required application materials a minimum of 8 weeks prior to the arts project start date.
  • Questions? Join the Webinar (or watch the recording), participate in one of the Drop-ins, or contact your Program Director.

Review Criteria

The review of Creative Catalyst grant applications is based on successful evidence of the answers to the following application requirements:

1. All required fields and attachments have been correctly completed and are in the requested format.

2. Narrative details an arts project, programming, or professional development opportunity.

3. Budget submitted includes standard industry expectations for costs such as rentals, fees, supplies, etc.

4. Application provides evidence that the project will take place as described.

5. The applicant meets all eligibility requirements (see above).

Webinars & Drop-In Sessions

  • Creative Catalyst Application Webinar 
    During this webinar, IAC staff discuss application tips and best practices including how to use the agency’s online Salesforce grant platform.  Participation requires advance registration; a recorded version of the webinar with transcripts will also be available.

Thursday, July 18 at 10:00am

  • Drop-in sessions are one-hour sessions that have no agenda. Participants may ask questions of the participating Programs staff and get answers in real time. You do not need to preregister for these.  Dates and links TBD.


What is considered outside of general operations?

GOS applicants must demonstrate that the project being applied for is “above and beyond” what the organization programs with standard operations. 

When can I get my money?

IAC does not issue checks directly. IAC vouchers payment authorizations through the state comptroller’s office. Grantees may check the state comptroller’s website for updates on their grant payments. Additionally, if an applicant has received a payment from the state within the past 12 months, they may call the state comptroller at (217) 557-0930 to request direct deposit. 

I did not submit my application on time, can I still apply?

Creative Catalyst applications must be submitted to the IAC’s Salesforce grant portal a minimum of 8 weeks prior to the project start date. IAC is unable to accept late application submissions.