The City of Austin is no longer accepting applications for the Nexus Grant. The deadline for submission expired on August 15 at 5 p.m. Applications will open again in 2024. Visit the Cultural Funding page for other cultural funding opportunities.

The Nexus Grant offers $5,000 grants for new and emerging local small organizations, individual artists, and small arts businesses to produce creative public projects.

2023-2024 Nexus Grant Awardees

Download the Nexus Grant Awardee list (PDF, 134 KB).

Almost 200 applications were reviewed and scored by City of Austin Employees. After the panel review, the top 51 scoring applications were recommended for funding. Read more about the grant in the Nexus Grant Guidelines (PDF, 1.1 MB)

Thrive, Elevate, and Nexus cultural funding programs were developed in consultation with Austin’s creative community over the past 3 years. Funding will prioritize equity through a combination of seed funding, broad sector support, and targeted investment. Read the Cultural Funding Report (PDF, 1.8 MB)El camino hacia la equidad cultural (PDF, 2.2 MB)

 

Nexus Grant Dashboard

View a summary dashboard of demographics for the 2023 Nexus Grant applicants and awardees.

Assistance

Attend Cultural Arts Virtual Open Office Hours on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month from 10 a.m. to noon.


For application assistance, contact Almost Real Things at Hello@almostrealthings.com or by phone at 512-814-8318

Para obtener asistencia con la aplicación, comuníquese con Almost Real Things en hello@almostrealthings.com

 

Grant Guidelines

Download the Nexus Grant Guidelines (PDF, 1.1 MB), Nexus Directrices (PDF, 1 MB)

Eligible Applicants

 

Eligible Applicants

  • 501(c) nonprofit arts organization   
  • An individual artist aged 18 or older*   
  • A creative business*   
  • Applicant’s most recently completed fiscal year’s budget is $150,000 or less  
  • One year of operating history in the Austin metropolitan statistical area (MSA)  
  • 51% or more of the applicant’s creative production is within the Austin 10-1 districts or extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ)  
  • Applicant has not already received or is not currently receiving City funding for the same activities in the fiscal year in which they are applying   

*May apply directly or with a fiscal sponsor

 

Ineligible Applicants

  • 501(c) non-profit organizations or that are not primarily an arts organization. 
  • Any applicant with annual operating budgets above $150,000.   
  • Applicant organizations outside of the Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). 
Eligible Activities and Expenses

See Additional Program Details for a more detailed list of eligible and ineligible activities and expenses.

 

Eligible Activities

  • Exhibitions 
  • Performances 
  • Workshops and classes that include a performance or exhibition that is open to and marketed to tourists 
  • Public art projects that are installed on public or private property and accessible by the public 

 

Eligible Expenses

  • Administrative expenses and artist fees (including staff hours and contractor costs) 
  • Space rentals 
  • Equipment rentals (not purchases) 
  • Supplies and materials 
  • Marketing and promotion expenses 
  • Insurance costs 
  • Fiscal sponsor fee, if applicable

 

Application Details

Preview the application questions to help prepare. Applications will not be accepted via email or mail. The application must be submitted through the application home page only. 

 

Eligibility Questions

  • Is 51% or more of your work produced or presented within the City of Austin Council Districts or extra-territorial jurisdiction (ETJ)?   
  • If yes, has your work been produced or presented within the City of Austin Council Districts or extra-territorial jurisdiction (ETJ) for one or more years? 
  • Are activities in your proposal open to and marketed to tourists? If you are an arts service organization that supports artists and arts organizations with their own public activities, answer  “yes.”   
  • If you are currently receiving funding through any other City of Austin department or program (excluding pandemic relief programs), please disclose.   
  • Budget history lists most recently completed fiscal year’s budget $150,000 or less 

 

Application Questions

  • What is the applicant’s mission, vision, and primary production history? Please identify your key constituencies and provide information about the applicant’s service to them.   
  • Have you received City of Austin Cultural Funding in the last 5 years?   
  • Who holds power in your organization and how do they represent your community? 
  • How will you use these funds to produce your event? 
  • What are your proposed activities? 
  • Provide the name(s) of creative collaborator(s). Describe your collaborator’s role in the development and implementation of your proposed activities.    
  • Describe your organization’s specialized programming and accommodations for individuals with disabilities, if any.   
  • Describe your organization’s specialized language access accommodations or programming for non-English speaking communities, if any. 
  • How will the requested funding help you expand your programmatic reach and amplify Austin’s diverse arts and cultural sector? 
Application Materials

Upload the following required documents to the Nexus application. Acceptable file formats include: .csv, .doc, .docx, .odt, .pdf, .rtf, .txt, .wpd, .wpf, .gif, .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .svg, .tif, .tiff. Max file upload: 10MB

Glossary of Important Terms

Here are just a few important definitions for helpful reference in understanding goals and priorities. For a full list of definitions please see the glossary of terms and definitions beginning on page 20 of the Additional Program Details

 

Creative Business 

A creative business is an individual or a group whose primary activities are arts and culture based, and does not have a 501c non-profit status. Creative businesses with annual operating budgets below $500,000 can apply as an individual or arts group in Nexus and Elevate. 

 

Cultural Displacement

Cultural displacement occurs through changes in the aspects of a neighborhood that have provided long-time residents with a sense of belonging and allowed residents to live their lives in familiar ways.    

As the scale of residential change advances, and shops and services shift to focus on new residents, remaining residents may feel a sense of dislocation despite physically remaining in the neighborhood. This may also reflect the changing racial or ethnic character of the neighborhood—not just its class composition.  

 

Cultural Erasure

Cultural erasure is when, because of cultural displacement, key aspects of neighborhoods that allow both current and future residents to feel at home go missing. Current and future residents lose access to opportunities in the neighborhood and the scale of change erases key aspects of the neighborhood that allows residents to feel at home. Content was developed in collaboration with the City of Austin's Equity Office and industry resources. 

 

Fiscal Sponsor

A nonprofit corporation with 501(c) status that applies for financial support on behalf of another organization or individual in order to enable the latter to receive the benefits of tax-exempt status. There are several forms that fiscal sponsorship can take, but in every case, the fiscal sponsor takes responsibility for external parties that the funding will be utilized for tax-exempt, charitable purposes as defined in the internal revenue code. 

 

Intersectionality

The term intersectionality was coined by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw to highlight the overlapping vulnerabilities that are at play in shaping the life chances of some of society's most vulnerable populations, for example: women who are poor, of color, or who are undocumented.   
 
Intersectionality describes the many ways in which various forms of discriminations can intersect, creating special vulnerabilities for some. Vulnerabilities related to systemic and institutional racism are an integral part of intersectionality. 

 

Application Scoring

Applications will be reviewed and scored by a panel of City of Austin Staff. Applicants will only receive points that apply to their project. Up to 100 points available: Operations – Up to 50 Points, Cultural and Social Impact – Up to 50 Points

Operations
 

Criteria

Available Points

Mission and Key Constituencies    

What is the applicant’s mission, vision, and primary production history? Please identify your key constituencies and provide information about the applicant’s service to them.      

For the purposes of this program, key constituencies that will be prioritized are community groups that are at immediate risk of cultural erasure and displacement within Austin and/or have been institutionally marginalized and under-funded by the City of Austin Cultural Arts Division.  

Organization’s mission, vision, and production history will be used for this response.   

Individual applicants and creative businesses, should provide their creative mission, artistic vision, and production history for this response. 

Up to 15 Points 

First-time Applicant

Have you received City of Austin Cultural Funding in the last 5 years? This would not include relief or recovery funding.   

If the application is on behalf of a sponsored project, the response should be based on the sponsored project’s funding history, not the fiscal sponsor’s.

Up to 10 Points 

Cultural Leadership    

Who holds power in your organization and how do they represent your community?  (2,000-character limit, including spaces). Your response could include:  

  • Executive and Creative Leadership    
  • Board of Directors and/or Advisory Board    
  • Creative Advisors 
Up to 15 Points 

Budget  

How will you use these funds to produce your event? Your answer could address:  

  • Explanation of expenses in production of activities  
  • Uploaded Budget Form should be reflective of this narrative  

Application reviewers will review this response in addition to the uploaded Budget Form to review the applicant's financial history and financial practices.  

Up to 10 Points 
Total 50 Points
Cultural and Social Impact
Criteria Available Points

Cultural Activities   

What are your proposed activities?  

Your answer could address:  

Description of proposed activities, participant(s), etc.

Tourist accessible activities your produce    

How equity work is centered in your proposal    

Working with diverse communities 

Up to 10 Points

Creative Collaboration   

Provide the name(s) of creative collaborator(s). Describe your collaborator’s role in the development and implementation of your proposed activities.   

Write “N/A” if you are not applying with a collaborator. 

Up to 10 Points

Accessibility & Language Access   

Describe your organization’s specialized programming and accommodations for individuals with disabilities, if any.    

Accessibility accommodations that are “upon-request only” will not be considered a specialized service.     

Describe your organization’s specialized language access accommodations or programming for non-English speaking communities, if any.     

Accessibility accommodations that are “upon-request only” will not be considered a specialized service. 

Up to 20 Points

Programmatic Reach/ Marketing  

How will the requested funding help you expand your programmatic reach and amplify Austin’s diverse arts and cultural sector?     

Your answer could address:   

Marketing / Audience Development  

Information on how funding will directly support the diversity and equity of the City's cultural community. 

Up to 10 Points
Total  50 Points

 

Grant Awardee Commitments

In addition to application proposals, the following information will also be required.  

Reporting Requirements

A final report is due within thirty days of the final activity date. Workshops on how to complete your report will be made available and supporting materials can be found in the Contractor Library.

The report will require but is not limited to:  

  • Proof of award monies expended
  • Audience data  
  • Proof the funded activities were executed   
  • Proof that marketing requirements were met 
Funding Timeline

Nexus operates on the City’s fiscal calendar, which is October 1 – September 30. The pilot year will have two opportunities to apply. The dates of applicant’s proposed activities will determine when to apply. Successful applicants can receive Nexus funds once per fiscal year.

  Fall/Winter Cycle Spring/Summer Cycle
Activities Occurring October 1 - March 31 April 1 - September 30
Deadline August 15 at 5 p.m. February 2024
Application Opens July 2023 January 2024

Applications will be reviewed and scored by an internal panel of staff from the City of Austin. Applications that meet the requirements outlined in these guidelines and receive the highest scores will be recommended for funding. The number of awards that are approved is subject to the availability of funds.

  • July 11 - Application opens   
  • August 15 - Application deadline   
  • September 2023 - Panel reviews 
  • Late-September 2023 - Notification of award decision