Lydia McCain Grant to Advance Artist Opportunities

Lydia McCain’s commitment to the arts ensured that artists and arts organizations with a strong vision have access to resources that help them reach their full potential. The Lydia McCain Grant to Advance Artist Opportunities is a funding source for artists in Erie County who have a strong artistic vision and a timely opportunity present that will help advance their artistic career. Examples of such opportunities may include, but are not limited to: exhibitions and performances, visiting artist residencies, leading a community-centered arts-based project, etc.


  • Application Opens: January 1, 2024
  • Application Closes: March 15, 2024
  • Grantees announced and funds disbursed: May 31, 2024
  • Grant activity period: June 2024 - May 2025

Grant Amounts (~$20,000 distributed annually)

Grant amounts range from $500-$2,500. Applicants are required to request a specific dollar amount. If the grant does not cover the entire expense, applicants must articulate how the difference will be funded. Grant funds must be used within the grant period (June 1, 2023 through May 31, 2024).

Eligible Use of Grant Funds:
  • Portfolio development
  • Professional third-party services (representation, marketing, photography, web development, accounting, etc).
  • Materials/supplies
  • Equipment lease or purchases
  • Facilities/studio rental
  • Travel
  • Workshop/conference registration fees
  • Fees related to artist residencies
  • Transportation/shipping of work for exhibition/display
  • Grant awards may be used to reimburse expenses incurred for activities occurring within the identified activity period.

Ineligible Uses of Grant Funds:
  • Expenses related to ANY degree granting program
  • Activities that have already taken place or take place outside of the grant period
  • Living expenses not tied to a specific project or opportunity (e.g., rent, utilities)
  • Erie Arts & Culture arts-in-education teaching artist residency host site match

Applicants Must:
  • Be at least 18 years of age.
  • Be a practicing artist creating original work with a demonstrated commitment to advancing their professional creative career.
  • Be a legal resident of Erie County.

Applicants Must Not:
  • Within the past three years be a recipient of a Lydia McCain Grant to Advance Artist Opportunities. Due to the high demand for grants, artists are only eligible to receive three Lydia McCain Grants to Advance Artist Opportunities in a lifetime.
  • Have any overdue grant reports from past funding cycles administered by Erie Arts & Culture.
  • Discriminate on the basis of age, race, color, religion, national origin, handicap, sexual orientation, marital status, gender or gender identity.
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How to Apply

If you are an ARTIST, please use the Submittable below. If you are an organization, please head over to our organization page. (add link)

Apply here (via Submittable)



  • Artist Statement, Bio, and CV
  • Opportunity Analysis
    • What is the opportunity for which you’re seeking assistance?Is this opportunity time sensitive? How does it represent a pivotal moment in your career?
    • How will this opportunity serve as a catalyst for your creative practice and career goals?
  • Budget
    • Should you take advantage of the opportunity before you, what is the full cost you will incur?
    • If the cost of this opportunity exceeds your grant award, how will you cover the difference?
    • What specific costs associated with this opportunity will you cover using your grant award?
  • Work samples (or link to website, youtube channel, spotify, etc)
  • Over the past 3 years, which of Erie Arts & Culture’s capacity building services have you accessed?
    • 1:1 Meetings with staff
    • Creative Crowd
    • PRO Network Webinars

Evaluation Criteria

Opportunity Analysis (50%)
  • The artist applicant clearly defined the opportunity for which they’re requesting funding support.
  • The artist applicant adequately conveyed why this opportunity is relative to their career growth as an artist and the impact they are intending this opportunity to have.
  • The artist applicant illustrated why this opportunity is time sensitive and should be considered for funding during this specific grant cycle.

Budget Analysis (25%)
  • The artist applicant outlined the costs associated with this opportunity.
  • The intended use of the grant award is in compliance with eligible uses.

Work Analysis (20%)
  • The artist applicant has a portfolio of work that demonstrates a commitment to their artistic career.

Additional Analysis (5%)
  • The artist applicant has taken previous efforts to build a relationship with Erie Arts & Culture and its staff so that the organization can be a resource for their artistic career.

Application Assistance

A mock application will be available on the EAC website.

Hybrid virtual and in-person information session will be held at Blasco Library’s Admiral Room at 6pm on March 8, 2023.

Review process

All applications will be reviewed by Erie Arts & Culture staff for eligibility. Staff will conduct a preliminary review using an objective checklist to ensure eligibility, and eligible applicants will be forwarded to Erie Arts & Culture’s Programming Committee for review. The Programs Committee will present final grantee recommendations to the Board of Directors for approval.

Sample Application

Information Session

Join us for a virtual info session on February 7th from 7-8pm

Register Here



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Please contact Casey Corritore, Program Officer of Capacity Building: [email protected].

Erie Arts & Culture

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