The San Mateo County Arts Commission works to ensure that the arts are valued for their contributions to the County's quality of life, to children's education and for their reflection of the diversity of the County's residents and visitors. 

The Arts Commission works to further public appreciation and support of all cultural, classical, traditional and emergent art forms. The Arts Commission provides funds to assist arts organizations in building a strong presence in the community, growing audiences and expanding services and programs to the community and to children in grades K-12 and to educate and expose county residents to a wide range of artistic and cultural expression. 

The goals of the grants programs are to: 

  • Build greater managerial and fiscal capacity of county arts organizations 
  • Encourage increased public participation by residents and visitors in events, programs and services offered by arts organizations in the County 
  • Increase access to the benefits of arts learning for K-12 public school students

What We Fund 
The Arts Commission provides funding to arts organizations located in San Mateo County to strengthen artistic product; strengthen overall organizational unity and effectiveness; increase, diversify and leverage revenue; improve communications systems; improve their connection and profile in the community; or increase staff efficiency. In particular the Arts Commission supports arts events, programs, outreach, engagement or services that create social vitality in neighborhoods, K-12 schools and with underserved constituencies. All services must take place within San Mateo County and be accessible to the public. 

What We Do Not Fund

  • Individuals, individual artists, scholarships or fellowships 
  • Capital expenditures, trust or endowment funds 
  • Expenses incurred before the starting or after the ending date of the grant 
  • Hospitality or food costs; social functions, parties, receptions and/or fundraising events 
  • Parent-teacher associations, student groups, clubs, recreational or social organizations 
  • Elementary or secondary schools and school districts, boards and associations
  • Organizations or activities that are part of the curricula of a college, university or community college 
  • Activities with a political or religious purpose or lobbying activities 

(Organizations may apply in ONLY ONE category)

Local Arts Grants: Project/Program Support       

Project/Program Support may be used to present free or low cost performances, screenings, exhibitions, educational services, festivals, literary readings, workshops and seminars or other services; and to make diverse cultural arts programs broadly accessible to residents of San Mateo County.

Local Arts Grants: Organizational Support           

Organizational Support provides unrestricted funding to help support and maintain an organization as it pursues its mission. General operating support grants may be used to cover day-to-day activities or ongoing expenses such as administrative salaries, utilities, office supplies, technology maintenance, etc., as well as for project costs, technology purchases, and professional development. Applicants are required to submit a written two-year organizational plan and a CDP report.

For any application related questions, please contact Commission Director Andrea Temkin at 650 380-6183 or by email: artscommission@smcgov.org

Grant Review Panel Meeting

All applicants and the public are invited to attend the Grants Review Panel meeting, Friday April 14 from 9am-5pm in Conference Room 1, Fifth Floor (Department of Public Works) of County Office Building 2, 555 County Center in Redwood City.