Arts and Culture grants

The Arts and Culture Grants Program supports projects and initiatives that:

  • Provide opportunities for creative participation and the celebration of local stories
  • Enhance creativity and connection to place in the public sphere;
  • Develop skills
  • Strengthen the sustainability and capacity of the Inner West Council’s cultural and creative industries.

Grants are open to not-for-profit organisations, social and creative enterprises, individuals auspiced by an incorporated body and individual artists. The Arts and Culture Grants program aims to strengthen the Inner West community as an arts and cultural hub.

Applicants are encouraged to familiarise themselves with Inner West Council’s Community Strategic Plan, Community Profile and Arts and Culture pages by reviewing the information at the web addresses provided:

All applications should aim to provide community benefits for the residents of the Inner West Council area. This includes the suburbs of Annandale, Ashfield, Balmain (including Balmain East), Birchgrove, Dobroyd Point, Dulwich Hill, Enmore, Haberfield, Leichhardt, Lewisham, Lilyfield, Marrickville, South Marrickville, Petersham, Rozelle, Stanmore, St Peters, Summer Hill, Sydenham, Tempe. Inner West Council also includes parts of Ashbury, Camperdown, Croydon, Croydon Park, Hurlstone Park and Newtown.

Arts and Culture grants of up to $7,500 are available in the following categories:

  • Living Arts Grants
  • Independent Artist Grants

Download the Arts and Culture Grants guidelines here:

Alternatively you can find details below.


Council's Arts and Culture Grants Program has now closed and will reopen mid 2019.

It is expected that all current applicants will be notified by early November.

Grant payments will be made once Funding Agreements have been completed and returned to Council, with funding awarded before the end of December 2018 for projects to be undertaken in the following calendar year, between 1 January and 31 December 2019.


The objectives of the Arts and Cultural Grants Program are to:

  • Support activities which contribute to the development of arts and culture in the Inner West Council area, including participation and engagement
  • Promote strong arts and cultural networks and partnership opportunities
  • Encourage excellence and innovation in the content and delivery of arts, cultural activation, community arts and cultural development
  • Connect the community to local places through diverse initiatives, such as activations and explorations of place
  • Promote a vibrant street life, support local business and encourage visitors to the Inner West Council
  • Build audiences for the arts, and provide a range of access points to both participate in, and enjoy the arts

Types of projects supported

A broad range of endeavours may be assisted through this program.

Living Arts Grants:

Grants for arts and cultural events and initiatives such as exhibitions; performances; community arts and cultural development projects; artists in residence and creative initiatives in the public sphere.

Independent Artist Grants:

Grants supporting artists’ professional and creative development, including independent arts practice; cross disciplinary initiatives and projects sitting outside mainstream arts.


Living Arts Grants:

Applicants must be a legally incorporated, not for profit community group or organisation or eligible social and cultural enterprises (eg. incorporated organisation that provides social and cultural benefits but does not meet the criteria of being an incorporated not-for-profit). OR be auspiced by an incorporated organisation.

Independent Artist Grants:

Applicants can be individuals or community cultural development practitioners and may apply without an auspice.

Groups of Individuals may apply to this category. If you are an unincorporated group of artists or community members, you will require an auspice.

  • Applicants applying as individual artists must have a demonstrated history of professional arts practice
  • Applicants must be an Australian resident or permanent resident and be over 18 years
  • Applicants must be a resident of Inner West Council, or non-resident offering a project of demonstrable and significant benefit to residents of the Inner West Council (as defined on page 3). Residents must be the principal or major beneficiaries of the project
  • Applications must be for a specific project and are not available as a permanent source of future funding
  • Projects must be able to demonstrate that the grant would be for a project in the public interest and in accordance with Council policy and regulations
  • Applications must address Council’s Community Strategic Plan and address one or more of Council’s strategic directions
  • Applicants must have completed the Evaluation report (and acquitted the project) from previous grants from Inner West Council and/or the former Councils of Leichhardt, Ashfield and Marrickville, where projects have been completed and have no outstanding debts to Council. Should acquittals not be due, a progress report must have been submitted as requested by Council
  • Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria of the specific Grant Program being sought
  • Creative or social enterprises are eligible on the basis that they are located in the Inner West Council area, are small to medium scale and proposing a project that provides significant benefits to residents of the Inner West Council area
  • Only one application per category of the Arts and Culture Grants Program to be submitted each year
  • Organisations who are submitting an application as the auspice for another group will not be precluded from submitting an application on behalf of their own organisation

Not eligible

  • Projects which duplicate services already provided in the Inner West Area
  • Projects that have already been completed – funding cannot be applied for and used retrospectively
  • Where acquittals or progress reports from previous grant funding rounds have not been completed when due
  • General donations to charities, however specific local projects applied for by charities may be eligible
  • Ongoing salary costs for staffing, or operational costs
  • Where acquittals, including the project evaluation, from previous grant funding rounds have not been completed when due
  • Capital works: e.g., such as renovations to buildings
  • Grants will not be provided to political parties or groups formally linked to a political party
  • Activities that could be perceived as divisive within the community
  • State or federal government departments (including schools or tertiary institutions), or projects which fall under the responsibility of another tier of government. Parents and Citizens’ Associations can only apply for projects which can demonstrate the project is accessible and beneficial to the broader Inner West community (beyond the school community)
  • Grants seeking financial assistance for overseas travel, or other costs where it could be perceived that the applicant would derive excessive personal benefits


The proposed budget you include in your grant application must clearly show how you arrived at the total grant amount requested and include all sources of project income and expenditure. Quotes should be included especially for proposed purchase of equipment.

Please note; there is no guarantee that if successful in receiving a grant you will receive the full amount requested. Some applications may only receive partial grant funding.

The budget should:

  • be GST exclusive
  • include a breakdown of expected expenditure
  • include in-kind contributions/donations.

The table below provides an example of a budget.

The income and expenditure columns of your budget should balance unless otherwise approved by Inner West Council officers.

Income Description

Expenditure Description

Living Arts Grant


Performer Fees


Volunteer in kind contribution




Other income (from name of organisation)


Media / Promotion


Costumes / Materials


Theatre (hire)









Assessment criteria

The following criteria will be considered in the process of assessing applications:

  • Impact and quality of the project that contributes to Council’s Community Strategic Plan and Grant Program Objectives (outlined earlier in this document)
  • Cultural and social benefits to Inner West communities
  • Capacity to deliver a well-planned project including concept, plan and experience
  • Innovation in creative practice and cultural outcomes
  • Realistic budget including all sources of project income with inclusion of quotes for proposed purchase of equipment, confirmation of venue hire, in-kind and financial support provided by the applicant towards the project
  • Merit of the application in comparison to the other applications
  • Benefits to communities within the Inner West Council area adversely affected by WestConnex

Grants Management

Council uses the Smarty Grants online application management system to administer grants programs. Smarty Grants provides a range of forms for applicants to use at various stages of the grants process.

Application process 

Applications must be provided using the Smarty Grants online application management system. The application form acts like a checklist for applicants. Applications must meet the eligibility requirements and no late applications will be accepted. Hardcopy applications cannot be accepted.  

Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to attend the grants information session which will assist applicants with their proposals (details of which will be promoted on Council's website). Applicants are encouraged to speak to Council’s Community Services and Culture team should they have any questions regarding the application process or needing assistance to complete the online application form.


Submissions will be assessed against eligibility and selection criteria by an expert panel with recommendations made to Inner West Council for approval. Successful applicants will be advised in writing and will be required to enter into a formal funding agreement with Inner West Council.

Funding agreements must be finalised before the grants are awarded. Grants cannot be used for anything other than the specified purposes outlined in the funding agreement. Any variation to the project must be sought from Inner West Council and agreed to in writing.

Conditions for approval

  • Council reserves the right to assess an application under an alternative category
  • The awarding of a grant does not imply the provision of any additional resources or funding for that project or associated activities from Council
  • Applications for the purchase of significant items (over $1,000) must include copies of two quotes
  • Applicants who have received funds in previous years will only be eligible to apply for assistance in the current year if all accountability and evaluation procedures have been satisfied
  • Applicants may not vary the purpose of the grant for which they have been funded without receiving written approval from Council
  • Applications must contain written confirmation from all partnership bodies named in the proposal as confirmed funding sources or key participating organisations
  • Applicants should not submit an application about the same project to other Grant Programs. (such as an Arts and Culture Grant and Community Wellbeing Grant application) but can apply to other Grant Programs if the projects differ. The field is highly competitive and applicants should contact Council staff to discuss the appropriate Grant Program where they are unsure

Funding agreements and conditions

Funding agreements require applicants to agree to certain conditions before the money can be issued. These conditions are set out in the Smarty Grants agreement and condition form and can be summarised as requiring:

  • Sign a funding agreement accepting the conditions of the grant
  • Forward Council an invoice for the awarded sum
  • Variations to the project and project's contact person or contact details must be formally requested and approved i.e. phone/address etc.
  • Acknowledgment of Council's support of the project must occur on promotional material and be in accordance with Council's Corporate Design Standards. Gaining approval of the use of Council's logo must be received before proceeding to final artwork etc.
  • Projects must be accessible to all members of the Inner West community. Residents must not be denied participation based on their ethnicity, culture, religion, gender and identity, age, disability or sexual preference.
  • Where funds are approved for the purchase of equipment, the organisation or individual will be required to provide receipts for equipment, the equipment is to be identified as an asset of the organisation. Should the organisation cease to exist or the individual no longer uses the equipment, the equipment must be returned to Council.
  • Once contracts are finalised, payments are processed with a standard 30 day turnaround time. 

Evaluation and reporting

Grants recipients are required to acquit their project on a Smarty Grants online evaluation and reporting form within two months of their project completion. Any unexpended grant funds must be returned to Council.

Acquittals require a final project evaluation report, identifying the project's achievements in relation to the objectives and outcomes as detailed in the application, along with project constraints and an income and expenditure statement.

The Smarty Grants form detailing the timeframe for completion of this acquittal will be uploaded for completion and an email sent to the contact person in the application. Extensions can be granted with permission given extenuating circumstances.


For grant enquiries please contact Freya Ververis, Council's Arts and Culture Engagement Officer on 9392 5282 or

It is encouraged for requests of over $2,000 that you discuss your project with a staff member from the Living Arts team. 


    The Arts and Culture Grants Program will reopen mid 2019.

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    Page last updated: 23 May 2019