grants for unconventional, public-facing artwork in surprising places


A new emergency relief fund is now available for artists who have been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. In response to the severe impact on Kansas City’s local artist community, Charlotte Street Foundation, Spencer Museum of Art, ArtsKC – Regional Arts Council, with underwriting from the Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts and Theater League Kansas City, are partnering to provide $165,000 in emergency aid.

Artists can learn more and apply for Rocket Relief funds immediately through this link. Beginning May 1, ten eligible artists will be randomly selected each week to receive benefits until the funds are distributed. Applications may continue to be submitted and eligible applicants will be added to the pool until funds are distributed.

Next week marks the halfway point for the Rocket Relief Emergency Grant and artists in need of emergency relief aid are still heavily encouraged to apply.
Since starting out with $120,000 at launch, we have fundraised up to $165,000 for the Rocket Relief fund! That means 45 more artists will be able to receive the emergency funds they applied for. ​The deadline remains July 17, 2020.  Originally, 10 artists ​randomly selected each week have received $1000. With this newly fundraised total, we can begin to give more and increase the number of grants awarded each week.  ​You can expect more information soon.

The Rocket Relief fund aims to provide emergency support to individual artists in the Missouri/Kansas bi-state region within 80 miles of Kansas City. This grant is intended to help artists whose incomes have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and who need assistance with basic expenses such as food, rent, medical costs, and child care. Rocket Relief utilizes a lottery method that is weighted to prioritize applications based on emergency needs.

rocket relief

The Rocket Grants program aims to fuel the energy of the Kansas City regional visual arts community by encouraging and supporting innovative, under-the-radar and public-facing work in non-traditional spaces. To date, the Rocket Grants program has awarded $512,000 to individual artists and collaborative groups. 103 diverse projects in cross-disciplinary media have directly involved at least 259 artists. Hundreds of others have been integrally and peripherally included in the performances, publications, workshops, artist-run spaces, videos, public installations, events and websites that the awards have funded.

Rocket Grants were launched by the Charlotte Street Foundation in Kansas City, MO and the Spencer Museum of Art at KU in Lawrence, KS, with funding from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Each year around ten projects are selected to receive up to $6,000, including eight Project Awards, and two Research & Development Awards.

For more details on our History, see Our Story.

For more details about our Scope, Goals, and Application,  see Our Mission.

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