The Idea Fund Round 12 Applications are now closed

What types of projects will be funded?

The Idea Fund is committed to new, risk-taking forms that help to define new practices in contemporary art. A panel of professionals will select between 12-15 projects submitted by individual artists, curators, performers, collectives or collaboratives that must be completed by December 31, 2020.

How to apply?

Applications must be completed online via Submittable. The online application will prompt you to provide the following:

• Project Summary & Description (sample application)
• Resume/CV
• Budget & Budget Description (sample budget)
• Five Work Samples

Work samples may be related to the proposed project or representative of previous works. The Idea Fund accepts the following work samples: jpegs, video links (via Vimeo), audio files, and word documents (or PDFs). JPGs should be no larger than 1 MB.

Who can apply?

The Idea Fund supports individual artists, curators, collectives, collaboratives or partnerships. If applying as a group, the artistic group can be long-standing or created specifically for this project; however, the lead member of the group  must be living and working in the Greater Houston Area in one of the eligible counties: Harris, Galveston, Brazoria, Fort Bend, Waller, Chambers, Liberty, or Montgomery.

Review Process and Selection Criteria

All proposals are evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • The artistic and creative strength of the proposed project
  • The overall vision of the applicant(s)
  • The capacity of the applicant(s) to realize the project
  • The accessibility of the resulting project to the public
  • The project’s demonstration of community support and commitment to serving a local constituency

Proposals will be reviewed by a panel of jurors composed of artists and arts professionals.

Funding Priorities

Please keep in mind that The Idea Fund favors projects that exemplify unconventional, participatory or social practice, conceptual, innovative or entrepreneurial, or activist artistic practices that occur outside of the traditional frameworks of support. Works that are eligible for conventional sources of funding are highly unlikely to be awarded.

Applicants must state how their project is related to contemporary visual arts.

What kind of projects are eligible for funding?

  • The work of an individual artist, collective or temporary association of artists
  • A project of a temporary or permanent artist run space
  • Curatorial projects that focus on unconventional artistic practice
  • An exhibition that has a strong public component (i.e., projects which involve the public via process, production, or presentation)
  • Publications of creative writing, including printed matter, and online publications
  • A public event, performance, or intervention
  • A screening, lecture or workshop series
  • A temporary public art project
  • Site specific installations
  • Web-based projects
  • Audio, video and photo projects
  • Interdisciplinary, emerging fields and new media projects

What kind of projects will not be funded?

  • Projects proposed by a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization
  • Projects in which the lead artist lives outside of Houston
  • Projects in which all artists reside outside of Houston
  • Projects that do not have a public component (i.e., projects which do not involve the public via process, production, or presentation)
  • Projects that are not accessible and presented to the public
  • Projects that do not exemplify innovative practices in contemporary art

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any questions that are not addressed below, please email

  • When does my project have to end?
    • Your project needs to reach some sort of conclusion by Dec. 31, 2020. This means you need to have an exhibition, performance, opening, workshop, etc. by Dec. 31, 2020.
  • Where do I submit my application?
    • This is an online application. 
  • I’m a Houston artist, but I want to work with some artists or do some of my project outside of the city, can I still apply?
    • YES! But please note, that something (an exhibition, a performance, a workshop, etc.) MUST happen in the greater Houston-area. The Houston artist must also be the lead artist. We also would prefer that you remain living in Houston during your project.
  • When will I find out if I got the grant?
    • Grant recipients will receive phone calls by mid-December, while rejection emails will go out during the same time. Make sure to submit all your contact information so that we can contact to you.
  • How many project proposals can I submit?
    • You can submit as many as you like. Groups or collectives can submit one and each member can submit multiple individual projects. Just note that the likelihood that a project with the same lead artist of a group/collective and an individual project to be funded is slim. But if the projects are compelling then they can both be funded. This is up to the decision of the panel of jurors.

If you have further questions, please come to an information session. For more information, check out some of the previously funded The Idea Fund projects. If you have questions about whether your proposal is eligible for The Idea Fund, please reach out to our intern at

Want to learn more about the application?

Attend an information session, download a Sample Application and a Budget Template.