Gwinnett’s First-Ever Arts & Cultural Grant Fund


As 2022 rolls into spring, it is time for us to roll out year three of the Gwinnett Creativity Fund, Gwinnett’s first-ever arts and cultural grant fund! Created in early 2020, our first grant cycle was a challenge, but ultimately a success in terms of supporting arts groups as they struggled to stay open, pay rent, or purchase equipment. Fast forward two years later, and the Gwinnett Creativity Fund’s influence already dots the county. 

You may notice artwork throughout all of our cities’ downtowns. Local artist Corey Barksdale’s gorgeous floral mural lights up Buford Highway at the intersection of Suwanee’s Town Center Park. Just north of Suwanee, in fast-growing Sugar Hill, “A Bowl of Sweet Sounds”, a 3-D musical motif public art piece, welcomes you to their shops, breweries and greenspaces. 

Intown Atlanta mural artist Jonesy’s newest work adorns the corner wall at the Hudgens Center for Arts and Learning, beckoning art lovers to their classes, exhibits and gardens. Those are just three of more than 18 project grants funded by the Creativity Fund over the last two years. 

What’s new for 2022? As we roll out our first Operations grant cycle in Spring 2022, we have expanded the base of applicants by allowing not only qualified 501c3 applicants, but qualified 501c6 arts organizations, initiatives, and events as well. Additionally, a second granting priority is available to organizations or initiatives who may not be headquartered in Gwinnett but can show that they do substantial current programming in Gwinnett County creating a positive impact for our residents, students or visitors. 

The GCF mission strives to help Gwinnett become a more cultural, inclusive destination as well as allowing nonprofit arts and cultural organizations to grow, educate, elevate their organization, and inspire others. Our project grant will allow organizations to provide new programmatic and educational opportunities and support and engage underserved audiences, all while enhancing Gwinnett’s cultural landscape. 

For 2022, we plan to expand our Marketing Toolbox by supporting smaller arts organizations with targeted marketing support and consultancy in lieu of funding initiatives that may not truly elevate an organization. 

While the Creativity Fund has supported and funded immediate needs, we are also pleased to be able to support more long-term initiatives, including Artworks Gwinnett’s plans to develop a countywide Strategic Arts Master Plan. In collaboration with Gwinnett County, Artworks will develop a creative economy master plan to help develop a clear vision, goals, priorities, and strategic direction for the arts. Artworks recently announced the selection of Lord Cultural Resources as the Master Plan Developers. Gwinnett’s plan includes placemaking, public art, citizens’ “origin stories”, murals, building design enhancements and a “talent pipeline,” among other ideas. 

With each cycle, we have been fortunate to learn and evolve the Creativity Fund program and are already working diligently on evolving our grants process to ensure greater awareness, stronger outreach and minimal barriers to entry for smaller or underserved organizations. 

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