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Entry Track

Entry Track to Arts Organizations & Arts Programs (AOAP)

Grant Award Process

Note: PCA staff members are available to assist applicants up to and including the due date.
Please contact Matthew Serio at or 717-787-1523
Activity Period: September 1 - August 31. All funded activities must take place during this time period.
Award Amounts: There is no cap on award amounts.  Awards must be matched dollar-for-dollar in cash.
The Entry Track is the point of entry for organizations or programs to the Arts Organization and Arts Program Track(AOAP).
Please view this Entry Track 2014-2015 orientation video :
Organizations and arts programs must be invited to apply to the AOAP Track. The Entry Track supports eligible arts organizations and arts programs that generally have a history of at least one-year consistent arts/cultural programming. The PCA staff will spend time working with Entry Track applicants.
Potential applicants interested in this track must contact the appropriate PCA Program Director prior to the deadline to schedule a phone interview and to receive additional information.
Interested organizations who may not meet the eligibility requirements of the Entry Track may be eligible for application to the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts (PPA) Program. PPA is a decentralized funding program of the PCA, which offers both ongoing support and arts projects funding opportunities.
Organizations or programs stay in Entry track until they are recommended for AOAP, based on panel review and assessment totals. Applicants must transition from Entry to enter the Arts Organization and Arts Program Track (AOAP). The AOAP track provides ongoing support through a multi-year application based completely on the past two most recently completed fiscal years. Applicants that do not qualify for AOAP may apply to a PPA partner for a Project Stream Grant.
Generally, your organization is eligible to apply to the Entry Track if at the time of application your arts organization or program has/is:
  • Average operating fiscal size over $200,000
  • At least one year of ongoing stable arts programming
  • A nonprofit, tax-exempt corporation, unit of government or school district providing arts programming and/or arts services in Pennsylvania.  An arts program may apply to the Entry Track through a fiscal sponsor.
Please note:  ensembles and/or organizations from the African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic/Latino, and Native-American (ALNAH)communities may be eligible to apply to Strategies for Success in the Preserving Diverse Cultures (PDC) Division.  However, you may submit only ONE application to either the Entry Track or PDC.If your organization does not meet the above eligibility criteria, we encourage you to contact the Pennsylvania Partner in the Arts (PPA) partner in your area.
Entry Track Categories
Community Arts
  • Arts Education Organizations
  • Arts Service Organizations
  • Folk and Traditional Arts
  • Local Arts: Multi-Discipline Arts Centers, Arts Councils and Arts Festivals
Performance and Presenting
  • Dance
  • Literature
  • Music
  • Presenting
  • Theatre
Visual Arts and Electronic Media
  • Art Museums
  • Crafts
  • Film and Electronic Media
  • Visual Arts

Eligibility for Responsive Funding Areas:
Organizations must be nonprofit, 501(c)(3), tax-exempt corporations, a unit of government or school district providing arts programming and/or arts services in Pennsylvania. A Federal Identification Number, assigned by the Internal Revenue Service, is required before a contract can be issued.
Organizations must be incorporated in and conduct business in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in order to apply for support. Organizations are required to provide proof of incorporation and activity in Pennsylvania before applications are reviewed or funds awarded.
Unincorporated groups (and in some instances, individuals) must apply to the PCA through a nonprofit organization that acts as a fiscal sponsor. The fiscal sponsor is legally responsible for the administration of the contract, including all reporting requirements and may charge a fee for their services. Applicants applying through a fiscal sponsor organization must meet the same requirements as other applicants except for nonprofit status. The fiscal sponsor, as well as the applicant organization, is responsible for any award.
The fiscal sponsor receives the award check directly from the PCA and is responsible for ensuring the completion of the final reports. For further information on the role of a fiscal sponsor, contact the PCA office for a printed memorandum on the subject. 

Matching Requirements
Unless otherwise specified in the guidelines, PCA awards must be matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis in cash. In-kind goods and services may not be used to match PCA funds. The PCA generally will support no more than 25% of a program or organizational budget, and usually considerably less.

Funding Restrictions
In general, the PCA does not fund the following nor can the match for PCA funds be used for these expenses:
  • Capital expenditures, including equipment costing $500 per item or more.
  • Activities for which academic credit is given.
  • Activities that have already been completed.
  • Activities that have a religious purpose.
  • Performances and exhibitions not available to the general public.
  • Performances and exhibitions outside Pennsylvania.
  • Cash prizes and awards.
  • Benefit activities.
  • Hospitality expenses, i.e. receptions, parties, gallery openings.
  • Lobbyists' payments.
  • Competitions.

Additional Guidance
Awards are unlikely to support a program or the staff of an organization that has as their primary purpose therapy, recreation or amelioration of social problems. However, the award may support the use of artists of professional caliber in such organizations or programs. Artists with credentials and experience in therapy, recreation or social service are not automatically excluded from participation or support, but evidence of their professional credentials, as artists, will be a critical part of the PCA's evaluation of any application for support.
The PCA does support campus projects that involve the local community in its planning, execution, and participation. Activities that primarily serve the student body and faculty of a campus are supported by the PCA only in exceptional cases. Colleges and universities must demonstrate that their programming reaches the general public in addition to an academic audience. This can be shown by financial support from outside the school from local corporations, businesses, individuals, and foundations.
National service organizations that are headquartered in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania may be supported for programs and services they offer to Pennsylvania artists and/or arts organizations.
The Council undertakes partnerships and initiatives on behalf of entire fields of the arts to seek opportunities and solutions to problems affecting the arts in the Commonwealth and to initiate projects that will serve a broad spectrum of artists and arts organizations throughout the state.
Generally, the PCA does not provide organizations with start-up money. There are some exceptions to this. If you have questions about starting an arts organization, contact the PCA.