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Arts Organizations and Arts Programs (AOAP) Track

Program Description

The Arts Organizations and Arts Programs (AOAP) funding track supports qualified applicants that provide consistent levels of artistic programming and/or arts services in Pennsylvania. Activities and services generally must have a public component. 

The features of AOAP:
  • Application based on past performance.
  • Funding parameters set by Council and applied across the applicant pool.
Activity Period: July 1 - June 30. All funded activities must take place during this time period.


  • Currently funded in the AOAP Track, or transition into AOAP from Entry Track, PPA Program Stream, or Preserving Diverse Cultures, as approved by the Council. 
  • An average annual revenue of more than $200,000.
  • Organizations must be nonprofit, tax-exempt corporations, a unit of government, or a school district providing arts programming and/or arts services in Pennsylvania. Organizations are required to provide proof of incorporation and activity in Pennsylvania before applications are reviewed or funds awarded.

Funding Strategy

  • In order to begin to address historical inequities faced by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and rural communities in accessing support for critical community services and development efforts, the PCA's funding strategy for AOAP has shifted away from the historic funding formula the agency previously utilized to determine general operating support grant amounts.

  • The PCA's current strategy utilizes two funding tiers within AOAP—rural and BIPOC organizations, and non-rural/non-BIPOC organizations. 

  • In its adoption of this approach, the PCA Council also adopted formal definitions for rural and BIPOC-led organizations.
    • For rural organizations, the PCA is utilizing the Center for Rural Pennsylvania's county-based definition, which includes 48 of the commonwealth's 67 counties.
    • PCA's definition of BIPOC organizations is grounded in the following organizational characteristics, in addition to an organization's self-identification as BIPOC-led/centered:
          • Specific community served/impact on the community 
          • Mission/vision/founder
          • Majority of artists/art presented, produced or exhibited 
          • Location in an area dominated by a specific culture, race, ethnicity 
          • Staff composition
          • Board composition 

  • This funding strategy is the result of more than ten years of research and conversation involving national arts service organizations, BIPOC and rural organizations, and the PCA's analysis of its historical funding practices. Additionally, this funding approach aligns with the PCA's strategic goal to promote equitable access for all Pennsylvanians to participate fully in a creative life and in the diverse forms of arts and culture in the commonwealth.

  • The PCA's announcement of this funding strategy can be found here

Matching Requirements

When matching requirements are in place (see specific year's guidelines to determine this), AOAP 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

Grant funds cannot be used for any of the following:
  • Activities outside the grant award agreement performance period.
  • Activities that have a religious purpose.
  • Payments to lobbyists.
  • Cash prizes and awards.
  • Benefit activities.

Unless authorized by the Council, grant funds cannot be used for any of the following:
  • Hospitality expenses.
  • Capital expenditures, including equipment costing $500 per item or more.
  • Competitions. 
  • Performances and exhibitions not available to the general public. 

How To Apply

Step 1: Read the 2023-2024 AOAP Application Guidelines (below) in their entirety.

2023-2024 AOAP Application Guidelines (PDF)

Step 2: Apply online through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development's (DCED)  Electronic Single Application (ESA).

Step 3: Submit online by the application deadline. No hard copies are required

Need help?

For technical and login questions, contact DCED customer service: 800-379-7448.
For questions about content and attachments, contact one of these PCA staff members: