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Santa Maria Arts Council

Encouraging and Supporting the Expansion of the Arts since 1965
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2016 Grants Honoree and winners.
Santa Maria Arts Council Announces
Individual Grants in the Arts Competition

Artists interested in applying for the Santa Maria Individual Grants in the Arts Competition – with a chance to win up to $1,500 - must be at least 12 -years old and have resided and/or studied art in Northern Santa Barbara County for a minimum of two-years. Visit the Arts Council web site for an application (available Feb. 1), application guidelines, and more information on our honoree County Superintendent of Schools Bill Cirone. Click on “Grants Honoree” tab below.

This spring, the Santa Maria Arts Council will award over $13,000 to emerging artists in the fields of Dance, Drama, Music, and Visual Arts. First and Second place individual grants of $1,500 and $1,000 will be awarded to artists in each of the four categories. Three additional grants are also awarded: the Nat Fast Memorial Grant for performing artists, the Ian M. Hassett Foundation for visual artists, and the Los Padres Artists Guild Grant for student artists.

One application provides eligibility for all grants.

2017 Individual Grants in the Arts


February 2

PCPA - Noon

February 8


Foxworthy Gallery


February 25




Application Deadline

Thursday, March 16


Saturday, April 8

AHC Fine Arts Complex


Monday, May 15


Vets Memorial Bldg

Note: Your browser may open a preview of this PDF. If so, choose the download or save option to fill in the form.


email to have the PDF application emailed to you.
Tips for your audition…watch the video….
Tips for Visual Artists
Grants application information…
    Grants Workshops (not required)
    Individual Grants in the Arts
    2017 COMPETITION 2017

    Honoring Educator, Arts Advocate, & Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools William J. Cirone

    A $1,500 First Award and $1,000 Second Award will be presented to emerging artists in each category of Dance, Drama, Music, and Visual Arts.

    The grants are based on artistic excellence and promise to grow in the Arts.

    The Judges will select the two individuals in each category who demonstrate outstanding talent and have immediate goals that are attainable and consistent with the SMAC objectives. Artistic promise, potential to grow as an artist, and the ability to contribute to the arts in this region will be considered.

    The Santa Maria Arts Council, Inc. is a non‑profit organization dedicated to supporting the arts and enriching cultural life on the Central Coast. The Council instituted the Grants in 1972 to help identify, encourage, and offer monetary support to local artists as they grow in their art. By offering public recognition and financial help to developing artists, the grants increase the pool of artists and invigorate the arts in our area. The grants may be used for artistic development, and cover expenses such as tuition, public transportation to school, private lessons, or the purchase of instruments, tools and supplies.

    The Individual Grants support emerging individual artists. Established artists and groups may apply for the Lester B. Hayes Project and Performance Grants, or other competitions appropriate to their status.

    You are ELIGIBILe if:
    1. You are age 12 or older.
    2. You lived in northern Santa Barbara County for at least two years -OR- you have completed at least one Fine Arts class or youth arts program during each of four semesters in the Santa Maria area. Current residency is not required.
    If your home was within the geographic limits of the Allan Hancock College District (Buellton, Cuyama, Guadalupe, Lompoc, Orcutt, Santa Maria, Santa Ynez, and environs), you are eligible.
    Verification of residence may be required.
    Classes in Santa Maria/Orcutt public or private schools, youth arts programs at Allan Hancock College or the Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department, or with area private teachers all qualify for consideration.
    3. You may apply in one (1) category per competition cycle.
    4. You may compete for the Grants Awards a lifetime total of three (3) times.
    5. First place winners are ineligible in the following Grants cycle and must skip a year before competing again. If a First Award was split between two people, you do not have to skip a year. Second place winners are eligible to compete in the following Grants cycle.

    Optional Grants WORKSHOPS
    Applications and guidelines are available on this site.
    If you prefer to get an application in person and have specific questions answered, attend one of these free workshops on the Santa Maria campus:
    • Feb 8 Wed 6pm Allan Hancock College Foxworthy Gallery, Rm. L102
    (Academic Resource Center, Bldg. L -South)
    • Feb 25 Sat 10am Allan Hancock College Rm F-11 (Fine Arts)

    APPLICATION DEADLINE: Thursday, March 16

    Applicants must ensure that the Arts Council receives the following materials by the deadline:
    The completed application
    Recommendation forms filed by three (3) mentors - share this link ( with people you which to recommend you.
    Performing Artists only: One current head shot (passport size or larger), last name on the file, at least 72dpi jpg
    Visual Artists only: Upload - via Dropbox to - 6-10 digital images of
    your work for prescreening; if video or animation,

    JUDGING: Saturday, April 8
    • Be prepared for the rare possibility of a prescreening audition or portfolio review in late March if the number of eligible competitors exceeds a category limit.
    • All applicants will be notified by mail with a follow-up email regarding acceptance and audition time.

    If you submit an application but don’t receive audition information by March 28, contact Ms. Kate Burridge at 805/459.1503 or email:

    • Eligible visual artists will set up displays the afternoon before the judging. See guidelines on this site.

    • Eligible performing artists will audition for the Grants judges beginning at 10:00am.
    Unavoidable morning or afternoon time constraints for performers or their accompanists should be included with the application to assist scheduling.

    • Emergency phone for audition day: 805/268-2554

    Monday, May 15
    Rehearsal call 3pm • Event begins 5:30pm • Veterans Memorial Cultural Center, 313 W. Tunnell Street, Santa Maria
    All candidates chosen for awards MUST participate in the Awards Showcase or forfeit the grant.
    Grant recipients also agree to participate in a future Arts Council event within the next five years (e.g. the annual Awards Performance Presentation or other Arts Council event).

    Audition guidelines, photos of visual arts displays, and other information for performing and visual artists are available on the site.

    Email questions to:

    The 2017 Individual Grants in the Arts are proudly sponsored by

    Maguire Investments • Allan Hancock College • City of Santa Maria • Santa Maria Sun
    Be sure to check out additional information

    Visual Arts Audition Information

    Performance Audition Information..
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    Bill Cirone, Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools
    2017 Individual Grants in the Arts Honoree
    Bill Cirone was first elected to his current position in 1982 and is in his ninth-four-year term, the longest-serving county superintendent in California. He has also worked as a teacher, an administrator and an executive in the private sector.

    He is committed to the arts and in 1997 was appointed to co-chair the California Arts Task Force to make policy recommendations regarding the placement of visual and performing arts in education. His office is the umbrella for the Children’s Creative Project (CCP), which he established and which provides artists in residence in schools countywide. The CCP currently serves 145 elementary schools and reaches more than 65,000 children with performances and visual and performing arts workshops. He is a strong advocate for arts in education and was the recipient of the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission Leadership in Arts Award and the California Arts Council Outstanding Arts Educator Award. Bill served on the board of directors of the California Alliance for Arts Education, he has chaired the National Community Education Association, the National Teachers Network, and the California Fiscal Crisis Management Assistance Team.

    In a commentary “Arts Education is Essential for All” Mr. Cirone called fiscal cuts in arts education shortsighted and counterproductive. “The arts are not frills – they are essential elements of a complete education, and they often provide the very skills and motivation required for school and career success. The reasons to include the arts in a school curriculum are compelling. The arts represent a form of thinking that is both sensory and intellectual, one that requires the use of imagination and judgment. What’s more, the arts provide unique way of reaching students who may not learn as well through language and mathematics alone. In addition, studies point to higher levels of involvement and educational achievement among students taking advanced art courses. The arts are a form of expression and communication that is essential to the human experience, and they truly deserve a regular place in our classrooms.”

    The Santa Maria Arts Council is extremely pleased to be able to honor Mr. Cirone as it recognizes the 2017 Individual Grants in the Arts winners - local emerging artists excelling in dance, drama, music, and visual arts.
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    Arts Council Grants Competition

    Click on appropriate tabs for additional information

    Since 1972 the Santa Maria Arts Council has awarded over $273,600 to 367 (as of May 2016) locally trained artists through its Individual Grants Competition.

    Grants are awarded to emerging artists in the fields of Dance, Drama, Music, and Visual Arts. First and Second place individual grants of $1,500 and $1,000 respectively, are awarded to artists in each of the four categories. Additional grants: the Nat D. Fast Memorial Grant, the Ian M. Hassett Memorial Grant, and the LPAG Grant.

    Artists interested in entering the competition must first read all eligibility requirements. There is information on our website about completing the Grants application. If you have questions, you can attend an information-packed workshop. Look for dates to be posted in early 2017 for the next round of grants.

    To be eligible, applicants must be 12 years or older, and have studied art in Northern Santa Barbara County for a minimum of two years. Geographic limits are Santa Ynez to Lompoc to Santa Maria and Guadalupe to Cuyama.

    For more information contact:
    Kate Burridge (805) 459-1503 or
    Marti Fast at
    Visit or email

    Lester B. Hayes Project & Performance Grants

    Application Deadline is April 15, 2017
    The Application will be available early 2017.

    The goal of these grants is to support Santa Maria Valley programs through short-term projects which enhance the arts. Emphasis of the project should be on youth programs supporting the arts and developing students' artistic awareness.

    Eligibility for funding
    The applicant/organization must reside in the geographical area served by the Santa Maria Arts Council, and present activities that take place in that area and which benefit Santa maria Valley residents.
    Organizational applicants must be able to demonstrate, or find a sponsor that can show proof of, non-profit status under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code or Section 23701d of the California State Franchise Tax Code at the time of application. Proof of non-profit status is not necessary if applying under the umbrella of governmental entities, schools, or city agencies and departments.
    The applicant must comply with fair labor standards and pay professional performers, artists, related or supporting personnel at the minimum compensation level for persons employed in similar activities.

    Grant Limitations
    Expenditures are prohibited for the following:

    Profit-making organization or ventures
    Replacement of deficit funds
    Organizations or individuals with no history of arts programming prior to application
    Trust or endowment funds
    Tuition assistance
    Organizations primarily involved in political action
    Legislation and or lobbying or projects with religious purpose
    Projects that have already been completed
    Hospitality, lodging, and food
    Capital outlay for improvement and construction of facilities.

    The judges may adjust award amounts at their discretion. The decision of the judges if final.

    Sign Up

    Santa Maria Arts Council
    P.O. Box 5
    Santa Maria, CA
    The Santa Maria Arts Council is a 501c3 non-profit. Your donations are tax deductible to the extent allowable by law.

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