ARTISTS IN SCHOOLS Grant Guidelines and Deadlines

Artists in Schools (AIS) Program Guidelines
It is suggested that you PRINT GUIDELINES FOR REFERENCE.

Due to the continued challenges of operating within the context of a pandemic, the first deadline for applications for Artists in Schools Residency programs, has been extended to May 10, 2021. 

Artist in Schools (AIS) grant applicants must submit grant applications through the online system. Once you have logged in, click on the button “Current Programs and Applications” to access the application and final report for the Artist in Schools (AIS) application. Continuing for the 2021-2022 Cycle: The applications for Individual School Site and Multi-Site District AIS Residencies programs have been split into separate application forms specific to each of these categories, and are identified as such within the Current Programs and Applications section. 

COVID NOTICE:  During this time we appreciate all the good work grantees are doing in support of the arts, culture and community.  Conditions are different within each community as the context of COVID-19 changes over time. The Alaska State Council on the Arts and the Alaska Arts and Culture Foundation encourage all grantees to consider and adhere to guidelines in your community, the State of Alaska, and as provided by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ASCA celebrates the creativity and adaptive capacity of our grantees as you consider how to safely gather, work within school and community contexts, travel, and engage Alaska’s citizens with art, artistry and artists.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, schools, school districts and organizations are encouraged to work with your school community and teaching artist(s) to deliver a residency that is safe and appropriate to your community. Distance and other adaptive delivery modalities may be considered in the 2021-22 school year, as conditions develop. Within the applications for Individual School Site and Multi-Site District AIS Residencies programs, narrative questions have been updated to specifically ask how you are adapting your Artists in Schools project/program to the current situation in our state and in your community. 

If your district or school is new to the AIS program, you must contact the AIE program staff prior to completing the application. For more information, and for first time applicants, contact Laura Forbes at the Alaska State Council on the Arts, (888) 278-7424 or (907) 269-6682.

A Statewide Teaching Artist Roster is available to you as you develop your application for an AIS residency program, on the ASCA website at Additional materials, including an AIS school guide, will be available on request from the program staff. The Alaska Arts Standards are available on the State of Alaska Department of Education and Early Development website at

The Artists in the Schools (AIS) Grant Program is designed for schools and districts that wish to augment their regular visual, literary and performing arts curricula with a teaching artist residency. Artists provide classroom art experiences, professional development for teachers, community engagement activities and opportunities for students to observe an artist at work. Involvement of school staff is critical to the continuity of the program, as well as to the follow-up activities provided by the artist. The typical length of an AIS residency is two weeks for a single school, however other lengths of time are possible for multiple school sites. For example: a district applies for a four-week residency with an artist who visits four schools during the four week period, or visits two schools for two weeks each.

Application Deadline
There are two deadlines for the AIS grant, April 15 for the following school year and November 1 for the current school year. Note: the first deadline for application for the 2021-2022 school year has been extended from April 15 to May 10, 2021. 

Technical Considerations
Support material must be uploaded to the online application. Any technical assistance required should be requested prior to the deadline. Draft reviews are available up to 10 days before the grant deadline. Online applications may be submitted until 9:59 p.m. Alaska time (the time on the receipt email will be 2 hours later) on the deadline date. Late applications will not be accepted or considered for funding.

Public school districts/schools or private nonprofit schools in Alaska may apply to the Alaska State Council on the Arts for an AIS grant. Nonprofit organizations and/or parent groups may apply on behalf of a school/district. If a nonprofit is the applicant, they must provide a letter on district/school letterhead detailing how the nonprofit organization's plan augments and supports the district-approved arts curriculum, and how the district/school is working with the organization on the residency development.

If there is no approved arts curriculum for your school or district, applicants will be asked to detail the steps being taken to develop or adopt an arts curriculum in the district, and the way in which the school/district is working to meet the Alaska State Art Content Standards in the absence of an adopted art curriculum. The Artist in Schools Program is meant to augment and enrich arts education in Alaska schools, rather than replace it. All applications must be complete or they will not be considered for funding. If a district/school has received funding in the past year and has not fulfilled the grant requirements, a clearly articulated explanation must be submitted or the application may not be funded.

AIS Grants will fund up to $5,000 for individual schools and up to $15,000 for district-wide applications. Individual schools must provide 1/3 of the cash expenses as match for the proposed AIS project. Districts must provide a 1:1 match. Please note: whether multiple schools from a single school district apply individually, or a school district applies on behalf of multiple school sites, districts will be limited to $15,000 total AIS funding. Eligible expenses include up to $1,000/week in artist fees, supplies for the residency, administrative fee of no more than 20% of the total expense, phone, postage and marketing. If an artist charges more than $1,000 per week, the school is responsible for funding the additional amount, over and above the required match. Housing and per-diem is the responsibility of the school and/or district and should be listed in the in-kind budget.

The Alaska State Council on the Arts will not fund
  • Residencies lasting less than two weeks per application. Shared residencies that last less than two weeks in each school should be submitted jointly, with one school serving as the lead applicant.
  • Residencies that are designed to be an isolated arts experience and have no connection to the district's approved arts curriculum or Alaska State Content Standards for the arts. For example, projects that do not contain outcomes or follow through of skills.
  • Incomplete or late applications.
  • Funding for organizations or schools that received funding in prior years, but failed to file a final report.
Application Review Criteria
All ASCA programs are governed by Alaska Administrative Code 20AAC.30.010-30.985.
  • Relevance of the residency to the district's written arts curriculum and a plan to integrate the residency activities into the curriculum;
  • Relevance to ASCA’s strategic mission and goals as stated in the Strategic Plan;
  • Evaluation process of the residency accurately measures the goal of the residency;
  • Applicant shows a strong level of commitment to ensure success of residency and the long-term impact of the program. Strong applications illustrate joint planning, pre- and post-residency activities, and evidence that this is part of a sustained arts program, beyond the term of the residency;
  • Professional development opportunities for teachers and teaching artists are included;
  • The written application is clear and complete, including description of the goals and objectives of the proposed residency, description of the way in which progress toward those goals and objectives is to be measured, information about the activities and schedule to be implemented during the residency, clear evidence of commitment from the artist to the project, and strong supporting materials;
  • The residency will be marketed outside the school, and the application clearly details a plan to identify audiences for the teacher training as well as the community activities;
  • Description of the community is clear and complete including succinct and accurate written description of the community(ies) benefiting, evidence of adequate equipment and facilities required for the residency, as well as suitable housing, food and transportation plans for the artist, if applicable;
  • Accuracy, viability and completeness of proposed budget, including in-kind;
  • District applicants include teaching artist training and inclusion of these artists in the residency;
  • Prior compliance with grant requirements.
AIS Terms Defined

Residency Coordinators: Districts/schools receiving AIS funding serve as the chief sponsors, designers and coordinators of the residency(ies), including: artist selection & contracting, travel arrangements, on-site scheduling, supply purchases, housing & per diem arrangements, program evaluation and reporting. Grantees should ask for technical assistance from the Arts in Education Program staff at the Alaska State Council on the Arts if they have any questions, especially about how to complete the application budget form.

Selection Committee: The selection committee for an AIS residency is the group of people who will work to support the residency including event/schedule coordination, grant-writing and reporting, artist selection and hospitality.

Artist Selection: The Artists in Schools Program has a roster of artists available in nearly every art form. Use of these Teaching Artists is strongly recommended as they have been adjudicated and are known professionals in their art form. If an artist who is not on the Alaska Statewide Teaching Artist Roster (or an ASCA-approved local roster) is chosen for the residency, a resume of that artist, along with two letters of recommendation must be submitted with the grant application. The Teaching Artist Roster is available as a PDF at:

Residency Schedule: Residencies must be in a K-12 school and take place during school hours. Hours of classroom instruction and numbers of students present in each class should be part of the planning of the residency so that the school and artist expectations are clearly understood prior to the start of the residency. The core schedule of the residency should be based on four hours of student contact time with the artist per day. If you have a large school, with many students at each grade level, you may consider targeting different age groups for different levels of contact time. Please consider artist prep time, appropriate breaks, and a reasonable student-to-teacher ratio in developing your schedule.

Staff Involvement: A teacher or other authorized school personnel must be present at all times while the artist is working with the students. The artist is not considered a substitute teacher. Staff should be prepared to learn how to integrate the art form of the residency into their teaching, collaborating with the visiting artist as often as possible. All school staff should be made aware of the residency and be encouraged to participate in pre- and post-residency activities..

Artist Studio Time: Time for the artist to work on their own work should be scheduled into each day, at the artist's discretion. This time should be in a place that is open for observation by the school community, and may be part of a community engagement strategy. Artwork created by the artist during this studio time is the property of the artist.

Professional DevelopmentHelping teachers learn how to integrate art into their regular classrooms is a critical part of the AIS residencies. At least one professional development opportunity for teachers must be scheduled to assist all the teachers in post-residency activities. Professional Development activities should be planned and scheduled in partnership with the visiting artist, and may include formats including workshops, discussions, lecture/demonstrations, and modeling of classroom techniques.

Community EngagementA community activity should also be scheduled. This may be a hands-on workshop, a performance or exhibit by the artist, students, or both, and is separate from the teaching training. The goal of these community engagement activities is to bring the school community, and the community-at-large together around the artist and the residency activities.

Teaching Artist Training: District applicants are encouraged to co-host a Teaching Artist Academy for artists in their region that wish to become Teaching Artists. The implementation of teaching artist training opportunities is meant to help sustain your arts education programs. Contact the ASCA AIE staff for more information.

Special Populations: Residencies should include as many of the following groups as possible, both within the school and in the greater community: elderly, pre-K, military populations, people with disabilities, and underserved populations. Underserved communities or populations are defined as those whose access to arts programs, services or resources or whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, economic conditions, cultural demographic, sociopolitical circumstances, disability, age, or other demonstrable factors.

Publicity/Advocacy: Informing your community, local and state government officials about this program in your school is a critical component of a successful project. Publicizing the residency programs through the local media will maximize exposure for this program and should involve as many individuals as possible. Invitations to school board members, local & statewide lawmakers, school officials, parent groups and other interested members of your community should be part of your planned activity. Additionally, grantees are strongly urged to document residencies through photographs, video or other means for your use as well as for use by the Alaska State Council on the Arts to share with the elected officials of our state who support and authorize these activities through legislation.

Teaching Artist Housing and Accommodations: Applicants must provide food and housing for non-local artists during the residency. Discussions with the artist as to appropriate accommodation in housing, food and transportation must occur prior to submitting the application, so that these costs can be included in the in-kind section of the budget.

To Apply
Online applications are available at Alaska GOSmart at All AIS applicants must submit their grant applications and final reports online. Carefully read both Tech Tips and READ ME (FAQ's). Both documents contain important information on how to apply and navigate the CGO system.

In order to access the grant applications on the CGO website, grantees must complete a profile, which will include setting up a user name and password. After this profile is established, grantees should go to "Current Programs and Applications." This screen will show each grant provided by the Alaska State Council on the Arts. Grantees who have already completed a profile SHOULD NOT make a new profile, as all of your historic grant information is contained in your existing profile. You may, however, update your profile with any new contact information. Once logged in, you can access "Current Program and Applications".

NOTE: Throughout the Artist in Schools grant application are "HELP" buttons. These offer clarification and specific information to help grantees better answer the questions.

Draft Review
Grantees may request a draft application review from the ASCA AIE staff up to two weeks prior to the deadline. Please contact Laura Forbes at or (907) 269-6682, or toll-free in Alaska: (888) 278-7424 to confirm your draft review request. Select the “draft review” submit button on the application to submit it for a draft review. Staff will review the application within 5 working days of submission. After which, staff will contact you. You will then have the opportunity to make changes to the grant application but must complete the submission process by hitting the SUBMIT button.

Submission Instructions
YOU MUST HIT THE SUBMIT BUTTON in order to officially submit the grant application. After doing so, grantees will receive an automatic email reply confirming the grant has been received. The time stamp on this email will be two hours later than AK time; if you submit the application at 8:00 p.m. the time stamp will say 10:00 p.m. These messages will be sent to the email address contained in the applicant profile. If you do not receive an email please contact us immediately.

Grant Review Process
Applications for ROUND I, with a deadline of April 15, are reviewed by a grant review panel in May and approved by the Council at its June annual meeting. Official notification will occur during the summer break. Districts/schools will have sixty days (60) from the date of the award agreement to accept the grant award. This deadline may be prior to the start of school in the fall. Make any necessary arrangements to receive notification and accept your award during this time.

Applications for ROUND II, with a deadline of November 1, are reviewed by a grant review panel in December and approved by the Council at its mid- December meeting. Because of school winter breaks, notification of awards and the necessary grant paperwork to be processed will be sent late December or early January. If a residency is schedule to begin in January, grant award payments may not occur until after the residency has begun.

A panel of qualified Alaskans reviews all AIS grant applications, and scores them according to the review criteria. Their scores are forwarded to the members of the Alaska State Council on the Arts, who then make final funding determinations. The full Council reviews the recommended list of successful applicants at its next regularly scheduled meeting following the panel review. Applicants will be notified by email of the Council decision. Both panel and Council meetings are open to the public, however, no public comment is allowed. Please contact the ASCA offices for dates and times of meetings.

For assistance contact:
Laura Forbes, Program Director
Arts in Education
Phone: (907) 269-6682
Toll-free in Alaska: 1-888-278-7424

Alaska State Council on the Arts

161 Klevin Street, Suite 102 Anchorage, AK 99508 - 1506

Tel: 907-269-6610 Toll free: 1-888-278-7424 TTY: 1-800-770-8973 Fax: 907-269-6601