Criteria and eligibility


We prioritize applications from unaffiliated and under-recognized DC-area artists. We encourage unconventional forms of presentation in non-traditional venues. Activities could include but are not limited to exhibitions, lectures, performances, screenings, panel discussions, workshops, public art, and print or digital publications.


  • You live within the I-495 Beltway or the project/ideas must be relevant to local discourses, practices, or conditions.
  • You are an artist, cultural producer, or are applying on behalf of an unincorporated collective or space.
  • All projects, including digital projects or publications, must have a public component that takes place at a physical venue or site within the I-495 Beltway.
  • All projects must be completed within twelve months of notification of the award.
  • All participants must be paid. WPA encourages using W.A.G.E. standards as a guideline for payment amounts.
  • For collaborative projects, one person must serve as the applicant, be responsible for the receipt, management and distribution of the funds, handle all communications with WPA, and be responsible for grant reporting.
  • Applicants with ongoing projects may apply, but the request must be for a specific activity or series of activities, not for general support.
  • Program grants are not for individual artists to create their own work or to present solo exhibitions or monographs of it.
  • Full-time undergraduate or graduate students are not eligible to apply.
  • 501(c)(3) organizations and for-profit organizations (LLC, corporations, partnerships, etc.) are ineligible to apply.


Successful applications will excel in one or more of the following:

  • Artistic Strength/Impact: The project is experimental, imaginative, innovative, or unconventional, and advances the practices of the applicant as well as others participating in the project.
  • Context/Public Engagement: The project is considerate of its context and is inclusive; it seeks to connect thoughtfully to potential audiences.
  • Feasibility: The applicant demonstrates the ability to carry out the proposed project within the grant period.