Student Arts Grants

Opportunities for extracurricular arts projects on campus


Student Arts Grants enhance the rich and varied cultural landscape throughout campus by supporting the creation and presentation of arts projects by current Stanford students. These grants provide financial support for producing on-campus performances and exhibitions featuring Stanford students.

All individual students and student organizations are eligible to apply!

These grants are administered by the Office of the Vice President for the Arts. Spark! Grants are made possible by a generous gift from Leslie and George Hume. Creative Spaces Grants are made possible by support from The Stanford Fund.


Who can apply?

Individual students or teams/student groups.

Project Lead must be enrolled as an undergraduate or co-term student at the time of the proposed exhibition/performance.

What types of projects are eligible?

Music, dance, theater, spoken word, performance art, film, visual art, fashion/textiles, digital media, and interactive art

Extracurricular (not related to academic requirements)

Performed/exhibited on the Stanford campus

Features Stanford students as lead artists/performers

Will be performed/exhibited in a future quarter

Types of Grants

Spark! Grants For performing arts and film projects (Up to $1,500 per project)
Maker Grants For visual art, fashion, and sound recording projects
(Up to $1,500 per project)
Creative Spaces Grants For on-campus venue and technical support
($100-$9,000 per project)

Application Deadlines

Event/Performance Application Deadline Notification
Fall 2017 Sept 25, 2017 @ 11:59pm
(performing arts/film projects only)
Week 2 (Fall Qtr)
Winter or Spring 2018 Oct 22, 2017 @ 11:59pm mid-Nov 2017
Spring or Fall 2018 Winter Quarter, Week 4 mid-Mar 2018
Fall 2018 or Winter 2019 Spring Quarter, Week 4 early May 2018


Sabrina Wilensky
Projects and Grants Manager
Office of the Vice President for the Arts

How to Apply

Complete Your Application

All of the Student Arts Grant opportunities use a single application.

Each application must include:

  1. Project proposal (500-750 words)
  2. Project budget
  3. At least one (but no more than three) pieces of work relating to your proposed project.
  4. Ideas regarding possible on-campus performance/exhibition venues for your project.
Additional Instructions for Maker Grant applicants

Priority will be given to the following types of projects:

  1. Can be exhibited in Roble Arts Gym
  2. Partner* with one of the following organizations:
  3. Partner* with a campus community center (DGen, Haas, A3C, BCSC, El Centro, Qspot, The Markaz, NACC, WCC)

* Make sure to discuss your project with your intended campus partner prior to submitting your application! 


Make sure to verify your project's eligibility before starting your application!

The Essential FAQ's

What should I put in my project proposal?
  • Focus on the key elements of your project (who, what, where, when, why, how).
    • The project's scope and needs (what are you planning on doing & what do you need to make it happen)
    • The artistic goals of the project (such as themes, concepts, challenges, connection(s) to the campus community, etc.)
    • The skills each member of your team will bring to the project
    • The plan for performing/presenting the project on campus, including the number of Stanford students involved and in what capacities
    • How the grant-funded items will be used in the project
  • Proposals should be 500-750 words long. You do not need to include references or citations.
  • If your proposal is for an annual event, include detail about what your group learned from producing the event in the past and what you want to accomplish for this current iteration.

Sample Proposals:

How do I construct a project budget?
  • Please provide a budget for your entire project--not just the portion relating to your grant request. We want to see how the grant will fit in with your overall project plan.
  • Think about all of the materials it will take to realize your project. Do some internet research to estimate costs.
    • You can group items into categories (e.g. hardware instead of nails, screws, bolts, washers; paint instead of listing individual colors; sewing notions instead of thread, buttons, needles, etc.)
  • Include any free/low cost campus resources (such as the Equipment Lending Library, Lathrop Media Lab, etc.)
  • Don't leave the "Grant Request" column blank.
  • Check your math! If your project costs are greater than your project funding in Part 4, consider cutting costs or applying for additional funds.
  • We encourage all grantees to explore utilizing multiple funding sources whenever possible to realize their projects.
    • If you are planning to apply (or have confirmed) funding from other sources (such as ASSU, TSF, community centers, departments, etc.), please include that information in the budget template.
    • Visit our Grants & Awards page for additional campus resources for funding creative projects.
  • Budgets must be uploaded as a single page PDF using the Student Arts Grant budget template. (Remember to check the formatting of your PDF before uploading!)
  • A list of items that can and cannot be funded is located in the "Grant Funds" section of this FAQ.

Contact Sabrina Wilensky if you have any questions regarding your project budget.

What should I include in my work samples?

Select at least one (but no more than three) work samples that reflect both your accomplishments as an artist as well as the type of project you are proposing. Include original works by you and/or members of your project team that have been completed during your time at Stanford.

Possible work samples could include:

  • Concept sketchess for this project (3-5, as a single PDF)
  • Photos of completed works (3-5, as a single PDF)
  • Sketchbook samples (3-5, as a single PDF)
  • Audio/video recordings (no longer than 5 minutes)
  • Director's/choreographer's notes or storyboards for the project (5-10 pages, as a single PDF)

The following items could also be included but must be accompanied by at least one other item from the prior list:

  • Mood boards
  • Academic research papers
  • Preliminary dramaturgical work/research papers
  • Photos or video from rehearsals

Please do not include the following items in your work samples:

  • Press clippings from prior works by the student organization or creative team
  • Publicity materials from prior works
  • Headshots, resumes/CVs, general web-based portfolios, etc.
Do Student Arts Grants fund travel or living expenses?

Unfortunately, no. However, there are several other grant programs on campus that have been used to fund travel and living costs for creative projects. Visit our Grants & Awards page to learn more.

What are the expectations for grantees?

Student Arts Grant funds are only issued as reimbursements or through direct purchases through the Office of the Vice President for the Arts (such as for campus services or online order.)

Grant recipients will be expected to participate in an orientation meeting, check-in periodically (via email or in person), document their creative process, present the completed project on the main Stanford campus, and submit a final report reflecting on their project experience.

Grant recipients will present their project on the main Stanford campus within two quarters of receiving their award.

All projects must adhere to University policies, including the Fundamental Standard and Honor Code.

What types of items are covered by Student Arts Grants?

Student Arts Grants can fund the following types of project expenses:

  • Lighting equipment rental*
  • On-campus venue costs (ELS, BGM, campus professional services, renting chairs/tables, renting a portable stage, etc.)
  • Art materials (e.g. pencils, paints, ink, clay, paper, canvas, etc.)
  • Sound equipment rental*
  • Set and sculpture construction materials
  • Props
  • Costumes and stage make up
  • Audio recording equipment rental*
  • Publicity materials
  • Licenses and royalties
  • Camera rental (film or photography)*
  • Specialty musical instrument rental
  • Film processing and photography supplies
  • Framing and art hanging/display supplies
  • Fabric and sewing notions
  • Small electronics and components (e.g. LEDs, wires, switches, circuits)

The following items are not covered by Student Arts Grant funds:

  • Expenses incurred prior to the grant award date
  • Housing/lodging or other off-campus venue costs
  • Transportation and travel (including local and on-campus transportation)
  • Stipends, honoraria, or thank you gifts
  • Hiring performers, photographers/videographers, musicians, or other specialists
  • Tuition or class costs (both Stanford and non-Stanford)
  • Food, meals, or event reception costs
  • Materials, goods, or services purchased outside of the United States
  • Campus lab fees (e.g. PRL, AAH Photo Lab, etc.)
  • Software (See the list of available applications in the Lathrop Media Lab)
  • Library fines or fees (including Lathrop Tech Desk extended rentals)
  • Printing on campus printers
  • Purchasing equipment solely for personal use (including, but not limited to, cameras, audio, lighting, projection, etc.)

* Projects should utilize the Equipment Lending Library whenever possible. Occasionally Student Arts Grant funds can be used to purchase equipment that is in high demand. However, any equipment purchased with Student Arts Grant funds will become property of the Office of Student Productions (OSP); students must return equipment to the OSP upon the completion of their project so that it can be made available for student use through the Equipment Lending Library.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Can graduate and/or non-Stanford students be involved with the project?

Graduate students (masters or doctoral): Yes—as long as the core project team is mostly comprised of undergraduate or co-term students.

Non-Stanford students (including alumni): Yes, to a limited extent. All projects must feature current Stanford students as the lead artists and core members of the project team. Stanford students must comprise the majority of the performers and technicians working on the project. (Grant funds cannot be used to pay outside performers or specialists.) Stanford alumni are welcome to participate in grant-funded projects as long as the majority of the project team are current undergraduate and co-term students.

Can I work on my project over school breaks (e.g. Winter, Spring, or Summer Breaks)?

Absolutely! The main exhibition/performance, though, should take place at some point during the regular academic year (Fall, Winter, or Spring quarter).

Who reviews the grant applications? Who makes the funding decisions?

All grant applications are reviewed by a committee comprising of staff and student interns from the Office of the Vice President for the Arts. The committee evaluates each application based on the clarity of the project proposal, contribution to the campus community, use of campus resources, budget planning, and ability for the project to succeed.   After the committee completes their evaluations, the scores and comments are totaled. The final funding decision is approved by the Projects and Grants Manager and the Associate Vice President for the Arts.

How many grants are awarded each cycle? How many Student Arts Grants can I receive in a year?

It depends. Grants are awarded in three cycles:

  • Fall: for Winter and Spring projects
  • Winter: for Spring and Fall projects
  • Spring: for Fall and Winter projects

Grant funds are budgeted evenly throughout each year throughout the three application cycles so that each application cycle has access to the same amount of total funding. The number of awards given out each cycle varies based on the number of applications received as well as the strength of the projects.

Each project can only receive one Student Arts Grant during the academic year. However, individuals and student organizations are invited to apply each quarter for different projects.

Can Student Arts Grants fund my capstone or honors project?

Student Arts Grants are intended for extracurricular projects that are being led by student groups or individuals outside of their academic requirements.

Examples of ineligible projects include:

  • Senior departmental capstones
    • This includes individual capstone projects that have partnered with a student group for production support
  • Honors research/thesis
  • Master's research/thesis
  • Senior synthesis projects for which you are receiving academic credit
  • Projects relating to coursework (e.g. final projects for a seminar, workshop, or independent study)

There are a number of campus funding sources that can help support academic projects, including:

Does receiving a Student Arts Grant guarantee access to rehearsal, performance/exhibition, and/or storage space?

No. Each project is responsible for arranging and booking their own venues (including storage space) directly with the space manager. Reservation policies and access vary greatly amongst venues on-campus. The Arts Spaces Database lists reservation procedures for a number of traditional and non-traditional venues. If you are having trouble identifying or booking space, contact the Office of Student Productions.

How are Student Arts Grants paid?

Student Arts Grants funds are only disbursed through the following methods:

  • Reimbursement to Stanford students
  • Direct Purchase (such as making an online purchase or placing an order through a company)
  • Direct Payment to On-Campus Services (such as Event & Labor Services, Custodial Services, On-Campus Venues, etc.)
I need help with finding a venue/planning my project/preparing my application! Who can I contact?

If you need help with your application proposal you are strongly to attend drop-in office hours or schedule a meeting with Sabrina Wilensky. (Check the ArtsUpdate and this page for the quarterly office hour schedule.)

The Office of Student Productions (OSP) supports extracurricular student projects across the arts. OSP can assist with production advising, equipment, and location reservations. Contact Claudia Dorn for more information.

The Arts Spaces Database is a great starting point for identifying campus spaces. If you are having trouble identifying or booking space, contact Claudia Dorn for more information.

OSP has partnered with ASSU to set up the Equipment Lending Library. The Lending Library's collection includes speakers and stands, microphones, mixers, amps and cables, as well as photo and video equipment. All students are eligible to borrow equipment for up to five days.