Programs & Activities

Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA) strives to better inform philanthropic practice to effectively address the urgent needs facing artists, arts organizations, and arts educators through conferences, workshops, and webinars; publications including the GIA Reader; research and policy work across the field of philanthropy; and communication tools on our website.

Annual Conference

GIA's annual national conference provides the only opportunity for arts grantmakers from across the country to come together to share knowledge and ideas, to develop collective strategies, and to learn about the latest initiatives in arts grantmaking. At the conference, GIA members network and learn from each other through plenary sessions featuring leaders in the field, peer-organized discussions and reports, panels investigating policies and practices in arts grantmaking, site visits, and artist-led sessions. Held in a different location each year, GIA's conferences employ the unique arts and cultural resources of the host cities to inform and illuminate topics in arts and cultural philanthropy. The 2014 conference will be held in Houston; extensive archives of past conferences and other live events, including sound and video, are available in the Library.

Grantmakers in the Arts Reader

The Reader is the only national publication dedicated to the field of arts philanthropy. Published three times per year in print and online, the Reader commissions and curates articles by arts leaders, artists, researchers, administrators, and philanthropists, serving as a guidepost for current trends in the sector. GIA members receive the Reader free as a benefit of membership; non-members may purchase a subscription. Articles from past issues are available in our online Library.

Web Conference Series

Each year, GIA presents a series of web conferences designed for both emerging leaders in the grantmaking field and veteran grantmakers who want to revisit the information and discussions that inform their day-to-day practices. These programs are free to members and available at a minimal charge to nonmembers. Past web conferences have addressed arts education, evaluations, support for individuals artists, and arts and social change grantmaking; and in the fall of each year, GIA presents a web conference on annual research relevant to the arts grantmaking field. Visit the 2014 Web Conference Series page for information on upcoming events.

Conversations on Capitalization and Community

GIA has partnered with the Nonprofit Finance Fund, TDC, and National Arts Strategies to present a day-long workshop for local funders around the country. Conversations on Capitalization and Community elevate understanding of capitalization of nonprofits and the funder's role in it, provide insights into effective dialogue between funders and grantees, and facilitate communication and transparency in discussions between local funders about their community's capital drivers, their institutional values and practices, and how each entity fits into the arts funding ecosystem in their community or region. Since March 2012, workshops have been held in fourteen cities. Visit the National Capitalization Project for more information on this program.

Thought Leader Forums

In 2010, GIA established our Thought Leader Forums, one or two-day convenings designed to bring together experienced leaders in a number of funding areas to address best practices in arts grantmaking and other related topics. Past Thought Leader Forums have addressed arts funding research, capitalization, arts education, and arts and aging. Documentation and results of the gatherings are published on our website and in the Reader, and serve as the basis for continued discussion through topic funding area groups and the national conference.


Beginning in the early 1990s, GIA has commissioned the Foundation Center to study trends in private arts funding. A major ten-year study was completed in 1993 and updated in 1995, 1998, and 2003. Since then, GIA has published an annual "Snapshot" that updates key findings from the report. GIA also conducts research into specific areas, including equity in arts funding and funding for individual artists.


In 2012, GIA launched the Arts Education Funder Coalition, designed to develop and seek opportunities to enhance the status of arts education within federal education policy. The primary goals of the Coalition are to build consensus and develop policy, which will provide incentives and financial support for increased arts education opportunities within the Department of Education.


GIA launched a new website in January 2010, debuting a daily news service, a searchable library of publications and research, and specific arts funding topic pages identified by our members. We will continue to develop this resource to coordinate and encourage interaction between members in self-identified groups based on arts funding topics through members-only webpages.


GIA’s online, searchable Library is a comprehensive, indexed collection of journal articles, reports, and books on arts philanthropy and related topics. GIA conference proceedings and publications, including Reader articles, are archived in and searchable through the Library.

Arts Funding Topics

GIA hosts Arts Funding Topics pages, webpages that support the information and activities of members who have formed interest groups around specific arts funding topics, including arts education, support for individual artists, and emergency preparedness and response. The topics pages provide tools to assist members in planning activities and sharing information and they act as a portal to topical publications in GIA’s online Library and elsewhere on the web.