Arts & Culture

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Funding Overview

The Department of Environment and Planning's Division of Planning provides financial assistance and strategic focus and direction to Erie County’s cultural sector to promote the economic and cultural benefits of the County’s tourism, arts, culture, and heritage industry.

Learn about how planners use arts and culture strategies to achieve economic, social, environmental and community goals.

The County's Arts & Cultural Advisory Board accepts applications in April/May. 

If you would like to be contacted by email when the new application is available, please email with your name, organization, and position

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Program and Service Objectives
  • Gather, analyze and assess information on cultural organizations funded by the County.
  • Process all cultural funding contracts and invoices in a timely and accurate manner.
  • Coordinate with tourism, arts, culture and heritage promotion agencies and organizations to market and enhance cultural tourism in Erie County.
  • Assist cultural organizations to leverage financial support, gain new audiences, increase management capacity, identify strengths and challenges, inform decision-making and realize their mission.

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Eligibility Requirements
  • Be located and provide services in Erie County
  • Be a 501(c)(3) organization with tax-exempt status prior to July 2015
  • Have a board-approved strategic plan (Long form: Attachment I; Short form: Essay questions Part 3)
  • Have at least ONE of the following definitions of a Cultural Organization as a primary mission of the organization:
  • An organization that operates on a countywide or recognizable community level, which by the nature of its cultural activities and/or collections, is unique, distinctive and of significant quality
  • An organization that provides visitors with access to programs and displays of the performing, visual, literary and media arts, and/or to exhibits and collections, which preserve and interpret our cultural, natural and scientific heritage
  • An organization that particularly serves the cultural needs of significant segments of the County population, thereby contributing to the quality of life in Buffalo and Erie County
Additional Requirements
  • New York State Non-Profit Revitalization Act
    • The New York State Non-Profit Revitalization Act became effective July 1, 2014. There have been additions and clarifications issued by NYS since then. It is every organization’s responsibility to stay current with the provisions, knowing also that the law is the minimum standard for good governance. As this Act pertains to all 501(c)(3) organizations, Erie County expects all organizations to certify compliance with the NYS Non-Profit Revitalization Act. Organizations should be prepared to provide evidence of compliance with specific components of the Act.
  • Sunshine Provision
    • Please be advised that any information you provide may be subject to public discussion as well as disclosure pursuant to New York State Public Officers Law.
  • Pay Equity Certification
    • Please be advised that if your Organization is awarded funding, you must sign the Erie County Equal Pay Certification, stating that your organization is in compliance with federal law, including the Equal Pay Act of 1963, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Federal Executive Order 11246 of September 24, 1965 and New York State Labor Law Section 194 (together “ Equal Pay Law”).
    • View the Executive Order
  • Recognition for County Grants
    • Please also be advised that if your Organization is awarded funding, you must commit to acknowledging Erie County as a funding source on your organization’s website, marketing materials, and/or other publications. The 2017 Application expanded Attachment G with the addition of a required questionnaire.
    • The County Seal can be found here. If you require a larger file for large scale printing, etc., please contact Mariely Ortiz at (716) 858-1916 or

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Latest News

  • 2.23.18 - Applications Released on
  • 2.14.2018 - 2019 Applicant Briefing announced
  • As of 2.9.2018 - 2018 FINAL County Budget Published - click the link to go to the County's Budget Office webpage - Arts & Cultural Funding is located under Book A: Operating Funds, under Erie County Department of Environment and Planning. The individual organization allocations can be found on pages 317 & 318 of the document (which is pages 329 & 330 of the PDF).
  • 1.8.2018 - 2019 Arts & Cultural Funding Timeline Change Notice
  • 10.17.2017 - 2018 DRAFT County Budget Published
  • 6.8.2017 - 2018 Cultural Funding Applications DUE!
  • 4.20.2017 - 2018 Arts & Cultural Funding Application Process Now Open -
  • 4.10.2017 - 2018 Applicant Briefing & Application Release
    • Thursday April 20th, 2017 at 5pm. WNED Studios, 140 Lower Terrace, Buffalo NY 14202. Click here for more information
  • 2.9.2017- Erie County Arts & Cultural Funding Contracts have been sent to the organizations that applied in 2016.
    • All organizations allocated additional funding by the Erie County Legislature for 2017 will receive an application for the funds. Such applications will be processed as they are received by the Department of Environment and Planning. If complete, a contract for the funds will be mailed. If they are incomplete, the organization will be contacted for additional information. Please contact Mariely Ortiz at 716-858-1916 or at with any questions.
  • The Erie County Adopted 2017 Budget is now available online:
  • Funding awards will be made public whenever the Proposed 2017 Budget is released, and will not be final until the Erie County Legislature approves the 2017 Budget

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2019 Cultural Funding Application and submission site

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Additional Resources

2018 Arts Services Initiative of WNY, Inc. Governance Training Session
  • NonProfit Revitalization Act information
  • Conflict of Interest template forms and Whistleblower Policy templates
  • Board of Directors duties and evaluations 
2018 Applicant Briefing 2017 Sample Contract 2017 Applicant Briefing 2016 Cultural Information Process Meeting Presentation


Definitions and Descriptions

  • For information on prior grantees, please see the Erie County Adopted Budgets, Book A under the Department of Environment & Planning section.

Erie County Seal

If your organization has received cultural funding from Erie County and would like to download a high-resolution image file of the Erie County Seal for use on your website and marketing materials, please click one of the Seals below.

Erie County Seal Erie County Seal with white square background



Erie County Seal only Erie County Seal only (No background)

ECLogoBandW Erie County Seal with white square background, greyscale

ECSealNoBack-bw Erie County Seal only (No background), greyscale

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Last updated: February 23, 2018 5:05pm