ECRAC Essential Artist Award

About This Grant

About This Grant

The East Central Regional Arts Council (ECRAC) Essential Artist Award program is designed with McKnight Foundation funding to recognize, reward, and encourage outstanding professional artists and culture bearers. The Council will fund artists at various stages in their professional careers. These Awards will allow artists to set aside time to work, purchase supplies and materials, undertake advanced study (not related to a degree) or to pursue other career goals. The Essential Artist Award program is open to artists in all artistic mediumsCheck the guidelines and application questions for updates.

Each Award is for the amount of $9,000 and up to two are awarded each year. The Award applicant may be any professional artist who is a permanent resident (for at least 6 months) in one of the five Minnesota counties of:  Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Pine of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe lands. The applicant must be at least 18 years of age.  

The Essential Artist Award project should start on July 1 and must be completed within a year.



  1. FY 2024-2025 ECRAC Essential Artist Award Guidelines (pdf) - read this before applying to understand the grant funding guidelines. You will find this pdf for download at the right of this page when it is available about 4 weeks before the deadline.
  2. Additional materials as explained in the instructions in the online application. These items ensure the eligibility of your proposal and help to establish that the grant project fits the guidelines and the grant review criteria.
  3. The online ECRAC grant application portal
Where to Apply

Where to Apply

East Central Regional Arts Council has moved to an online granting system. All applications going forward must be submitted through the ECRAC Grant Portal. Please refer to the tips below to help you navigate the new system.

Links for each grant program application will only become available about 4-6 weeks prior to each grant deadline. 

Getting Started
On your first visit to the ECRAC Grant Portal, you will need to create a new account with a username and password. Please note that if you are applying as an organization, your organization can only have one username and password for the online system. Please be sure to keep this information as you will need it again to access the Portal for grant requirements and for all future requests.

Returning to an Application
Your application does not need to be completed in one session and can be returned to and edited until you formally submit the application. Please be sure to save your application often while working on it and before you exit the system. To return to your application, you can access the ECRAC Grant Portal through the Manage My Grant page. There you may logon using the email address and password you created the first time you entered.

Uploading Information
There are fields in the application that will require you to upload information (documents, media, etc.). Please note that your information may not be completely uploaded until you click “Save”. Be sure to save your application often so as not to lose any progress or information.

Submitting an Application
Once you have completed and reviewed your application, you may submit the application for funding consideration. Once an application has been submitted you will be able to view the application, but not edit or make any changes to it.


Quick Summary

Each Essential Artist Award is for the amount of $9,000
March 1
Contact Information

For more assistance in navigating the ECRAC Grant Portal, please refer to the ECRAC Grant Portal Tutorial.

If you need further assistance navigating the ECRAC Grant Portal or have any other questions, please feel free to contact ECRAC by email at grantinfo@ecrac.org or by calling (320) 336-0200