Creative Heights

Providing opportunities for artists and culture bearers to stretch their creative capacity, share new works and test new ideas.


An informational webinar was held online on Monday, January 22 and a recording can be accessed at this link. You may also access the webinar transcript and Q&As addressed during the webinar at the following links:

The Creative Heights initiative aims to increase Oregon’s cultural visibility and vitality while supporting unique opportunities for Oregonians to experience innovative arts and culture. Up to $1 million in projects will be funded annually with grants from $10,000 to $100,000 per project.

2024 Application Cycle

The LOI application form will open January 5, 2024. Letters of Inquiry (LOI) must be submitted online by 5:00pm (PST) on February 16, 2024 (Friday). You may preview the application without logging in. 

Scope of Proposals Sought

Creative Heights grants are for the creation and/or presentation of new and innovative performances, exhibitions, programs, and other works of art and culture. OCF is interested in reviewing proposals for a range of funding levels and timelines to best serve the specific needs of proposed projects. Project funding may be spent over a period of two years and can support any artistic or cultural expression, including visual, dance, folk & traditional arts, film/video/media, literary arts, museum exhibitions, music, theatre & performance arts, history & heritage, and multidisciplinary or emerging fields.


Individuals, collectives or organizations may submit a Letter of Inquiry for Creative Heights funding. If selected to submit a full application, applicants must identify a potential Oregon-based 501(c)3 nonprofit partner to receive funds.

Creative Heights proposals must:  

  • Engage Oregon artists or culture bearers as lead collaborators 
  • Engage Oregonians as audiences, viewers or participants 
  • Compensate artists appropriately as professionals  

Ineligible projects include those that primarily: 

  • Are educational in nature or whose outcomes are related to the acquisition of experience or skills vs. creating professional artistic or cultural work 
  • Include work not available to the public (for example, art for a private collection/nonpublic space) 
  • Are intended to advance capital investments or the administrative capacity of an organization (for example, building/renovating/purchasing structures or spaces; purchase of major equipment; projects to build systems, infrastructure, and skills above creative outcomes)  
  • Do not originate from an artistic/cultural creative impulse (for example, organizing or presenting existing artistic or cultural work without a clear curatorial vision; creating a festival, residency or other program without major investments in the creation or commission of work)  
  • Are proposals to complete a studio work (painting/album/film/publication/sculpture/etc.) without specific and robust plans for exhibition, dissemination, community interaction, or engagement in Oregon  
  • Are a continuation of existing work (for example, projects largely focused on touring/exhibiting/presenting previous work) without clear creative impulses to adapt, build or revisit the work in a meaningful way  
  • Will be completed within three months of receiving the award in August of 2024 

Grant funding may be used for commissioning fees; pay for artists, curators, and scholars; costs associated with research, rehearsals, workshops; promotion; design and production; dissemination and documentation; and other direct costs related to creation, presentation, or exhibition.

Letter of Inquiry Process

Interested applicants must submit a brief Letter of Inquiry (LOI) via our online system (this system is unique to Creative Heights). You may answer the LOI narrative questions in writing or in a 3-4 minute video (upload). LOI’s should describe the proposed project idea, the lead artists/curators/collaborators involved, and how the project idea is distinct or different from previous work. Applicants must also indicate the preliminary grant request ($10,000-$100,000) and may (optional) upload letters of support from key collaborators.

Please note: We are not requesting or accepting work samples or project/organization budgets as part of the LOI process. OCF reserves the right to request financial information from an applicant before inviting a project to submit a full application.

Only proposals completed on OCF’s online grant system will be accepted. Late or incomplete applications cannot be considered. After review by the Arts Committee of OCF’s Board of Directors in early April, a limited number of strong proposals that align with the program goals will be invited to submit a full application.

Full Application (By Invitation Only)

Selected proposals will be invited to submit a full application in early April. The full application will include a detailed project budget, project plan, bios from lead collaborators, work samples and a tentative timeline. For applicants that are not affiliated with nonprofit organizations, a letter of commitment and a fiscal sponsorship agreement from a sponsor nonprofit is required with the full application. 

Full applications (by invitation only) will be due May 24, 2024. Full applications will be reviewed by a panel of peer experts. Panel recommendations are subject to approval by the OCF board annually in early August. Final funding decisions will be announced in August 2024.

Past Grantees

For information on past grantees and documented findings on the initiative, please visit the Creative Heights Community Impact page. We encourage applicants to review recent awards to help determine if their project may be competitive for funding.

Staff Assistance

Before contacting us, please review our FAQ's below. Our informational webinar on January 22nd will also include a question and answer session and we encourage applicants to attend or review the presentation before contacting us as this program is highly competitive and it is often difficult for us to respond to all inquiries quickly.

  • If you have questions about the online application portal or your attachments, please contact Chey Kuzma at (503) 227-6846 or ckuzma@oregoncf.org.
  • For questions on your proposed project plans, eligibility or general questions on Creative Heights, please contact OCF's program staff at CreativeHeights@oregoncf.org or (503) 227-6846 where your call will be directed as appropriate.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of project is competitive for Creative Heights funding?
What type of project would not be competitive?
Can I preview the LOI questions to construct the application outside of the application portal?
Would a proposal for presenting non-Oregon artists or works be competitive?
What kind of risk-taking or innovation is OCF looking for?
What constitutes a risk or stretch for an artist/organization whose track record/mission is focused on creating new and/or innovative works?
How does Creative Heights apply to culture bearers, tradition keepers or cultural organizations working with traditional art forms or other cultural forms of expression?
Is it expected that funded projects will result in a work of art or some public presentation?
Must all projects produce new/original work or can they be adaptations of classical or traditional works?
Would a project in its early stages be able to apply for expansion or further development?
Will organization size or geographic location play a role in funding decisions?
Does the applicant have to be a 501(c)3?
What if our organization is serving as a fiscal sponsor or partner for another applicant? Can we apply for a separate project where our organization is the artistic lead?
Can I apply to multiple OCF grant programs at the same time?
Are current or past grantees for Creative Heights or other OCF programs eligible to apply?
I applied for Creative Heights funding before. Can I apply again with the same project?
What is the entire application timeline and when will funding be disbursed?
Why is preference given to projects not within three months of completion upon receiving the award? What is the exact timeline?
What percent of a project budget will OCF fund?
Can grant funds be used for project expenses located outside Oregon?
How many years of funding will OCF provide?
Do projects need a sustainability plan?
What will evaluation or reporting requirements look like?
Are there any other requirements from grantees?
I still have questions, how can I get help?