Knight Art + Tech Expansion Fund: Charlotte

Innovation for creation

Digital integration in the arts allows artists and arts organizations to reach broader audiences and strengthen ties with communities. The Knight Art + Tech Expansion Fund seeks to support artists and arts organizations in our Charlotte community by equipping them to carry out their work in an interconnected world in ways that engage audiences in innovative ways. 

Funding decisions for the Knight Art + Tech Expansion Fund will be made based on the applicants’ demonstrated capacity to use technology to increase the impact and reach of their work. Categories eligible for funding are: 

  • Purchase and installation of hardware and/or software (e.g., licensing of archiving software, installation of live streaming equipment, purchase of cloud storage)
  • Build-out/permanent infrastructure (e.g., installation of networking equipment, outdoor projections)
  • Staff or contract support (e.g. contract videographer, full-time web developer, social media manager)
  • Website design and development 
  • Mobile application development
  • Digitization/archiving (e.g. digital collection photography, media conservation/preservation, archives records management, etc.)

The Knight Art + Tech Expansion Fund is open to individual artists, non-profit arts organizations, and arts collectives based in Charlotte. Funding opportunities are only open to applicants who are not currently Knight Foundation grant recipients.

Applications must explain how an artist or arts organization will use technology to further their work or mission.

RECORDED: Virtual Information Session

Commonly asked questions

Who can apply?

Any working artist with residence in Charlotte, NC where the open call has been established, or an arts organization with an office in Charlotte, who is not currently a grant recipient of the Knight Foundation, can apply.

What kind of support can I ask for?

The Fund supports artists and arts organizations looking to increase their reach and capacity by using technology. Types of work supported by the Fund include:

  • Purchasing and/or installing hardware (cameras, computers, audio equipment);
  • Purchasing, licensing, or installing software (archival software, website CMS, ticketing systems, etc.);
  • Build out of critical technical infrastructure (server farms, wifi networks, cabling);
  • Staff or contract support (contract videographer, web developer, social media manager/digital marketer, etc.);
  • Website design and development;
  • Mobile application development;
  • Digitization and archiving (digital collection photography, media conservation/preservation, archives records management, etc.)
What are the rules?

The idea must involve using technology to further your work or mission.

The artist or or arts organization must be a resident of, or have an office in Charlotte?

The artist or arts organization must receive a portion of their annual income/revenue from producing artistic work in the Charlotte, Mecklenburg area where the open call has been established.

Can only nonprofit organizations or educational institutions apply?

No, the Art + Tech Expansion Fund is open to individual artists, nonprofit arts organizations, arts collectives, and for-profit arts organizations.

Do you have to be a U.S. citizen to apply?

No, the Art + Tech Expansion Fund is open to applicants of all nationalities, provided you live or work in Charlotte.

Do you have to be at least 18 years old to apply?


Do you have to be at least 18 years old to apply?


Do I or my organization have to be based in Charlotte?

Yes. Individual submitters must be residents of Charlotte, NC and organizations must have an office or business address in Charlotte.

How many applications may I submit?

We accept one idea per applicant.

How much money can I ask for?

Individual artists may ask for up to $25,000. Organizations or collectives may ask for up to $100,000.

Beyond the funds, what support does Knight offer recipients of the Fund? 

Some grantees may be eligible to receive additional technical and operational support consulting hours through Apparo.

Do I have to provide a letter of support if my idea is contingent on another organization or partner?

Yes. A letter of support is required from critical key partners.

How can I gain an edge in my application?

The Fund is intended to increase the long-term capacity of working artists and arts organizations. We encourage applicants to be as detailed as possible on how the application of technology will have a lasting impact on their work, and ultimately, on their community. 

Applications that emphasize the long-term impact of the application of technology will have an edge over those that emphasize short-term or unclear goals. Here are some example descriptions:

NOT GREAT: By procuring our own podcasting equipment, we’ll be able to make more podcasts every year.

GOOD: Purchasing this podcast equipment will enable my organization to produce 15 additional podcast episodes per year, while reducing the cost of each podcast by 30%.

EVEN BETTER: We currently increase our podcast subscription base by approximately 20 people per episode we produce. Because we rent our equipment, we can only produce 10 podcast episodes per year. By owning our podcasting equipment, we could reduce the per-episode cost and produce an additional 15 episodes per year. We expect this to lead to an increase in our subscriber base by approximately 300 people per year.

What do you mean by “may have to raise matching funding” for the Foundation’s gift?

If you are a for-profit organization or a nonprofit organization with a projected 2023 annual operating budget greater than $1,000,000, you may be required to raise a dollar-for-dollar match to your Art + Tech Expansion Fund award.

Can the matching funds be my own money or existing money from within my organization?

No. Match dollars must be “new money.” That means you’ll need to get others to invest funds just like ours, whether it be from other grants, individual contributions, corporate sponsorships or other sources.

At which point must the funding match be made?

If your award requires a match, you will have approximately six months from the time you receive the grant to match our funding. 

Does Knight help me raise matching funds?

No. Your best resources for raising matching funds are your local community foundations, private corporations, earned revenue, in-kind donations, public funds and crowdfunding.

How do I know if my proposal fits your idea about art or capacity-building?

Test it out, we’re happy to talk it through with you. Knight staff will be holding town hall meetings during the open call and daily virtual one-on-one office hours specifically for this purpose. It only takes a few minutes to offer your idea. 

Who reviews my entry?

Knight staff, with the aid of independent arts experts from the community. Ultimately, the final decision lies with Knight Foundation’s Board of Trustees.

How soon will we hear back with a decision on our applications?

Members of the Knight arts team will contact applicants via email approximately two months after the closing date. We will inform you of our decision at that time, and we may have additional questions about your application. 

If my proposal is not accepted, will I know why?

Due to the large number of applications we receive, we are unable to share with you the reason your proposal was not selected.

I’ve read through the FAQs. How can I learn more insights into the challenge? Who do I contact if I have questions?

Feel free to send questions to [email protected].