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Frequently Asked Questions

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For what purpose can I apply a grant?

Two types of grants are available for application: art and culture grants for continuous activities and project-based activities, including basic arts education, and development grants for projects intended to last for 1–3 years. Read through the application instructions and the grant-specific assessment criteria carefully.

When can I apply?

The application periods vary according to the type and size of the grant. Check the application schedules here.

How do I apply for a grant and what appendices are needed for the application?

Grant applications are submitted via the City of Helsinki’s E-services by using the form Culture, Arts and culture: grant application. The use of the service requires identification and registration. Read the application instructions carefully and obtain the necessary background information and appendices required to submit your application.

For what time period can a grant be applied?

Grants for art and culture are available for both continuous and project-based activities. Grants are not awarded retroactively from the date of application and can only be granted up to the end of a calendar year (with the exception of multi-year grants). When applying for a grant for an entire calendar year, the application must be submitted by the end of the previous year. Development grants can be applied for a period of 1–3 years.

What is considered a continuous activity?

In determining whether a grant can be awarded for continuous activities, consideration is given to whether the applicant and activities fulfil the following conditions: the applicant is a registered operator based in Helsinki; the operator has been operating registered for at least one financial year; the activities continue throughout the year; the applicant community has, for example, activities open to the public and/or employees working all year round; and the artistic and cultural activities serving as the grounds for the application form a central part of the applicant’s entire operations or can clearly be identified in the applicant’s financial statements, action plan and budget.

What is the difference between activity-based and project-based grants?

When it comes to art and culture grants, project-based activities must have a beginning and an end, whilst continuous activities are regular and ongoing in nature. Applicants must carefully determine the grant amount suitable for their operations (e.g. 15,000 or 150,000 euros) and specify on the art and culture grant application form whether the activities they conduct are project-based or continuous. When applying for a grant, an operator must also specify the period for which the grant is intended. The length of this period may vary from two weeks to one year. If the activities are continuous, e.g. a community has regular performances and therefore runs several projects a year, it makes more sense for the applicant to apply for financial support covering all of these projects with a single application. This will also indicate that the activities are goal-oriented and planned.

Can I apply for/receive several overlapping grants?

Yes, you can, but a grant cannot be awarded twice and two different types of grant cannot be awarded for the same purpose. For example, you can receive an art and culture grant for your community’s main activities and a development grant for your development projects. If the number of annual activities and projects is high, you should apply for grants for all of them simultaneously. This way, you can also show that your activities are planned and have clear goals. Applicants applying for large art and culture grants (at least 150,000 euros), in particular, are required to develop their operations in accordance with all of the assessment criteria, which often requires including the development work as part of the art and culture grant applied for.

How do I determine the amount I should apply for and what things should I take into consideration?

Two types of grants are available: art and culture grants, and development grants. All the grant applications will be evaluated based on a uniform set of assessment criteria. These criteria include artistic quality, diversity, equality, accessibility, availability, participation, operational quality and realisation. Read through the grant assessment criteria before submitting your application and consider your operations in relation to them. You should apply for a realistic amount that matches the scope and goals of your activities. The application must include a project plan or an action plan. Your budget must be realistic and applicable.

What are the decisions based on and who makes them?

A uniform set of assessment criteria is used when evaluating applications. The grant decisions are made by the Culture and Leisure Committee’s Culture and Library Sub-committee. The partnership manager of the Cultural Centres and Support makes the decisions on applications for up to 7,500 euros and where the maximum amount awarded is 5,000 euros. The Culture and Library Sub-committee’s decision bulletins and officeholder decisions regarding grants can be found on the City of Helsinki’s Decision-making page. The decision will also be sent to the applicants by post, (in Finnish).

What can I use a grant on and how do I create a report on its use?

Recipients of project-based grants will be sent instructions on the use of and acceptable expenses for the grant, as well as instructions on how to fill in the evaluation form. Operators who apply for grants for continuous activities must submit a report on the use of the old grant when applying for a new one.

Can I use Helsinki’s logo in marketing?

Yes, you can. If possible, funding recipients should include the City of Helsinki’s logo in their communications and marketing materials. Furthermore, funding recipients must always mention the City of Helsinki’s name among their event sponsors.

How does the City support the internationalisation of cultural operators?

The art and culture grants are mainly awarded for activities that take place in Helsinki. However, operations connected to internationalisation may be included in the art and culture grant applications. In such cases, the criteria for supporting international operations will be assessed as part of the core operations. For example, as part of the development of its core operations, an operator can create a development plan for its internationalisation activities. This means, for example, that a festival performance that takes place abroad may be included in the art and culture grant application of a theatre group, if the premier and other performances of the same play have taken place in Helsinki. Furthermore, internationalisation efforts can be supported with development grants.

How does the City support basic arts education?

Basic arts education is funded with art and culture grants. The assessment criteria shared by all the grant types, i.e. also basic arts education, include artistic quality, diversity, equality, accessibility, availability, participation, operational quality and realisation.

How does the reformation of the City’s grant awarding system that took place in 2017 affect institutions receiving statutory government contributions?

The aim of the reformation was to create a grant system where changes can be introduced to the way Helsinki provides cultural funding in a proactive and calculated manner with a long-term objective. However, the full potential of this change will not be seen until the 2020s. The aim is not to make quick cuts to costs across the board, but to create a grant system that can better respond to the changes in the activities and among the operators. One of the reformation’s cornerstones is to have improved and more systematic dialogue with the sector. For an individual operator this will mean that any changes in the grant amounts will be based on a mutual discussion and a more comprehensive understanding of the whole.

Is the City’s grant system reform, performed in 2017, connected to the state-level reformations?

The City and the state have both similar and alternate goals when it comes to funding art and culture. For example, the City is considerably more interested in supporting urban culture, whilst the national art institutions are typically more dependent on state funding. The reformation of the art and culture funding system is being prepared both at state level and by individual cities. Furthermore, the arts sector has expressed a desire for a renewed funding system. The City actively follows the general debate on the funding system’s reformation and more closely the reformation of the statutory government contributions system. The funding decisions made by Helsinki affect a large number of Finnish art professionals, and therefore it is important that the various renewal processes share a sufficient number of goals.


Apply for a culture grant via the E-services (asiointi.hel.fi)

Grant Criteria

Application Schedules

Online Application and Appendices

Application Process and Decision-making

Using a Grant and Creating Reports

Instructions and Links

Contact Information

Grants for Culture main page


Photo: Helsinki Material Bank


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