But Will They Come? Doris Duke's Demand-Side Grantmaking for the Arts

Here's an existential question for you: Would there be any purpose for a jazz-related grant if no one listened to jazz? More funders should be asking that kind of question, since when they focus exclusively on the supply side — the artists and musicians themselves — they may be ducking the trickier challenge of how to generate greater demand among the general public for the performing arts. This is the thinking underpinning the Doris Duke Building Demand for the Arts grants.

The primary goal of the Doris Duke Building Demand for the Arts program is to "develop audience demand for jazz, theatre, and/or contemporary dance." (See Doris Duke Charitable Foundation: Grants for Music.) As noted in the foundation's grant guidelines, three types of organizations are eligible to apply: producing, presenting, and service organizations that have a track record of producing a significant body of work in jazz, theater, and/or contemporary dance. The guidelines also note that "significant" is characterized by at least $300,000 in expenses attributed to the aforementioned fields. The organizations also must have the capacity to host artists and sustain programs after the grant ends. (Read DDCF Senior Program Officer Cheryl Ikemiya's IP profile.)

The program offers two grant initiatives:

  • Exploration Grants, whereby the recipient hosts artists for at least 30 days over a period of 15 months. During this time, the recipient and artist must plan ways to build audience demand. Exploration grants, which total either $20,000 or $40,000, will be offered in 2014.
  • Implementation Grants, whereby the recipient hosts artists for at least 90 days over a period of up to three years. A total of 40 Implementation grants, which total either $55,000 or $110,000, will be awarded in 2016 and 2018.

This initiative is predicated on the idea that if you raise awareness around specific art forms, people will respond. The program will ultimately support at least 50 partnerships between artists and dance companies, theaters, presenting organizations, and other service organizations. For more information, check out the helpful FAQ page here.