Arts and culture grants: Project grants

Arts and culture grants are awarded for artistic and cultural activities that are organised in Helsinki and are open to the general public. The grants are directed at supporting activities that are geared towards Helsinki residents, bring people together and into contact with artistic and cultural content, and offer possibilities for encounters and interaction. Arts and culture grants include two types of grants: operational grants and project grants.

Project grants are awarded to registered operators, non-registered working groups and private individuals.

Grants will not be awarded to: 

  • Activities that for the most part take place outside Helsinki
  • Closed events (activities that are only open to a limited group of people may be accepted in the case of a special target group)
  • Recordings and publications such as books, records, film productions, games, theses, etc.
  • Media publishing activities such as magazine publishing, television or radio broadcasting, websites, social media platforms, etc.

Grants will also not be awarded to:

  • Religious or political events
  • Presentations, lectures or seminars 
  • Hobby activities or clubs for adults
  • Study activities or courses and camps
  • Competitions 
  • Individual concerts, performances or exhibitions 

The grants are primarily directed at supporting activities that are in line with these principles, but other activities may also be considered as complementary forms of activity.

Grants cannot be awarded for activities for which full funding is requested by means of said grant.

For the same activity, which the city buys or already supports with a grant, in principle no duplicate grant will be granted. Nor are the city's own activities in principle supported by grants.

Music-oriented events have traditionally been arranged at the Alppipuisto Park on summer weekends. In the series of events that usually takes place in July, operators have collaborated in event production in terms of schedules and common structures, for example. The City of Helsinki participates in the event project with grant funding.

The plan is to award grants totalling some EUR 80,000 on a discretionary basis to around 6 or 7 events in Alppipuisto. The goal is to create a series of events that offers Helsinki residents a diverse range of art experiences. Another goal is to make it possible for new operators to become event organisers. Decisions on grants for the Alppipuisto Park series of events have traditionally been made at the beginning of the year, and the application schedule is announced separately. See "Applying for a grant" below for details.

A uniform set of assessment criteria is used when evaluating applications. Read through the criteria carefully before submitting your application and consider your activities in relation to the criteria. Applicants do not need to meet all the assessment criteria to be eligible for a grant, but awarding the grant and the amount of the grant will be assessed based on the criteria. In addition to the assessment of individual applications, the applications will be compared with each other, and the overall assessment will take into account matters such as the available appropriations. The grants are discretionary.

Assessment criteria as of 1 June 2022

Artistic basis and content, in the case of which the assessment considers the following:

  • The artistic goals and the strength of the idea, and how these are reflected in the planned activities
  • How clearly the application expresses the activity’s artistic starting points (e.g. the uniqueness of the activity)
  • How professional, ambitious and interesting the activity is, and how significant it is within its field
  • How the activity will increase the versatility and diversity of the content on offer in the field of arts and culture in the city
  • The activity’s potential to create something new and to allow artistic development to take place

Operational basis and implementation, in the case of which the assessment considers the following:

  • How professional and credible the activity is
  • The activity’s impact, partnerships and scope
  • How feasible and realistic the activity described in the application is, and how uniform a whole the goals, the plan and its implementation form
  • How diverse the resources are, and what financial risks are involved in the activity
  • How necessary the grant is for the realisation of the activity
  • The development of the activity and how the development will be achieved
  • The organisation’s ability to evaluate its own activities
  • How equality and equity will be taken into account when arranging the activity
  • How ecological aspects will be taken into account when arranging the activity

Diversity, accessibility and participation, in the case of which the assessment considers the following:

  • How the activity will add to the diversity reflected by the artistic and cultural operators and offering in Helsinki
  • How the activity will be made socially, district-wise, culturally, language-wise, financially, age-group-wise, physically or otherwise more accessible to the audience and participants
  • How the target groups have been defined and what measures will be used to reach different groups
  • How the activity will expand the spectator and participant base in experiencing and creating art and culture, and how it will encourage people to engage in a more extensive dialogue about art
  • How the activity will build community spirit in the city and improve the opportunities of residents to participate in and realise activities themselves
  • How the activity will utilise and strengthen operating methods that are based on networks and communities

The evaluation of applications also considers the general rules and strategies of the City of Helsinki and the following instructions:

Application period 

Project grants can be applied continuously but they are primarily granted for the current year. An exception is made at the end of the year, when the first applications of the following year will also be processed. See the detailed processing and decision-making schedules below. Grants will not be awarded retroactively for dates preceding the application, so be sure to leave the application early enough. The application must be submitted no later than at 16:00 (4 p.m.) on the day of application deadline.

Project grants for 2024 will be processed in the autumn of 2024 as follows:

  • Applications received by Wed, August 14th at 16:00 will be processed at the Culture and Library Sub-committee meeting on Thu, September 26th, 2024.
  • Applications received by Wed, September 25th at 16:00 will be processed at the Culture and Library Sub-committee meeting on Tue, November 12th, 2024
  • Applications received by Wed, October 23rd at 16:00 will be processed at the Culture and Library Sub-committee meeting on Tue, December 3rd, 2024. Note! This is the last processing for grants awarded to projects for 2024.

If the amount of the project grant applied for is up to 7,500 euros and the grant amount awarded is up to 5,000 euros, the decision will be made by the office holder, not by the Culture and Library Sub-committee.  The office holder's decisions(Link leads to external service) are made by the Head of Cultural Services and Support and generally follow the decision schedule of the Culture and Library Sub-committee so that The office holder's decisions come after the sub-committee meetings.

Project Grants for 2025

You can apply for a project grant in advance already in 2024 for projects whose first public event takes place during the first three months of 2025. If you submit such an application by Wednesday, September 18th, 2024 at 16:00 it will be processed at the Culture and Library Sub-committee meeting on Tuesday, December 3rd, 2024

In 2025, project grant applications will be processed for the first time at the Culture and Library Sub-committee meeting in January-February. To be included in this processing, the application must reach us by Monday, December 9th at 16:00. Grants for projects in 2025 can also be applied for later in ongoing applications according to the processing schedule for 2025.

Targeted funding for summer events in Alppipuisto Park 2024

The application period for grants for the Alppipuisto Park summer 2024 events ended on Wednesday 29 November 2023 at 16:00 pm. The decisions were made at the meeting of the Culture and Library Sub-committee at the beginning of the year 2024. 

How to apply for a grant 

Familiarise yourself with the application instructions and obtain the necessary background information and attachments for submitting the application. You can proceed to fill in the application from the Create new application link found on the left panel of this page when you are logged in to the e-service. You will find the Log in -link from the upper right corner of the page.

The starting point is that you should answer all questions. The information relating to schedules, volumes, venues and finances of the activities, in particular, is information without which a grant cannot usually be awarded.  

You can save your application as a draft and return to complete it later. Your application will be saved in your personal folder in the City of Helsinki e-services. Grants can be applied for at any time, but you should take note of the announced processing schedules.

If an application is incomplete, we will ask you to complete it. If the incomplete application is not completed by the deadline given by City of Helsinki, the application will be processed based on the information provided and rejected if the conditions for awarding the application are not met.

Attachments required for project grants:

  • Curricula vitae of the members of the working group in the case of a project by art professionals.
  • A bank statement or similar document indicating the account holder’s name and the account number (for new applicants or if the bank details have changed).

Submit the necessary attachments via the e-services. Registered associations/entities, private persons and registered representatives of working groups are required to attach a bank statement or a corresponding report by the bank on the account holder (for new applicants, or if the bank details have changed), which must include both the account holder and the account number. If you attach a bank statement to the application, you may hide the transactions if you wish. An awarded grant cannot be paid in the absence of such a document.

The application will be processed by the City of Helsinki Culture and Leisure Division Cultural Services and Support partner unit. The length of the processing time depends on the applied grant. Decisions on grants are made by the Culture and Library Sub-committee of the Culture and Leisure Committee(Link leads to external service) or the office holder(Link leads to external service).  Applicants will be informed of the decision once the committee has made its decision. Applicants will be notified by mail.

Project grants are paid in one instalment.

If the recipient owes money to the city, the city’s recoverable claim from the recipient will be deducted from the awarded grant.

The grant will be automatically paid into the recipient’s bank account indicated in the application after the decision has been made (term of payment 21 days). If the recipient does not have a bank account, they must open one. Payment requires a bank statement or other corresponding document from the bank indicating the account holder’s name and the account number. If said statement is not submitted, the grant will not be paid.

For more information about payment matters, please contact administrative secretary, Minna Leino, tel. +358 9 3108 9044, opens default mail program)

Conditions for the use of the grant

All cultural grants are governed by the general grant allocation guidelines of the City of Helsinki(Link leads to external service).

The person or entity to whom the grant is paid is responsible for the use and reporting of the use of the grant. 

The grant can only be used for the purpose stated in the grant decision. If the grant decision does not specify the purpose, the grant must be used for the purpose stated in the application. The city has the right to reclaim the grant in part or in full in accordance with the terms and conditions.

The recipient is not allowed to use the grant for fundraising or for business and investment expenditure, or to increase its financial assets or any other long-term investments.

The recipient of a grant must arrange its accounting and auditing in the manner required by law and so that the use of the grant can be monitored based on the accounts. 

The recipient must provide the City of Helsinki with the information the city deems necessary for processing the grant application, awarding the grant and monitoring its use, free of charge. The party awarding the grant has the right to audit the accounts and administration of the applicant/recipient and perform other audits regarding its activities as necessary.

The grant recipient must notify the City of Helsinki of significant changes that affect the use of the grant without delay, by contacting the personnel handling the cultural grants. See the contact details for handling cultural grants.(Link leads to external service)

The recipient undertakes to investigate the background of all suppliers used in the activities and to purchase services only from responsible operators who meet their social obligations.

Terms and conditions for project grants

Project grants may only be used for project-related expenses. Examples of eligible expenses:

  • Salaries and fees from which tax and social security contributions have been withheld
  • Advertising and marketing expenses, printing expenses (e.g. programme leaflets and posters)
  • Rent of facilities and equipment
  • Transport expenses (car rental, mileage allowances, etc.)
  • Project insurance premiums and royalties

The following expenses are ineligible:

  • Equipment purchases
  • Offered scholarships

Payment of salaries and fees

As a basic principle, a grant can be tax-exempt income for all members of the artistic working group up to the amount of the one-year state artist grant. Grant recipients are obliged to investigate for themselves whether the sum of the grant received exceeds the limit for tax-exempt income. For more information about taxation, please contact the Finnish Tax Administration(Link leads to external service). A notification of a grant paid to the bank account of a private person will be submitted to the Tax Administration in the recipient’s name, which means that a person receiving the grant on behalf of a working group must ensure that the details of the entire group are forwarded to the Tax Administration as necessary.

If the grant is used to pay fees to individuals who are not members of the artistic working group, tax and appropriate social security contributions must be withheld from the fee. This also applies to salaries/fees paid by registered organisations.

Reporting on the use of the grant 

Reports must be submitted on the use of all grants awarded by the city.  Project grants are reported using the project assessment form (Webropol). Fill in the form.(Link leads to external service)

The report details how the grant was used and assesses the success of the project. The reporting form must be completed within three months of the end of the project, but no later than by the end of the January of the following year. 

The grant recipient does not have to submit any receipts related to the grant to the Culture and Leisure Division, but the association is obliged to retain the receipts as required by the Accounting Act and to present them to the Culture and Leisure Division or to the City of Helsinki or an auditor representing the city on request.

Using the Helsinki logo 

Whenever possible, grant recipients must include the City of Helsinki logo in their information and marketing materials. There is a Finnish and Swedish version, as well as a bilingual version of the logo. In any case, the recipient must mention the City of Helsinki as a sponsor of the event.

Download the logo of the City of Helsinki. 

See the general instructions in the Guidance and support section and contact the grant coordinators as necessary. 

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