Performing Arts



Jack Cullen was a passionate supporter of the performing arts and Cullen Foundation continues his legacy by advancing the theatre and performing arts sector for residents of Erie County, New York. 
Our local performing arts sector, which has a rich history and an exciting future, includes a robust and eclectic mix of organizations that contribute to making Western New York a vibrant place to live.
Cullen Foundation invests in performing arts organizations primarily through our bi-annual open, responsive grant process. You can find more information about eligibility and the process of applying to these cycles here.
New for 2019, Cullen Foundation is launching its fellowship program for past and current grantees. Click here for more info.

Details on Performing Arts Programs and Organizations that Cullen Funds

While Cullen Foundation believes in cultivating and strengthening a variety of performing arts groups, we prioritize support to those organizations where the primary focus and mission is community performances. Organizations we support span music, dance, singers, and theatre where we place particular emphasis on the American musical. 
The impact, reach, accessibility and sustainability of our grantees is vital to Cullen Foundation. Additionally, we seek evidence that organizations are addressing a specific gap and that programming is responsive to community needs.
From 2015 to 2019, Cullen Foundation awarded a total of $5.2 million through grants to 41 WNY-based performing arts organizations. A list of recipients is available here.
Please note that Cullen Foundation does not fund the following types of requests:
  • Arts in education programs
  • Programs that benefit an individual school
  • Event sponsorships (galas, fundraising events, conferences, or group travel opportunities)
  • Programs and events with a performing arts component that are hosted by organizations that are not members of the local performing arts sector
  • Activities of organizations serving primarily their own membership 
Erie County-based performing arts organizations are encouraged to apply for funding for the next grant cycle – click here for more details.