Japan Virtual Exchange Program

The Japan Virtual Exchange Program is currently not receiving applications. Please refer back to the Fellowship & Grants page for any updates or new opportunities.

The Asian Cultural Council is sponsoring a special fellowships and grants program supporting virtual exchange and engagement in the arts between Japan and Asia, and between Japan and the United States. The Japan Virtual Exchange Program is a limited initiative serving projects taking place between December 2020-December 2021.

Length: 1-12 months
Funding Period: December 2020-December 2021
Who: Individuals and Non-Profit Arts Organizations in Japan and the U.S.
Eligible Fields: Eligible fields
Activity: Virtual engagement

Please Note: This is a temporary program that does not follow the same general guidelines, FAQ, or application instructions found elsewhere on the ACC website. All the information relevant to this program is contained within this page.

In 2020 and 2021, in response to the widespread human crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the uncertainty of international travel until the pandemic is resolved, the Asian Cultural Council is calling for proposals from individuals and organizations in Japan and the U.S. with projects intended to strengthen and enhance impactful international connectivity and engagement between Japan and countries/regions of Asia, and Japan and the U.S., through activities and projects that can be enacted without international travel.

This program will support creative, innovative responses to international engagement during this period of limited travel. In response to the economic impact of the pandemic, grant funds may be used to support artist honoraria and organizational costs of managing virtual programs.

Applicant Eligibility: 

  • Individuals and organizations in Japan conducting virtual cultural exchange programs with the U.S. and the countries of Asia (eligible country / region)
  • Individuals and organizations in the U.S. conducting virtual exchange projects with artists, scholars, and arts professionals in Japan
  • Applicants must be practicing artists, scholars of the arts, or arts professionals in an eligible field, or nonprofit/NPO organizations administering programs for participants who fit this criteria
  • Individual applicants can apply with up to one collaborator. Programs involving more than two participants must apply through an NGO or NPO organization in Japan or the U.S.
  • Organizations must be a registered nonprofit or NGO, or have fiscal sponsorship from a nonprofit or NGO

Eligible Projects: 

  • Programs must be able to be carried out without international travel. Examples may include, but are not limited to, peer discussions, interviews, online training, symposia, conferences, workshops, etc.
  • Process-driven activities (such as research, training, study, or exploration) that enable cultural immersion, relationship-building, collaboration, or the exchange of knowledge among peers; public-facing events are permissible, but should not be the primary focus of the program
  • The project activity must take place during the period of December 2020 to December 2021

Eligibile Use of Funds: 

The following examples of allowable expenses are not a complete list and are given as a general guideline only:


  • Honoraria for exchange program participants
  • Technical support for programs moving online
  • Hosting or residency fees paid to partner organizations


  • Program management costs (up to 20% of itemized program costs) or fiscal sponsor fee (up to 10 % of the program budget)
  • Honoraria for program participants (artists must be compensated for their participation in the proposed program)
  • Space rental
  • Investment in the equipment/technology needed to make virtual engagement possible
  • Translation
  • Documentation (including website, leaflet, video documentation, and modest publication expenses)

Ineligible Use of Funds: 

  • International travel and accommodation
  • Commercial activity
  • Exhibitions without accompanying exchange/engagement programs
  • Shipping work for exhibitions, in-person public performances, film production, and similar production-related expenses
  • Arts in education
  • Projects taking place outside the funding period (December 2020 - December 2021)
  • Regranting programs

Budget Guidelines: 

From 7,000 USD up to 35,000 USD

*Strong applications will include a reasonable budget for the expenses required to carry out the project. Requesting a smaller amount is not an advantage.

Application Priorities

  • Proposals suggesting innovative, creative responses to international engagement, developing new ways of working that suggest new paradigms for enacting international cultural exchange during a period where travel is impossible
  • Programs focused on the role of art in and for local communities
  • Programs that actively address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Programs focused on international engagement with a specific community or individuals outside of the home country of the individual or organizational applicant
  • For grants to organizations, priority will be given to smaller arts organizations with strong ties to their local communities
  • For grants to individuals, programs that benefit both sides of the cultural exchange and/or programs with strong community engagement, rather than solo projects