Arts Council England has launched a £14.4 million fund for research and development projects.
The money will be made available to individual artists and practitioners, “without the immediate pressure of showing their work publicly”, the Arts Council said.
Recipients of the Developing Your Creative Practice fund will be able to use the grants – of between £2,000 and £10,000 each – to support periods of research, develop new ideas, international work and training, networking or mentoring.
Arts Council chair Nicholas Serota said: “Every creative person needs time to breathe, to broaden their experience and to develop their ideas. We want all our arts organisations to continue to commission and present new work from a diverse range of artists but we also need to invest in the future.
“This fund will give creative talent of different ages from different backgrounds the time and the backing that they need to hone their work and explore new paths.”
The fund has been allocated £3.6 million to be given annually for four years. Applications for the first year of funding will open on April 12.