The town is being considered for the prize as part of the Creative Place Awards – and if successful the cash will be used to boost the annual Forres Culture Day and the Findhorn Bay Arts Festival.
Kresanna Aigner, the Festival director, said that success in the awards would help the Forres community to attract more visitors and reach out to a wider range of local artists and community groups.
However, Forres faces strong competition for the award with sites such as the Isle of Arran, Lomond Park and the Trossachs National Park also on the shortlist.
Creative Scotland chief executive Jane Archer said: “We have received a number of high calibre applications from across Scotland – so for the panel selecting the final shortlist was no easy feat.”
Organisers of the Forres Culture Day say that if successful the grant would help fund culture café networking sessions hosted by local artists. The Culture Day takes place this year on September 26 while the next Findhorn Bay Festival is in September 2016.
Winners of the Creative Place Awards will be announced in June.