The Creative Work Fund invites artists and nonprofit organizations to create new art works through collaborations. It celebrates the role of artists as problem solvers and the making of art as a profound contribution to intellectual inquiry and to the strengthening of communities. Artists are encouraged to collaborate with nonprofit organizations of all kinds, stretching boundaries and forging new partnerships.
In August 2017, the Fund will award approximately $600,000 in grants to nonprofit organizations and collaborating literary or traditional artists. Grants will range from $10,000 to $40,000. Projects are expected to be completed within two or three years, but those of longer duration will be considered.
The Fund seeks
- Projects in which the creation of an artwork is central
- Projects in which the artist functions primarily as an artist, not as a teacher, an art therapist, or in another capacity
- Projects in which an active, authentic working partnership between the artist or artists and the organization is central to the work’s development
- Projects that engage the organization’s constituents in the artist’s work
- Projects that draw upon artists’ creativity and problem-solving abilities
- Projects through which the making of art can strengthen a community, draw attention to an important issue, or engage audiences in new ways
- Projects that challenge artistic imagination and organizational thinking
- Projects that will be presented in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, or Sonoma County
- Projects that designate at least two-thirds of the grant funds to the principal artists and their direct expenses for creating the work.
Literary & Traditional Arts
The Creative Work Fund invites letters of inquiry from nonprofit organizations and collaborating literary or traditional artists. A literary or traditional arts project may culminate in any form, but it must feature a lead artist with a strong track record as a literary or traditional artist. The Creative Work Fund uses the following definitions for these eligible artists:
- Literary artists write, publish, or perform poetry, spoken word poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction. (Playwrights apply with performing artists.)
- Fiction writer Summer Brenner collaborated with the West Contra Costa Unified School District to create Richmond Tales, a novel for young adult readers based in Richmond, California, and incorporating characters and ideas contributed to the author through her interactions with students in the district. Thousands of copies of the book were distributed for free as part of a summer reading program and inspired reading festivals and a play.
- Poets Denise Newman and Hazel White are collaborating with the U.C. Botanical Gardens to create “Biotic Portal at Strawberry Creek: Language Experiments 1,” events and writings based on the writers’ residency in the gardens and extensive partnership with the gardeners.
- Poet Barbara Jane Reyes and six other Filipino and Pacific Islander writers are collaborating with The Poetry Center at San Francisco State University to create Kuwentuhan (Talk Story), new writings and performances by the collaborators developed through extensive correspondence and a retreat. The project is culminating with a new book manuscript by Reyes.
- Writer Michael Warr is collaborating with the Bayview Hunters Point YMCA, media artist Mark Sabb, and Bayview youth to create the web-based project Tracing Poetic Memory featuring media-poems about their shared sense of their San Francisco neighborhood and how it is changing.
- Traditional artists create in art forms that are learned as part of the cultural life of a group of people whose members have a common ethnic heritage, language, religion, occupation, or region. These expressions are deeply rooted in and reflect a community’s shared standards of beauty, values, or life experiences. Often they are learned orally or by emulation. Traditional artists may excel as individual artists, work as a group, or work collectively, and they may produce works in a variety of forms — oral traditions, performances, crafts, multidisciplinary works, and others.
Examples of recently funded traditional arts projects In either category, artists and organizations should plan projects and prepare and authorize their letters of inquiry together. If a project will use a fiscal sponsor, that sponsor also must review and sign off on the letter. In the invited categories, the letter of inquiry screening and proposal award decisions will be based on: For 2016-17 consideration, artists and organizations that received Creative Work Fund grants in August 2014, August 2015 or October 2016 are ineligible. Past Creative Work Fund grant recipients also must have finished their projects and had their final reports approved before submitting new letters of inquiry. The Fund will not consider
Who Can Apply?
In either category, artists and organizations should plan projects and prepare and authorize their letters of inquiry together. If a project will use a fiscal sponsor, that sponsor also must review and sign off on the letter.
In the invited categories, the letter of inquiry screening and proposal award decisions will be based on:
For 2016-17 consideration, artists and organizations that received Creative Work Fund grants in August 2014, August 2015 or October 2016 are ineligible.
Past Creative Work Fund grant recipients also must have finished their projects and had their final reports approved before submitting new letters of inquiry.
The Fund will not consider
The next deadline for letters of inquiry is December 2, 2016.