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.
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.
December 2013 Invitation:
Literary Arts & Performing Arts
The Creative Work Fund currently invites letters of inquiry for projects featuring literary artists or performing artists. Letters are due Friday, December 6, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. A literary or performing arts project may culminate in any form, but it must feature a lead artist with a strong track record as a literary artist or as a performing artist. The Creative Work Fund defines these eligible artists as:
- Literary artists include those with experience writing poetry, spoken word poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction. (Playwrights apply with performing artists)
Examples of recently funded literary arts projects
- Summer Brenner collaborating with the West Contra Costa Unified School District and students at Lincoln Elementary School to create Richmond Tales: Lost Secrets of the Iron Triangle, a novel written for and with young adult readers. Two editions of the finished book have been distributed widely in the district and county, contributing to summer reading programs. Community Works served as fiscal sponsor for this project. (2008 Award)
- Francisco Jimenez collaborating with The National Steinbeck Center, Jaime Cortez, and Wellington Lee on “Our American Story.” In collaboration with one another and the Center, the writers developed new works of fiction and memoir tracing their families’ and their own histories. This was the Center’s first project explicitly designed to generate new artistic work. Each of the three writers produced all or a significant portion of a manuscript; exchanged drafts; critiqued one another; developed a shared blog; and participated in classes, workshops, and story gathering sessions at the Center. (2011 Award)
- Rebecca Solnit collaborating with East Bay Zoological Society to create literary portraits of a dozen California native animals. Solnit’s writings were collected in A California Bestiary–a book published by Heyday Books, inspired by medieval bestiaries, and featuring illustrations by Mona Caron. Excerpts from the writings also may be incorporated into signage, benches, and other features of the Oakland Zoo’s California! exhibit area. (2008 award)
- Poet and fiction writer Gary Soto collaborating with the Marsh, a breeding ground for new performance and Emily Klion, director of Marsh Youth Theater as well as director Cliff Mayotte to create an original work, In and Out of Shadows, exploring stories of undocumented teenagers. Participating youth collected oral histories from undocumented students, which were shared with Soto, ultimately shaping the musical play. (2011 award)
- Performing artists may be creators–such as playwrights, choreographers, and composers–or they may be performers. The performing arts encompass dance, opera, performance art, theater, or vocal and instrumental music.
Examples of recently funded performing arts projects
- John Duykers collaborating with Occidental Arts and Ecology to create “The Hand to Mouth Project,” a song play about food, designed to be a humorous and theatrically vivid musical journey following the seed from the soil to the plate. The project incorporates farmers’ stories about how food grows and is shaped through interactions with the biologists, horticulturists, educators, activists and artists who created Occidental Arts and Ecology Center. The Cultural Arts Council of Sonoma serves as fiscal sponsor for this project. (2012 Award)
- Playwright Marcus Gardley collaborated with The Cutting Ball Theater to develop and premiere …and Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi, a new work that recast the Greek myth of Demeter-Persephone in the time of slavery. The play went through an extensive development process involving the playwright, theater and the Playwrights Foundation. (2008 award)
- Anna Halprin collaborating with the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive to re-envision and present the iconic dance work Parades and Changes along with composer Morton Subotnick, production manager and lighting designer Jim Cave, and associate director Shinichi Iova-Koga. Parades and Changes had opened the University Art Museum in 1965. Halprin and her collaborators created it in a new form to mark the closing of the museum building in 2013. (2012 Award)
- Sudhu Tewari collaborating with Joe Goode Performance Group to create a new work, Hush, on the theme of aging. The artists are working together over the course of a year to explore how a combination of live and recorded Foley effects can enhance the overall performance experience for both artists and audiences. (2012 Award)
- Evidence of the range and quality of the artist’s work
- Evidence that the project is an authentic collaboration between the artist and the organization
- Evidence that the project stretches organizational thinking and artistic imagination
- Demonstrated capability of the organization in its field
- Evidence of fiscal responsibility and sound organizational management
- Feasibility of the proposed project
EligibilityWho Can Apply?
For 2013-14 consideration, artists and organizations that received Creative Work Fund grants in October 2011, June 2012, or October 2013 are ineligible.
Past Creative Work Fund grant recipients who are reapplying also must have finished their projects and completed approved final reports before submitting new letters of inquiry.
- Commissions of new works by artists in which the applicant organization and artists are not collaboratively engaged in the making of those works
- Projects in which the lead artists and collaborating organization are not based in the eligible counties or those with multiple artists, most of whom are based outside of the 11 counties
- Projects that do not feature the artist(s) centrally as demonstrated by the project descriptions and budget allocations
- Projects from lead artists or organizations that were awarded Creative Work Fund grants in October 2011, June 2012, or October 2013
- Projects from artists or organizations that have not completed projects and final reports for previously awarded Creative Work Fund projects
Proposals for projects featuring literary artists or performing artists are due December 6, 2013, at 5:00 p.m.