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How to Apply

Neema Hekmat | Ballet Afsaneh Photo: RJ Muna

Before you apply
to the Creative Work Fund….

Read our guidelines. You can also download and read them in PDF format here.

Then ask…

Is this the right kind of grant for our project?
The Creative Work Fund awards grants that range in size from $10,000 to $40,000 for projects in which artists and nonprofit organizations are working closely together to create new art works. Any kind of nonprofit organization is eligible to apply to collaborate with an artist. The Fund takes the idea of a close working relationship between the artist and the organization very seriously and specifically wants to support the creation stage for a new art work.
I am an artist who wants to collaborate with a nonprofit organization to create a new work.
Am I eligible for this grant?

The Fund has three criteria a lead artist must meet:

  1. geographic location,
  2. artistic background, and
  3. not being a recent Creative Work Fund recipient.

What’s a lead artist?

The lead artist is a person who meets the criteria outlined below, is playing a central role in creating the proposed art work, and who is not a regular staff member or board member of the applying nonprofit organization. Many projects feature more than one artist working in a team or ensemble, but only one of those artists should be identified as the “lead artist.”

Geography

The lead artist must live and have lived for the previous two years in one or more of the following counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, or Sonoma County. In that two-year time period, it is acceptable to move among the eligible counties. The Fund also has considered applications from artists who have had temporary, short-term artist residencies outside of the 11 eligible areas but maintained a home base within them.

Artistic Background

Each year, the Creative Work Fund invites artists in two broadly-defined artistic categories to apply. In future years, the Fund will invite projects featuring visual artists, performing artists, and media artists. However, to be eligible for grants to be awarded in 2018, the project’s lead artist must be a media artist or a performing artist. The Fund defines these categories as follows:

  • Media artists create narrative, documentary, animated, or experimental time-based works using audio, digital, film, and video media. Computer arts also are included in this category. (Please note that this category does not include journalism, and the Fund considers still photography in its visual arts category.)
  • Performing artists create or execute work in dance, opera, performance art, theater, and vocal and instrumental music. (Spoken word artists should apply as literary artists in a future year.)

A media or performing arts project may culminate in any form, but it must feature a lead artist with a strong track record as a media or performing artist.

Prior Recipients

Lead artists who received Creative Work Fund grants in August 2015, October 2016, or August 2017 are not eligible to re-apply in December 2017 as lead artists.

Lead artists who received Creative Work Fund grants prior to August 2015 must have completed their projects and submitted their final reports.

An artist who played a role in a recently-supported Creative Work Fund project but who was not the lead artist may apply as a lead artist for a 2017-18 request.

Concurrent applications

If a lead artist has a strong track record as a media artist and a performing artist, that artist may submit one letter in each category for two different projects. Even if both proposals are wonderful, the Creative Work Fund will not invite full proposals from both of them.

I work with a nonprofit organization that wants to collaborate with an artist.
Are we eligible to apply for this grant?
The fund has three criteria for eligibility of nonprofit organizations:

  1. nonprofit status,
  2. geography, and
  3. role in a previously funded projects or concurrent applications.

Nonprofit Status

Any kind of 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization may apply (but not a private foundation). A recognized religious organization, even if it does not have 501 (c) (3) status, may apply. A public agency (such as a parks department, health department, or public school) may apply.

A nonprofit organization that clearly fills a charitable or educational purpose but does not have nonprofit status may apply with a nonprofit fiscal sponsor. Some public agencies (e.g. the Oakland Recreation and Parks Department) also have applied using fiscal sponsors.

Geography

The nonprofit organization must be based in one of the following counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, or Sonoma.

The Fund will consider applications from international, national, or statewide organizations that have offices or branches in one or more of the 11 eligible counties.

Prior Recipients

Nonprofit organizations that received Creative Work Fund grants in in August 2015, October 2016, or August 2017 are not eligible to re-apply in December 2017.

Nonprofit organizations that received Creative Work Fund grants prior to August 2015 are eligible to apply if they have completed their projects and submitted final narrative and financial reports.

Fiscal sponsors may be part of applications at any time, even if they received a Creative Work Fund grant recently.

Concurrent Applications

If it is otherwise eligible, a nonprofit organization may submit one letter of inquiry in media arts and one letter of inquiry in the performing arts. They must be for different projects and, even if both are wonderful, the Creative Work Fund will not invite full proposals from both of them.

There is no limit on the number of applications that may be submitted using a particular fiscal sponsor.

Does the project fit within the time frame for this funding opportunity?

Grants will be awarded in August 2018. If a project already has begun by that time, the artist and the nonprofit organization should still be actively involved in the new work’s creation and collaborating with one after after the grant awards are made.

The Creative Work Fund prefers that projects be completed by the end of 2020-2021, but projects of longer duration are eligible and welcome.

Can I see examples of previously funded applications?

The Fund does not share copies of successful letters of inquiry or proposals, but brief portfolios of many of the previously funded projects appear on this Website.

Pages on this website can introduce you to previously funded projects:

  • A selection of lead artists with detailed profiles of their projects may be searched here.
  • Or browse recent news about media arts and performing arts projects
  • Use the search function on any page to explore additional summaries

Overview of Application Process

Applicant Information Seminars (September-November)
Optional application webinars and seminars for potential Creative Work Fund applicants are offered in advance of a call for Letters of Inquiry. Applicants are not required to attend a webinar or seminar, but are encouraged to do so—especially if they are unfamiliar with the Fund.

 

 

Check the information seminar schedule and register to attend in-person or via webinar.

Complete the eligibility quiz and obtain a grantseeker account
Both the lead artist and the collaborating organization should complete online eligibility quizzes to obtain individual grantseeker accounts, or confirm existing ones.

An Internet connection and web browser is required. If circumstances do not permit access to the Internet, please contact the Creative Work Fund immediately to discuss alternative methods of submission.

Submit a Letter of Inquiry by 5 pm December 1, 2017
Organizations and artists should jointly prepare and submit

  • a letter of inquiry of no more than 10,500 characters
  • a brief, preliminary budget
  • The lead artist’s professional resume of no more than two pages.

Detailed instructions can be found here.

Letters must be submitted through the grantseeker portal at the Walter & Elise Haas Fund.

An Internet connection and web browser is required. If circumstances do not permit access to the Internet, please contact the Creative Work Fund immediately to discuss alternative methods of submission.

Letters must be received no later than 5 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on Friday, December 1, 2017. 

Invitations to submit full proposals by February 9, 2018

In each category (media arts and performing arts), from among the letters of inquiry received, the Creative Work Fund will invite approximately 25 collaborating artists and organizations to submit more detailed proposals. Notification will include detailed guidelines about how to submit a full proposal. Full proposals include documentation illustrating the quality of the artists’ work, detailed budgets, and additional background information about the organizations.

Full Proposals Due by April 6, 2018

Proposals must be submitted through the grantseeker portal at the Walter & Elise Haas Fund.

An Internet connection and web browser is required. If circumstances do not permit access to the Internet, please contact the Creative Work Fund immediately to discuss alternative methods of submission.

Proposals must be received no later than 5 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time on Friday, April 6, 2018.

Panel Review (May-July)
Media Arts and Performing Arts proposals will be reviewed separately.

  • Two panels (one in media arts and one in performing arts) comprising curators, artists, scholars, and other arts professionals will review the finalists’ proposals and recommend projects to be funded. Representatives of the foundations that support the Creative Work Fund will approve the final awards.

Review Criteria

  • 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
  • Evidence that the project addresses goals shared by the organization and the artist
  • Demonstrated capability of the organization in its field
  • Evidence of fiscal responsibility and sound organizational management
  • Feasibility of the proposed project, based on required materials, timeline, and budget
Notification of Awards by August 3, 2018
The Creative Work Fund will notify awardees via email. Grants will be awarded to collaborating 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, not directly to collaborating artists.
Deadline for MOU & Grant Acceptance is December 1, 2018
Key participants in each awarded project must prepare and sign a memorandum of understanding. Lead artists and their collaborating organizations also must sign and return their award letters. Grants are paid to the collaborating 501(c)(3) organizations soon after signed paperwork is received.
Final Report
Final reports are due three months after the project ending date. Grantees must submit two final reports (one prepared by the artist and one by the organization), describing the project and how they used the grant funds. Final reports should document the finished projects through online sites, DVDs, CDs, publications, or other appropriate media.