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Seth Eisen | Shaping San Francisco

Most Popular Questions: Getting Started

How much can be requested?

Creative Work Fund grants range in amount from $15,000 to $50,000.

I'm a Bay Area artist, but I've temporarily relocated outside the Bay Area due to COVD-19. Am I eligible?

Possibly! Please register for an account and tell us about your relocation in the registration form. We’ll contact you to confirm your eligibility.

How do I register at the grantseeker portal?

Complete the artist or the organizational eligibility quiz to request your grantseeker credentials.

I completed the eligibility quiz and registered... where is my log-in information?

We review registrations by hand, so it may take us a business day or two to send your log-in information. If you registered after hours or on weekends it may take us a little longer, but we will be in touch!

Sometimes login credentials sent to your email address end up in junk and spam folders. Be on the lookout, and adjust your sender list so you can receive things from “”.

I'm a lead artist registering at the grantseeker portal. Where do I specify that I'm a lead artist?

Enter “Lead Artist” in the Title field under Personal Contact Information.

I'm a lead artist registering at the grantseeker portal. I don't have a collaborating organization yet. What do I do?

Register anyway. We can associate you with your collaborating organization once you have that information in hand. However, you will need that information before you can complete a letter of inquiry.

I registered as a lead artist and now I need to associate myself with my collaborating organization. How do I do that?

Two steps.

  1. Talk to your collaborating organization contacts to confirm they already have a grantseeker account with us. If they don’t, they may complete the organizational eligibility quiz to request an account.
  2. Once your collaborators have grantseeker accounts, email us with their contact and organization information.

We will connect your account to the collaborating organization and send an update to all.

What's the direct link to the grantseeker portal?
I registered, but I don't remember my user name and/or password.

Request a reminder using your email address.


Most Popular Questions: Letter of Inquiry

Any chance I can preview the LOI form in advance?
Absolutely. Click here to download the form as a Microsoft Word document. You can fill the form out in Word (ish!) then cut and paste into our online form. Be on the lookout for some unpredictable formatting results.
I’m an artist working on a project idea of my own, but a friend who is applying with a group of artists asked if I would be part of their project, too. Would that jeopardize my own letter of inquiry?

It is fine for you to participate in both projects as long as you are not the “lead artist” for more than one of them.  However, the Fund tries to support a range of projects and artists; the two projects will be competing against each other; and in a “close call” it might influence a decision.

Do we need to have the exhibition or public space for presenting the finished work fully confirmed before submitting the LOI?

You don’t need to have the site confirmed though you should identify some options that seem plausible.

Can a partnering organization and artist include other organizations in the project?

Yes. Only one organization may be the applicant entity, but another organization may be involved.

What if the organization I want to work with is national or statewide?

That is fine if it has a local office and staff with whom you can collaborate.

What if I want to work with an organization that does not have 501(c)(3) nonprofit status?

The organization can use a fiscal sponsor. If they choose to do so, the Creative Work Fund will assess the financial stability and organizational reliability of the fiscal sponsor and will evaluate the genuineness of the collaborative partnership between the applying artist and the organization that does not yet have nonprofit status.

Both the lead artist and the collaborating organization use fiscal sponsors. Which should we use for the letter of inquiry?

We prefer you use the fiscal sponsor affiliated with the collaborating organization. If the project is selected and a grant is awarded, the collaborating organization will be the entity responsible for receiving the funds, paying invoices, and completing financial reports at the project’s completion.

That said, we have accepted the use of a different fiscal sponsor in a few cases. Usually these have been instances where the lead artist collaborated with an organization from outside the arts and that organization’s fiscal sponsor had a specific mission that was not arts-related. (e.g. a fiscal sponsor whose mission is to support grassroots environmental efforts.) Contact us to discuss your situation.

I am part of a collective whose members regularly make work together. We have no “leader.” May we apply as a group?

Yes. One member of the group will need to put their name forward as the “lead artist” on behalf of everyone.  For example, Taen Linh Saelee served as lead artist on behalf of the Mien Needlework Group, which collaborated with Asian Community Mental Health Services to create traditional Mien wedding costumes.

I want to collaborate with an organization that previously presented my work or hired me to lead a workshop. Would that be acceptable?

Yes. A lead artist may not be an employee or a board member of the organization with which they are collaborating.  However, having occasionally done a project with or volunteered for the organization is fine. If you have questions about your eligibility, contact us.

How should I incorporate my project budget in the letter of inquiry?

Use the Summary Budget form that follows the Narrative section of the LOI.

We encourage applicants to summarize their major sources of income and major costs in 8-12 lines. The readers will want to know that the project budget is feasible and that the project partners are planning to spend two-thirds of the funds on artists’ fees and artists’ direct expenses.

Watch this project budget tutorial on Vimeo.

Can I include artist fees paid to other collaborators as part of the 2/3rd allocated to the lead artist expenses?

Yes, the 2/3 allocation for the lead artist includes all artist fees and expenses. It is absolutely fine if they choose to pay collaborating artists through that amount. In some cases, artists are at the collaborating organization already. In that case the organization will cover those artist expenses and compensate them through their budget.

About the Creative Work Fund Program

What's the next area of focus for the Creative Work Fund?
The Fund is inviting artists working in all genres and disciplines to apply for its May 8, 2023 letter of inquiry deadline.
Does the Creative Work Fund require matching funds?
No, the Creative Work Fund does not mind being a project’s only source of support. It also does not mind project budgets that are higher than $50,000 as long as the project partners have reasonable plans for raising the balance of funds needed.
Will my proposal be more competitive if I ask for less than $50,000?
Not necessarily.  Project budgets should be reasonable and well-considered.  It’s just as much of a disadvantage to request a grant that appears to be too low to meet your goals as it would be to request a grant that appears higher than is reasonable to complete your project plan.
Can my fiscal sponsor be part of more than one project?
Yes, a fiscal sponsor may be part of an unlimited number of projects.
I want to apply with an organization that received a Creative Work Fund grant in the past. Is it eligible?
Organizations and artists that received grants in 2019 or earlier are eligible to apply if they have completed their projects and submitted their final reports.
How competitive is the application process?
The Fund likely will receive 150 letters of inquiry from which it will invite 45 full proposals. An estimated 15 grants will be awarded.
What portion of the budget should support artists’ fees?
A minimum of two-thirds of the project budget must be dedicated to paying the artists or covering their direct expenses for creating the work.
Our lead artist is not a native speaker of English. I am afraid that our artist would not be able to complete a final report.

A lead artist may substitute a conversation with the Creative Work Fund staff (with an interpreter) if that would be a better method of reporting on the project.

I have a question I don't see here.

Email us or call 415-402-2793.