Select Page

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 $15,000 to $50,000 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, 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 10 eligible areas but maintained a home base within them.

Artistic Background

Artists from all artistic disciplines are welcome to apply. Lead artists will be asked to identify primary and secondary artistic disciplines in which they have strong track records of accomplishment. Read this list of disciplines and their short definitions.

Prior Recipients

Lead artists who received Creative Work Fund grants in October 2019, September 2020, or October 2021 are not eligible to re-apply as lead artists.

Lead artists who received Creative Work Fund grants prior to October 2019 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 2022 request.

Concurrent applications

Applicants may submit no more than one proposal.

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.

An 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, 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 10 eligible counties.

Prior Recipients

Nonprofit organizations that received Creative Work Fund grants in in October 2019, September 2020, or October 2021 are not eligible to re-apply,

Nonprofit organizations that received Creative Work Fund grants prior to October 2019 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

A nonprofit organization may submit no more than one letter of inquiry.

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 November 2022. 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 in two to three years, 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.
  • Use the search function on any page to explore additional summaries

Check that our timeline works with yours

Download and review the sample Letter of Inquiry to see what types of questions are asked

Get Started