At NEFA, we believe public art has the power to shift public culture and change the future, for the better.

Public Art for Spatial Justice aims to support public artmaking that helps us see, feel, experience and imagine spatial justice now, while we are still on this journey towards realizing more just futures for our public spaces and public culture.

How It Works

NEW: We’ve made some changes in 2022! Please read all the information below before starting an application. 

Massachusetts-based artist(s) and Massachusetts-based organizations working with artist(s), are welcome to apply for a project grant. Projects must take place in Massachusetts and creatively cultivate expressions or embodiments of spatial justice through public artmaking. All artistic disciplines are welcomed to apply.

Starting in 2022: Public Art for Spatial Justice grants range from $15,000-$30,000, for up to two-year grant period beginning in January 2023.

About NEFA's Public Art Program

Public Art for Spatial Justice is one of NEFA’s grant programs supporting artists in the field of public art. 

For more information about other elements of NEFA’s Public Art programs: 

VISIT THE public art PROGRAM PAGE

Eligibility Criteria

Eligible

Lead Applicant must be based in Massachusetts.

Lead applicant may a be…

  • Community-based anchor organization in Massachusetts, working in collaboration with a particular artist(s); organizations may be a 501c3 or fiscally sponsored
  • Massachusetts-based Artist(s). Individual artist applicants must be 18+ years old. Artistic collaborations may be a group of artists informally working together for this particular project, or an artist collective that regularly works together on projects.

Recognizing the intersectionality of identities, we acknowledge that artists may also identify as cultural practitioners, activists, and community-rooted collaborators, and may be self/community-taught, institutionally trained, or a combination of both. All are welcome to apply.

Proposed public art projects must:

  • Be located in Massachusetts.
  • Engage the public realm and/or be available to the general public to happen upon.
  • Cultivate expressions of and/or embodiments of spatial justice through public artmaking. Projects of all artistic disciplines –visual, performative, rooted in ritual, etc.-- are eligible.

Not eligible

  • Lead applicants based outside of Massachusetts.
  • Proposed projects based outside of Massachusetts.
  • Current PASJ grantee (lead applicant) who has not completed their respective grantee report.
  • NEW starting in 2022: Past PASJ Grantees are not eligible to apply to PASJ again for a full calendar year from completing their grantee report. (E.g., If you submit a PASJ grantee report on June 1, 2022 that is approved, you are eligible to apply for PASJ again starting June 1, 2023.)

Note: If you are applying for a Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice and a Public Art for Spatial Justice grant in the same grant round, each application will be reviewed independently and funding is not guaranteed (i.e., you may be funded for one but not the other).

 

Funding Criteria & Priorities

Public Art for Spatial Justice aims to support public art that helps us see, feel, experience and imagine spatial justice now, while we are still on this collective journey towards realizing more just futures for our public spaces and public culture.

Eligible projects will be reviewed according to the following funding criteria:

  • Relevance: Context is important in public artmaking. Why this project? Why here? Why now? Public spaces are not neutral. And public art made in public spaces is not neutral. Reviewers are looking to understand the context of the project as well as the lead applicant’s intentions for public artmaking.
  • Integrity: Public art practices that reduce people, places, and stories to tools for artmaking are harmful. Reviewers are looking for projects that are built on trust, accountability, and reciprocity and honor the integrity of the people, places, stories, and ideas – past, present, and future -- engaged in the artmaking.  

Priority will be given to projects that are:

  • Led or co-led by Black, Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC), and more specifically BIPOC artists and creatives. We believe the path to dismantling the legacies of racism and white supremacy culture includes centering BIPOC-led creative exploration and expression in public spaces.
  • Rooted in community and/or demonstrates a deep relationship to place – particularly rural places, and/or places where folks are experiencing/have experienced displacement.
  • Disrupting harmful historic narratives that uphold structural inequities; decolonizing and/or indigenizing spaces; and/or centering BIPOC creativity, imagination, and expression in public spaces.

We recognize that feasibility may vary depending on how public health guidelines evolve. We ask that artists are realistic about feasibility, while acknowledging that this may change as public health guidelines change.

Application Process & Deadlines

The next deadline for Public Art for Spatial Justice is October 17, 2022, 11:59 PM ET.

Applications are accepted through our online grant portal.

Grant announcements will be made in mid/late December 2022, with the grant year beginning in January 2023. 

Starting in 2022: Grantees will have up to 24 months from the beginning of the grant period to implement projects. 

PASJ grants will be released in 3 installments:

  • 45% upon signing the grantee agreement at the beginning of the grant period
  • 45% upon completing an interim check-in with Program Staff (zoom call)
  • 10% upon approval of the final grantee report.

Note: Public Art for Spatial Justice grants are taxable income to individual recipients and reportable to the IRS. All grantees will receive a 1099 from NEFA.

Grantee Requirements & Reports

Upon receiving a PASJ grant, program staff will schedule an initial check-in to discuss any shifts in project plans, schedule an interim check-in based on the project timeline, and answer any questions grantees may have about the grant.

Reminder: PASJ grants will be released in three installments:

  • 45% upon signing the grantee agreement at the beginning of the grant period
  • 45% upon completing an interim check-in with program staff (Zoom call)
  • 10% upon approval of the final grantee report

Interim Grantee Check-In

Grantees are required to complete an interim check-in with program staff to receive the second payment (45% of grant total). The date/time of the interim grantee check-in will be agreed upon but NEFA staff and grantee at the beginning of the grant year. Grantee will be asked to share an update on the project, including but not limited to major changes related to the project workplan, timeline or budget.  

Note: The interim grantee check-in will be conducted as a recorded virtual conversation with program staff.

If unanticipated delays occur in your project timeline or major changes need to be made to the scope of your project, please contact the public art program staff to discuss next steps as soon as possible. 

Final Grantee Report

Grantees are required to complete a final grantee report 40 days after the project is completed.  Approval of final grantee report is required to receive the third and final payment (10% of grant total). Grantee report can be found in the online grant portal:

Log in to NEFA’s grant portal

Grantees who do not submit a grantee report will not be eligible for future Public Art for Spatial Justice grants.

Note: If the timing of the payments presents an economic hardship, please contact the Public Art Team as soon as possible to discuss options.

Optional: Cohort Gatherings

NEFA will offer some virtual gathering spaces to PASJ grantees to get to know one another and wrestle with questions and topic related to spatial justice and public artmaking. Some gatherings may be limited to current grantees while others may include past PASJ grantees as well. We are constantly evolving this space to meet our grantees in this moment. Recommendations from grantees are welcomed!

 

To get a quick introduction to our three Public Art grant programs, watch the video above or read the transcript.


See Past Recipients of the Public Art for Spatial Justice Grant

 

Funders

Public Art for Spatial Justice is made possible with funding from the Barr Foundation.

Barr Foundation logo