At New England Foundation for the Arts, we believe that public art has the power to shift public culture and change the future, for the better. Creating positive social change requires collective imagination.

Everything created must first be imagined, including our collective future. Social imagination is a prerequisite to positive social change.

– USDAC.US 

How It Works

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

Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice grants support teams of Massachusetts-based artists, creatives, culture bearers, cultural organizers, and community-based organizational collaborators, to do the important work of imagining:

What does public art that fosters positive social change look, sound, and feel like in your community?

Starting in 2022, we are inviting Collective Imagination Teams to join us in imagining public art that fosters positive social change. Through a six-month imagination journey together with us, from January through June 2023, Collective Imagination Teams will be selected to participate in a cohort learning model and receive a $6,000 grant.

Note: This is NOT a project grant. If you are looking for funding for a specific project, you may be interested in the Public Art for Spatial Justice Grant

About NEFA’s Public Art Programs 

Collective Imagination 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 

Collective Imagination Teams must apply as a team and at least two team members must be available to participate in each of the virtual cohort gatherings from January-June 2023 (team members may vary for each gathering).

Eligible Teams must be…

  • Based in Massachusetts
  • Have at least one team member who identifies as an artist or creative (teams may also include: culture bearers, cultural organizers, and/or community-based collectives or organizations).  
  • Have at least one team member who is rooted in community – where the team is focusing their imagination journey (e.g., a resident of that community, an artist who resides in that community, or someone who has worked in/with this community for a long time.)
  • A total of at least three team members (e.g., one lead applicant and two or more collaborating applicants)
  • Majority of team members (including the lead applicant) must be primarily based in Massachusetts. Teams may consist of some team members not based in Massachusetts.
  • Interested in and committed to the work of collective imagination - imagining public art that fosters positive social change.

The lead applicant of the team may apply as a…

  • Community-based anchor organization working in collaboration with artists, activists and community members, culture bearers and/or cultural organizers (organizations may be a 501c3 or fiscally sponsored)
  • Grassroots collaboration anchored in community and place – an informal collaboration of artists, activists and community members, culture bearers or cultural organizers (e.g., a collaboration without an organization taking the lead). For grassroots collaborations, the lead applicant may be any member of the team.

Not Eligible

  • Collective Imagination Team that is not primarily based in Massachusetts (i.e., majority of team members are not based in MA).
  • Project-specific funding requests. Collective Imagination Grants intend to strengthen collaborations and support this necessary work of collectively imagining together, before diving into creating impactful, accountable public art.  If you have a specific project that you are ready to implement, please consider applying for a Public Art for Spatial Justice Grant
  • Current Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice grantee (lead applicant) who has not completed their respective grantee report.

Starting in 2022: Past CISJ Grantees are not eligible to apply to CISJ again for a full calendar year from completing their grantee report. (E.g., If you submit a CISJ grantee report on June 1, 2022 that is approved, you are eligible to apply to CISJ 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 independent of each other and funding is not guaranteed (i.e., you may be funded for one but not the other).

Funding Criteria and Priorities 

The work of imagination is a journey. The Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice grant aims to support teams that are dreaming up what public artmaking can be – public art that helps us see, feel, experience, and imagine spatial justice today, while we are still on this collective journey towards realizing more just futures for our public spaces and public culture. 

Starting in 2022, we are inviting Collective Imagination Teams to move through a six-month imagination journey together with us at the beginning of 2023. (See Grantee Requirements section below for more details)

Teams will be selected based on:

  • Clarity of intentions. We recognize that public spaces are not neutral. And public art made in public spaces is not neutral. We want to know what has brought your team to this moment of exploration and imagination, and why now? What are your intentions for embarking on an imagination journey together? 
  • Willingness to prioritize and be available to participate in virtual cohort gatherings in 2023.

Priority will be given to teams that share in NEFA’s public art values and are commitment to the work of dismantling the legacies of racism, anti-Blackness, and white supremacy culture. In particular we are prioritizing teams 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. 
  • Built on trust and accountability. Teams that are aware of the power dynamics within their Collective Imagination Team and broader community and are actively working towards addressing imbalances in power dynamics.
  • Rooted in community and/or demonstrate deep relationship to place – particularly rural places and/or places where folks are experiencing/have experienced displacement.
  • Wrestling with the intersectionality of spatial justice and racial justice in their community and public spaces.

Application Process & Deadlines 

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

Applications are accepted through our online grant portal.

Collective Imagination Teams will be selected in mid/late December 2022 for our 2023 cohort, beginning in January 2023.

Grants for CISJ will be released in full, at the beginning of the grant year.

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

Grantee Cohort Requirements

Starting in 2022, we are inviting Collective Imagination Teams to move through a six-month imagination journey together, with us, from January through June 2023. 

Cohort Requirements and Schedule

January-June 2023. Collective Imagination Teams participate in monthly cohort gatherings (90 minutes) facilitated by NEFA staff and Program Advisors.

Date/Time of cohort gatherings TBD.

Teams will also have access to meet with Program Advisors one-on-one, and the opportunity to connect with fellow Collective Imagination Teams across Massachusetts who are also on their own journeys.

Collective Imagination Teams are expected to do independent imagination work in between the NEFA-hosted cohort gatherings. For example, this may include but is not limited to, meeting regularly with your imagination team, connecting with community, taking time to further learn more about and experience the public spaces that your team is imagining into!

In lieu of a Final Grantee Report

In lieu of a final grantee report, CISJ teams will be asked to participate in a conversational report back at the June 2023 Cohort Gathering.

Each team will be asked to prepare reflections on their collective imagination journey and participate in a group conversation.

NEFA’s public art team is learning with and from this collective imagination journey alongside our grantees!

These conversations will not only help us to better understand the impact of the grant and cohort model for the 2023 CISJ teams but help us understand how we can continue to evolve this program to meet the current needs of our creative communities and the field of public art in Massachusetts.

If a Collective Imagination Team is unable to participate in the June Cohort Gathering, please contact NEFA staff as soon as possible to make alternative arrangements.

Reminder: CISJ grants will be released in full, at the beginning of the grant year.

 

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 Collective Imagintion for Spatial Justice Grant

Funders

Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice is made possible with funding from the Barr Foundation.

Barr Foundation logo