In light of COVID-19 and events that have unfolded in the first few months of the pandemic, NEFA’s 2020 public art programming is refocusing on two new grant opportunities: Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice and Public Art for Spatial Justice

Massachusetts artists, creatives, culture bearers, cultural organizers, and community-based collaborators:  

  • Are you doing the necessary work of imagining a more just version of what is possible in our public spaces – during this extended time of physical distancing, and also on the other side of the pandemic? 
  • Are you dreaming up public art that can help 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? 

Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice grants may be for YOU! 

How It Works 

EVERYTHING CREATED MUST FIRST BE IMAGINED, including our collective future. Social imagination is a prerequisite to positive social change.

– USDAC.US 

Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice grants support teams of artists, creatives, culture bearers, cultural organizers, and/or community-based collaborators to do the important work of imagining public art that fosters and contributes to more just futures for our public spaces and public culture. The work of imagination is a journey. Project deliverables are not expected or required to begin this journey.  

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. 

Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice grants range from $2,000-5,000.  

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 

Eligible applicants will be small teams (2-5 collaborators) that meet the following eligibility criteria: 

Eligible

  • Lead Applicant must be a Massachusetts-based artist, creative, culture bearer, cultural organizer, and/or community-based collective or organization.  
    • Lead applicant may be individuals, fiscally sponsored collectives, and 501c3 organizations.   
    • Individual applicants and payees must be 18+ years old. 
    • Organizations/Collectives applying may be a 501c3, fiscally sponsored, or a collective of individuals.  
    • Note: Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice Grants are taxable income to individual recipients and reportable to the IRS. Grantees will receive a 1099 from NEFA if total payments exceed the minimum requirements set by the IRS within a calendar year. (Currently, the minimum requirement is $600. Go to www.irs.gov for details.) 
  • The Collective Imagination Team must include 1-4 additional collaborators: artists, creatives, culture bearers, cultural organizers, and/or community-based collectives or organizations. 
    • Recognizing the intersectionality of artists’ identities, we ask that artist(s) are among your Collective Imagination Team either as the lead applicant or as additional collaborator(s).   
    • Additional collaborators may be based outside of Massachusetts. 
  • Interest and commitment to the work of collective imagination!  
    • Commitment to imagining public art that fosters and/or contributes to a more racially and spatially just versions of what is possible in our public spaces. 

Not Eligible

  • Lead applicant is not based in Massachusetts.   
  • 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 grantees who have not completed their respective grantee report.  Grantees must complete their previous grantee report before being eligible to apply for another Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice OR Public Art for Spatial Justice grant. 

Funding Criteria and Priorities 

The work of imagination is a journey.  Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice grants aim to support you and your team on this journey. 

And more specifically, this grant aims to fund Collective Imagination Teams that are dreaming up public art that can help 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. 

Before you embark on your journey, we want to make sure you have what you need to get started! 

Collective Imagination Journey Checklist (think: Funding Criteria) 

  • Assemble your Collective Imagination Team. (see eligibility criteria) 

    Priority will be given to teams that are: 
    • Are led or co-led by artists, particularly BIPOC artists. The path to dismantling the legacies of racism and white supremacy culture includes centering BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color)-led creative exploration and expression in public spaces. 
    • Are built on trust and accountability. Artists are collaborators and co-conspirators on this journey, not saviors. 
       
  • Know where you are starting and why. Be as specific as possible. 

    Public spaces are not neutral. And public art made in public spaces is not neutral. What has brought your team to this moment of exploration and imagination, and why now?  

    Examples may include but are not limited to: creatively responding to a controversial monument in your community – exploring what might it look like to temporarily decolonize and/or indigenize a space, exploring what Black joy, grief, healing, celebration and creative expression in public may look, sound, and feel like as a way of healing cultural norms of anti-Blackness in public spaces, or figuring out how to safely foster a sense of community in the public square during this extended moment of social distancing. Note: These are just a few examples and are not meant to be prescriptive!   

    Priority will be given to teams that focus on: 
    • The intersectionality of spatial justice and racial justice 
    • Disrupting harmful historic narratives that uphold social and structural inequities 
    • Decolonizing and/or indigenizing public spaces 
    • Honoring the integrity of the people, places, stories, and ideas – past, present, and future- engaged in the process
       
  • Know what you need (to get started). 

    Road Map. Budget. Resources. 

    Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice grants range from $2,000-5,000. How will this funding support your collective journey (budget/budget narrative)? What are your tentative plans? Are there other resources that you’ll “take” on this journey (books, readings, mentors, guiding principles, etc.)? Remember one of your biggest assets are you and your teammates! Remember to honor your time as collaborators: pay yourselves.  We also recognize we are in rapidly changing times in this pandemic and plans may evolve with time.  

Process & Deadlines 

Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice applications will be accepted from late July through October 19, 2020.  Submitted applications will be reviewed on a monthly basis, after each of the following grant deadlines:  

  • Monday, August 24, 2020, 11:59 PM EDT
    For opportunities that begin late September/early October 2020 
  • Monday, September 21, 2020, 11:59 PM EDT
    For opportunities that begin late October/early November 2020 
  • Monday, October 19, 2020, 11:59 PM EDT
    For opportunities that begin late November/early December 2020 

Grantees will have six months from the beginning of the grant to do the work of collective imagination. 

Reminder: Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice grants are taxable income to individual recipients and reportable to the IRS. Grantees will receive a 1099 from NEFA if total payments exceed the minimum requirements set by the IRS within a calendar year. (Currently, the minimum requirement is $600.) 

Requirements & Reports for Grant Recipients 

A complete grantee report is due 40 days after the imagination journey is completed. Grantees who do not submit a complete grantee report on time will not be eligible for Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice OR Public Art for Spatial Justice grants. 

Click below to log in and begin your grantee report. You may save and return at any time. 

START YOUR GRANT REPORT