NEW: The Public Art Learning Fund provides small grants of $500 to $2,000 to support professional development opportunities for New England artists to strengthen their public art practices. Through the Public Art Learning Fund, NEFA intends to foster the continued development of more equitable, inclusive, and vibrant public spaces and public life throughout New England.

About NEFA's Public Art Programs

NEFA’s organizational values, articulated in the 2018-2021 strategic plan, guide each Public Art program area.

By upholding NEFA’s values, Public Art at NEFA:

  • Invests in artists and the creative process. Foster public art practices that are dynamic and aesthetically impactful, and authentically honor the integrity of the people, places, stories, and ideas that are engaged in the process and presentation of the art-making.
  • Cultivates artists as civic leaders. Supports public art that inspires, disrupts, and engages the public sphere to strive for greater equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility in our public culture. 
  • Strengthens a community of practice by fostering partnerships that facilitate knowledge building and sharing to support the evolving field of public art throughout the New England region.

For more information about other elements of NEFA’s Public Art programs, visit the Public Art program page.


Program Values & Goals

A core value of NEFA’s Public Art programs is that:

  • Diverse cultural and artistic expressions are essential to more equitable, inclusive, and vibrant public spaces and public life.

The Public Art Learning Fund aims to support the evolving field of public art and uphold this core value by investing in artists to develop the skills, resources, and connections they need in order to build a thriving community of practice in New England that supports diverse artistic and cultural expressions in the public realm.

Through the Public Art Learning Fund, NEFA is asking artists to identify the professional development needs and opportunities that strengthen their public art practice and by extension the public art field at this time. In partnership with our grantees, NEFA strives to learn how we can better support more equitable and sustainable public art practices throughout New England.


The Public Art Learning Fund focuses on professional development opportunities that build necessary skills, resources, connections and strengthen artists’ public art practices and the public art field at large. 

Artists may utilize the Public Art Learning Fund to: pursue a specific professional development opportunity to strengthen their own public art practice in New England and beyond. Examples may include but are not limited to attending a conference, workshop, training, or discussion related to building creative or administrative skills related to their public art practice; registration fees and travel expenses are eligible expenses.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Applicant must be an artist who resides full-time and makes work in one of the six New England States (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont)
  • Applicant must be an artist whose artistic practice engages the public realm or who can demonstrate that they are in the process of expanding their artistic work into the public realm
  • Applicant must have a Creative Ground profile. Need assistance with your CreativeGround profile? Sign up for office hours.
  • Proposed professional development opportunity must:
    • specifically relate to strengthening the applicant artist’s own public art practice
    • take place during the grant period (see Application Process & Deadlines below)

Note: There are no geographic limitations for the professional development opportunity requested (e.g. an artist may apply to the Public Art Learning Fund to attend a conference outside of New England).

Applicants who are NOT eligible to apply are:

  • Artists seeking funding to develop or implement a specific public art project.
  • Current Public Art Learning Fund grantees. Grantees must complete their funded activity and final grantee report before being eligible to apply for another Public Art Learning Fund grant.

Funding Priorities

Public Art Learning Fund equips artists with skills, resources, and connections to strengthen public art practices that foster more equitable, inclusive, and vibrant public spaces and public life throughout New England.

The Public Art Learning Fund gives priority to timely opportunities that are:

  • Removing barriers to access. NEFA recognizing that some artists may experience barriers to accessing professional development opportunities due to race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, class, age, and geography.
  • Valuing geographic diversity within the region. The Public Art Learning Fund aims to support artists across the region from urban, suburban, and rural communities across all six states in New England.
  • Advancing the evolving field of public art through learning opportunities related to fostering more equitable, inclusive, and vibrant public spaces and public life throughout New England.
  • Specifically expanding an artist’s public art practice. NEFA will look for clarity on desired learnings (e.g. how to develop a project budget) and application to artist’s public art practice.

Application Process & Deadlines

Public Art Learning Fund will have two application deadlines a year.

Upcoming Deadline: April 21, 2020 for opportunities that take place between June 1, 2020 and May 31, 2021.

Depending on the amount of funds available at a given deadline, applications for activities that would be eligible for a later deadline may be rolled over for consideration at the next deadline. 

Public Art Learning Fund 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 professional development opportunity is completed.

Grantees who do not submit a complete grantee report on time will not be eligible to apply for another Public Art Learning Fund grant until the grantee report is submitted and approved.

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

Start Your Grant Report

Applying for the Public Art Learning Fund? Sign up for CreativeGround Office Hours and watch a webinar (below), lead by program director Kim Szeto, to learn more about this new funding opportunity for New England artists: