Woman in green smiles in a studio space
Program Director, Public Art

As we take a moment to celebrate the collective impact of 46 amazing artist-led socially-engaged public art projects and reflect on our learnings from the past three years of the Creative City pilot, we are also excited to share the changes we are making to the program moving forward.  These changes have been informed by feedback from artists, community partners, program collaborators and the thoughtful assessment of the Creative City program by Animating Democracy.   

This blog highlights a few of the key changes to the program. We hope this is a helpful introduction to those who are new to Creative City and offers some clarity on how the program is evolving. This is not an exhaustive explanation of the program! For more details about the program and our new application process go to the Creative City Boston Artist Grant page or join us at an upcoming info session. Scheduled info sessions will be shared on our events page.

What is Creative City Boston (CCB)?

Creative City Boston Artist Grant provides project-specific funding to artists to create work that sparks public imagination, inspires community members to share in civic experience, and seizes opportunities to creatively engage important conversations taking place in Boston’s communities. By funding artists directly, we are investing in artists’ creative agency as civic leaders in shifting public culture in Boston. NEFA believes that diverse cultural and artistic expressions are essential to more equitable, inclusive and vibrant public spaces and public life.

In addition to CCB artist grants, NEFA also provides supplemental CCB community partner grants to organizations that are supporting project implementation in multiple ways.  For more details about CCB community partner grant eligibility and process for applying, go to the CCB community partner grant page.

Creative City Boston artists, with support from community partners, will realize their socially-engaged public art projects throughout the city of Boston, and participate in a year-long learning cohort along with community partner grantees. Recognizing that strong community partnerships are essential to supporting artists taking creative risks in the public realm, Creative City Boston aims to foster a community of practice among artists and community partners.

What is the new application process? And why the shift?

During the pilot phase, the panels reviewing applications often had clarifying questions about project proposals that were exciting conceptually but needed some fleshing out.  We also recognize that it takes time and resources for artists to build thoughtful budgets, partnerships, and a workplan to submit a full project proposal. 

NEFA is working to lower barriers to access and we are introducing a new two-phase application process for CCB artists grants:

Phase 1: Open Call - Submit a Concept Proposal

APPLY NOW. Eligible artists, submit a concept proposal by June 17, 2019.

The concept proposal application focuses on the artist’s vision and process, and intentions for public impact. Narrative questions on the Concept Proposal Application are outlined here. Concept proposals will be reviewed by a panel of advisors, and applicants will be notified by August. Finalists will be selected to move forward to phase 2 of the application process. Finalists also receive a $1500 finalist award (per project). 

Phase 2: Invitation Only – Full Project Proposal + Community Partner Grant Application

During phase 2, finalists will have time to work on their project budget and workplan with the support of program advisors, confirm community partnerships, and nominate community partners to apply for the supplemental CCB Community Partner Grant.  Finalists will be invited to submit Full Project Proposals that include a budget, workplan and confirmed community partnerships.

Important deadlines in Phase 2:

September 16, 2019: Deadline for artists to nominate community partners for a CCB Community partner grant.

October 21, 2019: Deadline for artists to submit a Full Project Proposals AND deadline for nominated community partners to submit community partner grant applications. Through another panel review process, projects will be selected for funding for the 2020 grant year.

By introducing phase two we hope that:

  • Artists have more time and support in the process of developing feasible project budgets, workplans, and community partnerships
  • Community partners are able to engage in the learning cohort along with artists during the grant year (during the pilot, partners were confirmed during the grant year making it challenging to find the right time to bring them into cohort gatherings)

What is the difference between the concept proposal and the full project proposal?

For Creative City Boston:

Concept Proposal - focuses on the artist’s vision and process, and intentions for public impact. No budget, workplan or community partners need to be confirmed at this phase!

Full Project Proposal - expands upon the concept proposal and asks for the rest of the project details! At this phase we want to know about feasibility (budget, workplan), community partnerships, and more.

For more details check out the funding criteria.

Do you have more questions about Creative City Boston? Come to an info session!