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

To get a quick introduction to our three Public Art grant programs, watch the video above, read the transcript below, or visit their respective grant pages:

Video Transcript

Kim Szeto: Awesome. Hi, I'm Kim Szeto. My pronouns are she and her, and I'm the Program Director for Public Art here at the New England Foundation for the Arts. And I'm joined by my colleague...

Kamaria Carrington: Hi, I'm Kamaria Carrington. My pronouns are they/them, and I'm the Program Officer for Public Art here at New England Foundation for the Arts. And our colleague, Jess Camhi, is also our Program Coordinator for Team Public Art. She's not here, but she's very much part of this team.

Kim: Yay, we love Jess. So, we wanted to take a moment to share about what's new in 2022 for public art grant opportunities. This video will give you an introduction to each of our grant programs, and we hope it will help you decide which opportunities may be the right fit for you, or at least which opportunities you'd like to learn more about. Also, note that this video is not a comprehensive overview of the eligibility criteria, funding criteria and priorities, or the application requirements, et cetera. We strongly encourage that you check out our respective grant pages for more details, and we'll share the links in the following slides, and we'll add them as an addendum to the transcript of this video. Awesome. Alrighty, let's dive in here.

Kamaria: Great, so in 2022, we currently have three grant opportunities, Public Art for Spatial Justice, Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice, and the Public Art Learning Fund. To put it simply, Public Art for Spatial Justice funds artists to create public art that creatively expresses and embodies a more just version of what's possible in public. Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice funds communities to imagine new possibilities for public artmaking. And last but not least, the Public Art Learning Fund invests in your public art practice through self-determined learning opportunities. So rather than just asking artists to constantly produce more and more public art, we are intentionally funding different aspects of the art-making process, including space to dream into new possibilities with community and to focus on learning without needing to be public ready. As you think about where you are in your own artistic process, that might help you think about which opportunity might be the right fit for you at this time.

Kim: Awesome. And before we dive into each of these grant programs, it might be helpful to talk about what we mean by spatial justice. So, what is spatial justice? Our colleagues at the Design Studio for Social Intervention frame spatial justice as the right to be, thrive, express, and connect in and across public space. When we think about our public spaces and who has the right to be, thrive, express, and connect in public space and who doesn't, we can think about the historical context of the U.S. being colonized land, the rise of white supremacists, public demonstrations, anti-trans legislation in public schools, the ongoing public murders of Black people, as well as the continued violence against Asian Americans that saturates U.S. public environments and media. These are just a few examples of how we're not all afforded our rights to simply be in public. They're both structural and cultural injustices that are contributing to these spatial injustices. And at New England Foundation for the Arts, we believe that the arts are a critical vehicle for social justice and social change. And so, through these grants, we want to support public art practices that are working towards realizing more just futures for our public spaces, rather than reinforcing or perpetuating these injustices in the process and/or presentation of the artmaking. And if you'd like to learn more, here are a few resources from our colleagues at the Design Studio. This isn't an exhaustive list by any means but a good place to start. There's the Spatial Justice Zine, as well as additional writings on their website, and a featured blog on NEFA's website written by Lori Lobenstine. Just a reminder that these links will be provided in the addendum to the transcript of this video.

Kamaria: Thanks, Kim. So next, I'll tell you about the Public Art for Spatial Justice grant. 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. Public Art for Spatial Justice grants are for public artmakers in Massachusetts to create public art in Massachusetts that is creatively expressing and embodying more just versions of what's possible in public. At New England Foundation for the Arts, we believe that diverse cultural and artistic expressions of Black, Indigenous People of Color are essential to more equitable and vibrant public spaces. We believe that context is relevant and integrity throughout the artmaking process is important. Public Art for Spatial Justice welcomes public artmakers working in all artistic disciplines to apply. The lead applicant may be an individual artist, or an artist working in collaboration with other artists, or potentially a community-based anchor organization, working collaboratively with artists to make public art happen in your community. To learn more about our eligibility and funding criteria and the priorities, you can visit the Public Art for Spatial Justice grant page at www.nefa.org/CreateSpatialJustice. I also want to note that starting in 2022, these project grants will range from $15,000 to $30,000 to support public artmaking that may take up to two years. Projects may take less time, but artists have the flexibility to plan and implement a project over two years if needed. Also, for past Public Art for Spatial Justice grantees, we are asking that you wait a full calendar year from completing your last grantee report before reapplying to Public Art for Spatial Justice. This will hopefully give others a chance to also access these resources. You may notice that this is an increase in funding and extended timeline from previous years, but we aren't looking for artists to do twice as much work with the increase in funding and time, but rather to be able to move with more care and intentionality in the artmaking process. To learn more about the application process and grantee requirements, we encourage you to visit the Public Art for Spatial Justice grant page at www.nefa.org/CreateSpatialJustice.

Kim: Awesome, okay. So next, we have the Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice grant. And Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice supports Collective Imagination teams to reimagine public art through a spatial justice lens. Before creating public art, we want to encourage artists, activists, space keepers, community members to come together and do the necessary work of imagining more just futures for our public spaces and public culture. What does justice look, feel, sound, and smell like in your community's public spaces, and what role can public art play in this work? Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice is inviting artists, in collaboration with activists, space keepers, community members, to apply together as a team to focus on reimagining public art in a particular place in Massachusetts. We hope that Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice can support this imagination work without the pressure at the application stage of already knowing what might come from this journey together. And starting in 2022, Collective Imagination for the Spatial Justice is inviting Collective Imagination teams to participate in a six-month cohort model with other Collective Imagination for the Spatial Justice teams across Massachusetts. We've heard from past grantees that, although it was refreshing to have space to imagine without being tied to deliverables, it could feel lonely at times. And at New England Foundation for the Arts, we believe that this work of Collective Imagination is essential to our collective liberation, and that it shouldn't be done in isolation. So, we're going to try something new and create space for folks to be in proximity with one another, with other folks who are also thinking about public art in this way, and each team will receive $6,000 to support their imagination journey and participation in the virtual monthly cohort gatherings. To learn more about the eligibility and funding criteria, and priorities, application process, and cohort requirements, we encourage you to visit the Collective Imagination for the Spatial Justice grant page at www.nefa.org/ImagineSpatialJustice. And also, similar to Public Art for Spatial Justice, we're asking that Collective Imagination for the Spatial Justice grantees wait a full calendar year from completing their last grantee report before reapplying for Collective Imagination for the Spatial Justice. And this is with the hopes of giving others a chance to also access these resources.

Kamaria: Thanks, Kim. Last but not least, we have the Public Art Learning Fund. So, this is an opportunity for public artmakers across New England to pursue learning opportunities related to their public artmaking practice. We recognize that we sometimes learn best by making the art, and sometimes we need a moment to focus on the learning without the pressure of being public-ready. The Public Art Learning Fund is focusing on the latter approach. It's designed to support you, as the artist, in pursuing the skills, resources, and connections you need to strengthen your own public art practice to foster more equitable, inclusive, and vibrant public spaces and public life in your community across New England. Grants range from $500 to $2,000. And starting in 2022, we will have one deadline in December for learning opportunities the following year. It will be a rolling deadline that will be open from September through the December deadline. We realize that for folks who may be trying to register for learning opportunities in January and February, registration deadlines are often earlier. We hope the rolling deadline will help folks access the funding when it's needed. You can learn more about the eligibility, funding criteria, and priorities, and application process, and grantee requirements on the Public Art Learning Fund grant page at www.nefa.org/PublicArtLearningFund.

Kim: Great, so which opportunity is the right fit for you? If you are ready to create public art, Public Art for Spatial Justice might be a good place to start. And if you are imagining new possibilities for public artmaking, the Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice opportunity might be a good place to check out. And if you're ready to invest in your own public artmaking practice and focus on pursuing skills, resources, and connections that you need in this moment, the Public Art Learning Fund might be for you.

Kamaria: Thanks, Kim. We hope this has been an informative video about our public art grant opportunities. There's a lot more information about eligibility, funding criteria, priorities, and a preview of application questions, oh, and links to start your application in our Online Grants portal and more on the respective grant pages. Those are Public Art for Spatial Justice at www.nefa.org/CreateSpatialJustice. Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice, www.nefa.org/ImagineSpatialJustice, and Public Art Learning Fund, or PALF, as we call it, at www.nefa.org/PublicArtLearningFund. You can always reach out to us with any questions at publicart@nefa.org. And thanks for watching.

Kim: Thanks.

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