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

As we all navigate these uncertain times, you may find yourselves tapping into the wealth of skills within you, flexing your creative problem-solving muscles, and leaning into your own creative practices to help sustain yourself during this pandemic. And in the process, you might realize you need some new tools in your toolbelt. We hope the Public Art Learning Fund may be a resource to you this season. 

This blog aims to provide three areas of opportunities but is in no way comprehensive!  My hope is that these ideas may spark other ideas that may be more specific to your own public art practice during this time. 

1. Strengthening your business practices as a public artist 

Have your finances been destabilized in this moment? Or has the accounting and business aspects of your artistic practice been on the back burner for a while? For Artists based anywhere in New England, now might be a great time to give yourself a chance to tap into Sunlight Tax’s online courses related to bookkeeping, filing your taxes as a freelancer and much more.    

For Massachusetts-based artists, Assets for Artists also recently announced a series of Financial and Business Webinars for a Post-COVID World

What else might you need to learn during this time to stabilize your finances? 

2. Self-Reflection: Reimaging public art and public spaces 

What does more equitable, inclusive and vibrant public space and public life look like in your community – during a pandemic? post-pandemic?   

You could design an independent study, or self-guided “curriculum” to help you reflect on your own public art practice in this moment.   

Some inspiring and helpful resources may include Monument Lab, the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, ArtPlace America, and the Design Studio for Social Intervention’s Social Justice in a Time of Social Distancing paper. There are many more resources available online!

How could a Public Art Learning Fund grant support you in taking the time you need for reflection? 

3. Conferences and Online Courses 

You may also consider an upcoming conference that is either moving online, or still scheduled to take place in-person this year. What do you need to fully participate in these opportunities?   

The Americans for the Arts Public Art and Civic Design Conference is scheduled to take place June 26-28, 2020 in Washington, DC. Like many annual conferences, registration is currently on pause as the conference organizers assess the possibilities of still convening in person or virtually. We recommend that if you are applying to the Public Art Learning Fund to attend this conference or any other conferences in the near future, you may want to consider including a plan B in your application. A plan B could be taking a few public art related online courses through Americans for the Arts' ArtsU or Forecast Public Art

We plan to announce our Public Art Learning Fund grants by early June. By then, we’ll also have a better understanding of whether conference registration will be reopened, or if it would be best to move on to plan B. 

Do you have other ideas about how to use the Public Art Learning Fund during this time to strengthen your public art practice? Please share them with us by emailing publicart@nefa.org.


As you consider what you need to learn in this moment to strengthen your public art practice, I hope the Public Art Learning Fund may be a resource to you! 

Deadline to apply: April 28, 2020, 11:59 PM Eastern.

Start a new application

Return to your application

More info: Check out the grant page and this short program overview video to learn more about the Public Art Learning Fund.