A smiling person with short hair and chunky earrings
Program Officer, Public Art

This series is intended to help guide you through this application whether you are new to this grant program or grant writing in general. Wherever you need the most support in applying is where you can spend the most time with each of these short videos.

You are welcome to go in order, skip around, rewind and repeat. Each part of this webinar series is geared to help you determine whether or not this is the grant for you before you spend time applying. And further, how to make the most of your time in the grants portal with more insight from the application process that we can offer.

Part 1 - Overview of Eligibility, Funding Criteria + Grant Priorities

Part 1 reviews the specifics of this grant opportunity and the eligibility requirements, funding criteria and priorities that will determine whether you can move forward to apply for this grant. We recommend starting here if you are new to PASJ.

Part I Transcript

Hi, I'm Kamaria Carrington, Program Officer for Public Art at NEFA. Welcome to the Public Art for Spatial Justice webinar series. This is an introductory video for anyone who wants to better understand what PASJ is all about. We'll go over the basics, eligibility and funding criteria, and funding priorities. So let's dive into the Public Art for Spatial Justice Grant opportunity. At NEFA we believe that public art has a power to shift public culture and change the future for the better. And Public Art for Spatial justice grants aims to support public artmaking that's interested in shifting public culture and changing the future for the better. For a quick review, the Public Art for Spatial Justice Grant opportunity funds Massachusetts based artists and community-based anchor orgs in Massachusetts working in collaboration with particular artists to create public art in Massachusetts that helps 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. Grantees will have up to two years to complete projects and can receive 15 to 30k in project funds. We want to note that by allowing more time and funds to complete the projects, we are not looking for artists to do twice as much. Rather, we hope artists will be able to move with more care, intentionality, and at a more sustainable pace in the artmaking process. So now we know that what PSJ is, let's dive into who can apply. So if you are an artist applying as a lead applicant, we welcome individual artists to apply, we just ask that the lead applicant be 18 years or older. We also recognize that artists are creating work together. So artistic collaborations are also welcome to apply. You can be a formal ensemble that creates work together all the time, or maybe you are two or three artists coming together to work on this particular project. You'll learn more about this in our second video, but for now, we'll just ask that one of the artistic collaborators be designated the primary applicant and contact person for application purposes, and be sure that all other artistic collaborators be listed in the additional collaborators tab. If you are an organization working in collaboration with a particular artist or artists, your organization may be a 501c3 or fiscally sponsored, but more importantly, we'll want to know about your relationship to place and space as well as the collaborating artists that you are working with. So now that we established the who, how about the what? What kinds of public art projects are eligible? Well, projects of all disciplines are welcome to apply. So it could be visual artists, performance artists, rooted in ritual, theater makers, dancers, muralist, musicians all are welcome to apply. And we just ask that they are located in Massachusetts, engage the public realm and/or be available for the general public to happen upon, and cultivate expressions of and/or embodiments of spatial justice through public artmaking. So next, let's get into the criteria. So, at NEFA, we believe that the arts are a critical vehicle for social justice and social change. 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 injustices, in the process and/or presentation of the artmaking. We recognize that our public spaces aren't just blank canvases for artmaking. So we are looking to fund public art that is relevant to the place, space, and the people of that place; And that the relationship to place and space has integrity. So we acknowledge that public art practices that reduce people, places, and stories to tools for artmaking are harmful. We want to see project that are built on trust, accountability, and reciprocity, and honor the integrity of the people, places, stories, and ideas, past, present, and future, engaged in the artmaking. We want to fund public artmaking that is thinking about public art, for whom and by whom. So next, we are currently prioritizing projects that are led or co-led by Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and more specifically BIPOC artists and creatives. At NEFA we believe that diverse artistic and cultural expression is essential to more vibrant, just, and welcoming public spaces. We also believe that the path to dismantling the legacies of racism and white supremacy culture includes centering BIPOC-led creative exploration and expression in public spaces. As we aim to shift public culture towards more just futures, we think its important to consider who's making the public art. We are also prioritizing project that are rooted in community and/or demonstrates a deep relationship to place. As we mentioned in the funding criteria, integrity in the lead applicant's relationship to place and space and the people of that place is important. And we are particularly interested in public artmaking that is rooted in rural places, and/or places where folks are experiencing or have experienced displacement. Recognizing that artwashing is a thing, that is, art that may be improving economic development at the expense of residents and business who can no longer afford to stay in a particular place as the art attracts new development. We are asking, public art for whom, and want to be mindful that the public art that we are supporting isn't intentionally or accidentally contributing to the displacement of communities. And, last but not least, we are prioritizing public artmaking that is disrupting harmful historic narratives that uphold structural inequities, by decolonizing and/or indigenizing spaces, and/or centering BIPOC creativity, imagination, and expression in public spaces. So that covers the basics, the eligibility and funding criteria and funding priorities. If you have any additional questions, feel free to visit the grants page at www.nefa.org/CreateSpatialJustice for more information like application deadlines and office hours where you can sign up, or Email us at publicart@nefa.org, or check out the other video in this series that focuses on tech tips for NEFA's online grants portal and a deeper dive into the narrative questions on the application. Thanks for joining us.


Part 2 - Navigating the Online Application + Tech Tips


Part 2 guides you on how to navigate the grants portal where you can access the application. We will offer tips for how to do this successfully and how to avoid technical difficulties along the way. We recommend this video if you are new to applying for grants and specifically applying for NEFA grants through the online grants' portal.

Part 2 Transcript

Hi, I'm Kamaria Carrington. I'm the program officer for public art at NEFA, and welcome to the Public Art for Spatial Justice webinar series. This is a second in a three part series of webinars to introduce you to our Public Art for Spatial Justice grant opportunity. This video provides technical support for starting an application and navigating the online grants portal. So let's dive into part two, how to navigate the grants portal plus tech tips. So step one is to go to the PASJ grant page at www.nefa.org/CreateSpatialJustice to start a new PASJ application. In the gray box on the right you can click Apply Now to start a new application or click Resume My Application to log back into our grants portal and continue an application you've already started. Also to note in the gray box is a link to preview the narrative questions in the application and to sign up for office hours if you want to talk through your application with staff. So step two, if you're new to NEFA's grants portal, you've never seen this login page before, you'll need to set up a user account by clicking New User circled in orange here before logging in. You can either register as an individual unaffiliated with any specific organization or if you'll primarily relate to NEFA through an organization or group, register as an organization. Once you have a login, if you're starting a new application or resuming an application, you'll need to log in here. If you clicked Resume My Application when you log in you'll be brought to your dashboard. So your dashboard is basically a table of contents that has all the NEFA applications you've started with this account. Select the edit or pen icon next to your PASJ application from the dashboard to get back to your application. If you clicked Apply Now to start a new application, it will skip the dashboard and bring you directly into a new application, which I'll show you on the next slide. So step three is in the application itself you'll see that there are eight tabs to work through. We won't go through all eight tabs in this video, just the tabs where we can offer more tips and clarity that have snagged past applicants. So the first two tabs are designed to collect basic information about you as lead artists or anchor organization and your creative collaborators, such as lead contact info or demographic information, et cetera. You'll need to enter a project name on the first tab to identify your application when you return to it and hit save before you can view the rest of the tabs. So for PASJ, one of our funding priorities is to fund projects that are led or co-led by Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and more specifically BIPOC artists and creatives. We believe the path to dismantling the legacies of racism and white supremacy culture include centering BIPOC-led creative exploration and expression in public spaces. So we ask the applicants to let us know how they self-identify to help our reviewers better assess this priority. On the Lead Creative Collaborator tab you can add collaborating artists and share how they also self-identify. Please note that not all PASJ teams that are funded will be BIPOC led, this work requires White allies too. So next is the narrative questions that can be found in the Project tab. So this is a really important tip, this online portal does not auto save so we highly recommend that you create a separate Word doc before diving into the narrative questions. It can be a Google doc, it can be a Word doc, however works best for you to write and save your narrative questions just to be sure your work is saved. Also remember to save regularly as you work on the rest of your application in this portal too. Many applicants have lost their work along the way and had to start over because they relied on their wi-fi or their power or this portal and it glitched on them and didn't save their narrative responses. Again, this is where the main part of this application is to share your work with our panel reviewers so please, please, please do your future self a favor and create a separate Word doc. The grants portal can then be the last place that you copy and paste your narrative responses without fear of losing your work. So onto the next tab which is the Audio/Video Work Sample tab. So this is where you submit audio or video work samples. Note that we will not ask you to upload submissions as audio or video files. We ask for links to audio or video work that is hosted on a platform like Vimeo or Google Drive. You are not required to submit an audio or video sample, but if this would be a great way for us to see your work in support of your project proposal, you're welcome to do so. To begin submitting your audio or visual or video work sample, please click the blue button on the top right that says New. So then you'll be navigated to the audio/video work sample form. So I'm going to do an instructions review so you don't miss these details. So samples should be no more than three minutes each, this allows for panelists to be able to review however many applications we receive with multiple audio/video samples. If you submit a longer video, they will only watch the first three minutes unless you share cue times with them that are in three minute segments. You can submit up to three samples. This is not a requirement and we invite you to share with us the work samples that best support your project proposal, sometimes less is more. Again, this form asks you to submit links not files of your audio or video work samples. So if you scroll down in this form, this is what you'll see. So here are a few tips that can help you submit a complete audio/video sample form. So please, please, please test the links before you copy and paste them into these fields. Make sure they work and navigate to the place you intend them to go. Please include the password if it's needed for the links you offer and you're welcome to submit up to three links. Remember, remember to save as you go. So next we have the Visual Work Samples tab. You're required to upload at least one image file and up to three. We ask that you include a brief image description and photo credit. Please share with us whether NEFA can use these images or not on our website or in program publications should you be awarded. You may be a sound artist or not work with visual art and wonder what to put here. So you're welcome to include an image of the site where your proposed public art project will be or maybe an in-process shot or even an image of collaborators. Just choose an image that you think will support your project proposal. So next if you scroll down in this form, this is what you'll see. So please don't forget the image list. It can be a Word doc or a PDF, doesn't matter, but this is where you will share both the brief image description and the photo credit information. Your application will not be complete without this information so please don't forget. So next up is the Statistics tab. So what is that? So we'll clarify that in this section. So this form is required and you may be wondering what is it? So because NEFA receives funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, we are mandated to collect certain information from applicants. So to begin click the blue button on the right that says New, and here you will access the required form. So you might be wondering like what kind of information is required from these national entities? And so this is the form you'll see. So we just ask that you share to the best of your abilities with the provided categories such as these first three fields about project discipline or arts education. In this section we'll ask what percentage of your work can be described as arts education and whether or not there's any international activity. Again, the additional fields ask about demographic information, about beneficiaries of your project, answer these to the best of your ability. We know that some of your answers may be best guesses and that's fine. So that covers it for our tech tips for the PASJ application in the online grants portal. If you have any questions please feel free to visit the grants page at www.nefa.org/CreateSpatialJustice. There's more information like application deadlines and even office hours to sign up, or email us at publicart@nefa.org, or check out the other videos in this series that focus on the introduction to the criteria and priorities for PASJ and another video on a deeper dive into the narrative questions on the application. Again, thank you for watching and we look forward to hearing from you.


Part 3 - Insight on Narrative Questions: What are we looking for?


Part 3 offers more insight on what the panel reviewers are hoping to learn from your application, by diving deeper into the narrative questions. We share more context for why we ask these questions and the different ways you can share the critical aspects of your proposal with us.

 

Part 3 Transcript

Part 3

Hi everyone, I'm Kim Szeto, Program Director for Public Art here at NEFA. And welcome to this Public Art for Spatial Justice video series. Yeah, so this video is going to provide a deeper dive into the narrative questions to help you understand what our reviewers are looking for, and for an introduction to the Public Art for Spatial Justice Grant opportunity, or NEFA's online grant portal, and the PASJ application itself. I recommend checking out the other two videos that are on the grant page. Let's go ahead and dive in. What are we looking for in the application? Maybe actually a good place to start is just to remind you what PASJ is funding. We're looking at- We're looking for Massachusetts based artists, and community based anchor organizations in Massachusetts that are working in collaboration with artists, to create public art in Massachusetts that helps us to see, feel, experience and imagine spatial justice now, while we are still on this collective journey towards realizing more just futures for public spaces and public culture. So we're looking for projects that are relevant to place and space, and people of that place, and the people of that place, and also projects that are rooted in community and practice integrity throughout the process and presentation of the work. You can learn more about the funding criteria in the introductory video with my colleague Kamaria, or you can visit the website at www.nefa.org/CreateSpatialJustice Okay, that was my brief intro. Let's let's actually dive into the narrative questions now. So the narrative questions are a really important place in the application where you can help our reviewers get to know the vision and intentions for your project. I'll walk you through each question and share a little bit more of the context for the questions that we're asking. Oh, also before I dive in, I should just reiterate a helpful tech tip from the tech tip video. Since our online grants portal doesn't auto save, hit the save button often, and artists have shared that it's helpful to draft your responses in a Google doc or word document, and when you're ready, copy and paste the text directly into the application on the grants portal. OK. That was my PSA for this video. So the first question. Please describe the project that you are proposing, and why are you interested in creating this project, and more specifically why now? So we're looking to- we're looking for you to share with us a clear vision and intentions for this work. We want to know what is it that you're setting out to make? And we want to understand your intentions for making or implementing this project at this moment. One of our funding criteria is relevance. We want to understand the context of your public art making. Why this project, why now? Why are you as the lead artist or lead organization interested in leading this public art making in this particular place? It's also good to note that one of our priorities for the Public Art for Spatial Justice Grant is to support projects that are disrupting harmful historic narratives that uphold structural inequities that are decolonizing and/or indigenizing spaces and/or centering black, indigenous, people of color creating, imagining, expressing in public spaces. If this is applicable to your project this may be a good place to talk about how. Okay, so question number two. Where are you planning to implement this project, and why here? Please tell us about your relationship to the people and place where you're implementing this project. So at NEFA, we believe context is important to public art making, and that public spaces aren't just blank canvases for art making. Being in a relationship with communities and place can help us reimagine how public art making may foster more just futures for our public spaces, rather than reinforcing or perpetuating spatial injustices. Again, we want to hear more about the relevance of this project as it relates to your relationship to place, and your relationship to community, that the communities that are centered in this work. Also, one of our priorities is to support projects that may be rooted in rural communities, and/or rooted in places where folks are experiencing or have experienced displacement. If this is applicable to your project this is probably a good place to tell us more. Okay, question number three. So this is a double question, depending on how you are applying. If you're a community based anchor organization, you'll want to answer the first question. If you're an artist or an artistic collaboration, you'll want to answer the second question. So I'll start with the community based anchor organizations. Tell us how your organization is uniquely poised to lead this particular project. Why have you chosen to collaborate with this particular artist for this project? So, reviewers are trying to understand the relevance and integrity of your organization's relationship in this place with the artists you've chosen to work with. Although we really try hard to have diverse reviewers, you know a lot about communities across Massachusetts, sometimes it's hard to see below the surface and understand the relationships that upholds the end product. We're valuing both process and product in this program. So as organizations working with artists, we want to be sure that you are aware of the positional power your organization has, both within a community and with the artists you may be collaborating with. Does your organization have the trust of the community and the artists that you're working with? How are you keeping your process transparent? Is there reciprocity in your relationships with community and with the artists that you're working with? These are all some things to think about as you think about how your organization may be uniquely poised to lead this project. And for artists who are leading this project, we want to know about your artistic practice. Why are you uniquely poised to lead this project, this particular project? If this is a collaboration between two or more artists, please share why you've chosen to work together. Similarly, our reviewers are trying to understand the relevance and integrity of your artistic practice and working relationships in this particular project. They want to know about your artistic practice, and how you collaborate with your creative collaborators. What positional power are you holding in your relationships with community and fellow creative collaborators? How is your creative practice developing a culture of trust, transparency, and reciprocity with community and creative collaborators that you're working with? Also, there are other ways to demonstrate this in your application. You can include letters of support from community and/or collaborators. This isn't required by any means, but it is an option, it's available there for you, and you can also think about how your budget speaks to transparency and reciprocity. Okay, so next up, we have question number four. Public art practices that reduce people, place, and stories to tools for art making, are harmful. Reviewers are looking for projects that build trust, accountability and reciprocity, and honor the integrity of the people, place, the stories, and ideas, past present and future, engaged in the art making. To whom is this project accountable? Our questions may seem a little repetitive here, but we are trying to understand integrity here. We aren't trying to fund projects that look like justice. We want to fund projects that are embodying more just ways of being, throughout the whole art making process. So as we talk about the context of public spaces, who is this art making accountable to? How will you know if it's a success, and a success to whom? And how will you know if there are unintended consequences? These are all things that you can think about as we think about who, to whom this project is accountable to. Okay, so our next question is an easy one. Please outline the project work plan and timeline. So as you know we've expanded the grant period to up to two years to help reviewers understand your plans for this time. We'd love for you to outline how you see this project playing out over this time. And just a reminder that projects may be completed in less than two years. And although we've expanded the timeline and funding amounts, we are not looking for artists to do twice as much. But rather we hope artists will be able to move with care, intentionality, and at a more sustainable pace in the art making process. So we want to see that reflected in your project work plan and timeline. It will also be good to think about how this timeline aligns with your budget. How are you compensating collaborators in this work, and fairly valuing your own time in this work? Okay, and last but not least, our last question is an optional question. And you have, you also have the option to include a video response. So priority will be given to projects that are led or co-led by Black, Indigenous, People of Color rooted in community and/or disrupt harmful historic narratives. So please take a moment to review the Public Art for Spatial Justice Grant page for a fuller understanding of our funding priorities. But thinking about these funding priorities, we also acknowledge that the people reviewing your applications are likely to have gaps in their understanding or knowledge about the context of your work. So please share any other information that you think would be important to fairly assess your application. In addition to your written response to this question, you may also choose to submit a short video of up to three minutes, responding to this question. So if you got everything you need to say in the questions, truly do not feel obligated to answer this question. But if you feel like you need more space to help reviewers see the alignment with your project and our funding criteria and priorities, this is the space to do it. And the last step that I have for you is you'll notice there are character limits for all the narrative responses. These are character limits with spaces. So you can, when you're in a word doc you can do the word count, but make sure you're looking at the word count, that's character limit, or character with spaces. And please do not feel the need to fill all the space. It's there for you if you need it to help our reviewers to fairly assess your application. And our motto is really, more with less. Don't feel like you have to fill the space just to reach the limit. Our reviewers will be thankful for your clarity and brevity. So I think that covers our overview of the narrative questions for the Public Art for Spatial Justice Grant. I hope this was helpful. And if you have any questions, feel free to visit the grant page at www.nefa.org/CreateSpatialJustice for more information on the application deadlines and office hour signups or you could email us directly at publicart@nefa.org and you can also check out the other videos in the series that focuses on an introduction to the criteria and priorities, as well as tech tips for navigating the grant application in our grants portal. Thanks for watching.


Apply for Spatial Justice Grants by October 17, 2022

 

Need additional assistance? Sign up for office hours.

Share