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

The Public Art Learning Fund provides 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. Apply by 11:59 PM ET, December 13, 2021.

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For more information about the types of professional development the Public Art Learning Fund has supported:

Read the Transcript of the Video

Kim Szeto (KS): Hey, everybody. Welcome to the Public Art Learning Fund webinar. I'm Kim Szeto, the program director for public art here at the New England Foundation for the Arts, and my pronouns are she and hers.

Kamaria Carrington (KC): Hi, I'm Kamaria Carrington, program coordinator for team, public art, and my pronouns are they, them, theirs. Hi, so we're going to take a moment to provide an overview of the program, what it is, who it's for, and how to access the application. Then we're going to take some time to walk you through the application itself.

So in short, the Public Art Learning Fund is a grant opportunity for New England artists to strengthen their public art practice through professional development opportunities. Grants range from $500 to $2,000. 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.

The Public Art Learning Fund is 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 communities across New England. All of the information we're covering today can be found on the Public Art Learning Fund grant page, www.nefa.org/publicartlearningfund.

Here's the Public Art Learning Fund grant page on our website. Each of these plus signs expands with more detail about eligibility criteria, funding priorities, application process and deadlines, requirements and reports for grant recipients. On the right side, there's a gray box with some important links. You can click the hyperlink to preview the questions in the grant application. Click the Apply Now button to start your application, and to return to your application, click the Resume my Application button. If you get lost on our website, just come back to this page for all your PALF needs.

KS: Awesome. Thanks, Kamaria. Next I'll take us into the eligibility criteria, and I'll just walk us through what these are. So first applicants must be an artist who resides full time and makes work in one of the six New England states, and those are Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Next, applicants must be an artist whose artistic practice engages the public realm or an artist who can demonstrate that they are in the process of expanding their artistic work into the public realm. So basically we believe that there's always learning to do whether you're a seasoned public artist or if you're just starting to explore what it might look like to translate your artistic practice into the public realm, the Public Art Learning Fund may be for you.

Next, applicants must have a CreativeGround profile. And if you aren't familiar with CreativeGround, CreativeGround is New England's free online cultural directory that spotlights cultural nonprofits like libraries and theaters, creative businesses like recording studios and design agencies, and artists of all artistic disciplines. You can use CreativeGround to promote your work, activities, and services to a broader audience, to potentially find collaborators and resources, such as other artists or fabricators. You can identify yourself as a public artist on CreativeGround and invite cross-sector partnerships and also get counted as an active participant on your state artist roster and in your regional creative economy.

If you aren't on CreativeGround already and intend to apply for the Public Art Learning Fund, note that it is a requirement. If you need help getting started, please email us at publicart@nefa.org. So in addition to residing in New England, having a profile on CreativeGround, and creating or intending to create artistic work in the public realm, the proposed professional development opportunity must specifically relate to strengthening your own public art practice. We know that as public artists you're often thinking about everybody else, thinking about community impact, and for this grant we want you to think about you. What do you need to strengthen your practice?

And also we want to make sure that the professional development opportunity, is it taking place during the current period? So to double check the grant period, go to the Public Art Learning Fund grant page and click the application process and deadline section to learn more.

KC: So applicants that are not eligible are artists seeking funding to develop or implement a specific public art project. Remember this is an opportunity to learn without the pressure of being public ready, and we recognize that learning may be related to an ongoing or future project. One way to gauge eligibility is to ask how will this learning opportunities support my public art practice beyond this particular project.

PALF intends to support you in learning and skill building that will strengthen your public art practice independent of the outcomes of a particular project. Again, this is not a project grant. We hope the PALF learning fun can meet your learning needs without the pressure of being public ready.

So also ineligible are current Public Art Lending Fund grantees. So grantees must complete their funded activity and final grantee report before being eligible to apply for another Public Art Lending Fund grant. And in an effort to think about equitable grant-making, the Public Art Learning Fund aims to give priority to timely opportunities that are specifically expanding your public art practice. NEFA will look for clarity on your desired learnings. NEFA also prioritizes equity in our grant-making.

Artists at various stages in their public artmaking practice from urban, suburban, and rural communities across all six states in New England are welcome to apply. At NEFA, we also recognize that structural inequalities have produced barriers to accessing professional development opportunities due to race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, class, age, and geography to name the least, and priority may be given to artists who identify as Black, Indigenous people of color, and/or are rooted in rural communities. NEFA values diverse, cultural, and artistic expressions as essential to more equitable and vibrant public spaces, and we hope to support artists in contributing to more just and inclusive public artmaking in the region.

KS: Great so next I'll go through our narrative questions. These questions are intended to help us understand how this is a timely opportunity for you and how the opportunity aligns with our funding priorities and values. So first question, please tell us about the professional development opportunity that your interested in pursuing. Please be specific and include the dates, locations, names, and other relevant details about this opportunity.

Next, please describe your current public art practice or how you envision expanding your artistic practice into the public realm. How do you define public art, and why are you interested in creating public art? Next, what are you hoping to learn through this opportunity? Why is this learning opportunity relevant to your public art practice at this moment in time? And how might this learning opportunity support you in contributing to more just, equitable, and inclusive public art making in the region?

Our final question is optional, and we acknowledge that the people reviewing your application may have gaps in understanding or knowledge about the context of your work. Please share any other information you think would be important to fairly assess your application. And in addition to your written response to this question, you may also choose to submit a short video up to three minutes in total in response to this question on the additional materials tab.

KC: And if you have any questions, we have office hours available leading up to our grant deadline. So you can click the link in the gray box on the grant page to sign up or send us questions directly to publicart@nefa.org. We hope the Public Art Learning Fund may be a resource to you. To learn about past grantees, you can check out our grantee directory or the PALF learn and share blog series where we are featuring conversations with PALF grantees about how the PALF Grant supported the development of their public art practices.

For the rest of this video, we'll take a moment to walk you through the grant application in the grants portal.

KS: Awesome. Great. So to start your application, first go to the Public Art Learning Fund grant page, and click the Apply Now button to start your application. This will bring you to our grants portal. And if you haven't seen this page before, the one on the bottom here, you likely haven't created a username and password in our new portal. If you've applied for grants with NEFA in the past in our old portal, just note that your old login and password won't work in the new one.

So how do you create a new user name and password if you haven't used this portal before? You will need to click the New User hyperlink underneath the Sign In button, and it will walk you through a form to create your new user name and password. And once you do that, you'll be brought to a new Public Art Learning Fund application. Here we go.

And the first thing I want to do is enter the project name for this Public Art Learning Fund request and click save. This will ensure that the portal gets saved on your dashboard, and you'll be able to come back to it at a later time. So what you'll want to do is work through each tab in the application.

There are six tabs here, and there are required fields on each of the tabs. You'll need to include information about who you are as the artist, answers to the narrative questions, as well as the budget, and a few other tabs as well. And remember to click Save often, and when you're ready, click the Review and Submit button.

KC: Great. And as Kim said, say you left and you want to return to your application to finish, you can follow this link or you can go back to grant page. And you can click the Apply-- sorry, that's what you're not supposed to do. Do not click the Apply Now button, because that will start another new application. Instead you want to be sure to click Resume My Application. The Resume My Application button will bring you to the grants portal login page where you can enter your username and password and then click Sign In. To continue editing the application you already started, you will click the Edit icon, and that's how you maneuver the grants portal.

So finally let's share a few frequently asked questions from past applicants. All right, so how about this one? I'm applying for support for a learning opportunity that I haven't been accepted into, yet, for example, a residency or another program. When should I apply for PALF?

KS: Yeah, so first make sure the residency program is taking place within the grant period. And if you are applying for a program that you haven't been accepted into yet, we recommend including a plan B in your application just in case you aren't accepted into the program. And if you've already been accepted and the program takes place within the grant period, go ahead and apply for the Public Art Learning Fund for the additional support you need to make it happen.

KC: Great. Great! So the next question is, I am planning to participate in an in-person learning opportunity like a conference or a workshop. This opportunity may be canceled or postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions. Can I still apply for PALF support?

KS: Yes, you can still apply for the Public Art Learning Fund, but we do ask that you strongly consider abiding by the current public health guidelines and travel restrictions. We recognize that these guidelines may change with time, and we encourage you to be mindful of how these changes may impact your plans. We recommend having a backup plan if you have reason to believe that your participation may be hindered by the current public health guidelines or travel restrictions.

KC: Great. That makes sense. So we hope this webinar has given you great food for thought and stirred your appetite for learning. That's it, and everything we covered in this video can be found at the Public Art Learning Fund website. If you have questions, you can email us at public art at nefa.org, and thanks for tuning in to learn about the Public Art Learning Fund.

KS: Awesome, bye.

KC: Bye.