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Program Coordinator, Public Art

Folks who are interested in applying for either of our Spatial Justice Grants, should watch the webinar (above).

Webinar Transcript

Kim: Welcome to the Public Art for Spatial Justice and the Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice webinar. In this short video, we will give you an overview of both grant programs, share some modifications that we've made to the programs this year, and answer a few frequently asked questions. So I'm Kim Szeto and I am the program director for public art here at the New England Foundation for the Arts and my pronouns are she, her, and hers.

Kamaria: And I'm Kamaria Carrington, program coordinator for public art here at NEFA and my pronouns are they/them. So let's start with the basics. What is the difference between Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice, CISJ and Public Art for Spatial Justice, PASJ?

Kim: Good question. So CISJ, Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice supports collective imagination teams re-imagining public art through a spatial justice lens. And Public Art for Spatial Justice is supporting artists and artistic collaborations creating public art that contributes to more just futures for our public spaces and public culture. So in short, CISJ supports the work of re-imagining while PASJ supports public art projects that are embodying re-imagining.

Kamaria: Great. So I'll start by walking us through the Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice grant opportunity. I'll talk through eligibility criteria, funding criteria, and funding priorities. As Kim mentioned, CISJ supports teams of artists, creatives, culture bearers, cultural organizers, and or community-based collaborators who are doing the important work of imagining public art that fosters and contributes to more just futures for our public spaces and public culture. We recognize that our publics are plagued with the racial injustices of policing black people, ongoing public violence against people of color, and especially in this moment of increased violence against Asian Americans, the resounding impacts of historical disinvestment of some communities through the redlining policies of the last century, and not to mention the original displacement of indigenous peoples from this land and the attempts to erase the history that lies beneath the surface of our concepts of public. And we acknowledge that public spaces are not neutral. In public art meetings, public spaces are not neutral. We are reminded by our colleagues at the US department of arts and culture that everything created must first be imagined, including our collective future. Social imagination is a prerequisite to positive social change. Before creating public art, we want to encourage artists, activists, space keepers, and community members to come together and do the necessary work of imagining. What does justice look, feel, sound, and smell like in your communities' public spaces? Artists, we don't expect you to do this work alone. And we know that there are others deeply rooted in this work towards more just futures. That's why this grant supports collective imagination teams, and because this work of imagination tends to be more fun and more fruitful in collaboration with others.

Kim: Yeah. So this work of imagination is a journey. We hope that the Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice grants support this work without the pressure at the application stage of already knowing what might come with the journey. So the grants range from $2,000 to $5,000 and everything that we'll cover on the next few slides can be found at www.nefa.org/ImagineSpatialJustice. Okay, so I'll start with the eligibility criteria. First, the lead applicant must be a Massachusetts based artist, creative, cultural bearer, cultural organizer, and/or community-based collective or organization. The lead on the application may be an individual representing a group of individuals or a fiscally sponsored collective or a 501c3 organization. And just to note, if you are applying as an individual, you must be 18 years or older. And CISJ grants are taxable income to individual recipients and reportable to the IRS. All grantees will receive a 1099 from NEFA. Next, the collective imagination team must include one to four additional collaborators. Your additional collaborators may be artists, creatives, cultural bearers, cultural organizers, and/or community-based collectives or organizations. We recognize the intersectional identities of artists and we ask that artists are among your collective imagination team, either as the lead applicant or as additional collaborators. And note that additional collaborators may also be based outside of Massachusetts, but you'll want to make sure that your lead applicant is based in Massachusetts. And last but not least, we want to know that your team is interested in and committed to the work of collective imagination.

Kamaria: Great so, also we wanted to share that you are not eligible to apply if: the lead applicant as Kim said is not based in Massachusetts or if you're a current CISJ grantee, meaning you haven't completed your respective grantee report from a current CISJ grant. Or if you're looking for project specific funding. Collective imagination grants intend to strengthen collaborations and support the necessary work of collectively imagining together before diving into creating impactful and accountable public art. If you are looking for project support you may want to fast forward this video to learn more about the Public Art for Spatial Justice grant or go directly to www.nefa.org/CreateSpatialJustice. I'll also also note that if you're applying for Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice and a Public Art for Spatial Justice grant in the same round, each application will be reviewed independent of each other. And funding is not guaranteed. For example, you may be funded for one but not the other.

Kim: So if you've determined that you're eligible and that you're applying for the right grant the next thing to do is to review our funding criteria and our funding priorities. So I'll start with our funding criteria. Assemble your collective imagination team. If you have any questions about who should be in your team just go back to our eligibility criteria. Know where you're starting and why, and be as specific as possible. Know what you need to get started. That's what we're looking for in these applications. And priority will be given to collective imagination teams that share in NEFA's values and commitment to the work of dismantling the legacies of racism, anti-blackness, and white supremacy culture. If you have any questions about NEFAs racial equity lens or racial equity values, please check out the blog by our executive director, Cathy Edwards published on June 3rd, 2020 titled "Statement on Racial Justice." NEFA is also prioritizing funding for teams that are led or co-led by artists, particularly artists who identify as black, indigenous, people of color. NEFA affirms the value of artists as collaborators and co-conspirators, not as saviors, in the work of re-imagining. We also recognize as a path to dismantling the legacies of racism and white supremacy culture include centering BIPOC led creative exploration and expression in public spaces. NEFA is also prioritizing funding for teams that are rooted in community and or demonstrate deep relationship to place. In particular, rural places and or places where folks are experiencing or have experienced displacement. At NEFA we believe that context is important to public art making and we recognize the intersectionality of our identities and collective struggles towards justice. This is only one of the changes we've made to our priorities as we decided to offer a little more specificity about who we are prioritizing in our funding at this time. And last but not least NEFA is also prioritizing teams that are built on trust and accountability. So that's who we're prioritizing and thinking about what your team might be focusing on. These are some of the areas that we're also prioritizing in terms of focus areas. So we're looking to prioritize the intersectionality of spatial and racial justice, disrupting harmful historic narratives that uphold social and structural inequities, decolonizing and indigenizing public spaces, and honoring the integrity of people, places, stories, and ideas, thinking about past, present, and future, and who's engaged in the process of public art making.

Kamaria: Wow, that was a lot of information. If you have questions please feel free to come back to this video or visit the collective imagination for spatial justice grant page at www.nefa.org/ImagineSpatialJustice. All right, let's take a deep breath before we walk you through Public Art for Spatial Justice. Ooh. Okay. So as we mentioned before, Public Art for Spacial Justice is a project grant. Public Art for Spacial Justice supports Massachusetts artists and artistic collaborations to create public art in Massachusetts that fosters public imagination and contributes to more just futures for our public spaces and public culture. How might public art play a role in helping others imagine, embody, experience, and see the possibility for more just and more vibrant futures for our public spaces? Grants range from $5,000 to $10,000 and all the information we're covering over the next few slides can be found at the PASJ grant page at www.nefa.org/CreateSpatialJustice. So let's start with eligibility criteria. So lead applicants to the Public Art for Spatial Justice grant must be Massachusetts based artists or artistic collaboration. This means you may be an individual artist, a group of artists, or a 501c3 organization led by and/or working in collaboration with a lead artist. If you're an individual artist applying, please note that you must be 18 years old or older and Public Art for Spatial Justice grants are taxable income to individual recipients and reportable to the IRS. All grantees will receive a 1099 from NEFA. Artistic collaborations applying may consist of two to three individual artists working together or more formal collectives or collaborations that have fiscal sponsorship or a 501c3 status. If you're applying on behalf of an organization, working in partnership with an artist or artists, we're asking that you are also able to demonstrate that the relationship between the artists and organization is built on trust, accountability, and reciprocity. This is another place where we are moving towards more specificity of who we are trying to fund. We acknowledge the inherent power dynamics that can exist when artists partner with institutional entities. And we want to be sure that collaborations that we are funding are also mindful and doing the work to ensure that there is trust, accountability, and reciprocity built into the relationship from the top of the collaboration. In addition to the lead artist or artistic collaboration being based in Massachusetts, the proposed public art project must also be located in the state of Massachusetts, engage the public realm, and be available to the general public and creatively cultivate expressions of and/or embodiments of spatial justice through public art making. Projects of all artistic disciplines like visual, performative, rooted in ritual, et cetera are eligible. As we continue to move through different phases of this pandemic, we recognize that the public health guidelines are shifting and may have varying impacts on public art making in communities across Massachusetts. We will work with grantees to make adjustments to plans as needed.

Kim: So in short, you aren't eligible to apply if you are based outside of Massachusetts and if your proposed project is based outside of the Massachusetts. And also current Public Art for Spatial Justice grantees who have not completed their respective grantee reports are also not eligible to apply. And similar to the Collective Imagination from Spatial Justice grant application, just note that if you're applying for both CISJ and PASJ in the same grant round, each application will be reviewed independent of each other and funding is not guaranteed. Meaning you could be funded for one and not the other. So what are we looking for in eligible Public Art for Spatial Justice projects? Next I'll walk through our funding criteria and funding priorities. So NEFA is looking for artists and artistic collaborations who share NEFAs values for projects that are relevant and demonstrate an understanding that context is important to public art making and, last but not least, public art making that has integrity. So you might be asking, what does this look like? NEFA values our commitment to the work of dismantling the legacies of racism, anti-blackness, and white supremacy culture. If you have questions about either of those racial equity values, once again please check out the blog post by our executive director Cathy Edwards published on June 3rd, 2020 titled "Statement on Racial Justice." And as we think about what it might mean for us to welcome one another back into public spaces after a year of social distancing, we are looking for projects that are relevant to this moment, that are creatively engaging important conversations that need to be happening in this particular moment at this particular time. And last but not least we are looking for projects that honor the integrity of people, places, stories, and ideas that are engaged in the art making. And we want to make sure that you're thinking about both past, present, and future people, places, stories, and ideas. We acknowledge that public art making that reduces people, places, stories, and ideas to tools for art making are actually harmful. And that's not what we're trying to fund here.

Kamaria: Um hmm, and in addition to looking for value alignment, relevance, and integrity, NEFA intends to prioritize projects that are led or co-led by artists who identify as black, indigenous, people of color; projects that disrupt harmful narratives, historic narratives that uphold structural inequity decolonize; and/or indigenize spaces and/or centers BIPOC creativity, imagination, and expression in public spaces. Once again, we recognize the intersectionality of our identities and collective struggles towards justice. We decided to offer more specificity about who we are prioritizing in our funding at this time. Projects that are rooted in community and or demonstrate deep relationship to place, particularly rural places and/or places where folks are experiencing or have experienced displacement.

Kim: Great. So there you have it, the Public Art for Spatial Justice program in a nutshell. If you have questions please feel free to come back to this video or visit the public art for spatial justice grant page at www.nefa.org/CreateSpatialJustice. Alrighty, we are in the home stretch I just wanted to take some time to cover some frequently asked questions. Are you ready?

Kamaria: Yeah let's do it!

Kim: Awesome.

Kamaria: Okay, so let's take a step back. And Kim, can you tell us what is spatial justice?

Kim: Sure, so 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, who has the right to be, thrive, express, and or connect in public space and who doesn't? The policing of black people in public and the loss of lives of George Floyd, Ahmaud Aubrey, and too many others, as well as the rise in violence against Asian Americans over this past year are reminders that we aren't all afforded our rights to simply be in public. Both structural and cultural injustices contribute to these spatial injustices and many more. And at NEFA, we believe that the arts are a critical vehicle for social justice and social change. And through public art for spatial justice, we want to support public art practices that are working towards realizing more justice futures for our public spaces rather than reinforcing or perpetuating these injustices in the process and or presentation of the art making. So 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. Okay, so Kamaria, why are these grants prioritizing collective imagination teams and projects that are led or co-led by artists who identify as black, indigenous, people of color?

Kamaria: Great question, Kim. Spatial justice is also about racial justice. As an organization NEFA values and is committed to the work of dismantling the legacies of racism, anti-blackness, and white supremacy culture. This necessary work includes centering BIPOC or black, indigenous, people of color led creative exploration and expression in public space. It's not only about what we fund, meaning the content of a project, but who we fund, the artistic and thought leaders behind the project. These shifts in our program design reflect our efforts to put our words into action, to learn more read our executive directors statement on racial justice. So we have been asked if, for example, I am a white artist, can I apply for these grants?

Kim: So, short answer is yes. If you are based in Massachusetts, you're welcome to apply. NEFA acknowledges that the art sector has a legacy of benefiting from and perpetuating white privilege. And therefore we are committed to working towards racial justice through both Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice and Public Art for Spatial Justice. We aim to hold ourselves accountable to our values, in our program design and grant making. So for both grants, this means prioritizing teams and projects that are led or co-led by artists particularly artists who identify as black, indigenous, people of color. And once again, we strongly believe that dismantling the legacies of racism and white supremacy culture includes centering BIPOC led creative exploration and expression in public space. Please carefully review the eligibility criteria and funding criteria and priorities for the specific grant that you're applying, here are the links, here on the slide. (Links on the slide: Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice and Public Art for Spatial Justice). Great. So our next question, why is NEFA prioritizing applicants and projects that are rooted in community and/or demonstrate deep relationship to place, particularly rural places and/or places where folks are experiencing or have experienced displacement?

Kamaria: Yeah, great question. As we mentioned earlier, this is one of the changes that we made to our priorities to offer more specificity about who we are prioritizing in our funding at this time. As we expand our public art grant making in Massachusetts, we acknowledge that much of our past public art funding has been concentrated in the greater Boston area. And we want to use this opportunity to acknowledge that not all public spaces are urban spaces and that we know public art makers are also in our rural communities. And we want to make sure that you know that this opportunity is for you. Also, as we've taken on a spatial justice lens in our public art grant making, we recognize that whole communities have been denied the right to simply be in place. And this is a primary example of spatial injustice. We want to center the leaders, artists, and communities who have been impacted by displacement. Though we value allyship, we believe the path to justice is led by those most impacted by injustice and are directly applying these values to the imagination and creation of art in the public realm. So the next question is, can I apply to both CISJ and PASJ at the same time?

Kim: So, technically yes. And as we mentioned before, each application will be reviewed independent of each other and funding is not guaranteed. So if you get funded for one, you might not get funded for the other. So Kamaria, where do I start?

Kamaria: I think step one is a great place to start, so.

Kim: That's good.

Kamaria: Yeah, carefully review the eligibility criteria, funding criteria and priorities for the grants that you're applying for. For Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice, you can go to www.nefa.org/ImagineSpatialJustice and for Public Art for Spatial Justice, PASJ, go to www.nefa.org/CreateSpatialJustice. Once you've done that, you can go to step two which is start an application in NEFAs grants portal. So the link to start your application is in the gray menu box in the top right section of each grant page. There's also a link to return to your application if you want to save edits and come back to it later. Pro tip, you can preview the application questions by clicking the "preview applications questions" link in the gray menu box in the top right section of each grant page.

Kim: And if you have questions, you can email us at publicart@nefa.org or sign up for office hours by going to the grant page and clicking "schedule an office hour session." That's also a link in the gray box in the upper right section of the grant page. That's basically where you can find all of the important information you need to know. And I know we covered a lot of information in this video. We hope this webinar has been helpful for you as you get started on your application.

Kamaria: Yeah, thanks again for watching this Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice and Public Art for Spatial Justice webinar. Thank you, and bye!


Apply for Spatial Justice Grants by May 24, 2021
 

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