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Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice

Grants to Massachusetts Artists and Cultural
Organizers for Collaborative Art Planning and Developing

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) Barr Foundation

Deadline Date:

05/24/21 11:59 PM ET


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Grants of up to $5,000 to Massachusetts artists, cultural organizers, and community-based collaborators for art project planning and development. Funding is intended for collaborative teams of artists to develop projects that promote justice and equity in public art and to consider ways that public art can foster and contribute to the overall wellbeing of a community. Priority will be given to groups that are led or co-led by BIPOC artists.

Collective Imagination Journey Funding Criteria and Priorities

  • Assemble the Collective Imagination Team. Priority will be given to teams that are: 
    • Share in NEFA’s values and commitment to the work of dismantling the legacies of racism, anti-Blackness, and white supremacy culture.
    • Are led or co-led by artists, particularly BIPOC artists. The path to dismantling the legacies of racism and white supremacy culture includes centering BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color)-led creative exploration and expression in public spaces. 
    • Are rooted in community and/or demonstrate deep relationship to place – particularly rural places and/or places where folks are experiencing/have experienced displacement.
    • Are built on trust and accountability. Artists are collaborators and co-conspirators on this journey, not saviors.
  • Know where the team is starting and why. Be as specific as possible. 
    • Public spaces are not neutral. And public art made in public spaces is not neutral. What has brought the team to this moment of exploration and imagination, and why now? 
    • Examples may include but are not limited to: creatively responding to a controversial monument in the community – exploring what might it look like to temporarily decolonize and/or indigenize a space, exploring what Black joy, grief, healing, celebration and creative expression in public may look, sound, and feel like as a way of healing cultural norms of anti-Blackness in public spaces, or figuring out how to safely foster a sense of community in the public square during this extended moment of social distancing. Note: These are just a few examples and are not meant to be prescriptive.
    • Priority will be given to teams that focus on: 
      • The intersectionality of spatial justice and racial justice 
      • Disrupting harmful historic narratives that uphold social and structural inequities 
      • Decolonizing and/or indigenizing public spaces 
      • Honoring the integrity of the people, places, stories, and ideas – past, present, and future- engaged in the process
  •  Know what the team needs (to get started). 
    • Road Map. Budget. Resources. 
    • How will this funding support the team's collective journey (budget/budget narrative)? What are the tentative plans? Are there other resources that the team will “take” on this journey (books, readings, mentors, guiding principles, etc.)? Remember to honor team member's time as collaborators. The Foundation also recognizes the rapidly changing times of this pandemic and plans may evolve with time.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 191549

Estimated Size of Grant:

Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice grants range from $2,000 - $5,000.

Term of Contract:

Grantees will have six months from the beginning of the grant to do the work of collective imagination.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Massachusetts artists, creatives, culture bearers, cultural organizers, and community-based collaborators may apply.

Lead Applicant must be a Massachusetts-based artist, creative, culture bearer, cultural organizer, and/or community-based collective or organization.
- Lead applicant may be individuals, fiscally sponsored collectives, and 501c3 organizations.
- Individual applicants and payees must be 18+ years old.
- Organizations/Collectives applying may be a 501c3, fiscally sponsored, or a collective of individuals.
- Note: Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice Grants are taxable income to individual recipients and reportable to the IRS. Grantees will receive a 1099 from NEFA.

The Collective Imagination Team must include 1-4 additional collaborators: artists, creatives, culture bearers, cultural organizers, and/or community-based collectives or organizations.
- Recognizing the intersectionality of artists’ identities, the Foundation asks that artist(s) are among your Collective Imagination Team either as the lead applicant or as additional collaborator(s).
- Additional collaborators may be based outside of Massachusetts.

Interest and commitment to the work of collective imagination!
- Commitment to imagining public art that fosters and/or contributes to a more racially and spatially just versions of what is possible in the public spaces.

Not Eligible
- Lead applicant is not based in Massachusetts.
- Project-specific funding requests. Collective Imagination Grants intend to strengthen collaborations and support this necessary work of collectively imagining together, before diving into creating impactful, accountable public art. If you have a specific project that you are ready to implement, please consider applying for a Public Art for Spatial Justice Grant.
- Current Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice grantee (lead applicant) who has not completed their respective grantee report.

Pre-proposal Conference:

To speak to program staff about your grant application, sign up for office hours:

Pre-Application Information:

The upcoming deadline for Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice applications is: Monday, May 24, 2021, 11:59 PM ET

Grant announcements will be made late July/early August 2021.

Preview Application Questions:

Public Art Program page:

Spacial Justice paper:

Watch Spatial Justice Grants Webinar:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

To Apply:

Contact Information:
Kim Szeto
Program Director, Public Art

Kamaria Carrington
Program Coordinator, Public Art

NEFA accepts grant applications via an online form. If you require an alternate format or assistance to access the application, please contact:
Jane Preston
Interim Accessibility Coordinator

New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA)
1000 Washington Street, Second Floor
Boston, MA 02118
T 617-951-0010
F 617-951-0016

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Massachusetts

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