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Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice

Grants to Massachusetts Artists and
Nonprofits for Collaborative Art Research

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA)

Deadline Date:

10/19/20 11:59 PM EDT


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Grants of up to $5,000 to Massachusetts artists and nonprofit organizations for art research. Funding is intended for collaborative teams of artists to consider ways that public art can foster and contribute to the overall wellbeing of a community and to a more equitable future. The work of imagination is a journey. Project deliverables are not expected or required to begin this journey. 

Collective Imagination Journey Checklist (think: Funding Criteria) 

  • Assemble the Collective Imagination Team. Priority will be given to teams that are: 
    • 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 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 thetentative 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:

- August Deadline: For opportunities that begin late September/early October 2020
- September Deadline: For opportunities that begin late October/early November 2020
- October Deadline: For opportunities that begin late November/early December 2020

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 if total payments exceed the minimum requirements set by the IRS within a calendar year.

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 grantees who have not completed their respective grantee report. Grantees must complete their previous grantee report before being eligible to apply for another Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice OR Public Art for Spatial Justice grant.

Pre-proposal Conference:

If you are interested in the grant opportunity and have questions, please sign up for one Office Hour slot (20 minute slots). You must have an application started before signing up for office hours and you must sign up for a slot 48 hours in advance, so that staff can be fully prepared to meet with you. Staff will be happy to answer any specific questions you have about your grant application.

- August 6: Office Hours are 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
- August 11: Office Hours are 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM
- August 12: Office Hours are 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM
- August 13: Office Hours are 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM
- August 18: Office Hours are 9:00 AM to NOON
- August 20: Office Hours are 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM

To register and for more information:

Pre-Application Information:

Collective Imagination for Spatial Justice applications will be accepted from late July through October 19, 2020. Submitted applications will be reviewed on a monthly basis, after each of the following grant deadlines:

- Monday, August 24, 2020, 11:59 PM EDT: For opportunities that begin late September/early October 2020
- Monday, September 21, 2020, 11:59 PM EDT: For opportunities that begin late October/early November 2020
- Monday, October 19, 2020, 11:59 PM EDT: For opportunities that begin late November/early December 2020

Preview Application Questions:

Contact Information:

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

Apply Online:

Contact Information:
Kim Szeto
Program Director, Public Art
617.951.0010 x518

Kamaria Carrington
Program Coordinator, Public Art
617-951-0010 x532

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
617-951-0010 x520

New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA)
145 Tremont Street, 7th Floor
Boston, MA 02111
T 617-951-0010
F 617-951-0016

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Massachusetts

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