Artivist-in-Residence (AIR)

FOR PROJECTS TAKING PLACE July 1, 2021 — June 30, 2024

For any questions about Artivist-in-Residence (AIR), please contact Senior Program Officer, Jaren.Bonillo at or 415-252-2227.


A translation of this grant application is available upon request; however, only applications in English will be accepted.

Una traducción de esta solicitud de aplicación está disponible a petición; sin embargo, solamente se aceptarán solicitudes en inglés. Favor comunicarse con Lorena Moreno al 415-252-2211 ó para una traducción al español.


Ang pagsasalin sa Tagalog ng aplikasyon para sa pagkalooban na ito ay makukuha kung hihingilin. Ngunit ang aplikasyon sa Ingles lamang ang aming tatanggapin. Para sa tulong, maaring i-contact si Sandra Panopio, 415-252-2217 o


 artivist-in-residence Grantseeker info session  

artivist-in-residence guidelines (pdf)


Jump to:
Important Dates
Information about Artivist-in-Residence (AIR)
Who Can Apply
Panel Evaluation & Scoring Criteria

Important Dates

Application Release January 8, 2021
Grantseeker Webinar January 15, 2021
One-on-One Consultations January 12 – February 9, 2021
Applications Due February 10, 2021
Public Grant Review* April 2021
Funding Recommendation* April 2021
Full Commission Approval* May 2021
Grant Period  July 1, 2021 – July 30, 2024

*Dates may be subject to change. 

About the Artivist-in-Residence (AIR) Grant

The Artivist-in-Residence (AIR) is a grant program for a nonprofit arts organization to hire teaching artists as part-time hourly employees to design and implement socially responsive art and creative exploration learning experiences (e.g. in-person, hybrid, remote) as a means to heal and build community. In turn, teaching artists are provided equitable compensation and opportunities to further their artistic practices and professional development as educators in a three-year cohort.

By naming the teaching artist cohort Artivists, SFAC strives to cultivate a healing and social justice-based approach that reflects and empowers BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) communities, LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and more) individuals and vulnerable populations.

This program is an evolution of the WritersCorps Teaching Artist-in-Residence (WCTAIR) three-year grant. WCTAIR focused on youth literacy development through creative writing and nurtured the artistic and professional talents of teaching artists through regular cohort meetings over a course of three years. WCTAIR artists taught creative writing and fostered the talents and literacy of youth through partnerships with schools and community-based organizations (CBOs). WCTAIR had a history of prioritizing and providing access to LGBTQ+ youth, teenage parents, low-income youth and youth affected by the juvenile justice system. The AIR program will maintain the integrity and rigor of WCTAIR’s professional development for Artivists, and will expand the art genres and age groups served to be inclusive of lifelong learning and creative exploration. With this shift, we are calling AIR students and program participants Community Learners.

Racial equity statement

The San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC) is committed to creating a city where all artists and cultural workers have the freedom, resources and platform to share their stories, art and culture and where race does not predetermine one’s success in life. We also acknowledge that we occupy traditional and unceded Ohlone land. Fueled by these beliefs, we commit to addressing the systemic inequities within our agency, the City and County of San Francisco and the broader arts and culture sector. This work requires that we focus on race as we confront inequities of the past, reveal inequities of the present and develop effective strategies to move all of us towards an equitable future.

Priority funding goes to organizations deeply rooted in and reflective of communities listed in the Cultural Equity Endowment Legislation and the Grantmakers in the Arts’ “Racial Equity: Statement of Purpose.” These communities include: African and African American; Latinx; Asian and Asian American; Arab; Native American; Pacific Islander; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer; Transgender and Gender Variant People; People with Disabilities; and Women. (SF ADMIN. CODE CHAPTER 68: CULTURAL EQUITY ENDOWMENT FUND. Sec. 68.6. PROJECT GRANTS).


Up to $400,000 over a three-year grant period. Grant amounts may differ from the request amount due to the level of funding available to the program, demand for that funding, and/or the rank an application receives from the review panel. The current Not to Exceed amount for a grant funded pursuant to this solicitation is $400,000, if more funding becomes available the amount could increase. 

How to Apply 


Applications must be submitted online. If you do not have access to the internet you may mail your application and you must notify Senior Program Officer Jaren Bonillo at 415-252-2227 or Emailed or faxed applications are not accepted. In fairness to others, we cannot accept late or incomplete applications. If the applicant does not provide the complete set of information in the appropriate format by the deadline, the application may be deemed incomplete and ineligible. No deadline extensions will be granted.

project description

Artivist-in-Residence: Support up to $400,000 over a three-year grant period for a nonprofit arts organization to hire artists as part-time hourly employees to design and implement socially responsive art and creative exploration learning experiences (e.g. in-person, hybrid, remote) as a means to heal and build community. Funding will support the compensation and development of Artivists, program implementation and administration.

Activities supported by this grant must take place in San Francisco and engage San Francisco residents.

grant program REQUIREMENTS

  • Artivists are hired as part-time hourly employees.
  • Artivists are paid hourly for instruction, prep/planning and professional development.
  • Each Artivist must teach a minimum of 150 hours a year.
  • The composition of the AIR cohort must always be at least 2/3 (66 percent) BIPOC, regardless of any residency changes during the course of the three-year grant.
  • At least half (50 percent) of the AIR administrative team must be self-identified BIPOC.
  • AIR directly benefits BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and vulnerable populations including: youth (age 0 to 24 years old), older adults (age 60 and up), individuals with disabilities, individuals affected by the justice system/foster care, and individuals experiencing homelessness and/or joblessness.
  • Activities supported by the grant must result in an annual public (virtual or in-person) presentation or performance in partnership with San Francisco Public Library. This may be online due to COVID restrictions.
  • A minimum of 150 Community Learners must be served during the grant window. 

Learning and Educational Outcomes for Community Learners:

  • To develop and foster an artistic or creative skill set.
  • To introduce or elevate an artistic genre for the learning community.  
  • To appreciate and celebrate culturally-based art forms.

Grant period: July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2024. It is anticipated that successful proposals will describe a term of three years beginning July 1, 2021 with a possible extension for up to one additional year based on extenuating circumstances as determined by the Arts Commission in consultation with the grantee. Any extension is subject to Arts Commission approval and funding appropriation. The Arts Commission reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to not exercise an extension option.

Applicants should address their experience, skills and abilities to demonstrate the following requirements:

    • A history (at least three years) of managing or collaborating with teaching artists and hosting art programs.
    • Eighty percent of the grant (up to $320,000) must be allocated for Artivist compensation. The remaining 20 percent (up to $80,000) may be allocated for direct programmatic and administrative expenses.
    • A required twenty percent match (up to $80,000 or $26,666 per year) for indirect administrative expenses such as staff time and/or cash matching.
    • Staff capacity (experience and background) to administer the AIR program.
    • Equitable compensation and benefits for AIR cohort.
    • Strong examples and details of collaborating with or within BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and/or vulnerable populations or communities listed above.
    • A thorough recruitment strategy and AIR cohort professional development plan.
    • Identified community (or communities) the AIR will directly engage.
    • A clear vision of community impact and engagement through the AIR program.
    • Detailed goals and desired outcomes for AIR are relevant to the artists, communities engaged and the applying organization’s mission. 

    Who Can Apply


    Applicants are strongly encouraged to consult with San Francisco Arts Commission staff well in advance of the application deadline to confirm eligibility.

    • The applicant organization must be tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) in good standing.
    • NEW: The applicant organization must provide proof of a corporate address in the City and County of San Francisco. A lease in the name of the applicant organization within the last 24 months or a property title is required at the time of application to demonstrate proof of a current/pre-COVID corporate address in San Francisco.
    • The applicant organization’s mission statement must be clearly focused on arts education engagement, development, production, and/or presentation of arts activities in San Francisco.
    • The organization’s annual operating revenue must not exceed $1.5 million in income.
    • The applicant organization cannot be part of another City agency or department.
    • Applicants must demonstrate three full years of programmatic activity at the time of application, with at least four arts education/creative exploration programmatic activities in San Francisco. Two of the arts education/creative exploration programmatic activities may be presented online or as a socially distanced experience if they took place after March 16, 2020, and the primary intended audience was San Francisco residents.
    • The proposed initiative must take place in San Francisco between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2024.  
    • The applying organization’s administrative team for this grant must include 50 percent of staff members self-identifying as BIPOC.
    • Applicants must not be in default on any grants or loans from: (1) San Francisco Arts Commission; (2) other City departments (including, but not limited to, Department of Children, Youth and Their Families, Office of Economic and Workforce Development, Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development and Grants for the Arts); (3) Northern California Grantmakers Arts Loan Fund; (4) Community Vision Capital and Consulting; (5) Community Arts Stabilization Trust; or (6) the Center for Cultural Innovation. This default clause was expanded due to the fact that SFAC has fiduciary relationships with these particular organizations, through either shared City resources or other pooled philanthropic funds.
    • The organization must be willing and able to meet the requirements associated with receiving funds from the City and County of San Francisco. In order to receive a grant payment from the San Francisco Arts Commission, you must become a registered, compliant supplier and meet the City and County of San Francisco's insurance, business tax and equal benefits requirements. For more information about supplier requirements, visit:

      Please note: you will only be required to register as a City supplier if your application is approved for funding.


    • A proposed project cannot receive funds simultaneously from multiple SFAC funding sources; this includes collaborators applying to work on different components of the same project and applying separately.
    • Applicants may only submit one application.
    • The awarding of funds does not imply that the Arts Commission or any other City agency will produce, exhibit, or present the art created. 

    ​ineligible expenses

    Funds cannot support: 
    1. Activities outside of San Francisco;

    2. Deficit reduction;

    3. Start-up money for new organizations;

    insurance requirements

    • General Liability: To authorize any grant payment, general liability insurance must cover the entire grant period (July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2024). If funded, grantees will need to submit a certificate of General Liability Insurance with an Endorsement Page.
    • Workers Compensation Insurance is required for an organization that has employees.

      Abuse and Molestation Insurance must be added to the Workers Compensation policy if the project involves working with vulnerable populations defined as: minors under the age of 18, seniors over the age of 65 and developmentally disabled populations.
    • Auto Insurance is required if use of a vehicle is necessary to fulfill the project.
    • Waiver of Subrogation addendum is required for projects on ANY City-owned property.
    • If funded grantees using professional services, related to construction and facility projects must provide evidence of Professional Liability Insurance.
    • City Permits and Permissions: If the proposal includes components that require City permits or approval such as publicly-installed art, street closures, sound amplification in public space or murals, the grantee will be solely responsible for securing the necessary permits, permissions, insurance and approvals.
    • Art Installation: Please note that any art installed with these grant funds on property owned by the City and County of San Francisco or on private property must be reviewed and approved by the San Francisco Arts Commission starting with the Visual Arts Committee of the Commission. This applies to murals, public sculpture and similar projects. It will be the responsibility of the grantee to build this process into their grant plan, budget narrative and timeline. Please contact Craig Corpora at for questions about murals or any other type of public art.

    Panel Evaluation & Scoring Criteria

    Panelists will use the following scoring criteria corresponding to the application questions below. Close review of this grid may help you focus your application responses. Please thoroughly review the application instructions for the complete overview of the Artivist-In-Residence application process.





    Racial Equity

    (20 points)


    Explain how the proposed AIR program aligns with the organization’s mission and advances racial equity by prioritizing communities of color and vulnerable groups.

    The applicant clearly describes a practice for advancing racial equity in the proposed AIR program and demonstrates programmatic alignment with the organization’s mission.

    10 Describe the organization’s history and experience managing and collaborating with Artivists (teaching artists). How will the organization design and implement the AIR program to support racial equity in SF communities?

    The applicant has strong examples of working with Artivists. There is a thorough outline of the proposed program along with an explanation on how the program’s structure centers the needs of the BIPOC communities engaged.

    Program Design & Implementation

    (30 points)


    Describe how the Artivists will be recruited, trained, and supported throughout the program. What will the organization gain or learn from employing Artivists?

    The applicant demonstrates thorough strategies to recruit a two-thirds (66 percent) BIPOC Artivist cohort and to invest their professional development over the course of the program. The applicant shares a vision for the AIR program and community engagement.
    15 Describe the community/ies receiving AIR programming along with an outreach strategy. What will the participants and the community gain from working with an Artivist-in-Residence?

    The applicant describes their targeted audience and an outreach strategy with several points of engagement. Participant learning outcomes and goals for community impact respond to community needs and are achievable within the grant window.

    Ability to Administer Program

    (50 points)

    15 How will the organization provide and assure equitable compensation for each of the Artivists? Provide an outline of wages, benefits, and any paid leave. The compensation plan details the number of Artivists hired, wages, benefits and paid leave. Artivists receive competitive compensation throughout the residency. The budget reflects eighty percent allocated to Artivists and twenty percent for direct programmatic and administrative costs.
    10 Describe the organization’s current financial position. Describe how the organization will match 20 percent ($80,000 or $26,666 per year) for in-direct administrative expenses to sustain the program for the life of the grant?

    The applicant delivers an accurate financial position and evidence that there is a confirmed match for twenty percent indirect program costs.

    • Upload of IRS 990, 990-EZ or 990-PF
    15 Provide four examples of the organization’s arts education programming (two work samples) and curriculum (two curricula samples) developed in partnership with Artivists in the past three years. One of the four examples must include a remote learning, virtual, or socially distanced experience.

    The applicant shows a history of arts programing in partnership with Artivists through work samples. Curricula samples demonstrate an expertise in arts education/creative exploration by describing how a topic is approached (technique) with Community Learner outcomes.

    • Uploads of work samples
    • Uploads of curricula samples
    10 Identify the staff members who will administer the AIR program with brief biographies describing their professional experience and connection to the communities served. The applicant lists designated staff members and their roles in the proposed AIR program. Staff demonstrate experience in managing teaching artists and have strong relationships with communities engaged.

    Application Review

    Panelists evaluate and rank applications according to budget size: organizations with annual operating budgets under $150,000; organizations with annual operating budgets between $150,000 and $400,000; and organizations with annual operating budgets between $400,000 and $1.5 million.

    grant panelists

    AIR applications are evaluated in an open review process by a panel of peers. Grant review panelists reflect the diversity of San Francisco; have broad knowledge about the arts education landscape, teaching artists, youth development, cultural equity and field issues; and have experience that aligns with the purpose of the grant.

    Panel Review Attendance and influence

    Due to COVID restrictions, panels will be virtual until further notice. The AIR panel review is held online and accessible to the public. A schedule of each panel review is posted on the SFAC website and applicants are notified about panel dates in advance via email. Please be sure the email address in your application is current and regularly checked. Take steps to ensure that emails from the San Francisco Arts Commission are not lost in your spam filter. Many applicants find it insightful to listen to the discussion of applications and are welcome to observe the panel review. Applicants may not engage in discussion with any panelists or San Francisco Arts Commission staff during the panel. If an organization is found to have made attempts to influence a panelist in any way, including contacting them before or after the panel to discuss their application, their grant application will be automatically disqualified.

    Funding Recommendations

    Based on an evaluation of the applications, panelist scores create a ranking for funding recommendations.

    Funding Approval

    Panel recommendations are subject to the approval of the Arts Commission. Typically, recommendations are first reviewed by the Community Investments Committee and then by the full Commission. 

    Arts Commission meetings are open to the public. Agendas are available at or 72 hours in advance of a meeting.

    Grant notifications

    Grant award notifications are emailed to the address listed on the application and include instructions about the contracting process and orientation dates.


    You may contact to request panel comments. Requests are fulfilled in the order they are received.

    What's Coming Up

    Public Meeting

    Executive Committee Meeting

    December 18
    1:00 PM to 2:30 PM

    Hybrid: 401 Van Ness | Rm 125 and Online
    Public Meeting

    Visual Arts Committee Meeting

    December 16
    2:00 PM to 6:00 PM

    Hybrid: City Hall | Rm 408 and Online
    Public Meeting

    Civic Design Review Committee Meeting

    December 11
    2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

    Hybrid: City Hall | Rm 408 and Online
    Public Meeting

    Community Investments Committee Meeting

    December 09
    1:00 PM to 3:00 PM

    Hybrid: City Hall | Rm 416 and Online