Creative Space Grant (CRSP)


For any questions about CRSP, 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



Jump to:
Important Dates
Information about Creative Space Grants
Who Can Apply
Panel Evaluation & Scoring Criteria

Important Dates

Grantseeker Webinar     October 21, 2020 at 12 p.m.
One-on-One consultations October 16 – December 2, 2020
Applications Due December 9, 2020 at 12 p.m. 
Panel Review February 2021
Funding Recommendations April 2021
Commission Approval May 2021
Grant Period July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022 or
July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2023 (Level 2)

About the Creative Space Grant (CRSP)

The Creative Space (CRSP) Grant program supports the enhancement of San Francisco cultural facilities through Planning and Facility Improvement Grants. The category aims to improve existing arts facilities and develop new ones that will support the work of San Francisco’s arts organizations and artists. 

CRSP Planning and Facility Improvement Grants support the planning or pre-planning for the development or acquisition of arts facilities; or facilities-related capital improvements to address emergency and safety situations including compliance with COVID-19 related health orders, and/or improve or enhance the creative space.

For any questions about CRSP, contact Senior Program Officer Jaren Bonillo at or 415-252-2227.

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 that foster artistic expression deeply rooted in and reflective of historically marginalized communities. Using both the Cultural Equity Endowment Legislation and the Grantmakers in the Arts’ “Racial Equity in Arts Funding: Statement of Purpose and Recommendations for Action,” 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).

Please note: We recognize that some marginalized communities may not be listed here and encourage applicants to articulate and provide supporting evidence about the marginalization for any community not named above. Please also note the legislation pertains to marginalized communities and not fringe artistic disciplines. 

GRANT request Amount

Planning Grants: Up to $50,000. The applicant organization’s average annual operating revenue over the last two completed fiscal years determines the eligible grant request amount. Organizations can request up to 50 percent of their average annual operating revenue.

Facilities Improvement Grants Level 1: Up to $50,000 for arts organizations that have at least three years remaining on their lease at the start of the grant term, or, have a year-to-year lease and have leased the space for a minimum of ten years prior to the start of the grant term.

Facilities Improvement Grants Level 2: Up to $100,000 for arts organizations that hold title to their space, or have a lease with at least five years remaining on their lease at the start of the grant term.

Approved 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 a proposal receives from the peer review panel.



Applications must be submitted online. Emailed or faxed applications are not accepted.

If you do not have access to the internet, you may mail your application, post marked Wednesday, December 9, 2020 and you must notify Senior Program Officer Jaren Bonillo at (415) 252-2227. Mail to: SFAC, 401 Van Ness Ave., Suite 325, San Francisco, CA 94102
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. 

Creative Space Funding Categories 

PLANNING GRANTS: Grants for up to $50,000 to arts organizations for the planning or pre-planning of the development and/or acquisition of arts facilities. Funds may be used for overall plan development or specific components, such as: feasibility studies, design and engineering consultations, financial and management analysis, market analysis, site analysis, needs assessment, or capital campaign preparation. The applicant organization may use a San Francisco-based tax-exempt fiscal sponsor to apply for a CRSP planning grant. 

FACILITY IMPROVEMENT GRANTS: Grants for up to $100,000 for capital improvements to tax-exempt arts organizations with programming space. The affected spaces must be integral to the organization’s arts activities. Multiple projects may be included in the request and must meet at least one of the following priorities:

  1. Emergency situations that render the artistic activities at a creative space inoperable, such as: correcting cited fire, ADA and/or safety code violations, addressing issues prior to receiving a citation; or complying with COVID-19 related health orders.
  2. Improve or enhance the creative space by significantly upgrading an organization's artistic presentation, such as: improved stage floor, lighting systems or new sound equipment.
  3. Positive effects on audience accessibility, comfort and enjoyment of the creative space, such as: soundproofing, seating areas or heating/cooling equipment.

Who Can Apply


  • The applicant organization or fiscal sponsor must be tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3). Only fiscal sponsors may be used for the Planning Grant category.
  • The applicant organization (and its fiscal sponsor, if applicable) must be San Francisco-based, and must demonstrate two years of programmatic activity with at least four programmatic San Francisco-based activities since November 2018.
  • The applicant organization’s mission statement must be clearly focused on the development, production and/or presentation of arts activities in San Francisco.
  • The applicant organization cannot be part of another City agency or department.
  • New for FY21: The organization’s annual operating revenue must not exceed $3 million in income.

    Fiscal sponsors: Organizations that exceed the $3 million income cap due to regranting must verify their operational budget without pass-through funds at the time of application. Applicants must upload audited financials from the most recently completed fiscal year demonstrating the dollar amount of pass-through funds.
  • Applicants must not be in default on any grants or loans from: (1) SFAC; (2) other City departments (including, but not limited to, the 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; and/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. 
  • The proposed project must take place in San Francisco between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022 (for Planning and Level 1) or June 30, 2023 (Level 2). 

    It is anticipated that successful proposals will be for a term of one year up to two years beginning in fiscal year 2021-22 with a possible extension for up to one year based on extenuating circumstances as determined by the San Francisco Arts Commission in consultation with the grantee. Any extension is subject to San Francisco Arts Commission approval and funding appropriation. San Francisco Arts Commission reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to not exercise an extension option.
  • Organizations must either hold title or be in possession of a qualifying lease or have a letter of intent from the property owner to enter into a qualifying lease or sale.
  • 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 and business tax requirements. For more information about supplier requirements, visit: 

    Please note: you will only be required to register as a City Supplier if you are awarded a grant. Insurance and business tax requirements will be explained and made available upon approval of grant awards.


  • A proposed project cannot receive simultaneous funds from multiple SFAC funding sources; this includes collaborators applying to work on different components of the same project and applying separately.
  • Only one application per organization may be submitted to the Creative Space Grant category. An applicant cannot apply to both a Planning Grant and a Level 1 or Level 2. This does not apply to fiscal sponsors who submit applications on behalf of different fiscally sponsored projects.
  • Applicants cannot receive funding for two consecutive grant cycles in the Creative Space category. However, if an applicant was awarded a Planning Grant, an application for a Facilities Grant in the next cycle may be submitted. Previously awarded Creative Space grants must be completed and closed out before re-applying for any additional grants in the category.
  • Programs of another City agency or department are not eligible to apply, which includes the City-owned Cultural Centers.

Fiscal Sponsors

A contractual arrangement must be confirmed at the time of the application, if an organization/fiscally sponsored project plans to use a fiscal sponsor. Organizations cannot retroactively work with or change fiscal sponsorship after a grant is approved for funding. Fiscal sponsors must be based in San Francisco and register as a compliant City supplier. If an organization is approved for funding, the fiscal sponsor is the legal grantee and fiscal receiver, and the organization is the sub-grantee. The fiscal sponsor and organization are required to work together to complete and submit financial documentation of the disbursement of funds with the grant’s final report.


  • Copyright: If the organization is approved for funding, the fiscal sponsor (legal grantee) and the organization (sub-grantee) must decide who will hold the copyright to any materials or work created during the grant window. This should be discussed and relayed to the Arts Commission in advance of a grant contract being executed. The contract includes language regarding copyright which is approved and initialed by the fiscal sponsor, as they are the grantee receiving the funds.
  • Financials: The organization’s Profit and Loss Statements and Balance Sheets for the two most recently completed fiscal years are required at the time of application submission, and should be provided by the Fiscal Sponsor for the organization to upload to the online form.

ineligible expenses

Grant funds may not pay for:

  1. Activities and spaces outside of San Francisco;
  2. Deficit reduction;
  3. Start-up money for new organizations;
  4. Routine and ongoing maintenance;
  5. Down payments or lease deposits;
  6. Projects that do not result in reasonable access for individuals with disabilities under the ADA.

PLANNING PROJECt requirements

  • Partnership Agreements: New developments aimed at providing shared arts programming space for multiple arts organizations may be considered if they can demonstrate stable, San Francisco-based arts community leadership and confirmed partners. Strong collaborations and community partnerships are integral to the intent of this grant. 
    • Signed letters from confirmed partners are required at the time of application submission.
  • Fiscal Sponsorship: If an applicant is using a fiscal sponsor, a signed fiscal sponsorship form is required at the time of application submission.


  • Lease/Ownership Requirements:
    • Level 1: Applicant organization has at least three years remaining on their lease at the start of the grant term, or has a year-to-year lease and has leased the space for a minimum of ten years prior to the start of the grant term.
    • Level 2: Applicant organization holds the title to its space, or has a lease with at least five years remaining at the start of the grant term. 
  • Board Giving Requirement (Level 2):
    • Applicant organization must demonstrate full board participation in the campaign and provide a list of board members and their gifts and/or pledges at the time of application submission.
  • Prevailing Wage Requirement (Facilities): City-funded contractors and sub-contractors responsible for construction or maintenance projects must comply with all relevant local, state and federal prevailing wage laws at the time of bidding. Please visit for more information.

    Applicant organization must provide (3) three estimates, which include the names and registration numbers of each contractor/sub-contractor. For a current list of registered public works contractors, visit: 
  • Contractors must to register with the California Department of Industrial Relations at the time of bidding to confirm compliance with prevailing wage rates. For Contractor Registration information, visit:

grantee and insurance requirements

  • 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. 
  • Insurance Requirements
    General Liability
    • To authorize any grant payment, insurance must cover the entire grant period (July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022 or 2023). Grantees will need to submit a certificate of General Liability Insurance with an Endorsement Page.
    • 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.

      If funded grantees using professional services, related to construction and facility projects must provide evidence of Professional Liability Insurance.
    • Workers Comp Insurance is required for an organization that has employees. 
    • Waiver of Subrogation addendum is required for projects on ANY City-owned property. 
    • Auto Insurance is required if use of a vehicle is necessary to fulfill the project. 
    • 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, sculpture or any other type of public art.

Panel Evaluation & Scoring Criteria

Panelists are instructed to use the following scoring criteria, which correspond to the application questions below. Close review of this grid may help you prepare your application responses. Please thoroughly review the application instructions for the complete overview of the CRSP application questions and guidance. 





Cultural Significance

(30 points)


Organization’s mission and activities center and express the experiences of historically marginalized communities.

Describe the ways in which the organization’s mission centers the experience of historically marginalized communities.


Organization demonstrates a thorough understanding of historically marginalized audiences/communities and has a sound strategy for reaching them.

Describe how the proposed project will enhance the organization’s ability to re-open and engage the intended audience/communities.

- Letter(s) of Support

Project Design

(40 points)


Project is well-planned with clear outputs.

Describe the proposed project in detail, including the current state of your space and explain how the proposed project aligns with the Creative Space priorities.

- Completed Grant Plan
- Images of the space that will be modified and design drawings of the intended outcome (facilities only)

10 Organization demonstrates readiness for the project.

Describe pre-planning the organization has made to date.

10 Project budget is viable and appropriate.
- Completed Project Budget 
- Estimates from three sources (Level 2 only)

Ability to Complete the Project

(30 points)


Project staff and leadership have relevant experience to implement and execute the project.

Provide brief bios of the key project staff (up to five) and include relevant experience and qualifications.

15 Organization demonstrates appropriate capacity to complete the project.

Describe your advisory board or board of directors and their level of engagement as it pertains to strategic planning, fundraising, and governance. 

- List of Advisory Board members or Board of Directors and their areas of expertise.
- Uploaded IRS 990 or 990-EZ from the last completed fiscal year. 
    - or for fiscally sponsored applicants: Profit and Loss Statements and Balance Sheets for the last two completed fiscal years.
- Budget notes
- List of board of directors with their gifts and/or pledges to the proposed project (Level 2 only)

Application Review

Panelists evaluate and rank applications according to the grant category (Planning, Level 1 or Level 2) and by increasing annual operating budget size up to $3 million.

Grant Panelists

Creative Space 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 cultural equity and field issues; and have experience that aligns with the purpose of the grant.

grant Panel Attendance & influence
Creative Space panel reviews are held online and accessible to the public. A schedule of each panel review is posted on our 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 applicant is found to have attempted to influence a panelist in any way, 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 recommendations are determined within each grant category.

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.  

Approved grant amounts may differ from the request amount due to the level of funding available to the CRSP program, demand for that funding, and/or the rank an application receives from the peer review panel.

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

Grant notifications

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

Panel REVIEW Notes

You may contact to request panel scores and a link to the recording. Requests are fulfilled in the order they are received.

What's Coming Up

Public Meeting

Visual Arts Committee Meeting

April 17
3:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Hybrid: City Hall | Rm 416 and Online
Public Meeting

Executive Committee Meeting

December 18
1:00 PM to 2:30 PM

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

Full Arts Commission Meeting

May 06
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Hybrid: City Hall | Rm 416 and Online
Public Meeting

Executive Committee Meeting

April 24
1:00 PM to 2:30 PM

Hybrid: City Hall | Rm 408 and Online