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

Grant Information Session October 1, 2021 at 1 p.m.
San Francisco Arts Organizations Information Session October 6, 2021 at 12 p.m.
Fiscal Sponsors Information Session October 8, 2021 at 12 p.m.
Application Deadline Wednesday, October 27, 2021
One-on-One Consultations October 4 – November 2, 2021
Grant Panel Review February – March 2022
Funding Recommendations April 2022
Commission Approval May 2022
Notification of Funding May 2022
Grant Period July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023 or June 30, 2024

*Dates are subject to change.

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 funding 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 Facilities 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.

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 to tax-exempt arts organizations with programming space needing capital improvements. 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: correct cited fire, ADA and/or safety code violations, address issues prior to receiving a citation; or comply 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.

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 artists that are deeply rooted in and reflective of communities listed in the Arts Commission’s 1993 Cultural Equity Endowment Legislation and informed by current best practices in racial equity. 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.)

If you are a part of a community not listed that you feel should be included, we encourage applicants to articulate and provide supporting evidence regarding the historical and current inequities experienced by your community.

maximum GRANT request Amounts

Creative Space grants range from $50,000 to $100,000 based on current budget availability and funding category. Should additional City funding become available, grant amounts could be increased. Please refer to each category and project description for the maximum 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.

Grant Term
A grant funded pursuant to these guidelines will have a grant term of one or two years. The City at its sole, absolute discretion shall have the option to extend the term for additional years as determined by the Arts Commission.

The San Francisco Arts Commission reserves the right to: reissue these guidelines and request for applications; reject or cancel any or all applications; prior to application deadline, modify all or any portion of the selection procedures, including deadlines for accepting responses, the specifications or requirements for any services to be provided under this Solicitation or the requirements for content or format of the applications.

Planning Project Requirements

  • Partnership Agreements: New developments aimed at providing shared 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.

Facilities Project Requirements

  • 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 Requirements (Facilities): City-funded contractors and sub-contractors responsible for construction or maintenance projects over $1,000 must comply with all local, state and federal prevailing wage laws at the time of bidding. Please visit for more information.

    Applicant organizations 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:

    For construction related projects over $25,000 or maintenance projects over $15,000, contractors and sub-contractors must 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:



Applications must be submitted online. 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.

NEW: If you need special accommodations, you must contact Senior Program Officer Jaren Bonillo at or (415) 252-2227 at least two weeks before the application deadline, for us to appropriately accommodate.


Who Can Apply


  • The applicant organization or fiscal sponsor must be tax-exempt and in good standing 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 a history of consistent programmatic history and public benefit to the City of San Francisco, its neighborhoods and communities over the last two years.
  • The applicant organization’s mission statement must be clearly focused on the development, production, and/or presentation of arts activities and/or youth arts activities in San Francisco.
  • Organizations must either hold title or be in possession of a qualifying lease (Level 2) or have a letter of intent from the property owner to enter into a qualifying lease or sale.
  • The applicant cannot be part of another City agency or department.
  • The organization’s annual operating revenue must not exceed $3,000,000.

    Fiscal sponsors: Organizations that exceed the $3,000,000 income cap due to regranting or non-arts related emergency COVID response funds 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, 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, 2022 and June 30, 2023 (for Planning and Level 1) or June 30, 2024 (Level 2).
  • 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, the organization must become a registered, compliant supplier and meet the City 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.

Fiscal Sponsors

  • Fiscal sponsors must be based in San Francisco and register as a compliant City supplier.
  • If the applicant plans to work with a fiscal sponsor, a contractual arrangement between the applicant and the fiscal sponsor must be confirmed prior to the San Francisco Arts Commission’s grant application process.
  • Organizations may not act as a fiscal sponsor for employees or artists contracted by that organization; a third-party fiscal sponsor is required.
  • Applicants cannot retroactively work with or change fiscal sponsorship after a grant application is approved for funding.
  • If an applicant is approved for funding, the fiscal sponsor is the legal grantee and receives the funds on behalf of the applicant who is the subgrantee.
  • The fiscal sponsor/grantee is required to work with the subgrantee to complete and submit financial documentation of the disbursement of funds with the grant’s final report.
  • All funds must be paid to the subgrantee in advance of the final disbursement of the grant.
  • Copyright: If the applicant receives funding, the fiscal sponsor and the applicant must decide who will hold the copyright to any materials or work created during the grant period. This should be discussed in advance of signing the grant agreement, as it includes language regarding copyright, which is approved and initialed by the fiscal sponsor.
  • Financials: The applicant organization’s Profit and Loss Statements and Balance Sheets for the two most recently completed fiscal years are required at the time of application, and should be provided by the fiscal sponsor for the organization to upload to the online form.


  • Only one application may be submitted to this grant category.
  • Partners and collaborators cannot apply separately for the same project.
  • Organizations with open grants must fully close out the grant within that grant period before reapplying in the same grant category.
  • Programs of another City agency or department are not eligible to apply, which includes the City-legislated Cultural Centers.

    Please note: Current grantees are required sit out one year after a completed grant period.

    CRSP Table.png

ineligible expenses

Grant funds may not pay for:

  1. Activities 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.

insurance requirements

General Liability: Coverage with limits not less than $1,000,000 each occurrence and $2,000,000 general aggregate.

  • CERTIFICATE HOLDER must read “San Francisco Arts Commission, Attn: Community Investments, 401 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 325, San Francisco, CA 94102”.
  • Certificates for General Liability and Auto Liability must include an ENDORSEMENT PAGE naming “The City & County of San Francisco, San Francisco Arts Commission, Community Investments, its officers, agents, and employees” as additionally insured.

Commercial Automobile Liability Insurance: Coverage with limits not less than one million dollars $1,000,000 each occurrence for Combined Single Limit for Bodily Injury and Property Damage, including Owned, Non-Owned and Hired auto coverage, as applicable.

  • You may request a waiver for Auto Liability insurance, if the organization will not be using a vehicle for the main purpose of the grant.

Sexual Misconduct Insurance: Working with vulnerable populations (minors under 18 years old, elderly over 65 years old, developmentally disabled populations) requires that sexual misconduct insurance be added to the general liability policy in amounts not less than $1,000,000 per occurrence, $2,000,000 general aggregate.

Worker’s Compensation Insurance: Coverage is required for all organizations that have salaried employees; in statutory amounts, with Employers’ Liability limits not less than $1,000,000 each accident, injury, or illness.

  • Worker’s Compensation Insurance is a California State law.
  • You may request a waiver for Worker’s Compensation insurance if the organization does not have employees as defined by the California Labor Code.

A Waiver of Subrogation must be added to the worker’s compensation insurance, if any work that the grant is funding happens on City-owned or -managed property.

Professional liability Insurance: Coverage is required from your contractor for professional services related to construction and facility projects, in amounts not less than $1,000,000 per occurrence, $2,000,000 general aggregate. Please visit the CA Department of Consumer Affairs-Contractors State License Board to confirm your contractor is licensed by the State.

City Permits and Permissions

If the proposal includes components that require City permits or approval such as publicly installed art, murals, street closures or sound amplification in public space, the organization will be solely responsible for securing the necessary permits, permissions and approvals. This planning should be reflected in the project timeline.

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. 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 grant application questions, required uploads and guidance. 





Racial Equity

(30 points)


1. Describe the organization’s history engaging communities identified in the Cultural Equity Endowment legislation* and how this grant will enhance the organization’s mission.

(300 word limit)

Organization demonstrates a history and mission of engaging communities identified in the Cultural Equity Endowment legislation.*

Project Design

(40 points)


2. 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)

(300 word limit)

Project is well-planned with clear outputs.

3. Describe pre-planning the organization has made to date.

(300 word limit)

Organization demonstrates readiness for the project.

10 - Completed Project Budget
- Estimates from three sources (Level 2 only)

Project budget is viable and appropriate.

Ability to Complete the Project

(30 points)


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

(100 word limit per bio, up to 3 bios)

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


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

(300 word limit)

- List of Advisory Board members or Board of Directors and their areas of expertise (up to 10).
- List of board of directors with their gifts and/or pledges to the proposed project (Level 2 only)

- 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.

- Organization budget notes

Organization demonstrates appropriate capacity to complete the project.

*We recognize that some communities may not be listed in the link above and encourage applicants to articulate and provide supporting evidence regarding the historical and current inequities experienced by their community. Please review the San Francisco Arts Commission Racial Equity statement 

Grant review Panelists

SFAC grant 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 racial equity, and have experience that aligns with the purpose of the grant.

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.

Panel Review Attendance and Influence

Grant review panels are publicly accessible. A schedule of the panel review will be posted on the SFAC website calendar and applicants will be notified 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’s email address are not lost in your spam filter. Many applicants find it informative 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, including contacting them before or after the panel to discuss their application, their grant application will be automatically disqualified.

Panel Reviews and Panelist Scores

Virtual panels will be recorded.

NEW: Links to the panel review recording and preliminary scores are emailed to applicants within 10 business days of the review.

Funding Recommendations

Based on an evaluation of the applications, panelist scores create a ranking for funding recommendations. Grant amounts are either the full amount of the grant request or a substantial portion of the request.

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 must be approved by the full Commission.

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

Grant notifications

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

What's Coming Up

Public Meeting

Visual Arts Committee Meeting

October 19
3:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Virtual Meeting
Public Meeting

Civic Design Review Committee Meeting

October 17
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Virtual Meeting
Public Meeting

Full Arts Commission Meeting

November 07
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Hybrid: City Hall | Rm 416 and Online
Public Meeting

Civic Design Review Committee Meeting

October 17
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Virtual Meeting