(submission through

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 Kate Patterson-Murphy al 415-252-2229 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 Cece Carpio, 415-252-2217 o


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Important Dates
Information about Creative Space
Who Can Apply
Panel Evaluation & Scoring Criteria

Important Dates

Informational Webinar September 5, 2018, 12 NOON
Technical Assistance Workshops
View the schedule of upcoming dates
October 11, 2018, 3 p.m.
Applications Due November 14, 2018, 12 NOON
Panel Review February 2019
Funding Recommendations April 2019
Commission Approval May 2019
Grant Period July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020 or
July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2021 (Level 2)

Information about Creative Space-(CRSP)

About 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.

Creative Space Planning and Facilities grants support the planning or pre-planning for the development or acquisition of arts facilities; or capital improvements to address emergency situations, improve the capacity of the creative space, and/or to have significant positive effect on audience accessibility, comfort, and enjoyment.

Alignment with SFAC's cultural equity goals

The San Francisco Arts Commission is committed to creating a City where all artists and cultural workers have the freedom, agency and platform to share their stories, art and culture.

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: Statement of Purpose,” these communities include: African and African American; Latino/a; 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 artistic disciplines. 

Organizations must align with one of SFAC’s Equity goals:

  • Capacity Building: Build capacity, resilience and economic viability of individual artists from historically marginalized communities.
  • Accessibility: Provide a space to access art and creativity for historically marginalized communities.
  • Cultural Integrity: Create or present work that demonstrates integrity and ethical use of material with specific cultural origins and context.​
  • Intersectionality: Address how race, gender, sexuality, ability, socioeconomic status, immigration status, religion, class, etc. are interconnected through artistic programming or process.

Eligible Request Amount

Planning Grants: Up to $50,000. The applicant organization’s two-year average annual operating revenue detailed in the DataArts SFAC Funder Report determines the eligible funding amount. Organizations can request up to 50 percent of their two-year average annual operating revenue, but not more than $50,000.

Facilities Grants: Up to $100,000. $50,000 for CRSP-Facilities Level 1 to $100,000 for CRSP-Facilities Level 2. Organizations must have a two-year average annual operating budget of less than $2 million.

Applicants must receive an average score of 75 percent or above by the review panel to be considered for funding. Funding will be determined by the availability of funds and is not guaranteed for a score of 75 percent or above.. 

Native American Arts & Cultural Traditions (NAACT-CRSP)

Native American Arts & Cultural Traditions (NAACT) category is aligned with Cultural Equity Grants. Applicants are to apply through the applicable grant category, and will be prompted to choose if they would like to apply through NAACT. By choosing this prompt, these applications will be reviewed by a panel of community members that represent the Native American community in the San Francisco Bay Area. Applicants to NAACT should clearly substantiate that they are connected to the Native American community within their narrative responses. Please follow all of the instructions for CRSP and check the box at the end of the Applicant Information Page to confirm that you would like to be considered under the NAACT-CRSP program.

applicant Categories

PLANNING GRANTS (CRSP-Planning): Grants for up to $50,000 to arts organizations for the planning or pre-planning for 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.

NEW: The applicant organization may use a San Francisco-based tax-exempt fiscal sponsor to apply for a Creative Space planning grant.

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

  1. Capital expenditures for emergency situations that render the artistic activities at a creative space inoperable such as to correct cited fire, ADA and/or safety code violations or to address issues prior to receiving a citation.
  2. Capital expenditures to improve the capacity of the creative space by significantly improving an organization's artistic presentation such as improved stage floor, lighting system, or new sound equipment.
  3. Capital expenditures which will have significant positive effect on audience accessibility, comfort, and enjoyment to creative space such as soundproofing, seating areas, or heating/cooling equipment.
  • LEVEL 1: Grants for 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.
  • LEVEL 2: Grants for 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.

*NEW: The 20 percent cash match is not required.

Who Can Apply


  • The applicant organization or fiscal sponsor must be tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The organization’s two-year average annual operating budget must not exceed $2 million in income (determined by the line: Total Operating Revenues (2-year average) in the DataArts SFAC Funder Report).
    New for Fiscal sponsors: Organizations that exceed the $1.5 million budget cap due to regranting must verify their operational budget without pass-through funds at the time of application. Applicants must upload their most recently completed IRS Form 990.
  • Applicants must not be in default on any grants or loans from: (1) SFAC, (2) other City departments (including, without limitation, 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) Northern California Community Loan Fund, (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 a fiduciary relationship with these particular organizations, through either shared City resources or other pooled philanthropic funds.
  • The proposed project must take place in San Francisco between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020 (June 30, 2021 for CRSP Level 2).
  • 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 from the San Francisco Arts Commission, you must become a registered, compliant supplier (formerly called a vendor) and meet the City of San Francisco's insurance and business tax requirements. For more information about supplier requirements, visit: Please note if you are not already a City supplier, you will only be required to register if you are awarded a grant. Insurance and business tax requirements will be explained and made available upon approval of grant awards.
  • For NAACT-CRSP-P: The organization must have a strong track record and demonstrated leadership that substantiates that they are connected to a Native American* community and engaged in significant programming that is rooted in Native American arts and cultural traditions.a
    *Per the Human Rights Commission, Native American is defined as people of indigenous descent from North, Central, and South American heritage as well as Native Hawaiians, Samoans, Marshall Islanders, and the indigenous people of Guam (whether enrolled, federally or nationally recognized or not). All groups indicated are encouraged to apply, but due to limited funds, priority will go to artists that are affiliated and connected to groups falling under the jurisdiction of the United States.


  • 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 CRSP-P and a NAACT-CRS-P or CRSP-L1 and CRSP-P. This does not apply to fiscal sponsors who are submitting 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 facility grant in the next cycle may be submitted. Previously awarded CRSP grants must be completed and closed out before re-applying for any additional grants in the CRSP category.
  • Programs of another City agency or department are not eligible to apply, which includes the City-owned Cultural Centers.

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.

PROJECt requirements

  • New Developments (Planning): 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 to be submitted with the application.
  • Fiscal Sponsorship (Planning): A fiscal sponsorship letter of agreement, signed by the applicant and staff of the fiscal sponsor is required at the time of application submission, if the applicant would like to work with a fiscal sponsor (for Creative Space Planning grants only).
  • Lease/Ownership Requirements (Facilities):
    • 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 (Facilities):
    • 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.
  • 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.
    NEW: Applicant organization must provide (3) three names and registration numbers of contractors conducting the (3) three estimates. For a current search of registered public works contractors, visit:
  • Contractors will need to register with the California Department of Industrial Relations at the time of bidding confirming compliance with prevailing wage rates. For Contractor Registration information, visit:

grantee 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 artist will be solely responsible for securing the necessary permits, permissions, insurance, and approvals. This planning should be reflected in your project timeline.
  • Insurance Requirements:
    General Liability: Awarded grantees will need to submit a certificate of General Liability Insurance and an Endorsement Page with first invoice. General liability insurance cannot be waived. This requirement can met by the following:
    • Purchasing General Liability Insurance as an individual artist or organization.
    • Purchasing Special Event Insurance for any public events associated with the grant project.
    • Obtaining a General Liability Insurance certificate from their host venue, which adds the grantee and event to their policy by endorsement and lists the San Francisco Arts Commission as additionally insured.

Workers Comp Insurance: Workers Comp insurance is required for an organization that has employees. If you do not have employees, the San Francisco Arts Commission will provide a waiver for this requirement.

NEW: Waiver of Subrogation addendum is required for organizations to do work on ANY City-owned property.

Auto Insurance: Auto Insurance is required if the awarded grantee will use a vehicle for the purposes of the grant. The San Francisco Arts Commission will provide a waiver for this requirement.

Abuse and Molestation Insurance: Proof of Abuse & Molestation coverage in addition to General Liability coverage is required for working with vulnerable populations (minors, people with disabilites, or elderly people).

  • 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 and timeline. Please contact the following Public Art Program staff if you have questions: Alyssa Torres at for murals.

Panel Evaluation & Scoring Criteria

Grants Panelists

CRSP applications are evaluated in an open panel review process by a panel of peers. Grant review panelists reflect the diversity of San Francisco, have broad knowledge about the particular artistic discipline and field issues, and have experience that aligns with the purpose of the specific grant category.

Application Review

We review CRSP grants in two panel categories: Planning and Facilities, and will have panelists with expertise in these disciplines. It is important to select the appropriate category for your proposed project. SFAC staff process applications and send them to panelists for review in advance of meeting. Panelists will convene to discuss applications and make funding recommendations.

Panel Review Attendance

CRSP panel meetings are open to the public. A time schedule of each panel meeting is emailed to applicants in advance. Please be sure that you include a working email address in your application materials. Take steps to ensure that emails from SFAC are not lost in your spam filter. Applicants are welcome to observe the meetings, but may not engage in discussion with the panelists or SFAC staff during the panel. Many applicants find it insightful to listen to the discussions of applications because the panelists are seasoned professionals. An applicant that is found to have made attempts to influence a panelist in any way will be automatically disqualified.

Funding Recommendations

Based on an evaluation of the proposals, panels may make recommendations for funding and grant amounts. Grant amounts are either the full amount of the grant sought or a substantial portion of the requested grant—usually not less than 75 percent.

Scoring Criteria

Panelists will be instructed to use the following scoring criteria that correspond with the noted application questions. Close review of this grid may help you focus your application responses.





Alignment with SFAC Goals

(25 points)


Thorough understanding of communities served and intentionality for serving those communities; strongly aligns with one or more of SFAC’s Cultural Equity Goals.

- Who do you engage and why?

- Describe how your organization aligns with the selected goal(s).


The organization has a sound strategy for meeting the needs of the communities they serve; leadership has adequate relevant experience to work in communities served.

- How do you meet the needs of your communities?

- Describe the leadership team and staff’s relevant experience and qualifications working in the identified communities.

Artistic History

(20 points)
(30 for Facilities Level 2)


Demonstrated commitment to the organization’s mission through artistic programs. Impact on communities including African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, Native American, Pacific Islander, LGBTQ, people with disabilities, and women.

- Describe your organization’s history and highlight major accomplishments.

- List of calendar of art activities

- Work samples

10 Facilities Level 2 only: The applicant utilizes the venue to serve the local arts community and its neighbors. Facilities Level 2 only: Consider your role as an anchor institution with great potential to support the surrounding community. How do you make your resources available to youth, neighbors, or others in need of space?

Quality of Proposed Project

(20 points)
(30 for Facilities Level 2)


Planning only: Demonstrated need for the project, strength in the organization's preparation for the project, and thoughtfulness in the impact the project will have on the organization.

Planning only:
- Why is the facility planning project necessary and what are the goals of this project?
- What preparatory work has your organization done to be at this stage of planning?

- Describe how the proposed project will advance the organization's mission and future directions.

- Grant Plan with activities and outputs

15 Facilities only: Strong understanding of the need for the project and how it would benefit the organization. Solid alignment with the CRSP priorities. Strong preparedness for the project. Achievable plans for project implementation.

Facilities only:
- Describe the current state of your creative space, including any opportunities, challenges, and major changes.

- Describe the proposed project, how the project will address the Creative Space priorities, and the organization's preparations for the project.

- Grant Plan Template with activities and outputs

- Images of the space that will be modified and design drawings of the intended outcome

- Letters of support for the project
5 Facilities only: History of quality care of existing facilities and solid plan to adapt to, and maintain, the proposed improvements

Facilities only:
- Summarize past improvements made to the facility by your organization

- Describe your current facility maintenance plan, schedule, and budget including personnel

- What are your plans for covering the costs of operating the new facility, maintaining the improvement, and/or adjusting to the programmatic impact?
10 Facilities Level 2 only: The proposed project will impact not only the applicant, but also its neighbors and the local arts community. Facilities Level 2 only:
- How will this project benefit the neighborhood, the arts community, and the community at large

Project Feasibility and Organization Health

(35 points)

(45 for Facilities Level 2)


Appropriateness of project budget, relevant experience and qualifications of key staff and project personnel.

- Budget & Budget Notes

- Key Personnel

Facilities only:

- Attach bids from three sources

20 Evidence of financial stability and stability of the board of directors.

- Board of Directors

- DataArts SFAC Funder’s Report and Notes

- Balance Sheet
10 Facilities Level 2 only: Scrutiny of the project budget and evidence of financial support for the project

Facilities Level 2 only:
-  List the organization's board of directors with their gifts and/or pledges to the proposed project.

Panel Notes

SFAC staff takes notes on panel comments during deliberations. You may contact to obtain panel comments.

Funding Approval

Panel recommendations are subject to the approval of the Arts Commission. Typically, recommendations are first reviewed by the Community Investments Committee, then by the full Commission. Meetings of the Commission are public. The agenda will be available on the Arts Commission website at 72 hours in advance of the meeting.

Grant Awards

Notifications will be emailed. Award notification will include instructions about contracting procedures.


What's Coming Up

Public Meeting

Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Crafts Examiners

October 01
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

War Memorial Bldg | Rm 125
Public Meeting

Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Crafts Examiners

October 01
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

War Memorial Bldg | Rm 125
Public Meeting

Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Crafts Examiners

October 01
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

War Memorial Bldg | Rm 125
Public Meeting

Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Crafts Examiners

October 01
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

War Memorial Bldg | Rm 125