APPLICATION DEADLINE: November 21, 2019 at 12 p.m. NOON PST


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 Cece Carpio, 415-252-2217 o

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

Important Dates

Community Investments Grant Webinar September 18, 2019 at 4p.m. 
CRSP Technical Assistance Workshop
View the schedule of all upcoming dates
October 10, 2019 at 3 p.m.
Applications Due November 21, 2019 at 12 p.m. NOON PST
Panel Review March 2020
Funding Recommendations April 2020
Commission Approval May 2020
Grant Period July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021 or
July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2022 (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.

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: 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).

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. 

Eligible Request Amount

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

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

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

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.

Native American arts & cultural traditions

Applicants who would prefer to be reviewed by a peer panel of community members deeply rooted in the Native American Arts & Cultural Traditions of the San Francisco Bay Area can check the box at the end of the Applicant Information Page. Applicants should clearly substantiate how they are connected to the Native American community within their narrative responses.

The applicant must have a strong track record and demonstrated leadership that substantiates they are connected to a Native American* community and engaged in significant programming that is rooted in Native American arts and cultural traditions.

*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.

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 Creative Space planning grant.

FACILITY IMPROVEMENT GRANTS: 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 must meet at least one of the following priorities:

  1. 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. Increase the capacity of the creative space by significantly improving 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.
  • LEVEL 1: Grants 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 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

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 since November 2017.
  • 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 annual operating budget must not exceed $2 million in income.

    Fiscal sponsors: Organizations that exceed the $2 million budget 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, 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) 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, through either shared City resources or other pooled philanthropic funds.
  • The proposed project must take place in San Francisco between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021 (for Planning and Level 1) or June 30, 2022 (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 payment from the San Francisco Arts Commission, you 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.


  • 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 and 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 facility grant in the next cycle may be submitted they may be eligible to apply for a Facilities grant in the next grant cycle. 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.

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 letter of agreement 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 artist 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, 2020 through June 30, 2021 or 2022). Awarded grantees will need to submit a certificate of General Liability Insurance and the Endorsement Page with the first and final invoices. General liability insurance cannot be waived.

    Abuse and Molestation Insurance: Abuse & Molestation Insurance must be purchased and added to the General Liability policy if the project involves working with vulnerable populations (youth under the age of 18, people with disabilities, or people over the age of 65).

    Professional services related to construction and facility projects must evidence Professional Liability Insurance coverage.
  • Workers Comp 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: 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 or Aleta Lee at for questions about sculpture or any other type of public art.

Panel Evaluation & Scoring Criteria

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.

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 $2 million.

Panel Review Attendance

Creative Space panel reviews are open to the public. A schedule of each panel review is posted on our website and applicants are 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 SFAC 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 SFAC staff during the panel. If an applicant is found to have made attempts 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.

If approved by the Arts Commission for support, 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 peer review panel.

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

Grant Awards

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

SFAC staff take notes on panel comments during panel review deliberations. You may contact to request panel comments. Requests are fulfilled in the order they are received.

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 focus your application responses. Please thoroughly review the application instructions for the complete overview of the CRSP application questions and guidance.





Cultural Significance

(40 points)


Organization is deeply rooted in and able to express the experiences of historically marginalized communities.

1.  Highlight your organization’s activities over the last two years engaging with historically marginalized communities.


Organization demonstrates a thorough understanding of the project’s impact on intended audience/communities.

2. Describe how the proposed project will enhance the organization’s ability to engage the intended audience/communities.

- Partner Letter(s) of Support

Project Design

(40 points)


Project is well-planned with clear outputs.

3. Describe the proposed project in detail.

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


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

Ability to Complete the Project

(20 points)


Leadership has adequate relevant experience to work in communities engaged.

4. Provide brief bios of the key project staff and include relevant experience and qualifications.

10 Organization demonstrates appropriate capacity to complete 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.

- An IRS 990, 990-EZ or 990-PF 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)



What's Coming Up

Public Meeting

Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Crafts Examiners (Cancelled)

October 06
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Virtual Meeting
Public Meeting

Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Crafts Examiners (Cancelled)

October 06
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Virtual Meeting
Public Meeting

Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Crafts Examiners (Cancelled)

October 06
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Virtual Meeting
Public Meeting

Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Crafts Examiners (Cancelled)

October 06
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Virtual Meeting