literary arts | media arts | visual arts

(submission through

For any questions about IAC, contact Program Officer Robynn Takayama: or 415-252-2239. 


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 Individual Artist Commission
Who Can Apply
Panel Evaluation & Scoring Criteria

Important Dates

Informational Webinar September 5, 2018, 12 NOON
Technical Assistance Workshop
View the schedule of upcoming dates
October 3, 2018, 5:30 p.m.
Application Due November 8, 2018, 12 NOON PST
Panel Review February 2019
Funding Recommendations April 2019
Commission Approval May 2019
Grant Period July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020

Information about Individual Artist Commission (IAC)

About IAC

Individual Artist Commission (IAC) grants support individual artists living and working in San Francisco for specific personal, artistic commissions that stimulate the creation and presentation of creative works of art presented throughout the city’s neighborhoods. Artists may request funding for the full artistic process, or one phase of a larger creative arc, as long as project scope is appropriately scaled to funding request and project goals. The artist should be focused on realizing creative or aesthetic ideas, rather than on documentation, archiving, or journalism. Although collaboration is acceptable, the individual artist is the grantee.

A public presentation of the commissioned work is required. The public presentation can be of a work-in-progress or of the final, polished piece. A broadcast of a radio documentary or podcast or release of a web-based project does not fulfill this requirement on its own but rather requires a physical gathering of the audience. The public presentation can be of a work-in-progress or of the final, polished piece and must take place in San Francisco within the grant period.


SFAC reviews proposals for projects in alternating disciplines each year. This year’s grant cycle will consider proposals in literary arts, media arts, and visual arts.

Interdisciplinary projects are also eligible each year, but the project must be rooted in the primary artistic disciplines being considered. If you have questions about disciplines or fit, please contact SFAC grants staff. Dance, music, and theater projects will be eligible in the FY2020 grant cycle.

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 individual artist commissions 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 and

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

Up to $15,000. 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.

Note: Although a budget is not required for the grant application, applicants should be aware of the tax implications upon receiving the award and maintain the documents required for reporting on state and federal income taxes.

Traditional and Folk Artists

Artists working in folk and traditional arts are encouraged to apply. Please select one of the three primary disciplines reviewed in FY 2019 (literary, media, visual arts) best suited to evaluate your art form. We recognize culturally specific work as a creative process and the production of this work as fitting the eligibility criteria.

Native American Arts & Cultural Traditions (NAACT-IAC)

The 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 IAC and check the box at the end of the Applicant Information Page to confirm that you would like to be considered under the NAACT-IAC program.

Who Can Apply


  • The artist must be a continuous resident of San Francisco since October 2016. The purpose of this The artist must be a continuous resident of San Francisco since October 2016. The purpose of this category is to support San Francisco-based individual artists in the production and dissemination of works of art in San Francisco. Applicants must submit paperwork demonstrating San Francisco residency with their application.
  • The artist must be at least 18 years old.
  • To be eligible for this grant, the artist must have held two publicly accessible activities or events in San Francisco that span from October 2016 to the grant deadline.
  • Artists in any phase of their artistic career can apply including emerging, midcareer, and established artists.
  • The artist cannot be enrolled as a full-time student at the time of the application or during the grant period.
  • If an applicant is an employee of the City & County of San Francisco, or plans to be employed by the City & County of San Francisco at any time during the grant window, they cannot receive funds directly and must have a fiscal sponsor who is Supplier-compliant with the City of San Francisco. In some cases, employment may include short term teaching positions with departments such as Recreation and Park or San Francisco Unified School District. This policy is due to IRS regulations that forbid the city from issuing both a W2 and 1099 to the same payee in a year.
  • 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 applicant 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 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-IAC: The individual must substantiate that they are connected to a Native American community and that their artistic practice is informed by that connection.
    *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 artist may be submitted to the IAC category. An applicant cannot apply to both an IAC and a NAACT-IAC grant.
  • Applicants cannot receive funding for two consecutive grant cycles in the Individual Artist Commission category. All of our grantees are required to sit out for one year after each grant cycle. In addition, they are required to close out a grant before reapplying.
  • The awarding of funds does not imply that the Arts Commission or any other City agency will produce, exhibit, promote or present the art created. It is the responsibility of the applicant to secure a venue, appropriate insurance and any required permits for public presentations.
  • Ineligible activities: 
  1. Project activities outsides of San Francisco;
  2. Projects for which the main intent is curation, archiving, or journalism.

project requirements

  • Generation of Creative Work: An individual artist may apply for funding to generate new work, but not to stage pre-existing work. The public presentation and the bulk of the creative work must take place during the grant period. Only activities scheduled during the grant period are eligible for funding. 
  • Public Presentation Requirement: A public presentation of the commissioned work is required. The broadcast of a radio documentary or podcast or release of a web-based project does not fulfill this requirement on its own but rather requires a physical gathering of the audience. The public presentation can be of a work-in-progress or of the final, polished piece. The presentation must take place in San Francisco within the grant period. Venues can be formal or informal. 
  • Venue Letters: A venue confirmation letter, signed by the applicant and staff of the venue, must be submitted with the application to help demonstrate the applicant’s ability to bring their project to fruition and fulfill the public presentation requirement. 
  • Fiscal Sponsorship: If the applicant would like to work with a fiscal sponsor, a fiscal sponsorship letter of agreement, signed by the applicant and staff of the fiscal sponsor, must be submitted with the application. 
  • Collaborative Projects: A group of artists may come together to create a specific project, but the lead artist will be the main contact and applicant for the grant application. 

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 applicant will be solely responsible for securing the necessary permits, permissions, 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 disabilities, 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; Aleta Lee at for sculpture or any other type of public art. 

    Panel Evaluation & Scoring Criteria

    Grants Panelists

    Grant review panelists reflect the diversity of San Francisco; have broad knowledge about the particular artistic discipline, cultural equity and other field issues; and have experience that aligns with the purpose of the specific grant category.

    Application Review

    We use a discipline-based panel review process. It is important to select the appropriate primary discipline (page 3 on the online application) for your proposed project. SFAC staff process applications and sends them to panelists for review in advance of meeting. Prior to the review panel, you will receive an email containing information about the review schedule and instructions to attend the meeting. Panelists will convene to discuss applications and make funding recommendations. 

    Panel Review Attendance

    IAC panel meetings are open to the public. A time schedule of each panel meeting is emailed to applicants in advance and will be posted on the SFAC website. Please be sure that you include a working email address in your application. If necessary take steps to ensure that emails from SFAC are not lost in your spam filter. Applicants are welcome to observe the meetings, but should 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 as panelists can provide helpful feedback to take into consideration when writing future proposals. Please keep in mind that you will not have copies of the other proposals, so direct comparison of comments may not be the most helpful use of your observations. 

    Funding Recommendations

    Based on an evaluation of the proposals, panel scores create a ranking for funding recommendations. Staff may also take into consideration discipline when determining how deep into the ranking recommended funding will go. Applicants that do not score above 75 percent of the allotted points will not be eligible for funding. 

    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 Cultural Equity Goals

    (20 points)


    Artist clearly aligns SFAC’s goals in equitable grant making.

    - Describe your relationship to historically marginalized communities. 

    - How would this funding impact your artistic career and further SFAC’s cultural equity goals? 

    Quality of Proposed Project

    (45 points)


    Project goals and processes are clearly defined, demonstrate originality, clarity and depth of concepts.

    - Describe your proposed project in detail. What are your goals, areas of exploration, and primary methods or techniques? 


    Artist demonstrates that the proposed project will impact their development and future opportunities.

    - Describe the significance of this project for you at this time. What long term impact will this have on your career and future opportunities?


    Artist demonstrates learning opportunities through the project evaluation. The documentation plan will maximize the impact of the project. 

    - Describe your evaluation and documentation plans. 


    Grant plan specifies central activities and targeted outputs in a manner that clearly represents the core of the project. 

    - Complete the Grant Plan. Please include key activities and deliverables. 


    Public Benefit
    (10 points)


    The proposed public presentation is appropriate to the project goals and feasible in its potential to share the work with a defined San Francisco audience. Artist has reserved at least one venue for public presentation. 

    - Public Presentation Plan 

    - Describe the target audience attending the public presentation and your relationship to them. 

    -Describe your outreach plan to the identified audience or community. 

    - Provide a Venue Confirmation Form 

    Ability to Complete the Project

    (25 points)


    Artistic history shows coherence or evolution, commitment to advancing artistic and/or social ideas, and appropriate preparation to complete the proposed project. 

    - Describe your artistic history and major areas of inquiry. Indicate prominent themes, issues, or questions explored in your practice or career; these may be artistic or social. 

    - Describe major activities or achievements in your career. Include specific moments in your artistic history. 

    - List of SF-based activities. 

    - Submit a resume or CV, maximum of 2 pages. 


    Work samples demonstrate artistic vision, craftsmanship, and ability to execute the proposed project. 

    - Provide a maximum of six work samples. 

    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.

    Print Guidelines (PDF) APPLY NOW Print INSTRUCTIONS (WORD DOC)

    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