San Francisco Artist Grant (SFA)


Amended 10/19/2020
Pg. 9 Artistic Project, section 3

For any questions about San Francisco Artist grants, please contact Program Officer Anne Trickey at or 415-252-2213. 


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, 415-252-2255 o



Jump to:
Important Dates
Information about San Francisco Artist Grants
Who Can Apply
Panel Evaluation & Scoring Criteria

Important Dates

San Francisco Artist Grants Informational Workshop October 23, 2020 at 12 p.m.
One-on-One consultations October 15, 2020 – December 14, 2020

Individual Artists Work Sample Information Session

October 30, 2020 at 12 p.m.

Application Due December 15, 2020 at 12 p.m.
Panel Review* February 2021 - March 2021
Funding Recommendations April 2021
Commission Approval May 2021
Grant Period July 1, 2021 – December 31, 2022

*Dates may be subject to change. 

About the San Francisco Artist Grant (SFA)

San Francisco Artist Grants (formerly Individual Artist Commissions/IAC) are for individual artists, and fund works of art in all disciplines made by artists living in San Francisco. Artist projects and the majority of activities must take place in San Francisco and benefit a San Francisco audience. Creation of work and a related public event to present work must take place between July 1, 2021 and December 31, 2022, and may be in-person or virtual due to COVID-19 restrictions. Artists may use the approved funds to cover an entire project or part of a larger project. This grant is not intended to support organizations, artistic companies or collectives. Projects may include collaborations, but the individual who applies for the grant and is approved for funding will receive the grant award. The application should be written from the perspective of the specific artist applying, and highlight their personal experience, work and role in the project.


  • It is anticipated that successful proposals will be for a term of 18 months beginning in fiscal year 2021-2022 with a possible extension for up to one additional year based on extenuating circumstances as determined by the Arts Commission in consultation with the grantee. Any extension is subject to Arts Commission approval and funding appropriation. The Arts Commission reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to not exercise an extension option.
  • In an effort to lower barriers to entry and encourage a wider variety of art forms, artists will self-identify their artistic practice in the application. We hope this will encourage cross-genre, traditional practice, folk art and community-based artists to apply. Arts Commission staff will curate panels based on artistic projects and practice.
  • A distinct panel will review artists with five years’ experience or less as identified by the artist in an effort to enable emerging artists to be more competitive. 


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 artists to articulate and provide supporting evidence regarding the historical and current inequities experienced by your communitySpecific artistic disciplines are not part of this funding priority.

GRANT request Amount​

Up to $20,000. 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.

Project Requirements

  • New Work: The project proposal must include work made by the artist during the grant cycle. Only activities scheduled during the grant cycle are eligible for funding.
  • Public Event: An in-person event or a virtual event open to the public and benefiting a San Francisco audience during the grant cycle is required. The artist must identify the publicly accessible in-person or virtual space in their application.



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 Tuesday, December 15, 2020, and you must notify Program Officer Anne Trickey at or 415-806-5884. Mail to: SFAC, 401 Van Ness Avenue, 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.

Who Can Apply


  • The applicant must be a continuous resident of San Francisco since December 2018 (two years). Documentation demonstrating San Francisco residency must be submitted with the application.
  • The applicant must be at least 18 years old.
  • The applicant must have held two publicly accessible activities or events in San Francisco between December 2018 and December 2020. One public event can have been presented online or in a virtual platform if it took place after March 16, 2020, and the primary intended audience was San Francisco residents.
  • The applicant may be in any phase of their artistic career. 
  • The applicant cannot be enrolled as a full-time student at the time of the application or during the grant period.
  • 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 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, business tax and equal benefits requirements. For more information about supplier requirements, visit:

    Please note: you will only be required to register as a City Supplier if you receive a grant. 


  • If the applicant plans to use a fiscal sponsor, a contractual arrangement between the artist and the fiscal sponsor must be confirmed prior to the San Francisco Arts Commission’s application process. NEW: Organizations may not act as a fiscal sponsor for employees or artists contracted by that organization; a third-party fiscal sponsor is required.
  • Fiscal Sponsors must be based in San Francisco and register as a compliant City supplier.
  • Applicants cannot retroactively work with or change fiscal sponsorship after a grant is approved for funding.
  • If an applicant is approved for funding, the fiscal sponsor is the legal grantee and fiscal receiver, and the artist is the sub-grantee.
  • The fiscal sponsor and artist 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 applicant is approved for funding, the fiscal sponsor (legal grantee) and the artist (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.


  • Applicant can only submit one application in this category. 
  • Partners and collaborators cannot apply separately for the same project.
  • Applicant may not receive consecutive grants in this category. All grantees are required to sit out for one year after each grant cycle. Grantees must close out a grant before reapplying. 
  • Receiving a grant does not imply that the San Francisco Arts Commission or any other City agency will produce, exhibit, promote or present the art created. It is the responsibility of the artist to secure any required permits and insurance for public presentations or programs.
  • Ineligible activities: Activities outside of San Francisco. 
  • Art Installation, City Permits and Permissions: If the project 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 the project timeline.  Any art installed with these grant funds on property owned by the City and County of San Francisco or on private property such as murals, public sculpture and similar projects, must be reviewed and approved by the San Francisco Arts Commission. This process starts with the Visual Arts Committee of the Commission. Please contact Craig Corpora at for questions about murals, sculpture or any other type of public art.

grantee and insurance requirements

  • General Liability: To authorize any grant payment, general liability insurance must cover the entire grant period (January 1, 2021 through December 31, 2022). If funded grantees will need to submit a certificate of General Liability Insurance with an Endorsement Page.


  • The General Liability Insurance requirement can be met by purchasing and providing Special Event Insurance for all public events associated with the grant project.
  • Abuse & Molestation Insurance: If the proposed project involves working with vulnerable populations defined as: minors under the age of 18, seniors over the age of 65 and developmentally disabled populations, you must work with a fiscal sponsor who can provide the Abuse & Molestation insurance which must be added to the Workers Compensation policy.
  • Auto Insurance: Auto Insurance is required if use of a vehicle is necessary to fulfill the project. Auto Insurance can be waived.
  • Waiver of Subrogation addendum is required for projects on ANY City-owned property.

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 SFA application questions and guidance.





Racial Equity 

 (20 points)


Highlight your experience with one or more of the racial equity communities identified in the Cultural Equity Endowment legislation.

Applicant is able to express their experience with one or more of the racial equity communities identified in the Cultural Equity Endowment legislation.

Artistic Relevance

(10 points)


Tell us about your experience relevant to your proposed project. 

  • Resume or curriculum vitae
  • Biography

Applicant successfully describes their experience relevant to the proposed project.

Applicant’s resume/CV and biography reflect their experience relevant to the proposed project.


Work Samples

(20 points)​


Work Samples: Upload samples of your past work. The samples should show your ability to complete your proposed project, as well as demonstrate knowledge of and experience in your creative practice.

Any combination of the following: 
5 images, 5 pages, 5 minutes of audio/video

Work samples show an ability to complete the proposed project, as well as demonstrate knowledge of and experience in the applicant’s creative practice.

Artist Project

(50 points)


Describe the ideas and processes involved in making your project and your role in the creative process. It is important to give the panelists a clear picture of what you are doing and how you are doing it. 

If you are working with other partners or collaborators, please outline their role in the project.  

Applicant clearly describes the ideas and processes involved in making the project and their role in the creative process. 

If applicable: Roles of any partners or collaborators are outlined.


Tell us about your event including: where and when it will be (virtual or in-person), who you are inviting (audience), and how you are inviting them (outreach). Why is this event appropriate for your project? Most importantly, how will you know the event is a success, beyond the number of people who attend (goals)? 

Applicant describes the event, location/virtual platform, date, audience and outreach. Artist’s explanation of why the event is appropriate for the project makes sense. Artist sets goals for a successful event.

Why is this project important to you and to your artistic practice? 

Applicant articulates why the project is important to them and their artistic practice.

Completed grant plan with distinct activities, outputs and date completed by.
Applicant translates their project description and plan into distinct activities during the grant window.

Application Review

Applications are grouped and reviewed based on creative practice, genre or process as well as artists’ years of experience. Artists who identify as having five years’ experience or less will be reviewed by a separate panel. 

Panelists use the Scoring Criteria to review and score applications. Additionally, panelists may reference the Aesthetic Perspectives Framework and list of Aesthetic Attributes identified by Americans for the Arts here: These concepts help panelists recognize and discuss qualities of art-making outside of an academic or institutional lens.

Grant Panelists

San Francisco Artist 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 cultural equity and field issues; and have experience that aligns with the purpose of the grant.

Panel review Attendance and influence

San Francisco Artist Grants review panels are public. A schedule of each panel is posted on our website. Artists 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 the San Francisco Arts Commission are not lost in your spam filter. Many artists find it insightful to listen to the discussion of applications and are welcome to observe the panel review. Artists may not engage in discussion with any panelists or San Francisco Arts Commission staff during the panel. If an artist is found to have made attempts 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.

Funding Recommendations

Based on an evaluation of the applications, panelist scores create a ranking for funding recommendations. 

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.

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 notifications

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

Panel 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

Executive Committee Meeting

December 18
1:00 PM to 2:30 PM

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

Visual Arts Committee Meeting

December 16
2:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Hybrid: City Hall | Rm 408 and Online
Public Meeting

Civic Design Review Committee Meeting

December 11
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Hybrid: City Hall | Rm 408 and Online
Public Meeting

Community Investments Committee Meeting

December 09
1:00 PM to 3:00 PM

Hybrid: City Hall | Rm 416 and Online