Individual Artist Commission


(submission through

For any questions about IAC, contact Senior Program Officer Barbara Mumby at or 415-252-2215.


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

Technical Assistance Workshops
View the schedule of upcoming dates
September 2017
Applications Due October 4, 2017, 12 p.m.
Panel Review January – March 2018
Funding Recommendations April 2018
Commission Approval May 2018
Grant Period July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019

Information about Individual Artist Commissions (IAC)

About IAC

Individual Artist Commission (IAC) grants support individual artists living and working in San Francisco for specific personal, artistic projects that, in turn, stimulate the creation and presentation of new works of art 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.

IAC grants support the generation of new creative work. The artist should be focused on realizing creative or aesthetic ideas, rather than on documentation or journalism. Although collaboration is acceptable, the individual artist is the grantee.

The commission must include some form of public presentation, either as a work-in- progress (for example: a neighborhood workshop, a reading, an open rehearsal, etc.) or a final polished piece in San Francisco that takes place during the project period.


IAC considers proposals for projects in alternating disciplines each year. This year’s grant cycle will consider proposals in: dance, music, and theater. 

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. Literary, media, and visual arts projects will be eligible in the FY2019 grant cycle.

Alignment with SFAC goals

Priority funding goes to individual artists 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 fringe artistic disciplines. 

Individual artists must align with one of SFAC’s goals for equitable grantmaking:

  • 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.
  • Risk-taking: Subverts dominant norms, values, narratives, standards or aesthetics or poses new ways of being that break away from established practices, both social and artistic.

Eligible Request Amount

Grant award amounts are up to $15,000. Because funds are limited, grant awards may be between 75 to 100 percent of the grant request, but no less than 75 percent of a grant request will be awarded.

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 2018 (dance, music, theater) best suited to evaluate your art form. While IAC’s emphasis is generation of new work, we acknowledge that culturally specific work underscores shared cultural values, and that the work will be developed within the cultural context.

Native American Arts & Cultural Traditions (NAACT-OPG)

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 and legal resident of San Francisco since 2015. 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.
  • The artist must document a recent two year history of creating and presenting original works to the public.
  • Artists in any phase of their artistic career can apply (emerging/midcareer/established).
  • 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 vendor-compliant with the City of San Francisco. In some cases, employment may include short term teaching positions with departments such as Recreation and Park. 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, 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; 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 individual 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 vendor and meet the City of San Francisco's insurance and business tax requirements. For more information about vendor requirements, visit: Please note if you are not already a City vendor, 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.
  • PLEASE NOTE: If the grant project includes service to vulnerable populations (minors and elderly), you must have Abuse and Molestation coverage as part of your General Liability insurance coverage.
  • 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.
  • Applicants must receive an average score of 75 percent or above by the review panel to be considered for funding. Funding is not guaranteed for a score of 75 percent or above, and is determined by the availability of funds.


  • 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.
  • Applicants cannot submit more than one application for the grant category. An applicant cannot apply to both an IAC and a NAACT- IAC grant.
  • Applicants cannot receive funding for two consecutive grant cycles. Eligible disciplines rotate each year, so this means that an artist cannot receive a performing arts grant followed by a visual/literary/media grant the next year.
  • Any previously awarded IAC grants must be completed and closed out before applying for any additional grants in the IAC category.
  • The awarding of funds does not imply that the Arts Commission or any other City agency will produce, exhibit, or present the art created. It is the responsibility of the applicant to secure a venue and any required permits for public presentations or workshops.
  • Grant funds may not pay for:
  1. Project development or studio work without a public presentation.
  2. Projects that will not take place or be presented in San Francisco.
  3. Projects for which the main intent is the staging of pre-existing works including curation, archiving, journalism, etc.
  4. Refreshments of any kind. 

project requirements

  • Generation of New Work: As an individual artist, you 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 should 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 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. If the venue does not regularly maintain insurance coverage for its public activities, including the funded project, the grantee is responsible for ensuring that the venue or grantee obtains event insurance coverage for the public events. Venue letters are required to help demonstrate the applicant’s ability to bring their project to fruition and fulfill the public presentation requirement.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    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: Jenn Crane at for murals.
  • Insurance Requirements: Awarded grantees will need to provide proof of General Liability Insurance, which cannot be waived. This requirement can met by either of 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. 
      Note: If an awarded grantee is proposing to work with vulnerable populations (minors and elderly), they will be required to provide proof of Abuse & Molestation coverage as part of their General Liability coverage.
  • Insurance Waivers: Waivers will be provided to awarded grantees for Workers’ Compensation insurance if they do not have employees and for Auto Insurance if they will not be using a vehicle for the purposes of the grant.

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. 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. 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. Grant amounts are either the full amount of the grant sought or a substantial portion of the requested grant—and never 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

(20 points)


Artist clearly articulates alignment with one or more of SFAC’s goals for equitable grant making.

- Select one of SFAC’s goals for equitable grantmaking that best align with your artistic practice.

- Describe how your artistic practice aligns with the selected goal.

Artistic History

(20 points)


Artistic vision and history show sustained coherence or evolution and commitment to advancing artistic and/or social ideas and process.

- Describe your artistic history/or 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.

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

10 Work samples demonstrate artistic vision, craftsmanship, skill and capacity for future achievement

- Provide a maximum of six Work Samples

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 project’s major goals and primary methods or techniques?


Artist has demonstrated that the proposed project will have potential, long- term impact on artist’s 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 development and future opportunities?


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 or community.

- Describe the target audience or community in your public presentation and your relationship to them.

- Describe your in-depth outreach plan to the identified audience or community. Be specific.

Ability to Complete the Project

(15 points)


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.

5 The budget is thorough and demonstrates professional capacity and ability to execute the proposed project. - Complete the Total Project Budget and Notes and the SFAC Grant Budget & Notes 
5 Artist has reserved a venue for public presentation.

- Provide a Venue Confirmation Form.

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 Arts, Education & Grants 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.


FAQs for IAC


If the artist has lived in San Francisco for a minimum of two years and can show proof of residency, they are eligible to apply. This requirement relates to San Francisco residency, not immigration status, which is not a factor in determining eligibility.


Yes; applicants should choose the primary genre that addresses the work, which will determine the panel that will review the proposal.


If there is a shift in genres, the artist will need to clearly articulate why they are making this shift at this point in their career. 


No. In the Artistic History section you may talk about work outside San Francisco. However, the eligibility requirements state that the applicant must have held two San Francisco-based publicly accessible activities or events that span from October 2015 to the grant deadline.


Yes, you could apply in the theater category.


No, but you are responsible for any taxes associated with your project.


No: This grant is to support new work. If the proposed project is an iteration or phase of a long term work, this should be explained in the narrative portion of the application. The majority of the work’s creation and the public event must take place between July 1, 2018-June 30, 2019.


In this instance, the artist must communicate with the program officer and discuss how this affects the completion of the approved deliverables.


The Venue Confirmation Form is required to help demonstrate the applicant’s ability to bring their project to fruition and fulfill the public presentation requirement, and for the venue to acknowledge the City’s insurance requirements. We understand that the venue can change from the time the application was submitted. The proof of insurance is not due until two weeks prior to the public event.


You can still apply, and should note whether the funds are “secured” or “pending.” In this case, it sounds like the funds are pending. 


Your proposal may only require the amount of the grant to complete. However, if you are soliciting support from other funding sources, you should clearly outline the sources and the full cost of the project within the Total Project Budget template. Secured funding makes the total project budget seem more achievable.


Utilize the Total Project Budget template to show the full cost of the project and how the costs will be covered, whether from additional funding or from in-kind sources. The SFAC Project Budget would only list your artistic fee as what will be covered by the grant if awarded. You should include the total amount of hours and your hourly rate so that the panel has an understanding of how much time you are anticipating to complete the project. 


The Dance category is one of the more competitive categories: make sure to submit fully complete applications that are articulate, concise and align with the SFAC’s equity goals. Work samples that fully show the artistry of the dance are vital; the videos do not necessarily have to be professionally produced but they should be timely and show the arc of the applicant’s work. .


Yes, you must submit at least one work sample. At least two are recommended, and you may submit up to a maximum of 6. Please review Supporting Materials section in the Application Instructions section.

You are required to submit:

At least one work sample that demonstrates artistic vision, craftsmanship, skill and capacity for future artistic achievement in the artist’s chosen medium The work sample can be in any form such as a video, audio recording, or performance.

It is recommended to submit:

At least one work sample that highlights the creative process and risk-taking involved in the development of original work. The work sample can be in any form such as a video, audio recording, or performance.

At least one work sample that showcases a performance or activity that clearly engages with and connects to the community in an arts-related experience.


To be eligible for this grant, applicant must have held two San Francisco-based publicly accessible activities or events that span from October 2015 to the grant deadline, however the work samples may include work that happened outside of San Francisco.


The lead work sample should capture the essence of your art and reflect your artistic genre. The artistry is the most important part of the work sample; professionally produced samples are not expected or required.


The guidelines state that community engagement is an option, but not a requirement. It is important to be clear, realistic and authentic about the proposed work.


SFAC staff is always available to talk with potential applicants about our grant opportunities. However, please note that we are prioritizing technical assistance support for IAC in this year’s genres of music, theater and dance.

What's Coming Up

Public Meeting

Civic Design Review Committee Meeting

July 30
2:00 PM to 6:00 PM

War Memorial Bldg | Rm 125
Public Meeting

Civic Design Review Committee Meeting

July 30
2:00 PM to 6:00 PM

War Memorial Bldg | Rm 125
Public Meeting

Civic Design Review Committee Meeting

July 30
2:00 PM to 6:00 PM

War Memorial Bldg | Rm 125
Public Meeting

Civic Design Review Committee Meeting

July 30
2:00 PM to 6:00 PM

War Memorial Bldg | Rm 125