Grant Opportunity For Temporary Public Art Projects  - Kenneth Rainin Foundation

Grant Opportunity For Temporary Public Art Projects 

looking down a line of people who hold a bright red ribbon of fabric above their heads. The sun casts a shadow of them onto the ground. Participants engaging with Malik Seneferu’s piece as part of NOW Hunters Point’s project, "An Intentional Shift,” which was supported by the Open Spaces Program. Photo Credit: Amani Wade-Ng

The Kenneth Rainin Foundation invites applications for our Open Spaces Program from May 13 through June 10, 2024. This grantmaking program funds artist-driven temporary, place-based public art that engages communities in San Francisco and Oakland around issues relevant to them. Projects must be visionary and timely, expand the boundaries of public art and help artists in advancing their practice. Since 2014 we have awarded more than $2.5 million to 26 organizations under the Open Spaces Program. Learn about past grant recipient projects

About The 2024 Open Spaces Program

The Foundation paused the Open Spaces Program in 2022 to explore how to better enable a diverse group of artists working in temporary public art to thrive. Through conversations, workshops, and interviews with our artistic community, we identified what worked and what needed refinement. We are grateful to everyone who shared feedback to help the Foundation improve this program and strengthen our support of artists. We are excited to (re) introduce the Open Spaces Program for our 2024 grant cycle.   

Pre-Application Webinar

Reserve your spot in our upcoming webinar on Monday, May 20, 2024, at 4 PM (PST) to learn about the Open Spaces Program from Foundation staff. This session will include ASL interpretation.

If you’re unable to join the webinar, a recording will be available on our website.

Financial Support For Projects At Different Stages Of Development

As one of the few funders supporting temporary public art, we see our essential role as enabling artists to create ambitious projects in which communities can participate and engage. Acknowledging that temporary public art projects take time and resources to both plan and produce, we have two application tracks:

  1. Development Support Grants will offer up to $20,000 in early-stage funding to support the iterative planning, relationship building and experimentation phases critical to the success of temporary public art projects.
  2. Production Support Grants of up to $175,000 will support the execution of a thoroughly conceptualized and well-planned temporary public art project of scale and limited duration.

Piloting A New Resource For Grantees

To support artists in advancing their practices in public art—one of the Foundation’s goals—we are introducing a new resource that will pair each funded project team with an experienced advisor in public art. This resource is intended to ease the learning curve and help teams progress. We are offering it in response to feedback from grantees about the unanticipated challenges that come with managing large-scale projects. The advisor will act as a sounding board, offering high-level guidance and peer support as teams navigate logistics. 

Open Spaces Program Priorities

Leveraging strong, authentic partnerships. Our definition of partnership is expanding beyond a nonprofit and artist working together. We welcome artists and artistic collectives in partnership with a nonprofit or fiscal sponsor to apply for the program. While nonprofit infrastructure can be beneficial, we learned that the most successful project teams included trusted collaborators with clearly defined roles. The strength of a team lies not simply in its tax status designation, but in its ability to handle everything that’s required to make public art—from managing permitting to making payments to artists to facilitating community engagement. Having a team of strong partners also enables the artist(s) to focus on the creative aspects and devote intentional time to relationship building.

Engaging communities and addressing timely issues. Leveraging civic and neighborhood resources and cultural assets around relevant and timely issues is at the heart of the Open Spaces Program. We will continue to prioritize projects that involve communities in specific, nuanced and thoughtful ways.

Highlights from “The Panther Legacy: Honoring our Roots.” Video credit: Onus Media

The Power Of Collaboration And Intentional Community Engagement

The Temescal Roots Project received a 2022 Open Spaces Program Development Grant to gather community insights, stories and ideas to preserve a neighborhood’s rich history. In this guest blog, Jena Dominique reflects on spearheading the project and strategies that supported community engagement and consensus.

Two-Stage Application Process

As part of our ongoing effort to reduce the burden on artists applying for funding, we simplified the first stage of the application, which will use questions from The Common Application for Arts.

  • Stage One: Applications will be reviewed by Arts Program Staff.
  • Stage Two: Selected applicants will be invited to submit full proposals, which will be reviewed by a panel of artists, past grant recipients and public art specialists.

Visit the Open Spaces Program page to review eligibility, priorities, requirements and frequently asked questions.

Ask Me Questions

We’re hosting a pre-application webinar on May 20 at 4 PM (PST) to help you learn more about this grant opportunity. We will record the workshop and post it on our website. As Arts Program Officer, I want to help answer your specific questions about the Open Spaces Program. Sign up to meet with me during my office hours.

Important Dates

  • Stage One Application Period: May 13 – June 10, 2024, at 11:59 PM (PST)
  • Stage Two Full Proposal Period (by invitation only): July 15 – August 12, 2024, at 11:59 PM (PST)
  • Award Notification: November 2024
  • Grant Period: January 1, 2025 – December 31, 2026