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FY19 Public Art Building Communities (PABC) - Project-Based Grant

Grants to Washington, DC Nonprofits, Artists,
and Arts Professionals for Public Art Installations

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Funding Source:

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District of Columbia Commission on the Arts and Humanities (CAH)

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

08/10/18 4:00 PM EDT


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Grants to Washington, DC artists, arts professionals, nonprofit organizations, and business improvement districts to design, create, and install new permanent or temporary public art works. Applicants must arrange a hearing to solicit a letter of community support prior to applying. The purpose of this program is to connect artists and their artwork with local communities by providing project funding.

PABC Program Description:

The Public Art Building Communities (PABC) grant program supports individual artists and organizations in their effort to design, fabricate and install new temporary or permanent works of Public Art that connect artists (and their artwork) with communities by awarding project funding.

For the purposes of this grant, Public Art is defined as artwork in any media sited and installed on locations that are accessible to the public (without cost) and in an exterior (outdoor) location free of encumbrances. Permanent public art is defined as existing for duration of at least five (5) years (without regular maintenance), and Temporary projects must demonstrate duration of less than two (2) years.

Examples of Public Art include, but are not limited to: sculptures, mosaics, artistic streetscapes, murals, paving pattern, media/digital installations, landscape designed projects, custom benches, artistic water features, stained glass installations, and artistic arches, gates or railings.

Performance art based projects, previously created works of art and projects that have previously received CAH funding are ineligible for funding in this grant program.

Artwork must be sited and installed onto locations that are accessible to the public. Grant funds may be used for fees associated with the design, fabrication, installation and de-installation of the artwork(s) including: artist fees, materials, insurance, engineering, shipping, fabrication and installation services, permits, copyright registration, licensing, and media documentation.

PABC Goals:

By making its PABC grant awards, CAH endeavors to:
-Encourage the creation and installation of original high-quality public art works within the District of Columbia;
-Develop meaningful opportunities to connect artists to communities;
-Provide exposure and participation to the community in the public art making process;
-Further learning or discovery opportunities that may be present through public art installations;
-Support the creation of public art by DC resident artists;
-Promote robust and diverse artistic expression that resonate with residents of the District of Columbia; and,
-Contribute to the District of Columbia’s public art collection in the built environment.

Successful PABC Applications:

Successful PABC applicants shall, in their respective grant applications:
-Present a visionary idea that represents a strategic departure from the applicant’s standard practices in order to create a transformative impact on the current public art and cultural landscape of the District of Columbia;
-Comprehensively address each aspect of the project’s design specifications, material selection, fabrication process, as well as installation and maintenance processes (and, when appropriate, de-installation);
-Detail and clearly identify the proposed project’s budget (indicating all revenue and expense categories), and demonstrate effective fiscal management through narrative or support materials;
-Articulate the project’s community engagement methods and efforts;
-Explain the project implementation schedule and detail the specific execution logistics necessary to support a successfully complete project within the funding period; and
-Should be complete with detailed responses to application questions, mandatory documents submitted and materials included (uploaded) by application the deadline.

As a District of Columbia agency, CAH must ensure that all grant funds are expended in a fiscally responsible manner. CAH grant-related “allowable costs” are costs that the District government (through its subordinate agency, CAH) has determined, in its sole discretion, to be valid expenditures.

Examples of Allowable Costs for PABC Grant:
-Artist fees 20% of the project budget/artistic personnel
-Liability Insurance
-Engineering costs related to the project
-Space rental
-Fabrication and installation services
-Travel and transportation directly related to project implementation
-Copyright registration
-Plaque and dedication costs
-De-installation costs for temporary projects
-Photographic documentation and project implementation equipment purchases below or equal to $500.00

Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access:

In addition to detailed plans for its compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (42 U.S.C. §§ 12101 et seq.), each application must demonstrate how the project will be inclusive, diverse, equitable and accessible to all residents throughout the District of Columbia, including those with disabilities. Successful applications will consider a broad definition of “accessibility” by addressing financial, geographic, cultural and developmental access.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 179396

Estimated Size of Grant:

Individuals may apply for up to $50,000.

Organizations may apply for up to $125,000.

DC Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) may apply for up to $250,000.

Term of Contract:

The grant period is from October 1, 2018 to September 30, 2019.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Applicant Eligibility and Restrictions Individuals must (at the time of application):
-Be experienced artists or arts related professionals (e.g., presenters, producers and educators), over the age of 18;
-Provide a valid government-issued identification or tax return to demonstrate evidence of legal residency in the District of Columbia of at least one (1) year prior to the application deadline. DC post office boxes may not be used as a primary address;
-Must maintain residency in the District of Columbia throughout the grant period; and,
-Be in good standing with CAH. Applicants with incomplete or delinquent reports from any prior funding program, as of October 15, 2018 (or otherwise as determined by CAH), are ineligible to receive additional funds from CAH in FY 2019.

Organizations must (at the time of application):
-Ensure that at least fifty-one percent (51%) of the organization’s activities occur within the District of Columbia;
-Be incorporated in the District of Columbia, as a non-foreign entity (Note: In the context of these Guidelines, a “foreign” corporation is an entity that was incorporated in a jurisdiction other than the District of Columbia);
-Possess a federal exemption status under section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code, as evidenced by an IRS determination letter dated at least one year prior to the application deadline date;
-Be a registered organization in good standing with: (1) the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs’ (DCRA) Corporation Division; (2) the District of Columbia’s Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR); (3) the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS); and (4) the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES);
-Obtain (at the time of application and from time to time) a current District of Columbia Government Citywide “Clean Hands Certification”;
-Be headquartered and have principal offices that are located in the District of Columbia, as demonstrated by the address on the organization’s official Form 990 document. (Note: Post office boxes and the addresses of board members or volunteers may not be used as a primary business address.); and,
-Be incorporated as an arts or cultural organization, with exhibition, presentation or training in the arts as its primary function, as documented within its mission statement, or a DC Business improvement District (BID);
-Be in good standing with CAH. Applicants with incomplete or delinquent reports from any prior funding program, as of October 15, 2018, are ineligible to receive additional funds from CAH in FY 2019.

Applicant Restrictions:
-Individuals and organizations that require “fiscal agents” and that are for-profit organizations; private foundations; political organizations; colleges or universities; foreign governments; federal government entities; and, other District of Columbia government agencies, including DC Public Schools and charter schools.

Examples of Funding Restrictions for PABC Grant:
-Performance art projects
-Virtual installations that require user-owned devices
-Symposium or lectures
-Prefabricated or pre-existing artworks
-Project sustaining and /or maintaining equipment and/ or technology purchases (projects must be self-sustaining)
-Food and beverages expenses
-Equipment purchases over five-hundred dollars ($500)
-Capital expenditures
-Sub-granting or re-granting
-Debt reduction
-Scholarships or award ceremonies
-Fundraising activities or projects
-Tuition and scholarships
-College/University tuition or to fund universities, service organizations, foreign governments, or DC government agencies, including DC Public Schools or DC Public Charter Schools

Pre-proposal Conference:

CAH staff members are available to assist grant applicants through group or individual technical assistance. CAH staff members do not write applications for applicants. CAH staff members are available to review draft applications for thirty (30) minute appointments, on government business days up to one (1) week prior to the grant application deadline. Applicants should contact CAH to schedule a meeting by calling the number listed below. Please note that CAH requests the applicant prepare and deliver (by e-mail) their full draft application proposal along with any questions in advance of scheduling a meeting for agency staff assistance.

CAH conducts free workshops for participants to learn useful information about the agency’s funding opportunities and how to submit a grant application. Workshop dates, times and locations listed in the guidelines and are subject to change. All workshops are free and open to the public; however, participants are strongly encouraged to RSVP. Photo identification is required to enter CAH offices.

Workshop calendar may be found at

Pre-Application Information:

Organizations are required to demonstrate a dollar for dollar (1:1) cash match, which is designed to leverage public and private dollars and assist an organization’s fundraising. In-kind contributions of goods and services and other CAH or District of Columbia government funds may not be used to satisfy the matching requirement for organizational grant award recipients. CAH grant funds must be expended within CAH’s Fiscal Year 2019 (FY 2019) (October 1, 2018 to September 30, 2019).

Applicants submitting proposals as individuals are not required to demonstrate matching funds.

IMPORTANT: Prior to final application submission:

1. A letter of support from the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC), in which the proposed project will be installed, is required from all applicants in this grant program.

2. To obtain a letter of support, the applicant must request a hearing before the ANC to present the final designs for the proposed project.

3. As a means to promote public awareness to community members, applicants must distribute flyers to area businesses and residents within a three (3) block radius of the proposed project site announcing the ANC meeting date on which the applicant’s project will be heard with the intention to invite members of the public to attend the meeting and consider the project. At the meeting, applicants are advised to communicate that funding for the proposed project is subject to CAH approval.

4. Following the presentation at the ANC meeting, and upon ANC approval of the project, applicants are required to obtain a letter of support from the ANC.

5. Applicant must and submit a copy of that approval letter with their PABC grant application by the deadline.

6. Applicants are advised to plan early and contact the ANC for their meeting schedule and procedures.

Cycle 1:
-Release Date: Friday, February 9, 2018
-Deadline: Friday, April 6, 2018 at 4:00 PM EDT
-Notification Date: Monday, June 4, 2018 (letter of intent to fund)

Cycle 2:
-Release Date: Friday, May 25, 2018
-Deadline: Friday, August 10, 2018 at 4:00 PM EDT
-Notification Date: Monday, October 1, 2018 (letter of intent to fund)

NOTE: CAH encourages early application submission; the portal closes for entries promptly at the 4:00 PM deadline.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Keona Pearson, Public Art Coordinator

Government of the District of Columbia
DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities
200 I Street, SE, Suite 1400
Washington, DC 20003

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Geographic Focus:

USA: Washington, DC