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ACF Create

Grants to Minnesota and New York City Emerging Music
Composers and Artists to Create and Present New Works

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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American Composers Forum (ACF)

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

05/10/21 11:59 PM Central


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Grants to Minnesota and New York City emerging composers and music makers to create, present, and promote new musical works. Funding is intended to support artists from the full range of musical styles. Applicants must partner with another artist, who may be from anywhere in the world. The ACF is committed to supporting a diverse pool of artists.

The music creator applying needs to be at the early stages of their creative development; have a focused direction and are actively creating new work; have yet to be substantially celebrated within their field, the media, funding circles, or public at large; are vocational (as opposed to avocational, academic, amateur, or educational) artists. The music creator applies with a collaborative partner (such as a performing group or a presenter) that is committed to presenting the finished work.

The curators will select projects that:

  • Expand the aesthetic or social experience in music and/or revive traditional forms in original ways
  • Are imaginative, rigorous, and well-executed
  • Are technically proficient and exhibit a high level of craft
  • Are compelling and have a distinctive vision and authentic voice
  • Connect with intended audiences/participants
  • Are engaging aesthetically and experientially
  • Are bold and risk-taking

Evaluation criteria:

  • Sample materials are imaginative, compelling, and exhibit a high level of craft.
  • Connection of the primary artist and collaborator(s) with intended audiences/participants.
  • Bold and risk-taking plan for the commission that expands the aesthetic or social experience in music and/or revives traditional forms in original ways. The proposed commission is engaging aesthetically and experientially.
  • Level of commitment by the collaborator to supporting the authentic voice of the music creator by performing, presenting, and furthering the commissioned work.
  • Relevance of the Production and Promotion Support Funds to deepen the work and further the artist’s work.
  • The final pool of curated artists will reflect a range of projects diverse in creative methodology, gender, race, and ethnicity.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 181860

Number of Grants:

Five grants are available.

Estimated Size of Grant:

Five artists will be awarded the following:
- $8,000.00 commission support paid directly to the artist across three installments for their time to create a new work. Take the size of this fee into consideration in regards to the scope (length of the work, technical demands, and number of artists required for performance) of your proposed work.
- $3,000.00 to help with the production or promotion of the new work. These funds may be used before, during, or after the premiere. Scenarios might include: research, travel, consultation, preparation fees, equipment or software costs, rehearsals, workshops, space rental, collaboration costs, outreach events, touring, publication, recording, and promotion costs.

Term of Contract:

Proposed works should be at an early stage in their development, and must not be finished by the time of application.

Works must be scheduled to premiere after September 30, 2021. Supported projects must be completed within five years of the award date.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

This program is for music creators who are in the early stages of their creative development and are vocational artists that are residents of Minnesota or the five boroughs of New York City and have been residents for at least one year prior to application or program participation.

The music creator must be a resident of the state of Minnesota or one of the five boroughs of New York City and have been resident for at least one year prior to application. Applicants did (or will) file US federal taxes as a resident of either Minnesota or one of the five boroughs of New York City. The artist creating the new work must also either be a citizen of the U.S. or a non-citizen lawful U.S. permanent resident. Applicants must have a US Social Security Number or US Tax ID.

Collaborating Partner(s) may be based anywhere in the world.

Early-Stage Artists:
- Have between 2 to 10 years of experience as music creators making new original work (excluding any in a time degree-granting programs; as a musician of non-original work created by others; or arranging or reviving the work of other music creators; or time away from working as an artist due to circumstances-e.g., having children, caring for family members, long-term illness, etc.).
- Have completed and publicly presented works. Works created and presented while in a degree-granting program are not eligible for meeting this requirement.
- Have at least 1 work on your resume that has been supported by a presenting organization (that is not your own organization, if applicable) or funder (for a project grant from either a foundation or a federal, state, or local arts agency). Self-presented work or work created and presented while in a degree-granting program is not eligible for meeting this requirement.
- Curators will rely on materials submitted in this application to assess the review criteria.
- This opportunity is not for beginning artists who have never created music, whose generated new work has yet to be publicly shared, or without a sufficient body of completed work that a panel can use to assess your artistic development over time.
- Age is not a factor in determining eligibility.
- Artists who are mid-career or established are not eligible.

Artist will be considered beyond early career and ineligible if they have:
- Received consistent significant financial support for their artistic work from foundations and/or federal, state, or local arts agencies for multiple different projects.
- Considerable bodies of work and are consistently touring and being produced by organizations (not your own organization).
- Garnered significant regional or national prizes or awards in recognition or support of the creation and/or public presentation of multiply different works, including but not limited to: Grammy Awards, United States Artists Awards, Creative Capital Awards, MAP grants and/or Fulbright Fellowships, ASCAP Foundation or BMI Awards, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Chamber Music America Grants, New Music USA Awards, Commission or touring grants from national or regional performance venues. Receipt of one of these grants and awards does not make an artist ineligible-it is the receipt of multiple grants and awards for multiple projects that, taken as a whole, move an artist to mid-career or beyond.
- Received recognition in the form of awards, commissions, residencies, or funding opportunities that are specifically categorized as mid-career.
- Received awards or prizes in recognition of significant cumulative career achievement (including but not limited to the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, The American Prize, Guggenheim Fellowship, or the MacArthur Fellowship).
- Have a full-time tenured faculty position (or the equivalent).

Mid-career or established artists from fields other than music will not be considered early career. For example, a new media artist with a substantial career who is now moving into creating music will not be considered early career for the purposes of this commission.

2018/2019 and 2019/2020 ACF | create music creators and their collaborators are ineligible.

Any Creators and Their Collaborators with In-progress Projects Awarded Prior to 2018 by ACF with Funding Provided by the Jerome Foundation are ineligible. ACF | create funds may not support costs or activities supporting the artist(s) through other Jerome Foundation-funded grants or programs.

Applicants can not be enrolled full-time in any degree-granting programs (K-12, undergraduate, or graduate) in any field. Applicants who are or will be students enrolled full-time in a degree-granting program are ineligible. Ph.D. and DMA candidates who have completed all requirements except their dissertation may apply.

Pre-proposal Conference:

Bill Lackey, ACF Vice President of Programs, will conduct six 60-minute 2021 ACF | create Application Workshops online to go over the application process. These sessions will be offered online via Zoom.

Video tutorials on how to use the Zoom online meeting system can be found here:

2021 ACF | create Commissioning Program Information Session Dates and Times via Zoom:

Saturday, February 20: 2:00 – 3:00 PM Central
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Friday, February 26: 4:00 – 5:00 PM Central
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Saturday, March 6: 12:00 – 1:00 PM Central
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Thursday, March 18: 7:00 – 8:00 PM Central
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Saturday, March 27: 12:00 – 1:00 PM Central
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2021 ACF | create Commissioning Program Meeting Drop-In Dates and Times via Zoom:

Friday, March 5: 10 AM – Noon & 1 – 5 PM Central
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Thursday, March 11: 10 AM – Noon & 1 – 5 PM Central Register here for this date:

Friday, March 19: 10 AM – Noon & 1 – 5 PM Central
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Friday, March 26: 10 AM – Noon & 1 – 5 PM Central
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Friday, April 9: 10 AM – Noon & 1 – 5 PM Central
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If you are not able to participate in one of the online session you are welcome to schedule one-on-one meeting in person at the ACF office or over the phone, with William Lackey about your application before completing it online.

Pre-Application Information:

The application deadline is Monday, May 10, 2021 (11:59 PM Central).

Recognizing that different funders may define “mid-career” in different ways, artists who have received mid-career awards but consider themselves still in an early career stage should contact Billy Lackey, ACF VP of Artist Services before Friday, May 7, 2021, to discuss eligibility in advance of submitting an application.

The panel’s decision is final and will be announced in early August 2021. Results will be posted on ACF’s website and applicants will be notified by email.

Application information:

Contact Information:

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

Apply online:

William J. Lackey
(651) 357-9441

American Composers Forum
75 West 5th Street, Suite 522
Saint Paul, MN 55102-1439 USA
Phone: (651) 228-1407

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Minnesota;   New York City: Five Boroughs of New York City;   New York

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