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Curatorial Grant Program

Grants to Washington, DC Individual Curators
for Visual Art Exhibitions for Public Audiences

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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

Deadline Date:

12/15/17 4:00 PM EST


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Grants of up to $25,000 to Washington, DC individual curators to develop and present public visual art exhibitions. This program provides exhibition space for the presentation of compelling artistic concepts by resident curators. Proposals must be intended for presentations located in CAH’s 200 I Street Galleries, Lobby Gallery, which is a District-owned exhibition space located at 200 I (Eye) Street, SE Washington, DC, 20003.

Curatorial Grant Program Goals:
-To provide curators residing in the District of Columbia with a public exhibition space accessible to diverse audiences and provide grant funding to facilitate presentation of their curatorial ideas.
-To establish an opportunity for the development of innovative and educational art exhibitions with high artistic, cultural and/or conceptual merit for presentation in public space.
-To increase awareness of, and access to, unique exhibitions and programs for District residents who may not otherwise be regular museum or gallery visitors.
-To further CAH’s tenets of I.D.E.A. (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access) through the expansion of CAH grant opportunities and public programming.
-To encourage the presentation of exhibitions that incorporate participation from emerging and underrepresented District resident artist(s) who may not have commercial gallery experience or representation.

Successful Grant Applications:
-Present a visionary idea with a clearly defined curatorial concept that speaks to a chosen theme or focus.
-Should be complete, with each question thoroughly answered and submitted with all mandatory documents and actions completed and satisfied prior to the submission of the application.
-Are comprehensive and address all aspects of exhibition design, art selection, installation and de-installation processes, public programming and educational print material.
-Should detail each phase of the project, clearly identifying breakdown of the budget, timeline of project implementation and execution specifics to support a completed project.

Program Specifics Artwork:
Two- and three-dimensional works including, but not limited to prints, drawings, mixed media compositions, paintings, photographs, ceramics, video works and sculptures in the round can be accommodated within the CAH Gallery. Both pre-existing works in addition to commissioned works can be intermixed as the curator deems appropriate. Site visits to CAH’s gallery at 200 I (Eye) Street are highly recommended when considering prospective artwork for inclusion as well as for familiarity of the space for the proposed exhibit. Artwork must be able to load-in through the front entrance (site visit required to obtain entrance dimensions) and works greater than 100lbs must be pre-approved for load- bearing capacity (for walls and floor). Curator(s) must utilize the exhibition space in its current state, requiring no additional construction or lighting.

Coordination of the exhibition installation by an insured professional art handler, installer and/or artist(s) is the responsibility of the Curator(s). CAH will assist Curator(s) with access to the gallery. Security clearance is required for the District owned building where the gallery is located. All artwork should be labeled on the back or bottom with the artist name, artwork title and contact information. If sculpture in the round requires a pedestal, it is the curator’s responsibility to procure plain white matte pedestal(s) of appropriate size with grant funds. CAH will not be held responsible for any failures of the pedestal to adequately support the work.

Examples of allowable costs for funds awarded through the Curatorial Grant Program:
-Curatorial fee (not to exceed 20% of budget);
-Artist fees/artistic personnel (for works specifically commissioned for the exhibition, including site specific works);
-Equipment, technological resources, materials, supplies and services directly related to the fabrication, installation and/or de-installation of exhibited artwork;
-Methods of exhibition presentation (framing, pedestals, wall text and labeling, staging, etc.);
-Delivery and return of artwork (shipping/transportation between the CAH gallery and place of origin);
-Programmatic expenses (opening reception and other activities, such as artist talks and/or closing reception to be held at the CAH gallery);
-Space rental for storage of exhibition;
-Consultants related to the exhibition;
-Travel directly related to exhibition project implementation; and,
-Documentation of the exhibition and supporting programming (video, still, printed catalogue).

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 182451

Number of Grants:

Two (2) exhibition proposals will receive a grant for installation.

Estimated Size of Grant:

Each curatorial grantee will be awarded a grant up to $25,000 to execute their specific proposal.

Term of Contract:

The grant period for this grant program opportunity is from October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018.

The Spring Exhibition is May 7 to June 15, 2018, with installation from April 30 to May 4, and de-installation from June 18 to 22.

The Summer Exhibition is August 6 to September 14, 2018, with installation from July 30 to August 3, and de-installation from September 17 to 21.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Individuals may apply having met the following eligibility requirements at the time of application:
-Be artists or arts professionals (e.g., presenters, producers and educators), aged 18 or older;
-Be legal District of Columbia residents for at least one (1) year prior to the application deadline, and must intend to maintain primary residency during the entire funding period (October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018);
-Have a permanent District of Columbia land address, as listed on legal identification and tax returns. Post office boxes cannot be used as a demonstration of the applicant’s primary address;
-Be in good standing with CAH, which is demonstrated by the applicant’s complete or non- delinquent reporting due to CAH from any prior CAH funding program, as of 4:00 PM on Monday, October 16, 2017. Applicants in poor standing are ineligible to apply and therefore, receive any additional grant award (in any category of grant funding) from CAH in FY 2018; and,
-Abstain from any use of a secondary party that acts on its behalf (“fiscal agent”) in the performance and execution of financial duties.

Exhibition Requirements and Parameters:
-Curators shall not include their own artwork in the exhibition. Artwork should adhere to general standards of decency and respect for the diverse beliefs and values of the American public consistent with The National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities Act, as amended in 1990.

-Participant curators and artists will be required to demonstrate proof of insurance of at least $2 million in liability coverage and/or exhibition insurance riders, to cover any potential personal injury or loss/damage of the artwork during the installation and exhibition period. CAH cannot be held responsible for any damage, theft or photography of work by gallery visitors. Visitor photography, outside of the opening reception, will be strictly prohibited and enforced to the extent possible by building security.

-Curator(s) will be solely responsible for planning, promoting and hosting an opening reception and other exhibit-related programs, such as artist talks or closing reception, if desired. Those plans must be clearly outlined in the proposal, and if application is selected, those plans are subject to final approval by CAH. Only for receptions or exhibit-related programs will CAH consider a modification or extension of the building hours. Proposals may indicate preferred time for reception(s) or exhibit-related programs by the applicant. Upon final approval, CAH will help to facilitate obtaining the requisite permissions from building management regarding guest capacity, adherence to housekeeping procedures, and security clearance(s).

-Content, photographs, permissions and writing of accompanying exhibition catalogue must be submitted for CAH review prior to distribution.

-Curator must coordinate with CAH staff regarding all public relations, promotions and any media interviews in advance and throughout the exhibition.

-Images of exhibited artwork and exhibition are subject to use on promotional materials for the exhibition. Images will not be replicated for commercial use under any circumstance. Curator shall ensure that CAH has the right to use of images for any promotion or archival use it may require.

Examples of unallowable costs for funds awarded through the Curatorial Grant Program:
-Food and beverages (inclusive of receptions and programs);
-Sub-granting or re-granting of funds from CAH;
-Tuition and scholarships;
-College tuition expenses;
-Funds that are provided to universities, service organizations, foreign governments, or District of Columbia government agencies, including DC Public Schools.
-Costs related to fundraisers and off-site special events; and
-Travel not directly related to executing the proposed exhibition.

Please note that payments may be taxable under the law. Each grant recipient should consult with a tax professional to determine how payments may impact individual circumstances.

Pre-Application Information:

CAH staff members are available to assist grant applicants through group or individual technical assistance. CAH staff members will not write applications for applicants.

CAH staff members are available for thirty (30) minute appointments on government business days up to one (1) week prior to the grant application deadline. An applicant is permitted to contact CAH to schedule a meeting to review draft applications for technical assistance.

CAH will not accept mailed, emailed or hand-delivered copies of grant applications unless approved prior to the grant deadline as a reasonable accommodation request from applicants with disabilities. To request a reasonable accommodation, contact Kali Wasenko (details below).

The applicant may indicate one or both periods on the applciation: Spring Exhibition or Summer Exhibition.

Calendar of Key Dates:
-Call to Curators Released: Monday, October 30, 2017
-Submission Deadline: Friday, December 15, 2017 at 4:00 PM EST
-Panel Meeting to Select (2) Curatorial Proposals: Thursday, January 4, 2018
-Notifications Made to Applicants: Friday, January 19, 2018
-Spring Exhibition: May 7 - June 15, 2018
-Summer Exhibition: August 6 - September 14, 2018

Gallery Hours for Installation and Viewing: Monday to Friday, 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM. Weekend hours are not available due to the security restrictions of the District building.

Contact Information:

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

Apply Online:

Additional questions about the Curatorial Grant Program can be referred to:

Zoma Wallace, Curator

To request a reasonable accommodation to submit an application, contact:
Kali Wasenko

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

Funding or Pin Number:


URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Washington, DC