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Open Spaces Program

Grants to California Nonprofits to Create Public Art
Displays in Oakland and San Francisco

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Kenneth Rainin Foundation

Conf. Date:


LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

11/02/18 5:00 PM PST


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Grants starting at $50,000 to California nonprofit organizations to collaborate with local artists in creating place-based, temporary public art displays in Oakland and San Francisco. LOIs are due by August 3, 2018. Eligible projects must maintain a sustained presence in order to allow for substantial engagement with place and community.

The Kenneth Rainin Foundation’s Open Spaces Program offers support to nonprofit organizations to partner with artists to create temporary, place-based public art projects in San Francisco and Oakland that:

- Are visionary, timely projects with potential for deep impact on communities served
- Include an artist-initiated process of community engagement
- Expand the boundaries of public art and support artists in advancing their practice
- Leverage civic and neighborhood resources and cultural assets

As with the Foundation’s other Arts grant programs, the Open Spaces Program is intended to strengthen the Bay Area as a center for experimentation in the arts and aims to support:

- Collaborations across various disciplines, diverse media, and technology;
- Projects taking place outdoors at sites accessible by public transportation; and
- Projects which compensate artists at a significant level.*

*Please note: Projects must designate at least one-third of the grant funds to the artistic project team and their direct expenses for creating the work.

The Rainin Foundation defines public art broadly and will consider projects that may embody many multidisciplinary approaches such as those listed below:

- Arts and technology projects
- Visual, media and performing arts
- Light-based artworks
- Video and film projections
- Sound sculpture
- Functional
- Socially engaged art practice
- Conceptual works
- Performance-based visual arts projects

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 183978

Estimated Size of Grant:

Grants may range between $50,000 to $200,000.

Term of Contract:

For the Spring Program, the grant period is from July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2020. Note: Performances must have production dates after July 1, 2018.

For the Fall Program, the grant period is from January 15, 2019 – December 31, 2021.

Projects must have a sustained presence of one month or longer to allow for substantial engagement with place and community.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Grants are awarded to non-profit organizations or to 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsors. All fiscal sponsorships require a written agreement.

It is not required that the applicant nonprofit be an arts or cultural organization.

Please note: *In the case that a project is applying with a fiscal sponsor, the fiscally sponsored project and the lead artist(s) may not be the same entity. Please contact Arts Program Staff should you need further clarification.

Lead applicants must be Bay Area nonprofit organizations that are proposing projects in collaboration with a specific artist(s). Participating artists may be based outside of the San Francisco Bay Area provided that a local organization plays a lead role.

Applicant organizations must demonstrate that they have the capacity to fulfill the following roles and responsibilities:

- Oversee project management, which includes obtaining required City approvals and permits, facilitating community engagement activities, promoting the project through social media and other channels, assisting with ongoing maintenance of the project, documenting the project and developing a metric for project evaluation
- Make payments to artist and team members and maintain accurate financial records for the project
- Hold general liability insurance to indemnify the Kenneth Rainin Foundation and property owner

The Foundation does not fund:

- Direct assistance to individuals or individual sponsorships
- Capital campaign requests
- Non-profit entities not located and operating primarily in the Bay Area (except for medical research)
- Start-up organizations
- Sports, athletic events or league sponsorships

Pre-proposal Conference:

Two pre-application workshops open to the public taking place in San Francisco and Oakland on July 16th and July 20th respectively. Workshops will feature an overview of Rainin Foundation objectives, the application process, and our commitment to community engagement.

For additional information and to register please see here:

Please note that training and education events for the Open Spaces Program are subject to change.

Pre-Application Information:

If you are applying with a 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor, please contact Arts Program Staff in advance of submitting an application.

The deadline for Letters of Inquiry (LOI) for this program is August 3, 2018, by 5:00 PM (PST). Based on the criteria above, the Foundation will select applicants to advance to Phase Two, where they will be awarded a $5,000 honorarium to develop a detailed proposal.

Qualified applicants will be invited to submit proposals for the second phase of this process by September 3, 2018.

Spring 2018 NEW Program Schedule
- Letters of Inquiry (LOIs): January 3 – February 9, 2018; LOIs are due by 5 PM PST on February 9, 2018.
- Full Proposals (by invitation only): March 2 – March 23, 2018; Full proposals are due by 5 PM PST on March 23, 2018.
- Awards Announcement: May 2018

Fall 2018 Open Spaces Program
- Letters of Inquiry (LOIs): June 25 – August 3, 2018; LOIs are due by 5 PM PST on August 3, 2018.
- Full Proposals (by invitation only): September 3 – November 2, 2018; Full proposals are due by 5 PM PST on November 2, 2018.
- Awards Announcement: January 2019
- Grant Period: January 15, 2019 – December 31, 2021

Awards calendar:


Contact Information:

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

Online application:

Mia deJesus, Grants Officer

Kenneth Rainin Foundation
155 Grand Avenue
Oakland, CA 94612

If you are unable to use email, please leave a message at 510-625-5207 and your call will be returned as soon as possible.

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: California: San Francisco and Oakland