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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:

08/23/19 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. Applicants are required to submit an LOI prior to submitting a full application. 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:

The grant period is 24 months, from December 1, 2019 – December 1, 2021, and it is expected that projects will be completed within this time frame.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

- Nonprofit organizations or to 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsors (requires written agreement). If applying with a fiscal sponsor, contact Arts Program Staff. The fiscally sponsored project and lead artist(s) may not be the same entity.
- Lead applicant(s) must be a Bay Area nonprofit that is proposing a project in collaboration with a specific artist(s). Artists may be based outside of the Bay Area if a local organization plays a lead role.
- One-third of the grant funds must be designated to the artistic project team and their direct expenses for creating the work.
- Applicant organizations must demonstrate the capacity to oversee project management, obtain city approvals and permits, facilitate community engagement, promote the project, as well as assist with ongoing maintenance of the project, documentation and evaluation of the project.
- Applicant organizations must be able to make payments to artist and team members, maintain project financial records and hold general liability insurance to indemnify the Kenneth Rainin Foundation and property owner.
- Projects must have a sustained presence of at least one month to allow for substantial engagement.
- Projects sites must be in San Francisco and/or Oakland.

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:

Pre-application workshops are an opportunity to learn more about the guidelines, requirements and application process. Arts Program staff will be on hand to answer questions.

- Mon, April 29, 2019
5:30 PM – 6:30 PM PDT

Location: Root Division - 1131 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

- Wed, May 8, 2019
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM PDT

Location: Pro Arts Gallery - 150 Frank H Ogawa Plaza, Oakland, CA 94612

For more information:

Pre-Application Information:

Applicants must submit an LOI. Selected LOI applicants will be awarded a $5,000 honorarium to develop a full proposal.

2019 Open Spaces Program
- Letters of Inquiry (LOIs): April 8 – May 31, 2019
LOIs are due by 5 PM PST on May 31, 2019.
The Foundation will NOT accept submissions via e-mail or otherwise outside of the online system.

- Full Proposals (by invitation only): July 8 – August 23, 2019
Full proposals are due by 5 PM PST on November 2, 2019.

- Awards Announcement: November 2019

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

Awards calendar:


Contact Information:

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

Apply online:

Contact Us Page:

Kenneth Rainin Foundation
155 Grand Avenue
Oakland, CA 94612

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: California: San Francisco and Oakland