Artplace America Now Seeking Applications for Creative Placemaking Proposals

We're fans of simplicity. So, too, we imagine, are arts organizations and their grantwriters, who spend most of their working days sifting through grant applications and guidelines whose combined thickness rivals that of the New York City phonebook.

Arts-focused foundations are getting hip to the whole simplicity thing. Knight's Arts Challenge submission process requires applicants to propose projects that meet three basic criteria. The whole process can take as little as 10 minutes.

And now there's a new round of ArtPlace America creative placemaking grants. The bad news is that their application process isn't quite as simple as Knight's. The good news is that it's only marginally more complicated—its application includes a whopping four questions.

By rolling out simple applications, both foundations assume that the simpler the application, the more applications they'll receive. A corollary to this line of thinking is that under-staffed organizations will also be more inclined to submit applications. Both foundations are correct. The simpler the application, the greater interest a foundation will generate.

As one of the organizations leading the creative placemaking charge across the country, ArtPlace America received around 1,300 applications last year. And now, with $10.5 million in hand, they are accepting applications for their 2016 National Creative Placemaking Fund (not to be confused with their Community Development Investments, which we took a look at previously).

And what about that not-so-oppressive, four-point application process? ArtPlace America encourages you to apply for a grant if your project: 

  • Focuses on a neighborhood or other geographic community.
  • Is looking to work on a community challenge related to agriculture/food; economic development; education/youth; environment/energy; health; housing, immigration; public safety; transportation; or workforce development.
  • Has a way that artists, arts organizations, and/or arts activities can address that challenge.
  • Will have a way of knowing whether the project has made progress on the challenge.

A few things potential applicants should know: 

  • ArtPlace is "size agnostic." The organization has a history of funding projects in communities of every size, from a community of 400 people to one with 8.3 million. (In fact, 24% of ArtPlace’s funding has gone to communities with fewer than 50,000 people.)
  • ArtPlace craves geographic diversity. While having previously funded projects in 43 states and the District of Columbia, ArtPlace is looking to add projects in the remaining seven states of Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, and Wyoming. 
  • ArtPlace wants to broaden their project portfolio. Historically, ArtPlace hasn't had many projects addressing environment/energy, health, and public safety issues and they hope to change that.
  • ArtPlace loves collaboration. They've seen that most successful community development projects that they have funded have involved a range of partners working together. This year, any of the projects they fund will need to have at least one partner.

For more information on ArtPlace America's National Creative Placemaking Fund, click here. And click soon—application deadline is Wednesday, March 2, 2016.