Creative Engagement is an arts funding program that provides seed grants to individual artists and nonprofit organizations for projects and activities that offer Manhattan communities diverse artistic experiences. Each year, the program supports over 150 arts projects in Manhattan, including concerts, performances, public art, exhibitions, screenings, festivals, workshops, readings and more. Through this grant program LMCC will award over $500,000 for projects in neighborhoods from Inwood to the Battery taking place between January 1–December 31, 2018.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Felipe Galindo, LMCC Grantee

APPLICATIONS FOR CREATIVE ENGAGEMENT 2018 AND CREATIVE LEARNING 2018 ARE NOW CLOSED. APPLICANTS WILL BE NOTIFIED BY EMAIL IN FEBRUARY 2018.

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Download a printable pdf of these guidelines HERE.

Creative Engagement is a grant program designed to enable Manhattan’s artists and small nonprofit organizations to access local public funds under the guiding principle that support for artists of diverse disciplines, practices, cultural backgrounds, and career stages contributes to the vibrancy and sustainability of our communities.

Creative Engagement aims to support effective and innovative approaches to engaging audiences through projects and programming of strong artistry. Funding is provided for projects in the performing, literary, media, and visual arts, ranging from folk/traditional forms to contemporary and socially-engaged artistic practices. Creative Engagement strongly supports the payment of artist fees. 

The program is comprised of two funds: City funds, provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs’ Greater New York Arts Development Fund, and State funds, provided by the New York State Council on the Arts’ (NYSCA) Decentralization program. Funding is intended for artists and organizations that are not able to apply directly to the City and/or State for arts funding. Creative Engagement often provides the first grant that an applicant receives, which can help leverage additional support.

The program is accompanied by technical assistance to applicants, and networking and promotional opportunities for funded projects.

Creative Engagement awards approximately $500,000 each year to implement arts projects in neighborhoods from Inwood to the Battery. Supported activities include concerts, performances, public art, exhibitions, screenings, festivals, workshops, readings, and more. The program encourages projects that connect audiences to rich arts experiences as demonstrated by opportunities to attend and/or participate in arts events and programming. Funding priority will be given to projects that bring new arts activities to communities where the need exists, rather than replicate existing offerings.

Competitive projects will demonstrate strong artistic merit, thoughtful project planning, and clear plans to reach the public.

Creative Engagement offers the opportunity to access City, State, or both sources of funds by completing a single application. Please note:

  • Applicants eligible for City funds may request up to $5,000.
  • Applicants eligible for State funds may request up to $5,000.
  • Applicants eligible for City and State funds may request up to $8,000.
  • If awarded, no grants will be made for less than $750.

See Applicant Eligibility for specific City and State eligibility requirements.

Application Deadline: September 12, 2017, 5pm, for projects taking place between January 1 – December 31, 2018.

Nonprofit Organizations:

Creative Engagement supports nonprofit organizations that meet the following Core Eligibility Requirements:

  • Organizations must be based in Manhattan.
  • Organizations must have proof of nonprofit status.
  • Organizations must have a core artistic mission and/or history of arts programming.
  • Applicants may not have applied directly to LMCC’s Creative Learning program for the same fiscal year.
  • First-time applicants and applicants who have not attended an information session for Creative Engagement, MCAF, or The Fund in 2014 or later are required to attend a session before applying. For dates, locations, and to RSVP, scroll down to the INFO SESSIONS section.

 

In addition, to access City funding:

  • Organizations may not be directly receiving funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) for the same fiscal year.
  • Organizations must have operating budgets under $100,000 for two of the last three completed fiscal years.
  • Organizations may not be New York City agencies or departments.

 

To access State funding:

  • Organizations may not be directly applying for funds from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) for a grant for the same fiscal year, regardless of funding status.
  • Organizations may not be New York State agencies or departments.

 

Individual Artists and Collectives:

Creative Engagement supports individual artists, as well as collectives, project-based collaborations, and unincorporated groups that meet the following Core Eligibility Requirements:

  • Individual artists must reside in Manhattan.
  • Individual artists may not apply or receive funds on behalf of any organization.
  • Collectives must designate a lead artist (director, or equivalent), who meets all eligibility requirements for individual artists, to apply as an individual on its behalf. Note: The lead artist must be the primary entity responsible for the application, as well as the grant, if awarded. Guest artists or temporary programming staff will not be considered a lead artist for the application.
  • Applicants may not have applied directly to LMCC’s Creative Learning program for the same fiscal year.
  • First-time applicants and applicants who have not attended an information session for Creative Engagement, MCAF, or The Fund in 2014 or later are required to attend a session before applying. For dates, locations, and to RSVP, scroll down to the INFO SESSIONS section.

To access City funding:

Individual artists and collectives need only meet the above Core Eligibility Requirements.

 

To access State funding:

  • Individuals and collectives need to be collaborating with a nonprofit Partner Organization to realize the proposed project. If desired, the Partner Organization may also act as the artist’s fiscal sponsor. The Partner Organization must:
    • Be a primary project collaborator and contribute resources, monetary, or otherwise, such as facilities, materials, or access to participants or audiences, to demonstrate a true partnership for the project.
    • Be based in Manhattan.
    • Provide proof of nonprofit status.
    • Provide a letter of commitment describing the organization’s role and planned contributions to the project.
    • Not be directly applying to New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) for a grant for the same fiscal year.
    • Not be a New York State agency or department.
  • Individuals and collectives may not be directly applying to New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) for a grant for the same fiscal year, regardless of funding status.

 

About fiscal sponsorship:

Individual artists and collectives may apply directly to Creative Engagement without a fiscal sponsor. Those who wish to apply with a fiscal sponsor, please note:

  • Applicants for City funding may apply with a fiscal sponsor of their choice.
  • Applicants for State funding may only designate their partner organization as fiscal sponsor.

Applicants will be accepted for projects in any artistic discipline that meet the following requirements:

  • Project must include a public component: an opportunity to access and engage with the arts that is promoted and available to the general public. In the case of workshops and participatory programs, participant recruitment must be open to the general public and reflected accordingly in outreach and promotional plans.
  • Public activities of the project must be located in Manhattan.
  • Project activities must take place between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018.
  • Project budget must show at least 25% of planned project income, in cash or in-kind contributions, from sources other than Creative Engagement. Please see the FAQs and Project Budget Template below for guidance in accurately calculating this percentage.
  • All participating professional artists must be guaranteed a fee, indicated in the project budget.
  • Applicants may not be a lead artist or key partner in more than one proposal to Creative Engagement.
  • Applicants may only submit one (1) proposal requesting support for one (1) project from Creative Engagement, including those requesting both City and State funds.
  • Applicants for City funding may also apply to the SU-CASA program, administered in Manhattan by LMCC and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA), provided it is for a different project.

Under this program, funding is not available for:

  • In-school arts education programs or projects exclusively serving a school’s student body.
  • Projects restricted to any organization’s membership; eligible projects must be promoted and remain available to the general public.
  • Projects that are intended to be experienced solely online.
  • Projects that are recreational, therapeutic, rehabilitative, or religious in nature including at-risk/social service programs when the purpose is primarily for rehabilitation, therapy or worship.
  • Humanities projects
  • Work-in-progress showings solely for the development of new work.
  • Professional arts training programs or projects primarily designed to support the creative development of artists.
  • General operating support or funds to establish a new organization.
  • Payment for facilities, purchase of capital equipment, or non-project related administrative expenses.
  • Offering fellowships or cash prizes.
  • Entertainment costs, such as opening parties, receptions or fundraisers.
  • Events that take place in private homes.
  • Payment to amateur participants of community workshops or programs.
  • Previous grantees of LMCC that have failed to comply with grant contract or reporting requirements.
  • An existing work previously funded by Creative Engagement, The Fund for Creative Communities, or Manhattan Community Arts Fund.

A jury of artists and arts professionals will review projects using the following four criteria:

  • Artistic excellence, taking into consideration proposed personnel, project design, and audience experience
  • Clarity of project proposal
  • Project feasibility, taking into consideration budget, timeline, and capacity to achieve stated goals
  • Appropriateness of outreach and marketing plans to reach the intended audience(s)

The criteria are not listed in order of priority; each is equally important. Please make sure that your application materials, taken as a whole, address these criteria.

Applying to Creative Engagement is a competitive process. Proposals should accurately describe the project, public activities, the target audience, and the project’s anticipated impact. Project budgets should be precise, reflect actual needs, and demonstrate the ability to raise funds from additional sources.

Applicants will be notified by email in February 2018 whether their projects have been funded.

We encourage applicants and grantees to contact our staff in the month following notification for a summary of jury comments and feedback on their applications.

Grant Requirements

The grant award is a contract for arts services; grantees are required to do the following during the grant period:

  • Sign and return grant contract to LMCC.
  • Include funding credit on all marketing and event materials, print and electronic
  • Submit an event notification form six weeks before funded public events take place to: 1) allow LMCC to promote the event information and/or 2) arrange for an LMCC representative to attend.
  • Notify LMCC of any significant changes to proposed project activities, including schedule, key participants, project scope or budget, before these changes are finalized.
  • Submit a final report, no later than 30 days after completion of all project activities.

Appeals Process

Applicants may appeal decisions in writing within ten (10) days of funding notifications should they believe an error in the review of their application has taken place, effectively arguing the case for appeal based on the criteria below. Dissatisfaction with either an unfavorable decision or the recommended level of support is not grounds for appeal.

Grounds for appeal are limited to the following:

  • Misrepresentation of information: an applicant’s information was improperly presented by the LMCC staff in a way that may have adversely affected the review process
  • Non-presentation of information: the applicant’s information was not presented by the LMCC staff as part of the jury’s decision-making process
  • Improper jury procedure: conflict of interest or biased decision

Applications should be completed and submitted online before 5PM on Tuesday, September 12, 2017.

Follow these FOUR STEPS TO APPLY:

  1. Read the Program Guidelines and Online Application Form. Make sure your project is eligible for consideration before you apply.
  2. Attend an Information Session. First-time applicants, or returning applicants who have not attended an information session in the past three years, must attend an information session to be eligible to apply. RSVP for an information session below.
  3. Prepare Required Documents and Work Samples. Prepare digital versions of the Required Documents and Work Samples to be submitted as part of the Online Application Form. If you have difficulty converting paper documents into digital formats, please contact LMCC staff for assistance.
  4. Complete and submit Online Application Form. Create a Submittable account. Your application will always be connected to your account. The main point of contact should manage and maintain access to your Submittable account. Make sure to save unfinished applications before you exit the form. Complete and submit all components of your application online. Application forms are not considered final until submitted.

 

We strongly recommend that you view the Online Application Form and instructions in advance and maintain a backup copy of your responses in a separate document off line. Once you have submitted the form, you will not be able to make changes, or resubmit.

Work samples are an important element of your application. We encourage you to choose samples from within the last three years that best represent your project. LMCC uses a Mac laptop and projector to play work samples. Please test your samples accordingly.

The aim of the work sample is to bring the jury as close as possible to an actual experience of the work. Do not submit edited promotional or interview materials.

You will be asked to provide:

A. Work Sample Format – select which option you will be submitting
B. Work Sample Inventory – enter descriptions for each work sample
C. Work Samples – enter links or upload files

 

Work Sample Format

Based on the discipline or form of your project, select a format option and provide samples of past or current work by uploading or providing links directly in the Online Application Form.

Work Sample Format Options are as follows:

Option 1: 2 Audio/Video Recordings

Option 2: 10 Images

Option 3: 10-Page Manuscript

Option 4: 1 Audio/Video Recording and 5 Images

Option 5: 1 Audio/Video Recording and 5-Page Manuscript

Option 6: 5 Images and 5-Page Manuscript

 

Performing Arts, Film, Media And Other Time-Based Projects

Submit recordings: 2 maximum

Submit up to two (2) recordings of past/current works or projects in performing, media, music, film or other time-based art forms. Creative Engagement accepts recordings in two formats:

1. Online, links to video or audio samples hosted on one of the following external sites: YouTube.com, Vimeo.com, or SoundCloud.com.

  • Provide these links in the Online Application Form.
  • Samples should remain accessible online through March 2018.
  • Do NOT submit personal website URLs containing embedded samples, or links to other online sites and platforms.

2. CDs or DVDs, received by LMCC by the application deadline.

  • Indicate in the Online Application Form that you are submitting CDs or DVDs and include track number.
  • Submit your work samples disks to LMCC before the application deadline to the following address:

Creative Engagement
Lower Manhattan Cultural Council
125 Maiden Lane, Second Floor
New York, NY 10038

  • Include a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) if you want the samples to be returned. Samples with SASE will be returned by April 2018.
  • Label your CD/DVD as “[applicant name]: Sample #”. Use a permanent marker. Do not use stickers on DVDs or CDs as these can jam equipment.

The selection jury will view each recording for up to 2.5 minutes. However, we encourage you to submit full-length work, if possible. Provide a cue point, which indicates the start time to play the sample during review, for any work sample that is longer than three (3) minutes total. Theater artists without video documentation should contact LMCC staff about alternative work sample formats.

 

Literary Projects

Upload manuscripts: 10 pages maximum

Submit samples no longer than ten (10) pages of scripts, poetry or prose. Applicants may provide any number of works totaling ten pages, however you will only be allowed to submit one (1) document in PDF format.

The manuscript must be typed, double-spaced with 8 1/2” x 11” page formatting. The applicant’s name, title of the work, and a page number should appear on each page of the manuscript.

 

Visual Arts Projects

Upload images: 10 maximum

Submit a maximum of ten (10) digital images.

  • Images must be saved as JPEG files, 800 pixels in the longest dimension, at 72dpi.
  • Each image filename must be saved as: LastName-FirstName-#(e.g. Smith_John_01.jpg / Smith_John_02.jpg / etc.)
  • During the selection process, images will be viewed one at a time as a projection.
  • Work Sample image files should be directly uploaded into the Online Application.

 

Support Materials

Submit support materials related to the project or applicant to round out your application. Though optional, support materials are an opportunity to share additional materials and can be an essential component to your application. Consider sharing materials that will help the jury to further understand your work. Examples include promotional materials, brochures, bios or artist lists, workshop curricula, venue confirmation letters, press clippings, etc.

Nonprofit Organizations: upload one (1) copy of each of the following items:

  1. Proof of nonprofit status with address in Manhattan. Choose ONE (1) of the following options:

a. Letter of Determination from the IRS indicating tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3)

b. Documentation of charter by the New York State Board of Regents under section 216 of the New York State Education Law

c. Documentation of incorporation under Section 402 of the New York State Not-for-Profit Corporation Law

d. Current New York State Bureau of Charities (Office of the Attorney General) filing receipt

e. Official authorization as an arm of local government (i.e., a formal letter on official stationary signed by the appropriate county, city, town or village executive)

Note: Proof of nonprofit status should have the same address as the nonprofit address in the application. If the address on nonprofit documentation is a PO Box or shows an address that does not match the main address in the application, provide additional proof of the organization’s physical address in Manhattan.

 

  1. Board of directors and staff lists

 

  1. Financial statement for the most recently completed fiscal year (audited statement or most recently filed IRS Form 990).

Note: If the organization filed a 990N or audited financials are not available, submit an itemized financial statement signed by the organization’s treasurer, bookkeeper, or accountant instead. Actuals from your most recently completed fiscal year are preferred over audited financials from prior fiscal years.

 

  1. Projected organizational budget for the fiscal year in which the proposed project takes place (e. FY18 or FY19)

 

Individual Artist(s) And Collectives: upload one (1) copy of each of the following items:

  1. Proof of Manhattan address of the individual artist or lead artist of a collective. Upload one (1) copy of one (1) of the following.

a. Utility bill (e.g. electricity, cable, gas, etc)

b. Driver’s license or IDNYC (address on the driver’s license/ID must be same as address provided in application)

Note: Proof of Manhattan address should be the same as the applicant address. If the proof of address shows a PO Box or shows an address that does not match the main point of contact address in the application, provide additional proof of the individual’s physical address in Manhattan.

 

Individual Artists and Collectives applying i) for City Funds with a Fiscal Sponsor, or ii) for State funds with a Partner Organization, must provide the following:

1. Letter of commitment on the organization’s letterhead, signed by the Executive Director, or equivalent. The letter should confirm the following:

  • For Fiscal Sponsors:
    • The scope of the proposed project, demonstrating an overall understanding of the proposal
    • Roles and responsibilities as fiscal sponsor
  • For Partner Organizations:
    • The scope of the proposed project, demonstrating an overall understanding of the proposal
    • Roles and responsibilities as a collaborator to realize the project
    • Contributions towards the project, monetary or otherwise, if any

 

2. Proof of nonprofit status from the organization. Choose ONE (1) of the following options:

  • Letter of Determination from the IRS indicating tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3)
  • Documentation of charter by the New York State Board of Regents under section 216 of the New York State Education Law
  • Documentation of incorporation under Section 402 of the New York State Not-for-Profit Corporation Law
  • Current New York State Bureau of Charities (Office of the Attorney General) filing receipt
  • Official authorization as an arm of local government (i.e., a formal letter on official stationary signed by the appropriate county, city, town or village executive)

Note: Proof of nonprofit status should have the same address as the nonprofit address in the application. If the address on nonprofit documentation is a PO Box or shows an address that does not match the main address in the application, provide additional proof of the organization’s physical address in Manhattan.

 

Applicants for State funds that designate their Partner Organization as a Fiscal Sponsor must also provide the following:

  1. Board of directors and staff lists from the Partner Organization.
  2. Financial statement from the Partner Organization for the most recently completed fiscal year (audited statement or most recently filed IRS Form 990).

Note: If the organization filed a 990N or audited financials are not available, submit an itemized financial statement signed by the organization’s treasurer, bookkeeper, or accountant instead. Actuals from your most recently completed fiscal year are preferred over audited financials from prior fiscal years.

  1. Projected organizational budget from the Partner Organization, for the fiscal year in which the proposed project takes place (i.e. FY18 or FY19).

All information sessions cover Creative Engagement and Creative Learning. Information sessions are offered in locations across Manhattan for artists, groups, and non-profit organizations interested in applying to our grant programs. Learn what constitutes a well-prepared grant application and ask questions about LMCC’s grants programs from our staff. RSVP today!  

Attendance is required for first-time applicants and returning applicants who have not attended an information session for Creative Engagement, Manhattan Community Arts Fund (MCAF), or The Fund for Creative Communities (The Fund) in 2014 or later.

Monday, July 10, 6:30PM at United Palace RSVP

Wednesday, July 12, 4PM at El Museo del Barrio RSVP Spanish interpretation available. Traducción en español disponible.

Tuesday, July 18, 4PM at Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts RSVP

Monday, July 24, 3PM at Chinese American Arts Council RSVP Interpretation in Mandarin Chinese. 是一普通中文

Tuesday, August 8, 4PM at Nuyorican Poets’ Café RSVP

Wednesday, August 9, 6:30PM at Goddard Riverside Bernie Wohl Center RSVP Spanish interpretation available. Traducción en español disponible.

Monday, August 14, 6:30PM at Gibney Dance Center RSVP

Thursday, August 24, 6:30PM at The Studio Museum in Harlem RSVP

Thursday, August 31, 4PM at The Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York RSVP

Thursday, August 31, 6:30PM at The Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York RSVP

Wednesday, September 6, 6:30PM at LMHQ RSVP

Review our Frequently Asked Questions HERE.

If you have additional questions or technical issues please contact: CreativeEngagement@LMCC.net

You will be required to upload a Project Budget and Project Timeline in the application form. You must use LMCC’s templates for these uploads. Please note: Project Upload Templates have been updated. Please be sure you’re using the 2018 templates. The templates can be downloaded by clicking the links below. Once re-directed, click Download in the upper right hand corner. (A Dropbox account is not necessary to download this form).

 

Download the blank Project Timeline Template here.

Download the blank Project Budget Template here.

Complete and submit the Online Application Form HERE.

THEATER
Allison Astor-Vargas, Manager, Special Projects and Education, Repertorio Español
Wickham Boyle, Founder, Wizard Consulting
Christopher Burris, Freelance Director/Adjunct Professor Pace University
Amanda Feldman, Producer, The Foundry Theatre
Paul Menard, Executive Director, Doug Varone and Dancers

DANCE
Lydia Bell, Program Director, Danspace Project
Fernando Maneca, Marketing and Communications Director, BAX | Brooklyn Art Exchange
Sarah Maxfield, Curator/Writer/Arts Administrator
Paz Tanjuaquio, Co-Founding Director, TOPAZ ARTS, Inc.
Charmaine Warren, Performer/Consultant/Writer and Founder and Artistic Director, Dance on the Lawn: Montclair’s Dance Festival

MUSIC
Aaron Friedman, Executive Director, Make Music Alliance
Cathy Hung, Executive Director, Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning
Dominique Jeannot, Teacher/Music Therapist
Patricia Ann Neely, Manager of Events and Individual Giving at the Bard Graduate Center for Decorative Arts/Founder Abendmusik – New York’s Period Instrument String Band
Du Yun, Composer/Performer/Artistic Director of MATA (Music at the Anthology)

VISUAL ARTS, MEDIA & NEW MEDIA
Marinieves Alba, Independent Arts Consultant/Director of Arts Programs, The Children’s Aid Society
Yaling Chen, Curator and Project Manager, MTA Arts & Design
Rebecca Cleman, Director of Distribution, Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI)
Suzanne Kim, Independent Curator and Exhibition Designer
Jessica Sucher, Manager of Community Engagement, BRIC

MULTIDISCIPLINARY & LITERATURE
Solana Chehtman, Associate Director of Public Engagement, Friends of the High Line
Fast Forward, Composer
Tracie Morris, Professor and Coordinator, Performance and Performance Studies, Pratt Institute
Claudia Norman, Cultural Consultant/Executive and Artistic Director, Celebrate Mexico Now Festival
Bonnie Sue Stein, Executive and Artistic Director, GOH Productions