Ends on December 31, 2019

SPACES offers project-based support through The Urgent Art Fund to Cuyahoga County artists, in partnership with Cuyahoga Arts and Culture. This support may go toward production expenses and artist commission for the creation of “urgent art” that is socially, politically, or culturally responsive. By designating funds specifically for such projects taking place in the public realm, we can help artists immediately engage their community in dialogue about the day’s most pressing issues.

In addition to financial support—in the amount of 5 grants of $5,000 distributed throughout 2019—SPACES will provide access to our on-site artist workshop that is outfitted with tools and equipment to facilitate the production process. SPACES staff will also assist grantees in securing a public exhibition or display space in Cuyahoga County. Grantees will receive an annual SPACES Season Pass membership, which gives them free access to networking and artist professional development opportunities throughout the year.

The Urgent Art Fund is open to artists, curators, and other kinds of cultural producers living in Cuyahoga County and who apply with projects that are based in the visual arts. We accept applications from creative professionals at all stages of their careers who engage in experimental practices with strong conceptual foundations. The projects for which The Urgent Art Fund is distributed must be created and displayed in Cuyahoga County. Artists who have confirmed exhibitions scheduled at SPACES in the future, SPACES staff (and relatives), SPACES board members (and relatives), and SPACES contractors (and relatives) may not apply to The Urgent Art Fund.


Artists are required to submit the following materials:

·       Project title

·       Artist/curator statement

·       Project description

·       Timeline

·       Budget

Applications for the Urgent Art Fund will be accepted on a rolling basis until all 5 project support grants in 2019 have been awarded. SPACES will retain a 3-person panel to review all applications throughout 2019, consisting of SPACES Executive Director, an arts professional living and/or working in Cuyahoga County (and who will be ineligible to apply while serving on the panel), and an arts professional who lives and works outside of Cuyahoga County. Panelists will independently review each application within two weeks of submission, and will score the application based on the project’s feasibility, artistic quality, ability to create an exchange of ideas and perspectives, and alignment with the purpose of The Urgent Art Fund.

1. What do you mean by “based in the visual arts”?
What we mean is a project that takes the form of a specific art presentation, exhibition, creation of work, produced event, or phase of a larger project that is fully executed within 2019 and made available to the public. Artists may request funding for the full artistic project, or one phase of a larger creative arc, as long as the project scope is appropriately scaled to the request amount and project goals. The application should be focused on realizing the materialization of creative or aesthetic ideas, rather than on a merit-based approach. Musicians and other performers are invited to apply, as long as there is a primary visual element to the project.

2. What do you mean by “public realm”?

The “public realm” refers to sites that are accessible to the public, and which may include conventional art viewing spaces like artist studios (as long as there are open hours posted), sites for public artworks, businesses (cafes or restaurants), and commercial or nonprofit galleries. Unconventional sites may include abandoned storefronts, city infrastructure (bus shelters, streets, open spaces), signage (billboards), building facades or construction fences, with permissions and proper permitting granted. Proposed sites must be accessible to all members of the public, including individuals with disabilities.

3. Are applicants required to have a confirmed display site or exhibition venue?

A confirmed venue is not a requirement in the application process, but applicants should indicate the context for the display of the work. For example, if an artist would like to create a bold text-based artwork that is intended to reach audience members during their daily commute, they might develop a proposal to display the work on a billboard. If the message is intended to reach a specific community, a successful proposal would include a map of potential billboards to rent in a neighborhood where those community members reside, as well as research into the cost of renting those billboards. Other artworks may be less dependent on the display context; if an artist needs a white cube gallery space and did not already provide a list of potential exhibition sites, SPACES would work with them to find an appropriate venue. As with most open calls, the more information the artist provides, the easier it is for the review panel to envision how the project will materialize, if it satisfies the selection criteria, and if the project is feasible.

4. How should the budget be constructed and when is the funding disbursed?

Applicants may allocate the $5,000 as necessary to meet the specific needs of their project, including their own fees or commission. 85% of the grant funds will be dispersed to the grantee via check at the beginning of the project. At the close of the project, grantees will be required to submit a report itemizing their actual project expenses, at which point the remaining 15% of the grant funds will be dispersed. SPACES will not reimburse the grantee for any expense exceeding the $5,000 total award; grantees are responsible for any project costs beyond $5,000.

5. Will applications roll between quarters?

We will award a total of 5 grants in 2019. The grants will be distributed on a rolling basis and we will encourage our panelists to seek a balance of ideas explored in the proposals that they select. As this opportunity requests work that is responsive to timely concerns, we anticipate that applications will increase in the immediate aftermath of major news cycles.

6. What are the deadlines for project creation and reporting?

Applicants will be instructed to present a feasible timeline for their project. We will ask artists to supply a final report on their project and itemized list of expenditures within 60 days of project completion.

For all other questions, you may contact SPACES staff at: jasmine@spacescle.org