The Catalyst Initiative provides support for place-based project teams comprised of an individual artist and a civic (community, non-profit, or municipal) partner to conceive and execute a small-scale local arts-based project created in response to a partner-identified need.

The Catalyst Initiative is open to artists from all creative disciplines and geographic regions in the United States.

CPCP is committed to access, equity, diversity and inclusion. We especially encourage artists of color and artists who are part of or work with communities who have been historically underrepresented in traditional funding streams and arts ecosystems to apply.

Do I need to apply with a defined project idea?

Nope! We are interested in supporting the development of new projects, not existing ones. If you have a relationship with a community or municipal organization and are considering collaboration, but have not yet designed the project nor fully articulated goals, this may be a good match.

I am an artist and I have a project idea that I would like to apply with. Is this a good match?

For the Catalyst Initiative, we prioritize you applying with a relationship over a project idea. We are interested in seeing what an artist and partner will co-design together based on partner-identified need, which is why we ask that artists not apply with a specific project. We’ve learned that often what ends up developing in these collaborations is different from what was originally imagined, and that is what we are interested in learning about. If you are open to co-designing a new project with an existing civic partner, please apply!

Can the civic partner be a collective of individuals or a neighborhood association? Or do they need to be organized as a non-profit or municipal organization?

Either is eligible, if you are interested in working with a group such as a neighborhood association, we ask that the person the artist applies with has a position of leadership or responsibility that will enable them to act on behalf of their group.

What if either the artist or civic partner is not available for the December 11-12, 2017 convening in Phoenix, AZ. Can we still apply?

This cohort demands an interest and commitment from both the civic partner and the artist. Our support structure and all cohort dialogues will actively include both the artist and partner. The most successful collaborations take place when both artist and partner are able to attend the capacity-building workshop and continue their collaboration together throughout the project timeline.

Knowing that often artists collaborate with others and organizations are comprised of several individuals, we ask that the two people attending the convening be two people who will be involved in the leadership and co-design of the project.

The impulse of these awards is to challenge the idea that civic practice projects require many thousands of dollars and multiple years to complete. The Catalyst Initiative encourages the artist / partner teams to envision and execute small-scale civic practice projects created in response to a partner-identified need that is relational to their individual capacity and the amount of resources awarded.

How much time will the project require from the artist and civic partner?

$3500 will be paid to the artist, $1000 will be paid to the civic partner. 

Additional funds for travel and lodging for the capacity-building convening in December will be awarded to each team.

How will grant funds be administered?

For this application, we are interested in learning about what feels compelling for both artist and partner to explore. Let us know why you are interested in collaborating together. Is there a particular need the partner has identified that the artist might imagine addressing? If so, let us know about it.  

For artists: We ask you to submit either a work sample or link to your website. Please submit materials that help us understand about your work as an artist, and how that work is related to community change. The work sample can be images, articles, links to video, or any other type of document that demonstrates body of work or focus on community change.  

For partners: We ask you to submit a mission statement or statement of values. Please submit language or materials that help us understand the type of organization this is (community, non-profit, or municipal) and how it is focused on community change.

How do I write a successful application?

Civic partners can address their letter to :

Rebecca Martinez / Center for Performance and Civic Practice  

Letters can be submitted digitally via the online application portal.

How should the civic partner applicant address their letter of interest?

Absolutely!  We offer application-writing assistance.  

Please contact rebecca[at] for more information. 

I am engaged in this type of work, but I have little experience writing an application.

Should I apply?

RETURN to the main Catalyst Initiative page.  


The deadline to apply is Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 by 11:59pm edt.