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2021 Community Arts Projects Funding


The Community Arts Projects funding program financially supports a variety of arts projects happening throughout Tacoma anytime between January 1 – December 31, 2021. This funding can be used for artistic presentations, activities, kits, tutorials, workshops, experiences, or projects that are accessible to the general public – either physically (within state and local health regulations) and/or virtually. Admission may be charged to these projects, as long as the application demonstrates public benefit. The proposal may be for a one-time project, a number of projects that are closely related, or an ongoing project. Collaborations between organizations and/or artists are encouraged but not required.

In alignment with Tacoma City Council Resolution 40622, the Tacoma Arts Commission is committed to sustained and transformational anti‐racist work, including through the Community Arts Projects funding program. As stated by Mayor Victoria Woodards, "Dismantling more than 400 years of systemic racism will not happen overnight. This must be a sustained effort that invites the whole community to join us in radically reimagining our institutions and the services they provide."

We invite applicants to consider how their proposed project can help build a more Compassionate Tacoma with projects that are equitable and inclusive, offer opportunities for connection and relationship building, and contribute to the social, emotional, and physical well-being of our residents. 

All projects must follow state and local health regulations; applicants should be prepared to adjust projects, as needed, in response to the current public health situation at the time of production.


Funding Priorities

The Tacoma Arts Commission strongly supports justice, equity, inclusion, and access. We celebrate Tacoma’s diversity of people, places, cultures, and artistic expression. The arts are uniquely positioned to touch every person and every part of Tacoma, and we are committed to supporting the entirety of our community.

The Tacoma Arts Commission is committed to investing in communities most impacted by racial, social, and economic inequity. This includes emerging and grassroots groups directly serving their communities. We are committed to addressing historic and structural inequity through our funding opportunities as we work toward justice for all.

Community Arts Projects funding will be prioritized for applicants who meet one or more of the following:

  • Organizations whose primary intentions, practices, and mission are by, for, and about BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color)/ALAANA (African, Latinx, Arab, Asian, Native-American) communities 
  • Organizations that primarily serve low income communities 
  • Organizations that primarily serve LGBTQIA+ communities
  • Projects/strategies that focus on racial justice and/or social justice 
  • Organizations that will use Community Arts Projects funding to directly pay BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color)/ALAANA (African, Latinx, Arab, Asian, Native-American) artists to create work that is central to the project
  • Emergent community needs related to the global pandemic

Virtual Application Workshop (optional)

Thursday, October 8, 2020, 5:30 - 7 PM, online at https://tinyurl.com/y3gk5zku. This workshop will be recorded and posted on this web page. First time applicants are strongly encouraged to attend the workshop or watch the recording.  


Preliminary Application Feedback Deadline (optional)

October 28, 2020


Application Deadline

November 9, 2020, 11:59 PM


Funding Application Guidelines

Download the 2021 Community Arts Projects application guidelines (PDF) for complete funding information, including eligibility.


Download the 2021 budget sheet. You will need to fill out this budget sheet and attach it to your online application.


Download a sample budget sheet to see an example of how to fill out the project budget.


About the Money

Applicants can apply for a flat amount of either $6,000 or $3,000 for their project. If the applicant applies for $6,000 of funding but is not selected for funding at that level, they have the option of being considered for funding at the $3,000 level. There is no advantage to applying for one level of funding over the other. Applicants are encouraged to apply for what they need to successfully complete their project, with the knowledge that funding at either level is not guaranteed.

Funding for Community Arts Projects is based on the availability of funds and is determined through a competitive application process. A panel of community members will review and score each application using the Evaluation Criteria detailed in the Community Arts Projects guidelines and will make funding recommendations to the Tacoma Arts Commission. The Tacoma Arts Commission will review the panel’s recommendations and make a final determination on which applicants to fund and at what level. Funding from year to year is not guaranteed. No funding is guaranteed until official approval of the budget by Tacoma City Council.

Organizations selected for funding will be required to sign a contract for services, which lays out the amount of funding the organization will receive and the public benefit that the organization will provide. The full amount of funding will not be paid up front. Funding will be broken into several payment phases spread out over the term of the funding contract. Organizations will receive final payment after all services have been provided and a report has been submitted. Organizations should be prepared to cover the costs of their programming in the meantime. 


How to Apply

Applications must be submitted through the Community Arts Projects Funding online application form at www.tacomaarts.submittable.com/submit:

  • Basic contact and project information including a brief (40 words or less) overview of your project and its intent
  • Budget (form available here
  • Narrative Responses (see the 2021 Community Arts Projects application guidelines for a list of narrative questions)
  • Location Confirmation or Plan: Written permission (email or letter) from the property owner to indicate their willingness to host the proposed project. Or, a written explanation of the preferred location along with a clear plan to secure the necessary sites/partnerships should funding be awarded. A letter is not needed if applicant organization is hosting project virtually or at a location they own. 
  • Letter of Commitment: If you are collaborating with any organizations or individuals whose role is central to your project’s success, please provide written confirmation (letter or email) of their commitment to your project.
  • Artistic Work Samples and descriptions 


For assistance, please contact Naomi Strom-Avila at (253) 591-5191 or nstrom-avila@cityoftacoma.org.

Panel Interest Form

What is a Panel?

A panel is a group of individuals pulled together by staff to review applications or nominations for Office of Arts & Cultural Vitality managed programs or opportunities. Panel members use published review criteria to evaluate applications and make recommendations about who gets grant funding, public art projects, roster appointments, etc.

Panelists are selected for a variety of reasons which can include: their connection to community, knowledge of relevant subject matter, and the diversity of perspectives and experiences they bring to the group overall. For each opportunity, we assemble a unique panel of three to nine people to make collective recommendations about which applicants should receive funding or commissions through our office. Those recommendations generally go to the Tacoma Arts Commission or the Tacoma Creates Advisory Board for final approval.

Why be a Panelist?

The Office of Arts & Cultural Vitality (OACV) is deeply appreciative of the time and expertise community members invest in serving on panels. Serving on a panel is a proactive way to impact how public funds are spent in Tacoma, and panelists receive valuable professional development as well as insight into how the application review process works from the inside.

OACV provides panelists with free parking and food during meetings, in addition to offering a monetary stipend.

The length and number of meetings needed for a selection process vary based on the project. Depending on the application, some panels will require a small amount of prep work in advance, one to two hours, and some panels may require extensive reading and evaluation work in advance of the in-person panel meeting, anywhere from 10-50 hours. Community members will be offered a stipend for their service as follows:

  • $50 – quarter day meeting (1 – 2 hours)
  • $100 – half day meeting (3 ‐ 4 hours)
  • $200 – full day meeting (6 – 9 hours)
  • $100 – pre‐meeting work to digitally read and score applications (only when requested)

Members of a City‐appointed commission or board are volunteers and are not eligible to receive a stipend for their service on a panel. City of Tacoma employees and project staff are not eligible to receive a stipend for their service on a panel.

Submit a Panel Interest Form

Please complete the online form to be considered for a position on an upcoming OACV panel: www.surveymonkey.com/r/tacomapanels 


Staff will take into account many factors when putting together panels, and may not be able to use the services of all qualified individuals who submit. If an individual is offered a position on a panel but is unable to participate because of scheduling or conflict of interest, OACV will continue to consider them for future panels. Panel Interest Forms will be saved and reviewed periodically for up to three years from the submission date.


If you have questions, please contact Naomi Strom-Avila at nstrom-avila@cityoftacoma.org or (253) 591-5191.

2020 Tacoma Arts Month Activities

Preferred deadline: September 7, 2020 – Late submissions accepted on a rolling basis


Tacoma Arts Month October 2020: Cultivate Wonder & Care

During this unprecedented year, as we face economic, health, and racial equity crises, we invite Tacoma's creative community to consider how they can share a message of care and compassion with our community. Participating in Tacoma Arts Month is one way to do this.

Tacoma Arts Month 2020 is a care package to our community, offering sustenance for the spirit as well as modeling and encouraging care for each other in thought and action. Arts and culture invite us into a space of wonder, curiosity, and creativity, where we can imagine possibilities, encourage questions, engage in discourse, and spark insights. Let’s cultivate wonder and care in the heart of these challenging times.

Seeking Arts and Culture Programming for Inclusion in Tacoma Arts Month Promotions

The Tacoma Arts Commission is seeking submissions of arts and culture programming - both virtual and in-person - that will be happening during Tacoma Arts Month this October. We are looking for a variety of activities spanning all categories of arts and culture including but not limited to music, visual art, literary art, dance, theatre, and film. Essentially, all artistic disciplines.

If you will be hosting a virtual or in-person program let us know. Programming can include but is not limited to an exhibition, performance, class, workshop, reception, lecture, tour, artists’ market, celebration, meeting, presentation, or any other programming. All programs should adhere to state and local health regulations. We will list your arts program in an interactive and searchable online calendar of events on tacomaartsmonth.com. There is no cost to you. We will be promoting the many events going on throughout the month through a variety of digital modes of communication.

The deadline for the first round of submissions is September 7, 2020. We will accept programming on a rolling basis after that but submitting your information by September 7 will ensure that your program is included in the first round of information that will go out.

To Qualify
Your arts activity must be located within the City of Tacoma limits and occur during the month of October.

To Participate
Fill out the online submission form via Submittable at https://tacomaarts.submittable.com/submit. Please note: If you are submitting multiple events, please fill out an individual form for each event.

Questions? Contact Chevi Chung at (253) 591-5171 or cchung1@cityoftacoma.org.

2020 Artists in Focus

Priority Deadline

Monday, September 14, 2020, 11:59 PM


Final Deadline

Wednesday, September 30, 2020, 11:59 PM


What is Artists in Focus?

Artists in Focus is a new virtual platform to showcase Tacoma-based creatives during Tacoma Arts Month 2020. This platform will replace the annual in-person Tacoma Studio Tour, which is not feasible this year due to the global pandemic.


Artists in Focus invites creatives working in all disciplines to help us increase the visibility of the arts by providing an opportunity for the public to connect to their work virtually through the sharing of short videos or digital images. Shared videos and images will help the public understand the creative process, see how and where artists create their work, and demonstrate the breadth of creative talent in our community.


Examples of video content can include but are not limited to:

  • Music, dance, or theatrical performances
  • Demonstrations of how to use a particular tool or material of your creative practice
  • Informative tour of your workspace, studio, or rehearsal space
  • Behind-the-scenes look at your creative practice
  • Instructions for a simple make-at-home artistic project
  • Artist talk about some of your creative work
  • Creatives selected for Artists in Focus will be featured throughout the month of October in email newsletters, social media posts, and a dedicated page on the Tacoma Arts Month website, which will include videos and digital image samples as well as artists’ bios and contact information. There is no cost to participate in Artists in Focus.

Submissions will be accepted on a rolling basis through September 30, 2020 but submissions received by September 14, 2020 will be prioritized.


Staff will make the final determination about what submissions to feature through Artists in Focus with an eye on diversity of the artists and artistic disciplines featured, quality of the art, quality of the digital work sample, and appropriateness for general public viewing. People who are members of historically disenfranchised racial, ethnic, cultural, and other identity groups are strongly encouraged to submit work.



Tacoma Arts Month 2020: Cultivate Wonder & Care

During this unprecedented year, as we face economic, health, and racial equity crises, we invite creatives to consider how they can share a message of care and compassion with our community. Participating in Artists in Focus is one way to do this.


Tacoma Arts Month 2020 is a care package to our community, offering sustenance for the spirit as well as modeling and encouraging care for each other in thought and action. Arts and culture invite us into a space of wonder, curiosity, and creativity, where we can imagine possibilities, encourage questions, engage in discourse, and spark insights. Let’s cultivate wonder and care in the heart of these challenging times.




  • You must live within the City of Tacoma limits and/or your working studio, workspace, or rehearsal room must be located within the City of Tacoma limits. A studio, workspace, or rehearsal room is defined as a location where your artwork is created on a consistent basis.
  • Content must be appropriate for viewing by a general audience.

To Participate:

Eligible artists interested in this opportunity can participate by filling out the submission form and attaching the following items via Submittable https://tacomaarts.submittable.com/submit:


Digital sample of your work:

  • Preferred Method: One digital video file or URL link to a video. Video should be short, ideally under 2 minutes in length. Videos do not need to be professionally produced or edited; videos created on cell phones are acceptable.
  • Acceptable Method: Three high quality JPEG images showcasing your artwork.

If selected, we will use the digital sample in materials produced for Artist in Focus.


Artist Statement

  • Submit a short (70 words of less) artist statement or bio which describes your work. 


For assistance, please contact Chevi Chung at (253) 591-5171 or cchung1@cityoftacoma.org.

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Naomi Strom-Avila

(253) 591-5191