Public-Space Activation Fund (PAF) is a monthly DCA grant opportunity (available September 2023 to July 2024). Funding levels and eligible requests range from $600 to $45,000 based on the category and complexity of proposed projects. Funding is available for temporary, locale-relevant, creative projects on streets, sidewalks, and adjacent public spaces within public view in LA City neighborhoods where arts and culture are absent or scarce (with one category of this program also requiring a documentary video to be posted online for at least one year).
Eligible applicants will be Los Angeles-based “community entrepreneurs” (neighborhood business managers, independent artists, cultural activists, nonprofit organizations, and/or collaborative pairings of such partners under the stewardship of one lead-agent). If your nonprofit agency is currently a grantee of DCA in PAF or any other Grant Program, then you should define your PAF proposal as a new collaboration that bridges your agency with like-minded partners (note the only PAF category a current DCA grantee can serve as a lead applicant is under the International Participation And Promotion Projects category; current DCA grantees may also participate as named collaborators in Arts and Social Wellness and International Festivals & Intercultural Foods proposals).
In all eligible PAF project categories, the primary aim of PAF is to for the applicant to describe the creative-connectivity they can activate to elevate a designated public space (that is not already “arts-animated”), for the well-defined audience (of destination-seekers plus natural passersby), through the creation of a site-related temporary project. PAF is a category for new ideas, pop-up concepts, and start-up projects that require venture capital to be launched or lifted. Funding in PAF is linked to business-coaching and capacity-building, hence projects which have already been tested and established are not likely to be selected.
PAF projects fall under the following four categories (full details available at dcaredesign.org/artsactivate/project-categories-funding):
- Neighborhood Expressions (NE): Micro-grants for individual LA City artists ranging from $600-$1,200 (depending on location) to produce a free public activity or presentation hosted by an operator/manager of a venue within the artist’s own neighborhood (proposed venues may not be a conventional arts space, such as a product-design gallery, cineplex, theater lobby, etc.). Neighborhood Expressions grants are given to Los Angeles artists who wish to start a new collaboration with a neighboring café, coffee shop, retailer, health clinic, community center, indoor/outdoor market, or other nearby businesses to engage community members and neighborhood audiences. Indoor activities are allowed in the NE category but open-air activities are highly encouraged.
- Arts and Social Wellness (ASW): “Seed funding” generally ranging from $7,500 to $10,000 for community entrepreneurs who aim lead a collaborative effort to animate an outdoor public space with a free public activities such as: live performance(s), temporary banner(s)/mural(s), candlelight vigil, cultural picnic, or mini-festival. ASW projects are framed around community-relevant themes that bridge the arts with: science, nature, environmental goodness and justice, and/or community wellness and health. ASW projects should be pitched as either a pop-up project (public engagement of at least 300 people) or a festival-style project (public engagement of at least 1,000 people).
- International Festivals & Intercultural Foods (IFIF): Grants generally ranging from $7,500 to $10,000 for activities that can also be categorized as either pop-ups or festival-style events (see public attendance requirements above), such as: community picnics, outdoor festivals, pop-up performance events, block parties, outdoor food/food-truck festivals, and creative enhancements to farmers markets with live performing arts and cultural activities. IFIF projects should embrace multicultural themes and promote opportunities for cross-cultural learning and feature entertainment that can take place at a range of street-adjacent, family-friendly spaces, such as: farmers markets, public parks, school yards, parking lots, and other publicly accessible outdoor spaces.
- International Participation And Promotion Projects (IPAPP): In this new category, eligible LA City-based nonprofit arts organizations apply to carry out a specific, collaborative project outlined as an “Imminent Opportunity” posted by DCA and approved by the project host and endorsed by their municipal/regional/state or federal endorser(s) (click here to view current list of Imminent Opportunities). Projects will involve collaborative presentations that showcase a range of Los Angeles talent abroad while also supporting the hosting-presenting of international artists visiting Los Angeles. The overall goal of IPAPP is for DCA to build the capacity of Los Angeles-based nonprofit arts organizations (working alone or together) to send a performer, ensemble, or set of related groups to accomplish a DCA approved and posted “Imminent Opportunity” with respectful attention expected to the diplomatic responsibilities to interface with: government authorities, embassies or consulate officers, event sponsors, and other project authorizers.
PAF proposals are accepted online from the first Thursday of each month through July 2024. Applications are generally reviewed within approximately 20 business days.
For complete program information, including eligibility requirements and application instructions, please refer to PAF program guidelines available at dcaredesign.org/artsactivate. Prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss potential project ideas with the DCA staff listed on this page before preparing an application.