Grant Criteria

Grant Criteria and Application Instructions

The deadline for online Letters of Inquiry (LOI’s) for our 2014 grant cycle is December 1, 2013. Late LOI’s will not be accepted. No exceptions. Full proposals are accepted by invitation only. See below for a detailed grant cycle schedule.

LOI’s for our 2015 cycle will most likely be available in October of 2014, and due in December of 2015.

Please read the following criteria and instructions carefully before submitting your LOI.

Grant Criteria

Your project should meet the following criteria.

What kind of art does BRAF fund?

We prioritize funding highly interactive, community-driven, collaborative works of art that are accessible to the public and civic in scope.

We suggest you browse our website and look at the past grant recipients to get an idea of what we’ve funded in the past.

 What is ‘interactive’ art?

  • Art that requires human interaction to complete the piece.
  • Art that involves the community and the audience in its creation, presentation and display.
  • Art that prompts the viewer to act.
  • Art that can be experienced in more ways than visually. We are fans of art that is can be approached, touched, heard or experienced, as well as viewed.
  • Art that prompts people to interact with one another.
  • Art that responds to participants and to its environment.
  • Art that causes people to reflect on the larger community.
  • Art that challenges the viewers’ traditional perspective on art.
  • Art that belongs to the public and exists for the benefit of all.

What kind of work does BRAF not fund?

Although we are open to all proposed forms of media, there are some common projects that typically fall outside the scope of our criteria. The exception to all of the examples listed below would be if the project had a highly interactive element that moves the project outside the definitions of its genre.

We typically do not fund:

  • Static work, such as sculpture with no interactive component
  • Gallery work, such as paintings in a gallery
  • Publications – poetry books, photo books, fiction, etc
  • Photography
  • Screenplays or films
  • Musical, theater or dance productions
  • Social aid/relief efforts
  • Entrepreneurial endeavors
  • Art destined for the annual Burning Man event. Burning Man has it’s own grant process that funds artwork bound for the playa. Please visit their website to learn more about their grant process. 

We are open to your ideas. If your work is extremely collaborative and participatory, please feel free to apply, even if your media is listed above. Feel free to call or email us with questions.

Who can apply?

  • Black Rock Arts Foundation gives grants to individual artists, artist collectives or organizations.
  • Grants can be applied towards the creation of interactive artworks or towards the development of community programs or organizations that support the creation of interactive artworks.
  • BRAF funds projects worldwide. There are no geographic restrictions placed on those who can apply.
  • If you’ve applied for or received a BRAF grant previously, you may apply again.
  • Individuals, groups and established 501c3 non-profits are all eligible to apply.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

What level of funding is awarded through the Black Rock Arts Foundation Grant Cycle?

Our grants range between $500 and $10,000, but more commonly range between $2000 and $6000. We typically fund anywhere from 8 to 12 projects a year and receive as many as 300 proposals. Occasionally, we will fund a project with a slightly larger budget.

Many of our grantees receive funding from other sources, aside from Black Rock Arts Foundation. Applying for partial funding or a matching grant to funds you’ve received from other sources is permitted.

What can I expect if I am awarded a grant?

Awarded grantees receive their first funding in April, and are expected to complete their project within the proposed time line. The payment schedule for each grant is specific to the project. The foundation is committed to working with each artist to arrive at a schedule that best suits the needs of the artist and the project. Generally, grants are awarded in three increments over the course of a year, each payment being contingent on an interim report of the project’s progress.

Do I have to have a fiscal agent?

No, you do not have to have a fiscal agent – although some projects do have one.

Please be aware:

The Black Rock Arts Foundation DOES NOT fund any art destined for the annual Burning Man event. The Burning Man organization has a separate process for providing grants for artworks destined for the Burning Man event. If your artwork is destined for the playa, please visit the Burning Man website at for further details on their grant application process.

Black Rock Arts Foundation grant awards are considered taxable income to the recipient, and require a 1099 Form, which we will provide. You will be asked to sign a contract, outlining the payment schedule of your grant as well as the interim report requirements. Contracts must be signed no later than April 1, of the year of the award.

Because of the number of proposals we receive, please know that we prioritize funding to highly interactive, publicly accessible and truly innovative works that meet most if not all of the above criteria.

Application submission instructions

If your project or program fits our criteria and aligns with our mission and values, please follow these instructions to be considered for funding.

Proposals will be accepted by invitation only. To be considered for this invitation, you must submit a Letter of Inquiry.


  • Our online LOI application for our 2015 grant cycle will most likely be live October 1, 2014.
  • LOI’s for our 2015 grant cycle will most likely be due December 1, 2014, 5:00 pm, Pacific Standard Time.
  • Selected applicants will most likely be invited to submit a full proposal by December 22, 2014.
  • Proposals are accepted by invitation only, and will most likely be due February 1, 2015, 5:00 pm, Pacific Standard Time.
  • Selected grantees are usually announced March 15 of the year of the award.
  • Funds are usually released to new grantees April 1 of the year of the award.

Late Letters of Inquiry and proposals will not be accepted. No exceptions. Please read our application instructions below for more details on how to apply.

Letter of Inquiry Instructions

Our online Letter of Inquiry will give you the opportunity to provide us with the following:

  • Name of artist or art collective
  • Name of contact person, contact person’s phone number, email address and mailing address
  • Name of project or program
  • Amount requested
  • Brief description of the physical manifestation of project or program (1500 characters, about 250 words)
  • Brief description of how the project or program fits the Black Rock Arts Foundation’s mission, our grant criteria and definition of interactivity. (1500 characters, about 250 words)
  • Two images or media files (optional but encouraged.)
There is a $5.00 fee to submit your LOI. The entirety of this fee is payment to, the online application service we use. You will be asked to pay with a credit card upon completion of the LOI. You will need an invitation code to submit the online LOI, which will be posted on this page when the application is live.

Proposal Instructions

Invitations for proposals are usually extended no later than December 22 of the cycle’s year. If selected, you will be invited to fill out our online application. Uninvited proposals will not be considered.

In our online application, you will have the opportunity to tell us about your project, its goals, audience and interactive potential.

A complete proposal includes:

  1. The completion of the online proposal. We do not accept printed and mailed proposals.
  2. A timeline. Our online application has a form where you may describe your timeline, or you may upload your own format. We prefer you use our online form.
  3. A budget. Our online application will have a link to a template you may use, or you may upload your own format. We prefer you use our template.
  4. Supplemental images and materials (optional.) You will have the opportunity to upload three media files or images. We highly recommend you submit visual representations of your proposed project.
There is a $5.00 fee to submit your proposal. The entirety of this fee is payment to, the online application service we use. You will be asked to pay with a credit card upon completion of the proposal.

If your project or program fits the criteria above, please continue on to read an example of our grant application.

Read an example of our online application.


If you have any other questions, please contact:

Eli Peterson