As we learn from our Exploring Engagement Fund grantees, we are refining our approach and focusing EEF on the most promising explorations. Due to these refinements, our next Exploring Engagement Fund deadline will be in 2014 with grants awarded in 2015. You can sign up here to receive updates about our Arts program grantmaking, including updates when the next EEF deadlines are set in 2014. And please visit our Arts program blog site to read more about our strategy and existing grantees.
California hosts a richly diverse and expansive nonprofit arts field, home to many well-regarded and forward-thinking organizations that often function as civic and social anchors in their local communities. Representing enormous scale and breadth, these organizations hold significant promise for the future of the arts nationwide, particularly as they lead the way in exploring how best to adapt to demographic and technological shifts. These shifts are transforming traditional notions about arts engagement nationwide.
The goal of our Arts program is to promote engagement in the arts for all Californians. Our strategy aims to help organizations to grow and thrive by engaging populations that reflect the demographics of California through active participation in the arts (including participation afforded by new technology), and by using non-traditional venues to present arts experiences. To achieve our goal, we will partner with arts organizations to build their capacity to adapt, particularly those that want to use the practices of expanding engagement as a primary strategy to inform and drive ongoing organizational change. The Exploring Engagement Funds mark the initial opportunity for nonprofit organizations to join us as we begin to implement our new goal.
We created three separate Exploring Engagement Funds to support organizations to adapt to change by investigating new ways of providing arts experiences. Each fund employs a competitive selection process for grant award recommendations while utilizing distinct eligibility requirements and application processes:
Exploring Engagement Fund — This fund supports eligible California-based nonprofit arts organizations that have an annual operating budget between $100,000 and $5 million.
Exploring Engagement Fund for Priority Regions — This fund supports nonprofit arts organizations based in the San Joaquin Valley as well as Riverside and San Bernardino counties and whose annual operating budgets are between $100,000 and $5 million.
Each of these funds supports projects that engage low-income and/or ethnically diverse populations that have been traditionally underserved by arts nonprofits and that utilize active participation or use of non-traditional venues for arts experiences. Opportunities for the public to make or practice the arts (including using technology to do so) can open up new possibilities for arts organizations to animate their spaces in innovative ways and to welcome diverse participants. Offering arts engagement in unexpected or highly accessible spaces that might not be known as arts venues can provide quality arts engagement for people who might otherwise not attend in a more traditional way. Utilizing these pathways, which are core elements of our new arts strategy, will enable arts organizations both to adapt and to better serve the people of California.
Watch brief interviews with the leaders of two of our grantees and hear how they’re thinking about exploring engagement and why it’s important for arts organizations to adapt to the shifting arts landscape.