City Arts Recovery Design Grant Program

City Arts Recovery Design Grant Program

The Submission window for the C.A.R.D. Program closed April 2021. Please contact the Arts Division with any questions or to be notified of a future grant opportunity. [email protected]



Santa Cruz City Arts is launching a pilot grant program in collaboration with Arts Council Santa Cruz County to support arts-based initiatives that contribute to our City’s recovery efforts. This program, the City Arts Recovery Design (CARD) Pilot Grant Program will harness the arts to play a major role in economic, community, and health recovery while highlighting the resilient and vibrant character of Santa Cruz as a cultural center. Inspired by the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project, and modeled on a program recently launched by the City of Santa Monica, this initiative will harness the creative energy of artist provide them with resources to work to implement projects that promote recovery. The arts are the foundation of the cultural richness and unique experiences in Santa Cruz.

In 2020, we had been buffeted by the COVID pandemic, the impacts of institutional racism and the ravages of the CZU fires. As we continue to emerge from a year of layered crisis we look to the creatives in our community for solutions to rebuild in new and better ways. Through this program we will invest in artists with creative proposals to tackle our pressing challenges. This program seeks to have a major impact on the City, the well being of its community and health of its economy.

The program will be implemented in two phases. In the first phase, Letters of Intent, LOIs will be competitively evaluated by a Review Panel. In the second phase of the program successful LOI applicants will receive a $1,500 stipend to support work to develop a complete, viable project grant proposal for subsequent funding. The grant proposals will be reviewed for prioritization and possible funding by the City Arts Commission. The City Arts Programs are funded by the Percent for Arts Funds and by the City General Fund. This funding generally leverages other financial support from the community. Project Grants amounts will be extremely variable in amount depending on project scope, impact and alignment with available funding. Universally there is up to $250,000 available to fund regular programs and over $400,000 in specifically designated "% for Art" project funds. The strength of a proposal is the reasonableness of the budget, not the total dollar amount. The CARD Program will focus on three main themes: economic recovery, restorative justice, and public health & safety. We believe artists and creatives can develop solutions that are inventive, compelling and engaging and want to give them space to do so.


Below are some possible inspirations for CARD projects. While the ideas below may reflect City funding and site priorities, you are encouraged to think outside the box. We are welcoming new and innovative ideas!

Arts and Economic Recovery

Beautification of downtown outdoor sidewalk cafe areas such as murals on traffic barricades

-Programming for downtown sidewalk and café areas when not in commercial use

-Art exhibits in vacant storefronts

-Arts elements for pop-up leased locations (6 months to a year)

-Activation of underutilized public spaces including downtown alleys

-Live art in vacant storefront windows perhaps as a residency

-Activating empty sites for experiential public use, such as a temporary recording studio

-Artworks that are innovative and use new technologies such as Augmented or Virtual Reality

-Incorporate art elements into the downtown permanent outdoor sidewalk commercial spaces

-Scavenger hunts for art or other self-guided games to get people out in their neighborhood or visiting local businesses.

Arts and Restorative Justice

Community storytelling projects, capturing oral or video histories

-Sculptures from emerging/underrepresented artists

-Original interpretive production of London Nelson’s life in Santa Cruz

-Place-making ideas that will create spaces for public conversation and activity that promote cultural teaching, interactions and understanding.

-Organization and programming for the Juneteenth Black Lives Matter Mural celebration

-Revisiting historic events in Santa Cruz from rarely expressed perspectives, for example the contributions of African American community members.

-Management of a public message or “graffiti” wall.

-Outreach and mentoring program for monolingual non English speaking artists

-Contemplative art that will provoke reflection about racial violence

-Community conservation of legacy murals

Arts and Public Health & Safety

Artist-designed physical distancing markers -Artist-designed campaigns or artworks that reinforce health and safety messages

-Multiple graphic traffic signal box murals with a theme such as support for front line workers

-Memorial installations for COVID 19 victims


Downtown sidewalk café areas on Pacific Avenue and side streets

Pacific Avenue garden planter sculpture sites

Downtown Alleyways

Segment 7 of the Coastal Rail Trail (see Rail Trail Art Opportunities Master Plan)

Beach Street Bathroom (2-3 panels 7’ by 20’ panels on exterior walls)

Coral Street Campus -Housing Matters Entrance Patio Project site

Cliff Street Walkway Staircase

North Pacific Ave & School Street Staircase

GRANT ADMINISTRATION The Art of Recovery Grant Program is going to be implemented in two steps. For the first step, the pilot process is being launched by requesting Letters of Intent (LOI). City staff will provide some level of matchmaking to connect artists, business groups and community group applicants. This first-round pilot will help to develop that process.

For the first pilot grant cycle, Letters of Intent must be submitted by Monday, April 5th. LOIs not selected this round may be considered in future rounds.

In the second phase of the program implementation, selected applicants will be awarded a grant of up to $1,500 to further develop the proposed idea into a viable project grant application within six months. Funded LOI ideas will be publicly shared for the purpose of securing funding and identifying collaborative partners. Finished grant proposals will be submitted to the Arts Commission for funding consideration.

Art of Recovery aims to strengthen our network of artists, nurture connections between artists and other sectors, and build cohorts of learners focused on integrating the arts and artists into community efforts. As such, in addition to funding for projects, participants will have the opportunity to participate in meetings to learn together and co-create approaches to accomplishing the work.


Artists at all stages of their career are eligible to apply.

The program/project must take place within the City of Santa Cruz and be promoted to City residents and visitors.

LOI grantees must be available to develop the complete grant proposal by December 1, 2021.

The following are not eligible for funding:

Fundraisers or events not open to the public

Projects/programs executed before grants are awarded

Capital improvements, construction, or renovation projects

Government departments, boards, or programs

Research, foundations, debt retirement, fundraising or benefit events, social services, political or religious advocacy, or for-profit organizations


Friday, March 12: CARD Grants Information Session 10-11am

Recording available here:

Questions: [email protected]

Monday, March 15: Portal Opens 8am:

Thursday, March 25: Grant Support Workshop 6-7pm Recording Available here:

Monday, April 5: LOI Deadline, 4pm

Thursday, April 8: Community Review Panelist Orientation 10-11am

Thursday, April 22 – May 10: Panelists Review of Applications

Wednesday, June 9th: Arts Commission LOI funding approval


For Application Information: [email protected]

Volunteer as a Community Review Panelist: [email protected]