The City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) has announced a pilot cycle of its Neighborhood Engagement Artist Residency Grant Program (NEAR), formerly the Artist in Residence Grant Program (AIR), and launch of a new Creative Opportunities- Optimizing Promise Grant Program (CO-OP) to foster creative collaborations at social justice organizations.

The deadline to apply is Nov. 5; Grant activity/projects will take place between July 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023.

“Both DCA grant programs honor and support an individual teaching-artist who acts as a project-leader to design and manage a series of community-relevant workshops culminating in a free public presentation,” said Danielle Brazell, DCA’s general manager.

Applicants to this program should be mid-career master artists with a professional history of solo works.

NEAR supports freelance teaching-artists, social-activation artists, and social practice artists in providing community-based, participatory projects in self-selected non-arts venues within the City of Los Angeles. Competitive NEAR projects will gather, connect, and inspire participants and audiences who have little exposure to the proposed type of cultural opportunity.

NEAR residencies can be five sessions ending in one public presentation or 11 sessions ending in one public presentation. The majority will take place within non-art nonprofit agencies, although projects in non-arts, for-profit businesses can also be eligible if these partner/host venues are appropriate and accessible to the general community.

For a NEAR residency – applicant teaching-artists (or collaborative duos/teams/ensembles under the leadership of a single applicant) must be freelance entrepreneurs with community-based practices that have been largely self-developed and remain primarily self-directed.

NEAR applicants will propose a residency involving a relationship with one non-arts host organization, to take place at the same host organization’s location (or online if safer); and propose feasible projects that can be consistently attended by approximately 20 individuals.

New for this cycle is DCA’s invitation for CO-OP projects in all of the city’s council districts, with a special emphasis on expanding the projects which DCA supported with NEA funding in social justice organizations based in the federally registered South LA Promise Zone (Council Districts 8, 9, 10, and 15, south of the 10 freeway and north of 228th Street).

In contrast to NEAR projects, a CO-OP proposal should be submitted by a nonprofit social justice organization which seeks to employ a freelance teaching artist, or by a nonprofit arts organization who seeks to expand an already-employed teaching-artist’s responsibilities to serve a social justice organization.

Eligible collaborative-projects should be: 1) new or launched within the past four years, 2) free or low cost for participants, and 3) culminate in at least one free public presentation that will be accessible to the general community (both in-person and on-line presentations are eligible conclusions for a CO-OP grant). CO-OP residences should be 11 sessions ending in one public presentation.

For a CO-OP residency, DCA encourages the social justice organization submitting the application to provide a residency for the teaching-artist named in the proposal. If the teaching artist is an employee (part-time or seasonal) of a local nonprofit arts organization, then either nonprofit can be the primary applicant. In either case, the workshops led by the artist should employ methodologies the artist has mastered to launch or sustain a partnership that benefits the 20 (or more) clients gathered and enrolled by the social justice organization;

All applicants (whether individual or nonprofit) must either reside in, or be headquartered in, Los Angeles County – and all proposed projects must take place and culminate within the City of LA; and teaching artists should demonstrate through their resume(s) at least two years of experience instructing participants in the proposed artistic discipline within projects at non-arts venues, public schools, parks, libraries, and/or similar community centers.

Both NEAR and CO-OP grants will support multi-week interactive projects to take place between July 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023, that aim to stimulate community dialogue, life-long learning opportunities for the public, and the availability of interesting free or low-cost creative activities that occur outside of traditional arts agencies and venues. Applicants should have workshop sessions that can be consistently attended by no less than 20 individuals, and feature one public culminating event that can engage no less than 40 participants.

A series of online webinar workshops will be available in early to mid-October. Webinar space is limited to 30 participants per webinar, and RSVPs are required at least two business days in advance.

Workshops/webinars link: https://dcaredesign.org/air/workshops/ . For full program information, visit https://dcaredesign.org/air/. After reviewing guidelines, prepare and submit an application at: https://dca-la.smapply.org/.