Investing in the Artist Grant: Individual Artists

Understanding that artists are microbusinesses integral to the economic vitality of a city, Investing in the Artist Grant distributes small but impactful funds to emerging and established artists. These grants serve as a catalyst to further artist’s work while living and creating in Santa Ana, resulting in a more vibrant and diverse local art scene. With the impact from the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent variants, the City of Santa Ana Arts & Culture Office will direct funds in the amount of $400,000 from the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to meet the emergency needs of organizations and individuals in order to help sustain and grow the economic development in Santa Ana. The City supports ambitious projects that embrace experimentation and focus on process, as well as emerging artist essentials, such as materials, supplies, or business and website fees.

Art Together: Empowering Communities Through Participatory Art

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of participatory art in building community, promoting healing, and fostering social and cultural diversity. As the country is cleared to spend time together again after a few years of virtual gathering, there will be a greater need for participatory art to help us rebuild and strengthen our connections with one another and to process our experiences in a creative and meaningful way.

The City of Santa Ana will support innovative art projects and/or arts-based programs that encourage creativity and cooperation, building community, and supporting the local creative economy. The projects must be participatory and include an interactive component with the artwork or program itself. An example of an art program would be a hands-on workshop, and for visual art, the spectator can be become part of the artwork in some way.


The Arts & Culture Office is seeking to award grants in the amounts of up to $10,000 for individual artists who will enrich and invigorate the Santa Ana arts and culture landscape with participatory art and will be distributed in three (3) payments.

The grant period will be for 12 months and will require an interim and a final report of outcomes achieved, including an itemized budget with documentation such as receipts. The first payment will be disbursed at the commencement of the project; second payment will be midway through your project; and final payment will be disbursed 60 days after the successful completion of the final report. All grantees are required to maintain financial records to verify compliance. If you are selected for an audit, you must have and submit proof of expenses for review by grants staff upon request.

Only activities and costs consistent with the grant application or proposal approved by the Arts & Culture Office will be funded. If changes in the awarded project are necessary, grantees must contact Arnet Victoria at (714) 647-5345 or

If the proposed project has not been completed by end of the grant cycle, awarded funds to the artist(s) will be reabsorbed, and the applicant(s) will be ineligible to reapply for the following two years.

Conflict of Interest

The Arts & Culture Commission members are actively involved in the arts professionally and/or personally. The Commission desires to avoid situations, which may compromise, or appear to compromise, members’ objectivity while not preventing their continuing involvement in the arts, or in projects supported by the Commission and City. If the Commission member has a professional, fiduciary, and/or personal relationship with an applicant, the Commission member must notify the Commission of the relationship before the panel meeting or review of the applicant. The Commission member must also excuse him/herself from the room during the discussion of the applicant, and may not discuss the application with any other member of the Commission prior to, during, or after discussion of the application.

Eligibility Criteria

Visual ∙ Performing ∙ Musical ∙ Literary ∙ Film ∙ Textile ∙ Multimedia ∙ Industrial ∙ Fashion ∙ Culinary

  • Artists must be currently living and creating work in Santa Ana or create a work that is for the benefit of Santa Ana residents and/or stimulate economic development for the City of Santa Ana.
  • Project must be completed in Santa Ana, directly serve the Santa Ana residents, and/or stimulate economic development for the City of Santa Ana.
  • Applicants must be over the age of 18.
  • Applicant must attend one Information Session.
  • Applicants may not apply for consecutive grant cycles for the same project.
  • Only one application per project will be accepted. Artists may not apply separately for the same project.
  • Grant recipients who have not completed their projects from prior grant cycles will not be eligible to apply this year. This includes completing their final reports.
  • Applicants engaged in active litigation with the City and/or have active code enforcement violations, or a history of multiple code enforcement violations are not eligible for the program.

Ineligible Projects (What We Don't Fund)

  • Scholarly research, tuition, or academic expenses.
  • Projects held, performed, or exhibited outside of the City of Santa Ana.
  • Programs that are not accessible to the public.
  • Projects with religious purposes that serve to proselytize.

Funding Priorities

  • Activating geographical areas in Santa Ana underserved by the arts
  • Collaborations/partnerships among different entities

Selection Process

Applicants will be reviewed and scored by a grant peer review panel made up of artists, arts and nonprofit professionals, and others with knowledge and professional qualifications in the arts and with familiarity of Orange County’s arts sector. Grant review panels will reflect the diversity of the region and the various professional groups encompassed by the arts sectors such as practitioners, administrators, board members, and educators. As a public agency, all information submitted to the Arts & Culture Office in conjunction with a grant application becomes public record at the time the application is submitted. Applications will be reviewed and scored by a peer panel according to the following criteria.


  • Review panel may approve an amount that is less than what the applicant requested. It is encouraged that applicant find other funding sources for their project.
  • Approval of application does not imply that your dates and locations listed are approved as well. Contact appropriate entity to reserve the location and dates.
  • If doing a public art installation or public program, site must be selected prior to submission. Additionally, a letter from the property owner or facility must be included with your application.

Evaluation Criteria

Artist applications will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Project/Artistic Merit & Theme Relevance – 40%
  • Artist Portfolio – 25%
  • Potential Community Impact – 25%
  • Individual Need – 10%
  • Non-Compliance with Grant Requirements from Previous Cycle – (-5%)

Criterion 1:

A project with exceptional Project/Artistic Merit & Theme Relevance engages qualified and diverse arts or cultural professionals; provides arts experiences that expose participants to new perspectives; provides opportunities for engagement in the creative process; demonstrates cross-sector understanding, both supporting the arts and advancing community priorities; and provide clear examples of how the theme of “Participatory/Interactive Art” is incorporated into your project.

Criterion 2:

An exceptional Artist Portfolio will include artworks that demonstrate the artist’s technical skills, abilities, and potential and should reflect the artist’s unique art background and experiences. It could include a range of medium and/or genre, or it can focus on the artist’s strengths.

Criterion 3:

A project with exceptional Community Impact will be able to make a positive difference for Santa Ana residents, neighborhoods, and communities by creating leverage and visibility for these communities to receive greater resources; elevating the standard of living for those in the community; providing pipelines for arts leadership; and support economic growth in the City.

Criterion 4:

Exceptional demonstration of Individual Need must clearly show efforts to find funding outside of the City of Santa Ana’s offerings, as well as displays of being self-sustaining.

Criterion 5:

Applicants who were awarded a grant from a previous cycle and were non-compliant with the grant requirements (ex: incomplete projects, missing or incomplete reports, receipts, etc.), will have 5 percentage points (5%) deducted from their overall score.

Portfolio Requirements

Online submissions, please upload work directly onto online application using formatting guidelines listed below, or include links to online portfolio. Please do not submit any original artwork. Work will not be returned.

Visual Arts (including painting, sculpture, textile arts, industrial art, all physical artwork)

  • You may submit up to five (5) images maximum of demonstrating your best work
  • Images must be printed or in jpeg format uploaded to online submission site.
  • Clearly label each image file with “title_last name, first name” – Example “Painting_Garcia, Maria”
  • You may choose to submit a single PowerPoint presentation of your work with your name, title, size, date, medium on each slide.


  • You may submit up to five (5) songs or compositions of your best work. For online submissions, files may be uploaded as mp3 files. Links to Soundcloud, YouTube, or other online music showcases are acceptable.
  • Please note: Individual songs exceeding three minutes may not be heard in their entirety.
  • Label each file with “title_last name, first name” – Example “Music_ Garcia, Maria”

Film/Media/Performing Arts

  • You may submit up to five (5) short film/multimedia files. For online submissions, files may be uploaded as mp4 or .mov format. Links to online portfolio, YouTube, Vimeo or other video sharing sites are acceptable, and remember to include passwords.
  • Please note: Individual films exceeding ten minutes may not be viewed in their entirety.
  • Label each file with “title_last name, first name” – Example “Video_ Garcia, Maria”


  • You may upload writing samples as Word or PDF files on the online submission site. Label each file “title_last name, first name” - Example “Fiction_ Garcia, Maria”
  • Please use the following format for manuscripts: Times New Roman or Courier, 12 point font, double-spaced.
    • Fiction: 10 pages max.
    • Non-Fiction: 10 pages max.
    • Poetry: 5 poems (10 pages max.) Poetry may be formatted as the poet determines best suits the poem, but the manuscript must be legible.
    • Screenplays: 5 pages of dialogue + 1 synopsis.

Submission Requirements

Applications must contain the following documents to be considered for funding:

  1. Application Cover Sheet (use attached)
  2. Brief Narrative for proposed use of funds. Limit 2 pages. Formatting guidelines: Double spaced, 12 point Times New Roman, one inch margins.
  3. Supplemental Questions - Please answer each question separately on the application:
    1. Describe any additional City of Santa Ana resources required for your project (permits, public space, licenses etc.) that you are required to obtain.**
    2. Is this a new or existing program/project?
    3. How will the proposed project be presented or shared with the public? Will the art display, event, or performance be free and accessible to the public?
    4. How will your project enrich the quality of life for Santa Ana residents?
    5. Describe how your project will stimulate economic development for the City of Santa Ana.
  4. Portfolio (see guidelines)
  5. Original artwork design or Schedule of Activities/Curriculum (download sample on webpage)
  6. Project Timeline (download sample on webpage)
  7. Line Item Budget (download sample on webpage)
  8. At least one (1) signed Letter of Support or reference. If letter is in language other than English, please provide English translation.

**If doing a public art installation or public program, site must be selected prior to submission. Additionally, a letter from the property owner or facility must be included with your application.

Submission Due Date

Applications are due on the website by MONDAY, JULY 24, 2023 at 11:59 PM.

Submit applications here (use Google Chrome):

The online application will prompt you to submit the information directly into the fields and to upload submission materials. The Arts & Culture Office strongly recommends submitting the application at least 5 days prior to the deadline to give ample time to troubleshoot.

For questions please contact Arnet Victoria at (714) 647-5345,

Additional Information

The artist selected through this application process must agree to maintain liability insurance, which will insure and indemnify the artist(s) and the City of Santa Ana during the term of the contract and for one year after acceptance of the project.

  • Awarding of grant funding is subject to City Council approval of funds.
  • The City of Santa Ana is not obligated to select a finalist from the submitted applications and reserves the right cancel this application at any time.
  • Submitting an application does not constitute an expressed or implied contract.
  • Applicants submitting will receive notification of the results of the selection process.
  • Application materials will not be returned.
  • This application is subject to ordinances in effect in the City of Santa Ana.
  • Grantees must obtain a Unique Entity ID created in
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