Apply to MCAF
2013 Program Guidelines
Deadline for the 2013 Manhattan Community Arts Fund grant program has passed. New information on the 2014 grant cycle will be announced in summer of 2013. Sign up for our monthly newsletter to receive the latest program announcements.
About the Program
The Manhattan Community Arts Fund (MCAF) was established in 1983 as part of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs’ Greater New York Arts Development Fund. LMCC administers MCAF for the borough of Manhattan. The program provides local seed grants for individual artists, collectives and small arts organizations to bring high-quality arts projects to Manhattan communities. The program supports projects and activities that will enable the public to directly experience and engage with the arts.
An MCAF grant is often one of the first grants an artist or group receives, and can help grant recipients to leverage financial support from other sources. Each year, the program awards over $230,000 to support over 120 arts projects, including concerts, performances, public art, exhibitions, screenings, festivals, workshops, readings and more.
How MCAF Works
MCAF makes grants ranging from $750 to $5,000 to Manhattan-based non-profit organizations and individual artists. The program supports arts projects with a public component that is accessible to and engages Manhattan communities. Individual artists may apply directly to MCAF without a fiscal sponsor.
MCAF is designed to support and develop the capacity of individual artists and small arts and cultural organizations to 1) develop high quality local arts projects and programming and 2) contribute to Manhattan communities by providing opportunities for the public to experience and engage with the arts. Emphasis is placed on the quality and artistic merit of proposed projects and the depth and authenticity of community experience, participation and engagement.
Competitive projects will demonstrate thoughtful project planning, experienced and appropriate project personnel and planned project income in the form of cash and other means of support. MCAF and LMCC strongly support the payment of artist fees and opportunities for artists to develop and lead community projects. MCAF seeks to increase access to arts and cultural activities in neighborhoods throughout Manhattan.
LMCC expects that applicants will be able to identify the audiences and community they wish to reach and that project activities will reflect a relationship with or understanding of that audience or community. Projects should include clear and realistic plans to promote the project widely and reach the public. The program encourages projects that provide the public with rich arts experiences as demonstrated by: opportunities to experience the arts; participate in artistic inquiry and creation; present or perform works; and engage with artists and/or dialogues about the arts.
Get an overview of Manhattan Community Arts Fund and learn about the components of a well-prepared application. First-time applicants and applicants who have not attended an information session since 2009 are required to attend. For dates and locations: http://www.lmcc.net/grants/info_sessions
Staff Assistance Available!
If you have trouble filling out the Online Application Form or have questions about MCAF, LMCC staff are available to assist you in person or on the phone. Contact: Prachi Patankar, Program Manager, at email@example.com or 212-219-9401 x117.
Application Deadline: September 13, 2011
Complete applications must be submitted to LMCC by 5PM on Thursday, September 13, 2012. This includes the online application and printed supporting documents. Applicants will be notified in January 2013 whether their projects have been funded.
Applications will be accepted from individual artists or small nonprofit organizations with a core artistic mission and/or history of arts programming. Applicants must meet the following criteria to apply:
- Organizations must be based in Manhattan; individual artists must reside in Manhattan
- Organizations must have proof of nonprofit status
- Organizations must have operating budgets under $100,000 for two of the last three fiscal years
- Individuals may apply directly to MCAF, or use a fiscal sponsor
- Individuals cannot apply or receive funds on behalf of any organization
- Collectives must designate the artistic lead (director, or equivalent) to apply as an individual on its behalf. The artistic lead must meet the above listed eligibility and application requirements for individuals
- First time applicants and applicants who have not attended an information session since 2009 are required to attend a session before applying. For dates, locations and to RSVP, visit: www.lmcc.net/grants/info_sessions
Applications will be accepted for new or recurring projects in any artistic discipline. Projects must meet the following requirements:
- Project activities, including the public component, must be located in Manhattan
- Project activities must take place between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2013
- Project must include a public component: an opportunity for the public to access and engage with the arts. The opportunity must be promoted and available to the general public. Note: Projects that are intended to be experienced solely through or by the Internet will not be considered
- Projects consisting of community art workshops offered by artists or art groups will be considered if they meet the above requirements for public access, either through outreach and promotion for participation in workshops or through a culminating public event
- All participating artists must be guaranteed a fee, indicated in the project budget.
- Applicants may only submit one (1) proposal requesting support for one (1) project for MCAF. Note: If an applicant to MCAF plans to submit a proposal to LMCC’s SPARC program for the same fiscal year, please contact LMCC staff for guidance on related budget requirements.
- Applicants may only submit one (1) proposal requesting support for one (1) project.
- Applicants may not be a lead artistic facilitator or key partner in more than one proposal
- If applying as an organization, the project budget must show at least 25% of planned project income from sources other than MCAF
Under this program funding is not available for:
- Organizations receiving institutional support or program support (including council member items) from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) or otherwise receiving support for the project from DCA
- New York City agencies and departments
- Public school districts, affiliates or components exclusively serving student audiences in school
- In-school arts education programs
- General operating support or funds to establish a new organization
- Offering fellowships or cash prizes
- Work-in-progress showings solely for the development of new work
- Humanities projects
- Professional arts training programs
- General operating support
- Cultural activities restricted to an organization’s membership; eligible projects must be promoted, and remain available to the general public
- Proposals requesting support for an existing production previously funded by MCAF
- Proposals from educational, health or welfare institutions unless they can demonstrate a history of providing arts programs
- Arts programs that are primarily socio-economic, recreational, rehabilitative, religious or therapeutic in nature
- Entertainment costs, such as opening parties, receptions or fundraisers
- Payment for facilities or purchase of capital equipment or non-project related administrative expenses
- LMCC prioritizes paying fees to professional artists; payment to amateur participants of community workshops or programs will not be supported
- Previous grantees of Lower Manhattan Cultural Council that have failed to comply with grant contract or reporting requirements
Review Process and Criteria
A panel of artists and arts professionals will review projects using the following four criteria:
- Artistic merit of the proposed project
- Clarity of project proposal
- Project feasibility, taking into consideration budget, timeline, and stated goals
- Appropriateness of the outreach plan to reach the proposed community
The criteria are not listed in order of priority; each is equally important. Please make sure that your application materials, taken as a whole, address these criteria.
Priority consideration will be given to artists and arts organizations that have applied to MCAF for three (3) consecutive years without receiving funding.
Applying to MCAF is a competitive process. Proposals should accurately describe the project, the target audience, and the project’s impact. Project budgets and budget narratives should be precise, reflect actual needs, and demonstrate the ability to raise funds from additional sources.
The grant award is a contract for arts services; grantees are required to provide the following during the grant period:
- Sign and return grant contract to LMCC
- Include funding credit and logos on all marketing and event materials, print and electronic
- Submit event notification form six weeks before your event (a representative of LMCC may be present to monitor your project)
- Notify LMCC of any significant changes to proposed project activities, including schedule, key participants, project scope or budget, before these changes are finalized
- Submit final report, no later than 30 days after completion of all project activities
Grantees who do not comply with the above requirements will jeopardize their funding status and future grant consideration. LMCC may also require grantees to submit interim reports and/or attend an LMCC grant clinic (one-on-one grant assistance) to maintain eligibility to apply.
We encourage applicants who are not funded to contact our staff for a summary of panel comments and feedback on their applications.
Applicants may appeal decisions in writing within ten (10) days of funding notifications, effectively arguing the case for appeal based on the criteria below. Dissatisfaction with either an unfavorable decision or the recommended level of support is not grounds for appeal.
Grounds for appeals are limited to the following:
- Misrepresentation of information: an applicant’s information was improperly presented by the LMCC staff in a way that may have adversely affected the review process
- Non-presentation of information: the applicant’s information was not presented by the LMCC staff prior to or as part of the panel’s decision-making process
- Improper panel procedure: conflict of interest or biased decision
Applications can be completed and submitted online. However, certain supporting documents will need to be mailed or delivered in hard copy to complete the application. Applicants must complete both an Online Application Form AND submit organizational documents in hard copy before 5PM on Thursday, September 13, 2012.
Follow these THREE STEPS to apply:
STEP 1: READ
Thoroughly read all sections of these program guidelines and view the Online Application Form before starting the application process. Make sure your project is eligible for consideration before you apply.
STEP 2: COMPLETE AND SUBMIT ONLINE APPLICATION FORM
You may view the Online Application Form at any time before the deadline. Unfinished applications can be saved online and resumed at a later time through a user email and password system. Application forms are not considered final until submitted.
The Online Application Form includes the following sections:
- Applicant Profile: Submit general information including: contact information, electoral district numbers, funding history, annual operating budgets, organizational mission and demographic information. Applicants with fiscal sponsors should also provide the sponsor’s general information.
- Project Profile: Submit important details about your proposed project, including project venue/location, project summary, artistic discipline and audience information.
- Project Narrative: Describe in detail the essentials of your project and how you plan to promote it and carry it out successfully. Include activities, goals, mission public component, relevant experience, audiences and biographies of key artistic personnel.
- Project Timeline: Submit a timeline for planning & carrying out your project. Be sure to include the anticipated date(s) of your public event(s).
- Project Budget: List your project income sources, expenses, and in-kind contributions.
- Work Samples: Upload or provide weblinks to samples of past or current work. Applicants who only have CD or DVD recordings can submit them by mail or deliver in person to LMCC. Include written details for each sample. See Work Sample Instructions at the end of this document for complete instructions on preparing your work samples.
- Certification of Application: Verify the information in the application form and confirm you have attended an information session.
We strongly recommend that you view the Online Application Form and instructions in advance and maintain a backup copy of your responses in a separate document offline. Once you have submitted the form, you will not be able to make changes or resubmit.
STEP 3: MAIL OR DELIVER INDIVIDUAL OR ORGANIZATIONAL DOCUMENTS
In addition to completing the Online Application Form, you must submit by mail or deliver in person one (1) printed copy of each of the following items for you, your organization or fiscal sponsor.
Required documents include:
- If applicant is an individual artist or an artistic lead applying on behalf of a collective, , one (1) copy of one (1) of the following as proof of Manhattan address:
- Utility bill (e.g. electricity, cable, gas, etc)
- Driver’s license (address on the driver’s license must be same as address provided in application)
- Item a: Proof of nonprofit status. Choose ONE (1) of the following options:
- Letter of Determination from the IRS indicating tax exempt status under section 501(c)(3)
- Documentation of charter by the New York State Board of Regents under section 216 of the New York State Education Law
- Documentation of incorporation under Section 402 of the New York State Not-for-Profit Corporation Law
- Current New York State Bureau of Charities (Office of the Attorney General) filing receipt
- Official authorization as an arm of local government (i.e., a formal letter on official stationary signed by the appropriate county, city, town or village executive)
- Important Note: Nonprofit documentation must show a Manhattan address. If the address is a PO Box, provide additional proof of the organization’s Manhattan address.
- Item b. Audited financial statement for the most recently completed fiscal year or, if unavailable, a copy of the most recently filed IRS Form 990, signed by the organization’s treasurer, bookkeeper or accountant
- Item c. Projected organizational budget for the fiscal year in which the proposed project takes place (i.e. FY13 or FY14)
- If you are using a fiscal sponsor for this application, one (1) copy of each of the following two (2) items:
- Item a. Written letter of commitment to the individual artist or group from the fiscal sponsor. The letter should confirm the sponsorship relationship with the applicant. The Executive Director, or equivalent, of the fiscal sponsor should sign this letter and it should appear on the organization’s letterhead
- Item b. Proof of nonprofit status of the fiscal sponsor (choose options from Item 1a above)
- Support materials(maximum of 5 pages/items) related to the project or the applicant. Examples include press clippings or printed promotional materials
- Include work sample CDs or DVDs if you are not submitting audio or video samples online
- Optional self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) for the return of work samples (stamps only; metered postage not accepted). If no SASE is included with the application, work samples will not be returned after review
Submit documents and work samples disks (if applicable) in ONE package received (not postmarked) by LMCC before the application deadline: 5PM, Thursday, September 13, 2012.
Manhattan Community Arts Fund
Lower Manhattan Cultural Council
125 Maiden Lane, Second Floor
New York, NY 10038
Work Sample Instructions
Work samples are a critical element of your application. Prepare a well-organized presentation that best represents your work and relates to the proposed project. The grant review panel will spend approximately five minutes reviewing your work samples.
The aim of the work sample is to bring the panel as close as possible to an actual experience of work. Submit samples of work created and/or presented in the last three years. Do not submit edited promotional or interview materials.
Work Sample Formats
Submit samples of past and current work through the Online Application Form in ONE (1) of the following formats, based on the discipline or form of your projects. Contact our staff if you wish to combine formats.
PERFORMING ARTS, FILM, MEDIA AND OTHER TIME-BASED PROJECTS
Submit recordings: 2 samples maximum
Submit for up to two (2) recordings of past/current works or projects in performing, media, music, film or other time-based art forms. LMCC accepts time-based samples in two formats:
- Weblinks to video or audio clips hosted on external sites, preferably YouTube.com, Vimeo.com, SoundCloud.com.
- Provide these links in the Online Application Form.
- Samples should remain accessible online through February 2013.
- Do NOT submit personal website URLs.
- CDs or DVDs, mailed or delivered to LMCC offices before the application deadline.
- Indicate in the Online Application Form that you are submitting CDs or DVDs.
- Mail or deliver your work samples disks to LMCC before the application deadline.
- Include a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) if you want the samples to be returned to you.
- Mark your CD/DVD as "[applicant name]: Sample #". Use a permanent marker. Do not submit stickers on DVDs or CDs as these can jam equipment.
The selection panel will view each recording for up to 2.5 minutes. However, we encourage you to submit full-length work, if possible. Provide a cue point for any work sample that is longer than three (3) minutes total.
Theater artists without video documentation should consult the staff about alternative work sample formats.
- LITERARY PROJECTS
- Upload manuscripts: 10 pages maximum
- Submit samples no longer than ten (10) pages of scripts, poetry or prose. Submit one (1) document in PDF, Microsoft Word or JPEG format. Maximum file.
- VISUAL ARTS PROJECTS
- Upload images: 10 maximum
- Submit a maximum of ten (10) digital images. Images must be in JPEG format, no larger than 800 x 800 pixels at 72 dpi. File size for each image should not exceed 2MB. Each filename should be saved as “Applicant Name #” (e.g. ArtsOrg01.jpg, ArtsOrg02.jpg, etc.)..
Questions or Technical Issues?