Community engagement COMMISSIONING

2018 GUIDELINES: Individual Artist Support

Access application HERE - CLOSED

Award Amount: $2,500

This fund supports Queens-based individual artists creating new work directly involving the community through social engagement art projects. This fund supports creative (not interpretive) artists interested in working within a community setting. The artist must strategically engage members of the community as active participant and contributors in the creation of and/or production of the project. As the most diverse borough in NYC, Queens artists are uniquely positioned to bring issues relating to class, race, gender, education etc. All artistic disciplines are welcome to apply.

Fiscal sponsorship is not required.

This program is supported by New York State Council on the Arts, Decentralization Community Arts Program with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.


  • Require community involvement in the creation of new work
  • Encourage long lasting relationships between artist and communities
  • Highlight the role of the artist as an important, contributing member of the community who helps to inspire dialogue and debate around social issues related to class, race, gender, education, etc.
  • Fund artist's fees and all material fees related to creation of new work
  • Funded projects that culminate with a public exhibition or presentation in 2018 calendar year and are accessible to the general public of Queens.



  • Individual artists must be residents of Queens. (PO boxes and studio addresses not accepted)
  • Artists must be at least 18 years of age
  • Artists may work in any discipline
  • Artists whose work empowers the community, raises awareness and inspires people to take action
  • Individual artists applying can work with a collective but only one artist can take the lead
  • Applicants that attend a QAF Information Session


  • Students, full or part-time
  • Past recipients who failed to submit a final report or who did not properly credit funding
  • Artists who received QAF NYSCA individual artist support in 2017
  • Artists applying for any other 2018 QAF grant programs as an individual or through partnerships for organization support


  • Recreational, rehabilitative, or therapeutic art programs
  • Arts education in school projects
  • Purchase of equipment
  • Living or general operating expenses
  • Entertainment costs including openings, receptions, catering or fundraising
  • Out-of-state travel costs 

evaluation Criteria

  • Quality and clarity of proposed project
  • Demonstration of how project:
    • Raises consciousness in the community
    • Alters how one thinks about self, society, or culture
    • Creates space for expression and builds a sense of community
  • Artistic merit of submitted work samples
  • Non-duplication of comparable existing program in the same geographical area
  • Demonstration of managerial, planning, and fiscal competence

ALL 1st Time APPLICANTS and Applicants that have not applied in the last 2 years MUST ATTEND AN APPLICATION INFORMATION SESSION in one of the following ways:

  1.  Attend an informational group session. - CLOSED
  2.  Attend a one-on-one meeting with a QCA staff member. - CLOSED

Panel recommendations are presented to the Queens Council on the Arts Board of Trustees for review and has final approval. The QCA staff facilitates the panel process and does not state opinions or make recommendations during panel deliberations. 

QCA encourages all applicants to attend an information session and to contact the QAF Staff to discuss your project before submitting your application to determine eligibility for this category.

On-line Tutorials are available for your future reference. You can access the video HERE.

How to Apply

Applications must be completed online HERE - CLOSED
QCA does not accept paper copies of the application or hard copies of supplemental materials

Deadline - Thursday, October 26, 2017 by 5:00 PM. No exceptions


community engagement commissioning FAQ's

  1.  When is the deadline for the Community Engagement Commissioning application?
    Thursday, October 26th at 5:00 PM is the deadline for all QAF Grant Applications. NO EXCEPTIONS.
  2.  How do I apply for a QAF Grant?
    All applicants should review the guidelines carefully to determine eligibility. All eligible QAF applicants must fill out and submit a grant application. Access the online application HERE - CLOSED

    If you are new applicant you must create an account with a working email and a password in order to login to the online application.

    If you are a returning applicant you can use the same email from previous applications but you must create a new password for your 2018 QAF application login account.

    Please retain your email and password, as this login information will give you access to the application and all reporting forms if funded.
  3.  Do I need to attend an information session?
    If you are a NEW 2018 APPLICANT or have not applied within the last 2 years then YES you MUST ATTEND AN APPLICATION INFORMATION SESSION in one of the following ways:

    1. Attend a one-on-one meeting with a QCA staff member - CLOSED
    2. Attend an informational group session - CLOSED

    If after attending one of the above you need more help, the QAF staff is available or you can view the On-line Tutorial for your future reference available HERE.
  4.  I received a QAF Individual Artist grant last year. I am eligible to apply this year?
    If you received a Community Engagement Commissioning last year, we ask that you wait one year to re-apply. There are other funding opportunities for individual artists through the QAF grant program. Please review the guidelines to see if you are eligible.
  5.  I have questions regarding my project ideas or want your application draft read?
    Contact Grants and Resource Director, Lynn Lobell at or (347) 505-3015 OR
    Grants Assistant, Dan Bamba at or (347) 505-3017.
    All requests for review should be made at least two weeks in advance of the application deadline.

  6.  How much time do I have to complete a QAF funded project?
    QAF funding is for the calendar year. All proposed projects must be completed and presented to a Queens audience between January and December of the year you receive the grant. 

  7.  What happens after I turn in my QAF application?
    QCA staff will review your application for completeness and contact you via email if your application is incomplete. Please check your email regularly after submitting your application, as you will have a limited amount of time to fix any application problems. A panel comprised of 5-7 art administrators, community leaders and artists will review the QAF applications and decide on funding recommendations. The QCA executive board will review the recommendations and NYSCA will provide final approval. 

  8.  When will I find out if I received a QAF grant?
    Letters of notification will be made upon approval of the Board and sent to applicants no later than January 2018.
  9.  What can I do if I disagree about the panel decision regarding my application?
    There is not an appeals process for the Community Arts Commissioning.
    Nevertheless, you should contact the QAF Grants and Resource Director for information regarding panel comments. It is helpful to review panel comments even if you received funding, as they provide applicants valuable information for future grant applications.
  10.  When is the QAF money awarded?
    Once the notifications are sent out you will be required to sign and return a QAF Cultural Contract as well as a W-9 Form. Please be aware that monies may not become available until mid-year. Please plan your projects/programs accordingly.
  11.  What are my responsibilities if I receive a QAF Community Commissioning Award?
    Awardee recipients must sign a cultural contract with QCA before receiving the award check. The cultural contract outlines grant recipient responsibilities:
    Reporting: Grant recipients agree to submit required Interim and Final reports by the designated deadline.
    Maintenance of level of service: Grant recipients agree not to materially reduce or vary the scope of its service to the general public as set forth in the application for support without the express written consent of QCA.
    Risk of operation: Grant recipients shall assume all responsibility for the risk of operation related to program(s) supported by such assistance and hereby absolve and hold QCA harmless of liability relating to the program(s).
    Insurance: Grant recipients shall carry all insurance required by law.
    Proof of Residency: Individual artist recipients must show proof of Queens residency before receipt of check. Accepted forms of proof are a valid NY State Drivers license, IDNYC card, current lease agreement with name, recent utility bill (with recipient's name and address).
    Completion of IRS W-9 form: Requires valid tax ID number. QCA will send this form to you.
    Mention of support: In any and all publicity produced for the projects covered in this Contract (including but not limited to programs, publications, books, catalogs, films, videos, exhibitions, web pages, e-blasts, newspaper and journal articles, etc.), the Grantee shall credit the Queens Council on the Arts and the appropriate funder.

    In the event of failure to comply with all the terms of the cultural contract, grant recipients will be held liable to return the entire grant amount to the Queens Council on the Arts.
  12.  Do I need to have fiscal sponsorship for the Community Arts Commissioning?
  13.  Do I need to show other income if I am an individual applying to the Community Engagement Commissioning?
    No. The QAF Community Engagement Commissioning is for a set amount of $2,500. The application does not include a detailed project budget, but it does include a budget narrative to explain if you have other sources of funding. It always makes for a more compelling proposal if there is other support (financial or in-kind) is secured.
  14.  Do I need to have a letter of agreement from the venue where my proposed project is going to take place?
    No. However, you are highly encouraged to submit a letter of agreement from a proposed Queens venue, on the venue’s letterhead, where proposed project will take place. Proposals with letters show a well-thought-out and determined plan.

    Questions about the Online Application

    1.  How do I access the application?
      You must create an account to access the application - CLOSED
      * If you are new applicant you must create an account with a working email and a password in order to login to the online application.
      * If you are a returning applicant you can use the same email from previous applications but you must create a new password for your 2018 QAF application login account.

      Please retain your email and password, as this login information will give you access to the application and all reporting forms if funded. 
    2.  I am not good with computers, can I mail my attachments?
      No, QCA will not accept any mailed materials. Please contact QCA well in advance of the deadline with questions or find a technology savvy friend to assist you.

    3.  How do I find out my legislator district numbers?
      Enter your address into the search section at "Who Represents Me?" on the League of Women Voter’s NYC website. There are tabs for city, state and federal representatives. You only need to include the district numbers, not the representatives' names.

    4.  What are the guidelines for submitting work samples and supplemental materials? What is the maximum file size?
      - QAF individual artist grant applicants are required to submit work samples. 
      - You may combine work sample types if that best represents your artistic practice, but you can not exceed 6 work samples total and only 2 of the 6 can be video samples. 
      - No promotional videos or stills. 
      - All .jpg, .doc, .pdf and audio files should be uploaded to the application. 
      - Each uploaded work sample cannot exceed 10 MB in size. 
      - Video work samples are not subject to this restriction because they are uploaded to YouTube first.

      Each uploaded supplemental material file cannot exceed 10 MB in size. .pdf files are recommended but not required.

    5. How do I attach a video work sample to my online application?
      All video work samples must be uploaded to YouTube and the YouTube URL must be provided in the corresponding YouTube URL box in the online application.

    6.  I would like to keep my YouTube video sample private rather than public. How do I do this?
      While you cannot use a password protected private YouTube video, you can change the video’s settings to be “unlisted.” This means only those with the direct link can view the video. Read more about YouTube privacy settings here

    7.    Where should I apply if my project isn't in Queens?
      Every NYC borough has an arts council that grants city and state funds through programs similar to ours. The NYC local arts councils are:

              Manhattan: Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC)
              Brooklyn: Brooklyn Arts Council
              Bronx: Bronx Council for the Arts (BCA)
              Staten Island: Staten Island Arts

      Most local arts council grant programs require residency in the borough you are applying in and require you to do your project in that borough.


    How do I get selected to serve as a QAF Panelist?
    Interested in serving as a Queens Arts Fund Panelist? Check out the QCA website HERE. If still interested complete the Nomination Form HERE.

    A QAF staff member will contact you and request your resume and determine your availability.


    Did we miss something? Do you have a question specific regarding your project?
    Please contact Grants and Resource Director, Lynn Lobell at 347-505-3015 or OR
    Grants Assistant, Dan Bamba at or (347) 505-3017.