RACC workshop.

Saturday was a busy and productive day!  The schedule included the mandatory Neighborhood Public Art (NPA) Mini-Grant Application Workshop at City Hall in Richmond.  The event was packed with prospective applicants, artists, volunteers, and city staff.  As a Richmond Arts and Culture Commissioner, let’s bring art to our community and neighborhoods!

Richmond City Hall.

From the Call for Entries: “The Neighborhood Public Art (NPA) Mini-Grant Program is now seeking applications for FY 2018-19.  The grants are designed to stimulate arts and culture in the Richmond community, help emerging artists of all ages and ethnicities, and fund local visual, literary, and performing art projects.  Since 1997 the NPA program has been sponsored by the Richmond Arts & Culture Commission (RACC), and has engaged hundreds of community members in art projects all over Richmond.”

NPA project RYSE mural (image source: RACC).

The workshop began with a warm welcome and introductions.  Attendees had the opportunity to review previous grants and view photos.  The goal was to share what was possible and to inspire applicants.  I’ve witnessed firsthand how the NPA grants provide hope and transform neighborhoods.

2013-14 NPA reception postcard (image source: RACC).

Time was spent discussing how to establish a project concept.  Describing a vision can be a challenge for emerging to established artists.  The main objective is to clearly convey how a project will engage and involve Richmond’s community.  Concepts don’t have to be overly academic, obscure, or verbose.  Honesty is key!

NPA artist Ross Holzman (image source: RACC).

Arts & Culture Manager Michele Seville shared and explained the grant application’s various components.  Artists are asked to describe their experience, background, project, and target audience.  During the awarding process, commissioners review a project’s measurable outcomes and community activity outreach.

Richmond Arts & Culture Manager Michele Seville.
NPA project Lisa Foote poster (image source: RACC).
NPA project RYSE poster (image source: RACC).

A project’s budget must match the project’s vision.  The Call for Entries states: “The RACC will award a total of $65,000 in grant funds.  Grantees may receive less than their proposed amount, but not more.  Once awarded, recipients will enter into a contract with the City, and then receive their grant allocation to begin the project.  An art commissioner will be assigned to assist each project manager.”


During the closing, applicants asked questions, brainstormed ideas, and networked with fellow attendees.  Over the years, many connections and collaborations occurred resulting in meaningful projects.  The Neighborhood Public Art (NPA) Mini-Grants do make a difference in Richmond.  In Rosie the Riverter’s honor: We Can Do It!

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