fbpx skip to Main Content


18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica, CA has been fueling the impact of artists on society since 1988. Conceived as a radical think tank in the shape of an artist community, we are a globally recognized catalyst for deploying artistic imagination to meet society’s needs. We curate projects where artists and the public directly engage in creating experiences and partnerships that foster positive social change.


In January 2023, 18th Street Arts Center made a call for 40 California artists and culture bearers (collectively known as ‘artists’) to develop impactful arts and culture projects that foster community wellbeing in regions throughout the state that are located in California Healthy Places Index (HPI) Quartile 1 ZIP codes. Over 375 artists and culture bearers already working to strengthen community wellbeing in California pitched their ideas, and an independent panel of reviewers selected 14 visionary projects from each region of the state (Northern, Central, Southern) resulting in 42 Round One finalists. 

Starting in April, the 42 Round One finalists will participate in a month-long series of professional development workshops. Led by 18th Street Arts Center staff, and guests from partner organizations Clockshop, USC SLab, Healthy Places Index and Rand Corporation, workshops will take grantees through the process of developing a complete proposal for their project and offer an introduction to and best practices for proposal creation; including budgeting, surveying and evaluation, outreach and communication strategies, documentation, culture mapping, community engagement, and partner development. 

In addition to workshops, grantees will have access to a virtual space for discussion and resource sharing with fellow grantees and staff and partners. 

Round Two culminates in a second round of review of the now complete and comprehensive project proposals for funding consideration. A total of 18 proposals will be selected for funding, receiving a production budget of up to $50,000 and a year-long salary of $65,000, medical and dental insurance (at no cost to the artist) and the option to join 18th Street Art Center's SIMPLE IRA plan with employer match for one year. Artists will all receive a $1,000 stipend for completing Round Two and have full ownership of their proposal to seek funding elsewhere should their proposal not be selected. 

The 18 funded Community Engagement Art Project artists will form a year-long cohort whose projects will contribute to a statewide California Culture Map. 18th Street Arts Center believes culture mapping is essential infrastructure for successful collaboration between arts and culture producers and community leaders seeking to foster well-being among neighbors at the local level.  

The final cohort of 18 will be announced in mid-June. (updated May 2023) 


Research shows that women and individuals from underrepresented backgrounds often apply only if they meet 100% of the qualifications. If much of this RFQ describes the work you do, then you are highly encouraged to apply.

This project is open to working artists and/or culture bearers/makers living or working within California in a Quartile 1 ZIP code, located on the California Healthy Places Index (HPI). Please reference the eligible HPI ZIP codes here. Using the “search function” (macOS: +f / windowsOS: ctrl+shift+f) you can search for a county, city, or zip code. 

Projects must address one of the four state-mandated “Impact” areas:

  1. Public health awareness messages to stop the spread of COVID-19
  2. Public awareness related to water and energy conservation, climate mitigation, and emergency preparedness, relief, and recovery
  3. Civic engagement, including election participation
  4. Social justice and community engagement

An artist, culture bearer/maker (‘artist’) is someone who regularly engages in artistic or cultural practice to: express themselves with the intention of communicating richly to or sharing with others; pass on traditional knowledge and cultural practices; offer cultural resources to their communities; and/or co-organize and co-create within communities toward social impacts. 

Artistic and cultural practices include but are not limited to: craft, dance, design, film, literary arts, media arts, music, oral traditions, social practice, theater, performance art, traditional arts, visual arts, and interdisciplinary arts.


All qualified RFQ submissions will be reviewed based on the weighted criteria listed below, which corresponds to information requested in various sections of the proposal: 

Note: Only applications that are complete, and proposed to take place in a Quartile 1 ZIP code on the California Healthy Places Index will be reviewed. 

  • Evidence of desired qualifications, competence, and direct experience - 30 points
    • The artist’s CV and work samples demonstrate full understanding of their practice – the tools, materials, and processes.
  • Community engagement experience/plans - 10 points 
    • The artist’s CV demonstrates prior community engagement or organizing practices. 
  • Experience completing public art projects of this scale - 10 points
    • Has the artist led other projects at this scale? If not, will they be able to scale up from past works?
  • Evidence of working relationship with the community the artist proposes to engage -  20 points
    • The project idea addresses something the artist’s chosen community has been seeking. How will their project support a need for the community, and will the community be willing to participate? 
  • Strength of proposed programming plan - 30 points
    • Has this project been executed before in other communities and is there a precedence of the project from others in the field?

Projects that do not take place in a Quartile 1 community on the California Healthy Places Index or do not select 1 of 4 ‘Impact’ areas will be disqualified.


Headshot_Anu Vikram_CAC

Anuradha Vikram
Northern California

Anuradha Vikram is a writer, curator, and educator born in New York and based in Los Angeles. They are co-curator of the 2024 Portland Biennial and guest curator of the Getty Pacific Standard Time Art and Science exhibition Atmosphere of Sound: Sonic Art in Times of Climate Disruption (2024–25) at UCLA Art Sci Center. Recent curatorial projects include Jaishri Abichandani: Flower-Headed Children at Craft Contemporary, Los Angeles, Swept Away: Love Letter to a Surrogate at Guild Hall, East Hampton, New York (part two upcoming at Annenberg Beach House, Santa Monica, April 22-23), and eX-aMEN-ing Masculinities with LA Freewaves at Los Angeles State Historic Park in 2022.

Vikram’s book Decolonizing Culture (Sming Sming Books, 2017) helped initiate a global movement to decolonize arts institutions and monuments. They have written for art periodicals and publications from Paper Monument, Heyday Press, Routledge, and Oxford University Press. They are an Editorial Board member at X-TRA and an editor at X Artists’ Books.

Vikram is faculty at UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture. They hold an MA in Curatorial Practice from California College of the Arts and a BS in Studio Art from NYU.

Headshot_Stephanie Barajas_CAC

Stephanie Barajas
Northern California

Stephanie Barajas (she/ella) is a San Jose-based Mexican actor, photographer, and arts administrator. She is currently a Program Associate at the Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI), where she supports a broad grants portfolio that serves individual artists across California. In 2022, Stephanie served as one of six City of San Jose’s Creative License Ambassadors, developing her project, I Am My Body, which seeks to explore our relationship with our bodies through creative expression. Raised in Guadalajara, Mexico, her family made the difficult decision to relocate to the Bay Area in 2006. Stephanie earned a BA in Theatre from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA. She returned to the Bay Area in 2017 and has been carving a place for herself in the arts community. She is a proud alumnus of the Multicultural Arts Leadership Institute (MALI), the NALAC Leadership Institute, and the current Co-Chair of genARTS Silicon Valley. Stephanie continues pursuing her passion for acting and will perform in Silicon Valley Shakespeare's upcoming shot, The Twelfth Night. She is passionate about art, arts advocacy, fashion, fat justice, and storytelling as a tool for change.

Headshot_Betty Marín_CAC

Betty Marín
Northern California

Betty Marín is a cultural worker from Wilmington, CA. Her work uses popular education and language justice to create spaces that encourage learning, dialogue, and solidarity between different communities. With the Alliance for California Traditional Arts, she manages a series of programs integrating the traditional arts into health equity campaigns, curates a roundtable series to share resources and create exchange between traditional artists, and is currently contributing to the design and launch of an expanded grants program for artists and organizations. She has coordinated the creation of field scan reports for the National Folklife Network and is thrilled to support in building greater connections and support for folk and traditional artists across the country. She has also contributed curriculum and taught with ACTA’s Arts in Corrections program featured in these publications. She graduated with an MFA in Art and Social Practice from Portland State University. As a student, she edited a book titled Art and Education, centered on a conversation with artists and educators Pablo Helguera and Luis Camnitzer.

Headshot_Bill Kelley, Jr_CAC

Bill Kelley, Jr.
Central California

Bill Kelley, Jr. is an educator, curator and writer based in Los Angeles. He holds a Ph.D. in Art History, Theory and Criticism from the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) and a Masters in Art History from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque (UNM).  His current research focuses on collaborative and collective art practices in the Americas. Bill has written for such journals as Afterall, P.E.A.R., and Log Journal. He currently holds the position of Associate Professor of Latin American and Latino art history at California State University Bakersfield (CSUB). Bill has co-edited an anthology with Grant Kester of collaborative art practices in the Americas entitled: Collective Situations: Readings in Contemporary Latin American Art 1995-2010 (Duke University Press, 2017). Most recently he was Curator and Lead Researcher of Talking to Action: Art, Pedagogy and Activism in the Americas, a research, exhibition and publication platform examining community-based art practices for Otis College of Art as part of The Getty’s Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA initiative. Bill recently edited the bilingual volume Talking to Action: Art, Pedagogy and Activism in the Americas, published by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and distributed by the University of Chicago Press (2017).

Headshot_Candace Eros Diaz_CAC

Candace Eros Diaz
Central California

Candace Eros Diaz is a writer, arts and culture administrator, and racial equity advocate. She has received fellowships and support from Emerging Arts Professionals, San Francisco Writers Grotto, VONA, The Steinbeck Fellows Program, and Lambda Literary where she edited Emerge: Lambda Literary Fellows Anthology. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and appeared in Craft, Huizache, Arroyo Literary Review, Under the Gum Tree, and elsewhere. Candace has over a decade of experience in program management for racial justice and is a fierce advocate for equity, changemaking, and belonging. Originally from Fresno in California’s Central Valley she is currently based in Lisjan Ohlone territory also known as Oakland, CA. Find her on Twitter @CandaceErosDiaz.

Headshot_ Jennifer Kane_CAC

Jennifer Kane
Central California

Jennifer Kane is an artist, arts organizer, and teacher originally from Los Angeles, CA. She received a BFA from Mount St. Mary’s College, an MFA in Public Practice from Otis College of Art and Design, and is a graduate of Arts for LA's ACTIVATE Cultural Policy Fellowship program. She currently serves as the Executive Director of Arts Connection, the Arts Council of San Bernardino County. In 2016 she coordinated the Volunteer Art Program for The Joshua Tree Art Innovation Laboratory (JT Lab), an NEA-grant funded arts initiative, hosted by Joshua Tree National Park and created the park art program - Artists’ Tea. In 2019, she helped launch San Bernardino County’s first local artist granting program and an artist-in-residency program with San Bernardino City Unified School District. In the past five years, she has supported arts and cultural institutions to apply for and receive grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the California Arts Council, doubling creative culture support in the region. Teaching geology, human history, and ecology as a guide for over fourteen years in the Sierra Nevada continues to root her attention towards our deep connections to the land and each other. Her writing has been published in KCET Artbound and as part of the Mojave Project. She is a proud board member of Californians for the Arts, the California Arts Advocates, and the Board of Advocates for the Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art (RAFFMA).

Headshot_Karen Moss_CAC

Karen Moss
Southern California

Karen Moss is a Los Angeles-based art historian, independent curator, educator and writer whose areas of expertise include conceptual and performance art since the 1960s, contemporary art and social practices, and experimental education.  Moss is retired Professor of Critical Studies and Director of the MA Curatorial Program at USC Roski School of Art and Design. She holds a BA in art history and studio art from UC Santa Cruz and received her MA and PhD degrees in art history from USC.

Moss has organized exhibitions, artist residencies, symposia and public art projects nationally and internationally for more than 30 years.  She held senior-level curatorial positions at Orange County Museum of Art; San Francisco Art Institute; Santa Monica Museum of Art, and Walker Art Center. Earlier in her career she worked as at MoCA, Los Angeles, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum, after she was a curatorial fellow in the Whitney’s Independent Study Program. 


Anu Yadav
Southern California

Anu Yadav is an actress, playwright, and cultural worker who has been working at the intersection of theater, community organizing, and human rights for over 20 years. She performed at venues including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Studio Safdar in Delhi, India and the National Academy of Dramatic Arts in Beijing, China. She wrote and performed the solo plays 'CAPERS and MEENA'S DREAM, co-founded the community storytelling project CLASSLINES, and facilitates workshops across the country. She was featured in the documentaries CHOCOLATE CITY, WALK WITH ME, as well as The Washington Post, The Crisis, and MTV. She was the inaugural 2019-2020 Creative Strategist Artist-in-Residence at the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, funded by the Department of Arts and Culture, where she produced “Healing Through Story”, a toolkit on arts-based methods for community-building. For the last two years, she co-designed and co-directed the community arts and cultural programming for WE RISE, a Countywide mental health awareness campaign funded by the LA County Department of Mental Health. She is a member of the Actor’s Equity Association, Alternate ROOTS, the Center for Performance and Civic Practice, the Dramatists Guild, Network of Ensemble Theaters and the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and holds an M.F.A. in Performance from University of Maryland, College Park. She is a Senior Annenberg Innovation Lab Senior Civic Media Fellow. 

Karla Diaz headshot_credit: Lluvia Higuera

Karla Diaz
Southern California

Karla Diaz is a multidisciplinary artist, educator who engages in painting, social practice, and performance. Using narrative to question identity and explore memory. Her socially engaged practice generates exciting collaborations and provokes important dialogue among diverse communities. Notably, she is the co- founder of the socially engaged collective and community artist space Slanguage. In her painting introspection, splashes of color became figures and objects that transformed into scenes of domesticity and city life drawn from her upbringing in Mexico and Los Angeles. Personal memories, folklore, familiar iconography of her Mexican heritage, and American pop culture are intertwined in surreal compositions that consider family, loss, and the complexities of the Latinx experience in the United States. 


Who can apply?

This project is open to working artists and/or culture bearers/makers living or working within California in a Quartile 1 ZIP code, located on the California Healthy Places Index (HPI). Please reference the eligible HPI ZIP codes here. Using the “search function” (macOS: +f/windowsOS: ctrl+shift+f) you can search for a county, city, or zip code. 

What is an artist or culture bearer?

An artist, culture bearer/maker (‘artist’) is someone who regularly engages in artistic or cultural practice to: express themselves with the intention of communicating richly to or sharing with others; pass on traditional knowledge and cultural practices; offer cultural resources to their communities; and/or co-organize and co-create within communities toward social impacts. 

Artistic and cultural practices include but are not limited to: craft, dance, design, film, literary arts, media arts, music, oral traditions, social practice, theater, performance art, traditional arts, visual arts, and interdisciplinary arts.

What is the three-round review process?

We designed this three-round application process in order to support emerging artists and culture bearers in developing their proposals.

Round OneInitial review of all applications resulting in 40 Round Two finalists.

Round Two, Project RefinementVia workshops and coaching provided by 18th Street Arts Center, Round Two participants will refine the creative vision of their project including a project timeline and a line-item budget to be presented to the Round Three review panel.

All Round Two participants will receive a $1,000 honorarium.

Round Three: Eighteen projects will be selected for support and funding via the California Creative Corps initiative.

Salary: $65,000
Artist’s or Culture Bearer’s project production budget: up to $50,000
Medical and Dental Benefits

Note: The remaining 22 projects not selected in Round Three can be submitted to other funders of your choosing. Our hope is to support your project with the development of a viable, ready-for-submission framework.

Who will review my application?

Round One project submissions will be reviewed by a three-person regional panel (Northern, Central, Southern California) composed of curators, cultural organizers, and civic leaders. A single panel will review projects that advance to Round Three.

What are the geographic requirements of this project?

All projects funded by the California Creative Corps initiative must take place and serve communities rated as Quartile 1 by the Healthy Places Index (HPI). This is specific to a neighborhood ZIP code, not just a city or town.

As an artist working in the community, you do not have to be a resident of the neighborhoods you wish to serve, but you must have a reasonable connection to the geographic location of your proposed project.

What is the Healthy Places Index?

The Healthy Places Index (HPI) is a tool created to advance health equity through open and accessible data. Evidence-based and peer-reviewed, the HPI supports efforts to prioritize equitable community investments, develop critical programs and policies across the state, and much more.

Neighborhood-by-neighborhood, the HPI tracks data on social conditions that drive health–including education, job opportunities, and clean air and water. This data is used by community leaders, policymakers, academics and other stakeholders to compare the health and well-being of communities, identify health inequities and quantify the factors that shape health.

What is a Quartile 1 ZIP code?

Quartile 1 regions are identified by the HPI tool which evaluates the relationship between twenty-three key drivers of health and life expectancy at birth. Based on that analysis, it produces a score ranking from 1 to 99 that shows the relative impact of conditions compared to other regions in the state. The HPI score rank is divided into four quartiles from less to more healthy: 0-25% is Quartile 1, 26-50% is Quartile 2, 51-75% is Quartile 3, and 76-100% is Quartile 4.

How do I find if my ZIP code is eligible?

Please reference the eligible HPI ZIP codes here. Using the “search function” (macOS: +f / windowsOS: ctrl+shift+f) you can search for a county, city, or zip code. 

Why is this opportunity only available to artists working or living in a Quartile 1 ZIP code?

The CAC California Creative Corps grant requires that all projects occur in a Quartile 1 ZIP code. It is important for 18th Street Arts Center to support regions that have had limited access to cultural and civic services, to highlight de-centered voices, and to recognize different forms of expertise. To find out more about our core values please see here.

Do I have to live in the same ZIP code I’ll be doing my project?

No. You do not need to live in the same ZIP code as you will be doing the project but it is highly suggested that artists live or work near or in the community they will be working in. 

Can my project in a Quartile 1 ZIP code include other regions?

Yes. Projects may include other ZIP codes that are not in the Quartile 1 region but the Quartile 1 region should be the focus of the project. 

I live in a small town with a limited arts and culture community. Will my proposal be competitive with other projects from artists in major cities?

Yes! You are exactly the kind of artist/culture bearer that 18th Street Arts Center is looking to support. Our regranting region is the entire state. There are 11 other regranting organizations who are focusing on specific regions, thus, 18th Street is specifically looking to identify and support artists and culture bearers that are not in highly served regions. We strongly encourage you to apply. 

I know how to engage people in my neighborhood/community with my art practice, but I don’t know how to evaluate or measure impact. Will this work against my application?

No. Through the project development workshop in Round Two, 18th Street Arts Center will help you design simple ways to evaluate the impact of your project that you can include in your proposal. 

Can I apply with other artists?

Yes. While the grant is currently formatted for 18 single individuals, groups and collaboratives are encouraged to apply as accommodations or adjustments can be made. 

How much money will we have for production costs?

Production budgets will be developed during the coaching sessions but will not exceed $50,000.

What are the virtual project refinement workshop requirements if I get into the short list of forty artists?

Artists are highly encouraged to attend all virtual coaching sessions, but we understand that it may be challenging given the short time frame. All coaching sessions will be made available via recording and artists who unable to attend will be asked to answer a few brief questions to review the content.

What are the four state-mandated “Impact” areas? 

  1. Public health awareness to stop the spread of COVID-19
  2. Public awareness related to water and energy conservation, climate mitigation, and emergency preparedness, relief, and recovery
  3. Civic engagement, including election participation
  4. Social justice and community engagement

Do I have to pick one of the four “Impact” areas? Can I decide on something different? 

All projects must connect at minimum to one of the four “Impact” areas—creative solutions are encouraged.

What is culture mapping?

Culture mapping is a process of identifying and documenting the resources, history, beliefs, people, and customs that make up a neighborhood through video, audio, photo, and other media. By collecting and analyzing data from various sources such as archives, surveys, focus groups, and interviews – culture mapping allows future users to gain a deeper understanding of a community and its lived experiences. 

Take a look at 18th Street’s Culture Map of Santa Monica’s Pico Neighborhood. 

This link to our partnership with USC demonstrates some of the ways that culture mapping research can strengthen the impact of your community stories.

What kinds of partners should I have for my project? Do I need to have them secured in advance for my application?

Libraries, community centers, galleries, local archivists, teen and parent groups, museumsmany spaces where the community gathers. You do not need to have the partners secured in advance, but will need to have them confirmed if you are one of the final 18 projects. 

ADDED 2/17- Can you collaborate with someone on this project? If so, how does the salary breakdown work?

If you apply as a collaborative only 1 person can receive the salary and benefits. That person can do with their salary what they wish, including offering funds to other collaborators from their salary or from project funds.

ADDED 2/17- I am not a California resident. Can I apply?

Unfortunately, no.  This granting opportunity is available only to California residents.


ADDED 2/17- I would like to apply, but would need a work visa to do so.  Is that possible?

Unfortunately, no.  18th Street does not offer work visas.

ADDED 2/17- I work in a Q1 ZIP code but I don’t live in one. Can I still apply?

Yes, as long as your project idea takes place in a Quartile 1 ZIP code you are eligible to apply.

ADDED 2/17-Can you have a part-time job during the grant period?

Yes, although we do request fellows to attend a series of virtual trainings in the spring and monthly check-ins over the duration of the fellowship to track project progress.

ADDED 2/17- Will the budget for your project come out of the $65,000 salary?

No. Your project budget, which can be up to $50,000, is separate from the $65,000 salary that you will be receiving from June 2023-2024.

ADDED 2/17- Is it ok to apply with work already in progress and in collaboration with other institutions?


ADDED 2/17-What kinds of projects are you looking for?

There are a wide variety of projects that we are interested in funding. We're interested in projects that culminate in a finished product—such as films, artworks, music, and written text. We're also looking for projects that don't culminate in a product. Perhaps your project idea includes a series of community engagements, meetings, or are looking to use this year as a research phase.

ADDED 2/17-Did I read correctly that equipment could not be part of the project cost?

Equipment purchases are not eligible for funding as part of the project funding but equipment rental is.  

Equipment purchases can be made using the artist’s salary.

ADDED 2/17- What should our project budget include?

Your project budget should factor in all related production expenses, such as an interpreter, materials and equipment rental, marketing and documentation needs.

ADDED 2/17-For the 40 finalists, what will the $1,000 cover?

The 40 finalists who make it past Round One are given a $1,000 stipend for participating in the proposal process; which includes completing a series of virtual professional development sessions and submitting a finished proposal for funding consideration in Round Two. 

ADDED 2/17- Who owns the “product” or “project” after the employment contract ends?

The project and any products created would remain in the artist's control. However, sales from the product (i.e. record sales from a published album) are currently unclear. 18th Street Arts Center is in conversation with the California Arts Council and we hope to update applicants soon. Please contact us at creativecorps@18thstreet.org if you have any questions. 

ADDED 2/17- I live in a van, and don't have a street address. Can I apply with a PO Box?

If you do not have a permanent address you can use a PO Box or the place at which you receive mail.

ADDED 2/17- Do projects need to generate income?

No! Projects do not need to result in a product that generates income. 

Questions? Contact us below. 

Please enter your name.
Please enter a valid email address.
Please type your message.

California Creative Corps is a pilot program funded by the California Arts Council as an engagement campaign designed to increase public awareness about issues of public health, water and energy conservation, civic engagement, social justice, and more. This activity is funded by the California Arts Council, a state agency.

Logo Black_RGB (1)
Back To Top