Nonprofit organizations based in the eleven-county Bay Area are eligible to submit an application as a first step in being considered for an award. The application period for the 2020 commissions opens on August 14, 2019, and closes on November 13, 2019. To submit an application:

1. Carefully review the guidelines and ensure your project meets our eligibility requirements.

  • The lead applicant must be a public charity with 501c3 federal tax status.
  • The lead applicant must be based in the greater San Francisco Bay Area in one of the following counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterrey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano or Sonoma.
  • The lead applicant must have a minimum operating budget of $100,000 per year for at least three years.
  • The proposed project must be based in the disciplines of dance and/ or movement-based performance.
  • The commissioning project must premiere in the San Francisco Bay Area within three years of the award date (by July of 2023).
  • The proposed project must not be a current grant recipient of a Gerbode Special Award in the Arts or the Creative Work Fund.

Click here for the full guidelines for the Hewlett 50 Arts Commissions.

2. Review our selection criteria

Commission recipients will be evaluated using the following criteria:

Artistic Excellence: The primary objective of the initiative is to commission 50 works of performing arts of the highest artistic quality and enduring value. Competitive applications will demonstrate artistic excellence by explaining the artist’s technical mastery, innovation and inspiration. Other indicators of artistic excellence include the lead artist’s training, apprenticeships, education and previous accomplishments. Competitive applications will articulate the distinctive niche the lead artist occupies in their field(s), and clearly articulate the artist’s style, format, artistic lineage and inspirations.  Lead applicants will also be asked to submit a lead artist biography.

Project Concept: Competitive applications will clearly articulate the subject matter and major theme(s) of the proposed project and explain how the work will illuminate or advance the key theme(s). Applications will also communicate the artist’s depth of thought and distinct creative approach to the themes. Additionally, the application narrative should explain why the lead applicant and lead artist have chosen to work together on this concept at this time.

Project Design & Planning: Competitive applications will convincingly show how the lead applicant, lead artist, and key collaborators have the capacity to fully realize the project. Key indicators of strong project design include a coherent and achievable timeline, clear and viable budget, strong articulation of roles and responsibilities. A competitive application will also give evidence that the project brings together the administrative and artistic resources, knowledge, and team to ensure the project will be created and produced as planned. Additionally, all applicants selected as finalists must submit a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the lead applicant and the lead artist.

Audience & Community Impact: Competitive applications will specifically describe the lead applicant’s current constituents and audiences, as well as the project’s intended constituents and/or audiences. Strong applications will clearly describe the intended impact of the project, along with clear and feasible plans for reaching established and/or new and expanded audiences. Applicants will describe outreach and community engagement activities, if any. Applicants are not required to conduct outreach, community engagement or co-creation activities but if the project includes them, clear descriptions of these processes, and the experiences of the artist(s) to lead them are necessary. Strong applications will also clearly describe any plans to improve the accessibility of the project, such as disability access, language, ticketing policies or public events beyond the performance. The applicant’s rationale for the venue and any plans to present the work outside of the Bay Area (not required) will also be considered.

Financial Capacity: Lead applicants must have sufficient financial capacity to achieve the goals of the project. Financial capacity is demonstrated by the fiscal stability of the lead applicant and the viability of the project budget. Competitive applications will demonstrate the applicant has the financial capacity to fulfill the commissioned project without creating great financial strain on the organization. Project budgets must, at minimum, reflect the Hewlett 50 Arts Commission requirements for payments to the lead artist and also for the creation of the work.

3. Select an artist to partner with on the project. Artists may be based anywhere around the world.

4. Review the frequently asked questions, and submit any additional questions you have which you do not see answered there.

5. Complete the online application by November 13, 2019.

You may preview the questions and list of required attachments from the application before entering the system.