Artist Opportunities

The Public Art Program works extensively with local, regional and national artists to bring permanent and temporary artworks that build the visual identity and reflect the diverse and exciting environment of the City of Palo Alto. Through its Percent for Art Program, the City provides opportunities for artists to create original works of art that comprise Palo Alto's rapidly growing collection of permanent and portable artworks.

Artists who wish to be considered for public art opportunities associated with construction in private development projects, contact Elise DeMarzo by email.

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OPEN CALL: Request for Qualifications for California-based Artists and Graphic Designers: Temporary Public Art Project for the New Public Safety Building in Palo Alto, CA

Application Deadline: April 15, 2021 at 11:59 PM (PST)

Opportunity: The City of Palo Alto Public Art Program is seeking qualifications from Bay Area and California-based visual artists and graphic designers to submit qualifications to be considered for an upcoming temporary mural project. The artwork will be installed on a construction site barrier for a new Public Safety Building in Palo Alto, CA. A series of 8 temporary murals printed on adhesive vinyl will be displayed in 2 phases of 4 murals between Summer 2021 and through 2023. 

Artist Award: A design fee of $4,000 will be awarded to each of the selected artists or artist teams to develop a concept, edit as needed, and deliver the digital files. The honorarium will be awarded for the design only. Production, installation, and subsequent removal of temporary murals will be the responsibility of the City of Palo Alto and carried out by a separate contractor.

Eligibility: This opportunity is open to all California-based artists and graphic designers over the age of 18.  Artists residing in Santa Clara, San Mateo, Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Cruz and San Francisco counties are especially encouraged to apply. The technical skills to submit final designs as a print-ready set of vector files per contractor specifications is a plus, but not required.

This is a fast-track project for the first phase and the selected artists must be able to create and deliver finalized designs within 30-40 days if they are selected. The second phase artists will be on hold for several months prior to beginning their design development.


 Submit your application electronically by April 15, 2021 at 11:59 PM (PST)

Apply Now! 

OPEN CALL: ArtLift Microgrant, Palo Alto, CA

Application Deadline: April 16, 2021 at 11:59 PM (PST)

Opportunity: The Palo Alto Public Art Program is offering Microgrants available to artists and creatives with the goal of helping the community recover both emotionally and economically from the pandemic through the arts and creative outlets. Projects are encouraged that will bring joy and smiles, facilitating connection and a sense of discovery in our community. Through funding art projects and experiences in our commercial corridors and our neighborhoods, ArtLift will foster safe and creative ways to remain engaged in the arts, reconnect with each other, and recover together as a cohesive community. ArtLift is being presented in support of Uplift Local efforts already underway with the purpose of connecting the community together. Taking advantage of unique locations across Palo Alto, artists will perform, create or install artworks focused on community connectedness, resiliency, empathy, vibrancy, and recovery. In compliance with social distancing, live events will need to be carefully coordinated with the City to ensure that large groups do not gather at any given artwork. We are encouraging fun, whimsical projects that will bring positive energy, joy and connection to the community. 

Types of projects are not limited to, but may include:

- Pop-up performances including live dance, pop-up theater and musical performance, spoken word, circus arts, and singing.

- Neighborhood projects such as poetry walls, garage door murals, storytelling projects, art bike parades, distributed artistic posters the community can color and display in a front window, driveway chalk art competitions, an artwork that moves on a daily or weekly basis to a new and unexpected location. Scavenger hunts or other self-guided games to get people out in their neighborhood or visiting local businesses. 

- Temporary public art installations such as temporary murals in business corridors with expanded outdoor offerings in the public right of way and painted K-rail traffic barricades. 

- Artist-designed “leave behinds” at local businesses, such as poetry or small artworks

- Treasure hunts and other game-based interventions 

Creative social distancing markers and wayfinding elements

- Knit bombing

- Fairy door projects or other mini installations

- Temporary murals and art installations in vacant storefronts 

- Technology-based artworks such as Augmented or Virtual Reality.

Artist Award: Funding available through the ArtLift Microgrant Project is $1,000 per project all inclusive. Applicants may be individuals or groups. Applications are limited to a single project proposal. All successful proposals may be funded once only.

Eligibility: This opportunity is open to artists, musicians, performers, and creatives 18 years old and over with a connection to Palo Alto. Artists and creatives who live in Palo Alto and East Palo Alto are especially encouraged to apply. Youth artists may have a parent or guardian sign legal agreements on their behalf.

Questions? Please let us know if you have any questions by sending an email to Nadya Chuprina or direct message us on Instagram at @publicartpa


Submit your application electronically by April 16, 2021 at 11:59 PM (PST).

Apply Now!

OPEN CALL: Prequalified Artist Pool 2021/2023

Application Deadline: May 9, 2021 at 11:59 PM (PST)

SUMMARY: The City of Palo Alto Public Art Program is now inviting artists and artist teams working in a variety of visual media and artistic approaches, in all stages of their career, to submit qualifications for our 2021-2023 Prequalified Artist Pool for upcoming public art opportunities. A list of eligible artists selected for the Prequalified Pool will be used by staff to recommend appropriate applicants for a range of permanent and temporary public art opportunities 2021-2023. Artists invited to be part of the Prequalified Pool will be selected based on relevance of their previous experience.

PLEASE NOTE: Inclusion in the Prequalified Artist Pool does not guarantee selection for any projects. The City of Palo Alto reserves the right to launch separate calls for artists for individual projects and special initiatives.

BUDGET: Budgets for permanently sited work will range from $30,000 to approximately $600,000+. The project budgets are all inclusive. Temporary public art budgets vary depending on the individual opportunity and may range from $3,000 to $50,000.  

ELIGIBILITY: The call is open to all practicing artists, artist teams, and visual arts professionals at least 18 years of age who reside in the United States and territories (Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and American Samoa), as well as international artists with a legal authorization to work in the United States. Local artists residing in the Northern California Bay Area Region are strongly encouraged to apply and may be given preference for projects with limited budgets.


Apply electronically by May 9, 2021 at 11:59 PM (PST).  

Apply Now!

Emergency Resources

CAL FIRE: The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) is our state's go-to resources for up-to-date wildfire information and resources. is a newly launched website that combines emergency response, recovery and resilience information into a single place for easy access by users. It is a one-stop portal that includes local and state resources, health services, shelters and housing, preparedness information, and more.

More information on California's emergency response to state natural disasters is available at the Governor's Office of Emergency Services website.

Anti-Racism Resources

Visit Californians for the Arts website for continually updated anti-racism resources. 

Visit the Smithsonian National Museum of African American Culture & History introduction to Talking About Race and their full listing of related resources.

Visit Black Lives Matter Foundation, Inc, which is a global organization in the US, UK, and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.

Visit Race Forward - founded in 1981, Race Forward brings systemic analysis and an innovative approach to complex race issues to help people take effective action toward racial equity.

Visit Racial Equity Tools for the Arts and Culture

Visit the Center for Cultural Power's No Going Back: A COVID-19 Cultural Strategy Activation Guide.

Visit the Local and Regional Government Alliance on Race and Equity Tools and Resources Guide. 

Visit Until We are All Free, a collaboration between CultureStrikeMobilize the Immigrant Vote, and Black Alliance for Just Immigration, responding to the call from Black leaders for immigrant and refugee rights advocates to boldly address racial justice and show up for Black lives. 

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) Resources for Artists

Visit Americans for the Arts (AFTA) website for up-to-date news and resources for the arts and culture field, including information about relief funds, resource pages and other helpful tools, articles and creative opportunities. 

Visit California Arts Council (CAC) website for COVID-19 related updates for members of the arts community in the state of California.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for self-employed individuals, independent contractors, and business owners. 

COVID-19 Emergency Grants and Relief Funds

Artist Relief distributes $5000 grants to artists facing dire financial emergencies due to COVID-19.

The Artist Relief Project offers artists of all disciplines to apply for assistance, if they have been impacted by COVID-19 related cancellations and closures.

The Safety Net Fund is for artists residing in the Bay Area who had an income of less than $1000 within the last 30 days. The maximum grant is $500 per person per month.

The Foundation for Contemporary Arts FCA Emergency Grants COVID-19 Fund is disbursing one-time $1500 grants to contemporary, experimental artists who have had performances or exhibitions canceled or postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Rauschenberg Emergency Grants offers visual and media artists in the United States (American citizens or permanent residents) one-time grants of up to $5000 for unexpected medical emergencies.

The Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Emergency Grant Program provides grants of up to $15000 to qualified painters, printmakers, and sculptors who lack the resources to meet an unforeseen, catastrophic incident. This does not apply to loss or interruption of income due COVID-19.

Artist Resources

Americans for the Arts (AFTA) Public Art Network

PAN develops professional services for individuals and organizations engaged in the field of public art. PAN is dedicated to advancing public art programs and projects through advocacy, policy, and information resources to further art and design in our built environment.

 AFTA Public Art Resource Center 

 An online portal that provides a wide range of tools and resources tailored to the needs of professionals working in the public art field.

 Forecast Public Art

 Fosters dynamic, inclusive and resilient communities through public art, community-engaged design and transformative placemaking. For 40 years, Forecast has improved the collective life of communities through a unique combination of responsive consulting services, rare one-to-one support for public artists, and abundant resources, includingPublic Art Review, the world’s leading public art magazine.


 A comprehensive application management systemto accept and review applications andcapable of handling media, forms and references all in one place.

 CaFÉ, Call for Entry

 A comprehensive tool for all artists looking for arts opportunities — from competitions to public art calls.Additionally, CaFÉ enables organizations to build their calls for artists,manage applications jurying process in a cost-effective way.


 An online community for artists and design professionals to showcase their work, collaborate with one another, and earn recognition for their projects.

 Coffee Chat: Legal Support for Artists

 Why exactly do artists need lawyers and legal support?
Adam Holofcener Esq., Executive Director of Maryland Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, discusses how artists operate as a business and the types of situations they can find themselves in that have legal implications (both good and not so good).
**Click the button on the right-hand side of the page that says "View Video." Please note, you must be a AFTA member to view.