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.

Receive monthly updates about the Palo Alto Public Art Program, new commissions, and artist opportunities. We will only use your email address to communicate with you about our projects and events. You can unsubscribe anytime by replying to any email you receive from us by clicking on the "unsubscribe" link in the message.

Join Our Email List

CALL FOR ARTISTS: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. & Coretta Scott King Artist Residency (King Residency)

Application Deadline: August 8, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. (PST)

Opportunity: The Palo Alto Public Art Program is inviting individual artists, collectives, and keystone community leaders/artist partnerships experienced in creative community engagement and outreach, to apply to be part of the first two rounds of King Artist Residencies for the Palo Alto Public Art Program. The selected artist or team will be asked to engage the community in conversations about equity, inclusion, and belonging in Palo Alto, resulting in a final artwork that will be displayed on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, and Coretta Scott King Plaza in front of City Hall for a period of 6 months to one year.

Eligibility: This opportunity is open to individuals over the age of 18 and residing in Santa Clara, San Mateo, Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Cruz and San Francisco counties. We strongly encourage artists who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color to apply. An ideal candidate would be an individual or collective, whose artistic practice is rooted in empathetic collaboration, civic engagement, and critical discourse. They would be open to meaningful community outreach and partnerships, aware of their own biases, able and willing to recognize and address shared challenges in the Palo Alto community, and able to amplify the voices of diverse community members. 

Scope: The selected artist/team will be tasked with virtually and physically (if allowed) engaging with the Palo Alto community in creative ways – which may include art making, creative storytelling, music, movement, or other methods to gather feedback and stories about equity, inclusion, and belonging in Palo Alto. It is anticipated that the selected artist will take up to six months to do this outreach and research, and they may be provided with a temporary studio/work space in Palo Alto. At the conclusion of the residency, the artist will create an artwork based on the interactions with the community centering on a particular equity topic. The temporary artwork may be two dimensional and recreated on a banner format on the front of City Hall, or may have a more sculptural form on King Plaza. (Public Art Program staff is open to various ideas about methodologies and manifestation of final artwork). The artwork must be suitable for all ages viewing. The Public Art Program staff will provide final approval as the final artwork is developed. 

VIEW THE FULL CALL AND APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS(PDF, 659KB) 

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. www.calfire.ca.gov

Response.ca.gov 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. 

Confronting Prejudice: How to Protect Yourself and Help Others published by Pepperdine University's online Master of Psychology program. The purpose of this resource is to educate readers on the prevalence of prejudice and implicit bias in society, including information about what marginalized groups are most likely to be harmed by prejudice. The resource features information about how one can be an ally and an advocate for change and how people experiencing discrimination can build resilience against these types of behaviors. 

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.

 SlideRoom

 A comprehensive application management system to accept and review applications and capable 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.

 CODAWORKX

 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.