California Creative CorpsApplications for the Upstate Region California Creative Corps grant were due April 28, 2023.

Background: Inspired by the Federal Government’s WPA program that gave employment to artists and others during the Great Depression nearly a century ago, the California Arts Council has launched the California Creative Corps (CCC) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Though we may have collectively moved on from the shocks of 2020, public health, climate health, and civic engagement are still urgent priorities.

The CCC grant acknowledges artists and culture bearers as uniquely situated to engage boldly and meaningfully in these priorities. This pilot program offers a unique opportunity to apply for funding to creatively address four program goals across traditional dividing lines.

The Arts Council of Mendocino County is a CCC partner agency for the 19-county Upstate Region of Northern California. The Upstate Region (which includes Mendocino County) will receive a total of $3,384,043 million in workforce development funds for artists as well as arts and social service organizations that employ artists through late 2024. The total amount available for applications originating in Mendocino County, and serving Mendocino County alone, is not likely to exceed $220,000, although the county may be served by other multi-county projects funded through this grant.

The application and guidelines were available through the Nevada County Arts Council (our regional Administering Organization). This page will be updated, as needed, with relevant information and links. 


  1. Public Health is the science and art of improving the health of people and their communities, through promoting healthy lifestyles, understanding and preventing disease, prolonging life, and encouraging practices that nourish individuals and communities. Public health looks at the factors and root causes associated with the health of populations. Organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations (public and private), communities, and individuals all play a role in public health outcomes which seek to protect the health of entire populations, whether as small as a local neighborhood, or as big as an entire country or region of the world. When considering public health, think about prevention of communicable diseases, such as COVID, for example, along with education, community wellbeing, access to health insurance and/or health services, and health equity.
  2. Environment-Related Issues such as water and energy conservation, climate mitigation, and emergency preparedness, relief, and recovery. “Environment-related issues” refers to the overall condition and health of our planet and, in relation to applications for funding, our Upstate Region. A common way to protect and preserve environmental health is through limiting the use of resources, or reducing or curbing exposure to unhealthy processes or systems. Emergency preparedness, relief, and recovery is designed to lessen the likelihood and impact from natural disasters, or disasters that threaten the environment, including animals and humans. When considering environment-related issues, think of forest health, water, drought, the air we all breathe, wildfires, floods, climate change, resource depletion, and resilience. Projects related to public awareness, perception, and education about these issues could also fall within this category. See our informal notes on environment-related issues for a more in-depth look at water and energy conservation, and climate change mitigation.
  3. Civic Engagement or Civic Participation is any individual or group activity addressing issues of public concern. Civic engagement includes communities working together or individuals working alone to protect public values or make a change in a community (i.e., attending meetings of governing bodies, holding neighborhood meetings, serving on committees or task forces, voting, helping others vote, writing elected officials or news sources). When considering civic engagement think of volunteerism, local and neighborhood organizing, community engagement efforts, organizational involvement, government work, electoral participation.
  4. Social Justice is fairness as it manifests in society. This includes fairness in healthcare, employment, housing, division of resources, and opportunities and privileges in society. In a socially-just society, human rights are respected, and discrimination cannot flourish. A socially-just society envisions a world in which outcomes such as financial security, personal fulfillment, physical and environmental health, access to services, housing security, educational level, participation in governance, neighborhood safety, freedom of expression and movement, and opportunity for advancement, are not predictable based on demographic factors like race, ethnicity, home language, or ability status. Social justice lends both social power and social cohesion.


Category 1: Individual Artists or Culture Bearers ($5,000 to 60,000)
Individual artists, including first-time applicants, are invited to engage directly with one or more of the four programs goals above to increase public awareness and/or offer solutions.

Category 2: Community Residencies ($15,000 to $150,000)
Arts organizations, social service organizations and departments of government, including Tribal governments, who wish to employ artists or culture bearers.

Category 3: Regional or Multi-County Coalitions (up to $250,000)
Regional or multi-county coalitions that create systems and processes with a high sustainability quotient. Deep engagement with government agencies or departments should be an essential feature of programs at this level. Matching funds are encouraged but not required.

***Applications from both individuals and eligible organizations shall be reviewed on the following criteria: Health Equity, Project Design, Community Engagement, and Accessibility.***


The California Healthy Places Index ( offers a springboard for formulating grant proposal ideas. Grant proposals to serve a particular geographic area need to be anchored in some measure of adverse health in that area, though applicants may use data from other sources such as Healthy Mendocino (, the Extreme Heat Edition of the California Healthy Places Index (, or the COVID-19 map (


The application and guidelines were available on the Upstate Creative Corps website in both English and Spanish:

Click here for additional information about what is NOT eligible for funding through this grant.

Trainings and Workshops offered by Upstate Creative Corps:

The Upstate Creative Corps also has a Facebook page where they will share information and events related to the grant.

Networking Assistance: The Upstate California Creative Corps invites artists, cultural practitioners, culture-bearers, and those who serve organizations tackling important local and regional issues to communicate both within and beyond their usual circles, in order to gain a deeper understanding of one another’s work, and promote partnerships across the region. Join the “Conversation Cafe” on Facebook to network and brainstorm grant proposals across the region here:

In early November 2022, the Arts Council of Mendocino County and Nevada County Arts Council co-hosted a “Listening Tour” and introduction to the Healthy Places Index, an important element of the California Creative Corps. The powerpoint presentation (in English and in Spanish) can be found at this link. A recording of the meeting is available at this link. Healthy Places Index (HPI) training video and tips for using the HPI to build a case for serving a particular geography through this grant can be found here:

A note from the Upstate California Creative Corps on Intergenerational Learning:


California Creative Corps grant-writing workshops: (Arts Council of Mendocino County highly recommends this workshop!) Here is another:

Examples of artists working in and within municipal governments (from Animating Democracy, an old program of Americans for the Arts) here.

Examples of ways that governments and / or social service organizations could use the Creative Corps to fund artist-led initiatives for community health, wellbeing, and / or engagement (credit: Leslie Castellano):

Springboard for the Arts / Art Train is a virtual technical assistance program for artists, municipal agencies, and community-focused organizations in all sectors, in communities of all sizes across the nation.

Artists Support Improved Public Health in Communities – a great conversation between between some Rhode Island folks, including Rhode Island’s State Council on the Arts, its Department of Health, Department of Art, Culture + Tourism, State Health and Human Service’s Artist in Residence, State Health and Human Service’s Artist in Residence. See here

A recording of David Kipen’s talk “WPA & the California Creative Corps” on January 17th is here.

Nevada County’s Office of Emergency Services engaged with the Arts Council there on FOREST⇌FIRE (an example of how artists can create awareness for critical issues such as fire, forest and watershed health, clean air, etc.)


  • When is the application due? The application was due April 28, 2023. Important Dates are available at this link (The grant deadline was extended due to the series of winter storms in the Upstate region.)
  • How much funding is available? There is $3,384,043 available for our 19-county Upstate Region. Of that, the amount of funding awarded to Mendocino County alone is not likely to exceed $221,000.
  • Which counties are included in the Upstate CA region? Butte, Colusa, Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity and Yuba. The grant deadline is the same for all counties.
  • What is the purpose of this grant and where do the funds come from? The 2021 State Budget included a $60 million one-time General Fund allocation for the California Arts Council to implement the California Creative Corps pilot program, a media, outreach, and engagement campaign designed to increase: 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, and; 4. social justice and community engagement. The CAC sees this program primarily as a job creation and infrastructure development opportunity that will increase the ways in which artists are engaged in public work so that they can continue to support the realization of these goals—and intersectional public interest goals—beyond the pilot grant’s timeline.
  • May an individual apply for an Upstate California Creative Corps Grant as well as for an 18th Street residency? Or, may an individual collaborate on multiple Upstate applications?  At this point in time (2/6/23), our understanding is that individuals may apply to 18th Street and to one regional CCC grant, yet applicants cannot receive funding from more than one of these CCC options and so if both grants are awarded, one would need to be forfeited. Additionally, our understanding is that individuals may submit multiple applications to the Upstate Creative Corps (i.e., an individual application (category 1) and a collaborative application (category 2)), however, a Category 2 might not identify all participating artists at the time of application, so it would be possible to collaborate, apply, and then adjust participation, as needed, based on actual grants awards.
  • Is there anything I can do to increase the chance that my application will be successful? Here are some important tips: (1) Read and re-read the guidelines and rubric. Follow the guidelines exactly and be sure all elements in the rubric are addressed. The rubric for this grant are as follows: Health Equity, Project Design, Community Engagement, and Accessibility. (2) Consider “Why should this be funded?” AND “Why now (vs. next year)?” (3) Document your need with current facts and statistics. Make the case compelling, but not hopeless. (4) Create a detailed timeline that shows how project objectives will be met. (5) Be sure that the needs statement, the program, and the budget are tightly linked. (6) Be explicit — don’t assume that readers know your community. Tell your story!
  • Must and agency/nonprofit and/or government or tribal applicants already have a proposed artist, artist(s) or culture bearer identified at the time of grant submission? Yes. The Administering Organization requires that the artists and culture bearers who are selected be identified in the application.
  • How can agency/nonprofits and/or government or tribal applicants find artists and culture bearers to partner with? The Arts Council of Mendocino County also hosts a searchable Directory of Artists:
  • I’m an artist/culture bearer. How do I connect with agencies, non-profits, and or government or tribal entities to partner on an application? Reach out directly to entities you would like to partner with to gauge their interest and capacity to partner on an application. Create an Artist Profile in the Arts Council of Mendocino County’s DIRECTORY of artists. You might also post a statement of your interest on the Facebook Conversation Cafe page created for networking related to this grant.
  • MORE QUESTIONS? Review the answers to additional FAQs here:

A note from ACMC staff: The Arts Council of Mendocino County has been asked to encourage applications originating in Mendocino County. We realize that a grant application can be quite an investment of time and energy. We anticipate significant competition for this grant opportunity and while we wish that all projects could be funded, it is inevitable that some will not be. Please understand our enthusiasm and encouragement of your ideas/projects/applications is genuine and yet has no bearing on the success of your application. Applications will be reviewed by independent panelists who have agreed to disclose any conflicts of interest and recuse themselves from deliberations on any grants for which they have a personal connection. Your attendance at clinic hours and past conversations with the Upstate Administering Organization or Arts Council staff will have no bearing positive or negative on your application’s review, as all applications must stand alone against other applications as they received when submitted. Applicants should assume that grant panelists have no prior knowledge of their work.

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Bast Fiber Textiles of Japan

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