What is a socially engaged creative practice?

Recognizing that there is a broad array of definitions and distinctions in the field commonly referred to as social practice, Interchange uses the definition of social and civic practice as outlined by The Center for Performance and Civic Practice:

  • Artists working with the public on an artist-led vision that may include research, process, and/or content generation with an intention of social impact outside of a traditional audience experience (social practice.)
  • Artists co-designing a project with the public with the spoken intention to serve a public, non-arts partner’s self-defined need (civic practice).

How is community defined?

For Interchange, communities can be defined by geography (e.g., your town, your neighborhood) or by relationships and characteristics (e.g., your identity or heritage). Your project might also include multiple communities.


How long must I be a resident in one of M-AAAs states to apply?

You must be a resident at the time of application and through the duration of the grant (December 2022).

Can you apply as an artist collective or artist-run space?

You must apply as an individual artist. Your project may be collaborative with an artist collective or artist-run space, but you must be the principal artist who applies for and receives the funds.

Can a nonprofit organization or government entity apply?

No. Only individual artists are eligible to apply.

What if I teach and create a project for a school?

If you are an artist working within a 501c3 nonprofit organization, K-12 school or post-secondary institution, proposed projects must be separate from the scope of your compensated work for that organization or educational institution.

May I submit more than one application?

There is no limit to the number of applications you may submit, as long as it is not for the same project. We highly recommend, however, that you focus on your best idea and spend your time on a single quality application.


How will Interchange fund an existing project?

Interchange is more interested in impact than innovation. Grants will support a new project, or a significant component, further development, or an extended duration of an ongoing project.

What if my project will take longer than 18 months?

We understand that socially-engaged projects can have a longer timeline than other creative projects, and there is a greater degree of unpredictability. Your proposal, however, should reflect the Interchange timeline as much as possible and the majority of work should be accomplished by December 2022

Who or what is considered a partner?

Partners are any individuals or organizations that are essential to your project. They can be artists, nonprofit organizations, government entities, churches, businesses, neighborhood associations, etc. Listing your partners and giving us information about them will help the panel understand your project and its potential impact.

Does my project have to take place in the community where I reside?

Not necessarily. Depending on scope and intent, projects may have a reach outside of the city or town where you live. You will, however, be required to make a presentation (public, in person or virtual) about your project in 2021-2022.


What is the application deadline?


Is there an application fee?

There is no application fee and it is free to set-up an account on the Form Assembly platform.

Who reviews my application?

A national panel of artists and arts professionals will review all applications.

When will grants be announced?

Announcement of grants is to be determined. All artists will be notified prior to the public announcement.

Is attendance at the grantee retreats required? And if so, why?

Attendance at the two Interchange Artist Grant retreats is required. The first will be virtually in October 2021, and the second will be in-person if safely possible in July of 2022. Specific dates will be confirmed before the grants are awarded. Interchange is designed to support and promote socially engaged creative practices in the M-AAA region. The grantee retreats provide a remarkable opportunity to connect with other artists doing this type of work; receive feedback on your project; and develop your project management skills.

What if I still have questions?

We are happy to help as long as you e-mail us at interchange@maaa.org. Contacting us by e-mail is the best and fastest way for us to respond to your question and help you with your application.

What written application materials will I need?

  • Artist Statement that reflects your commitment to a socially engaged creative practice 
  • A short biography to be used in Interchange publicity materials 
  • A short project description for use in Interchange publicity materials 
  • A full project description 
  • A list of key collaborative partners 
  • A project timeline 

What will the panel be reviewing?

The panel will be reviewing the information regarding your Project Description and your work samples with the following review criteria:

  • Artistic Excellence and Merit: Selected artists will demonstrate excellence in artistic work and process.
  • Impact: Selected artists will demonstrate a need for the project and articulate its potential impact in the community.
  • Coherence: Selected artists will meaningfully connect their creative choices to the social change they are making.
  • Relationships: Selected artists will be able to demonstrate relevant connections and relationships with the community and any project partners and describe how the community informs and engages with the project.
  • Feasibility and Intention: Selected artists will describe a project that is realistic given the time and financial parameters for the grant.
  • Program Readiness and Collegiality: Selected artists will have the desire to share their work and advance their practice with a regional network of artists.
  • Balanced Cohort: Panelists will consider the overall balance of the group of grantees to ensure a broad representation of communities, issues, perspectives, and experiences.

The panel will not be reviewing your Project Accessibility Information – this section on the application serves to inform M-AAA what information may need to be developed and included in the Interchange Artist Grant Retreats.

Grant Funds

What is the amount of the grant?

Interchange grants are $20,000. All projects, regardless of total budget, will receive that amount.

Should my budget be $20,000?

Not necessarily. While the total project amount should be at least $20,000, the design and scope of the project should determine your budget.

We fully expect to see project budgets in excess of the grant award. We do, however, want to see balanced budgets, meaning the income side of your budget should reflect any additional funding support, including in-kind contributions (contributions of goods or services, other than cash). You will want to make sure that any in-kind contribution is also reflected in the budget expenses. (Example: a $1000 in-kind donation of space should be shown as $1,000 in space rental on the expense side.)

Should I include other project funding sourced that are pending at the time of application?

Yes. If you require additional grants, donations, or sponsorships for your project, please let us know which of those have been secured and which are still pending. Since project feasibility is a review criteria, showing a large amount of pending funding will raise questions as to the likelihood of the project being completed and will make your application less competitive.

Will I be required to pay taxes on the grant money?

Yes. A grant award to an individual is considered taxable income. Interchange can pay artists directly as individuals, through LLCs or through a fiscal sponsor.

We have divided the grant award into two payments over two years in order to distribute the tax liabilities. (You will receive $5000 July of 2019 and the remaining $15,000 in January of 2020.)

We will also provide guidance on tax implications during the grantee retreat in 2019.