The Creative Corps Initiative’s application closed on July 14, 2023 at 5pm. The review process for the initiative will begin shortly. Please check the website for additional updates.

The Creative Corps Initiative is a partnership between the California Arts Council (CAC) and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA). YBCA is one of the administering organizations in the Bay Area for the Creative Corps Initiative, providing artists with a living wage as they work with nonprofit institutions in their communities within one of the four key issue areas to create a project of their choice. These issue areas include civic engagement, climate justice, community health and wellness, and social justice. As directed by the CAC, the Creative Corps Initiative will prioritize communities that fall below the 25th percentile on the California Healthy Place Index. These communities include select areas of Antioch, Bay Point, Berkeley, Concord, Fairfield, Hayward, Oakland, Pittsburg, Richmond, San Francisco, San Jose, San Rafael, and Vallejo. Any artists residing in and/or serving the Bay Area region with a California address are encouraged to apply and will also be prioritized.

The San Francisco Foundation (SFF) serves as the other administering organization in the Bay Area. YBCA has worked closely alongside of SFF in the development of our respective Creative Corps Initiatives, but will be administering the initiatives separately, in two distinct processes. For more information on the San Francisco Foundation’s Bay Area Creative Corps, please visit this link.


Alejandra Rubio – Mission District, SF

April Martin – SOMA, SF

Ayodele Nzinga & The Lower Bottom Playaz – Oakland

Brittany Tanner – Hayward

Charles Blackwell and Sylvester Guard – Tenderloin, SF

Charmaine Davis – Oakland

Christiana Roverso – Tenderloin, SF

Cynthia Tom – Bay Area

Daniel Freeman – Berkeley

Debora Silva – Oakland

Dewayne Oakley – Richmond

Donte Clark – Richmond

Edward Gunawan – Downtown Oakland

Elizabeth Jimenez – San Jose

Emily Cohen Ilbanez – San Quentin

Gabriel Cortez – Berkeley

Graham L Prentice – Richmond

Halima Marshall – Bayview/Hunters Point, SF

Harvey Castro – Vallejo

Irwin Lewis – Oakland

Jesse Johnson – Tenderloin, SF

Joan Tarika Lewis – Fillmore, SF

Joyce Xi – Chinatown, SF

Julius Rea – Bernal Heights/Mission District, SF

Keenan Foster – East Oakland

Kevin Choice – Oakland

Kevin Wong – Bay Area

Kiazi Malonga – Oakland and East Palo Alto

King Theo Ogun – Oakland

Kristian Stovall – Hayward

Lazaro Ruiz – Bayview/Hunters Point, SF

Luis Marroquin – Pittsburg

Malik Seneferu – Bayview/Hunters Point, SF

Maria De La Rosa – Fruitvale

Meres-Sia Gabriel – Richmond

Naru Kwina – Oakland

Nkechi Njaka – Bay Area

Preeti Vangani – Chinatown, SF

Rahsaan Thomas – San Quentin

Refa One – Oakland

Rulan Tangen – Bay Area

Sheree Rayford – Fairfeild

Summer Lee – Chinatown, SF

TJ Sykes – Richmond

Totiana White – Bayview/Hunters Point, SF

Traci Bartlow – Oakland

Veronica Blair – Fillmore, SF

William Rhodes – Bayview/Hunters Point, SF

How It Works

Download and preview the following PDF and DOC of the programs FAQs:

English – PDF / Word Doc

Utilizing the California Arts Council’s Creative Corps program, YBCA will be piloting a community co-design process with select communities within the Bay Area. We believe the best way to champion communities is to provide them the resources to address their own concerns and uplift their own.  These communities were selected due to established partnerships YBCA has previously made with community leaders that are deeply rooted in these specific areas. The communities include Bayview/Hunters Point (SF), Chinatown (SF), Fillmore (SF), Hayward, Oakland, Richmond, and the Tenderloin (SF). For the purpose of this initiative, these communities are referred to as the Test Group. Within these communities, a community leader or organization will facilitate listening sessions to surface community needs and to excavate how artists can be used to address them. With the support of the YBCA’s Community Investment Team, each community will create their own RFP/RFQ, application, and review process that centers the priorities of their constituents and addresses one or more of the key issue areas of the overall Creative Corps Initiative.

For the remainder of the Bay Area, YBCA will be utilizing a more traditional philanthropic approach, which is outlined in the guidelines below. For the purpose of this initiative, these communities are referred to as the Control Group. YBCA’s Community Investment Team will be creating an application that will be made available via our website for all interested parties to apply. Embedding ideas of participatory grant making, state and local partners within each of the Bay Area counties will be invited to participate in the selection process for the Creative Corps Initiative.

Control GroupTest Group

Traditional Philanthropic Model – YBCA creates the application. It is disseminated to the public. The application is completed by applicants.

Community Co-design Model – Community specific, facilitator-led process, which includes community listening sessions, RFP/RFQ creation process, and the design of the review panel and process

Awardees will be selected by a committee comprised of YBCA Staff and State & Local Partners (SLPs)

Awardees will be selected by a committee comprised of community members, nonprofit leaders, artists, and culture bearers from the community that will benefit from the final artistic product

YBCA will operate the Creative Corps Initiative with the following values:

  • Trust: We intend to operate this initiative in a way that doesn’t overburden the artist and their nonprofit partner. We trust that both entities will be working together to complete the project or campaign for the betterment of the community they serve, enriching the Bay Area’s arts and nonprofit ecosystem.
  • Community: No arts funder can fully address the societal concerns of the Bay Area, but we recognize that the arts are a tool for community development. This initiative will use that tool to amplify the message of key issue areas to raise awareness and probable solutions within select communities. Engaging local, specific communities is essential to the success of this initiative.
  • Experimentation: By piloting our Control Group and Test Group concept, we attempt to push the boundaries of traditional philanthropic methods to better understand what it looks like to empower communities to make the best decisions for themselves. The learnings from this initiative will inform our future funding practices.

In order to qualify for the Creative Corps Initiative funding opportunity, an applicant must:

  • be a current resident of the State of California;
  • be a working artist or cultural practitioner;
  • be at least 18 years of age;
  • partner with an arts nonprofit or a nonprofit that primarily focuses on one of the key issue areas, which include civic engagement, climate justice, community health and wellness, and social justice; 
  • not have a conflict of interest (family or financial relationships) with the boards, staff, and directors of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, California Arts Council, or state-level elected officials and their staffs; and
  • only apply once to the YBCA Creative Corps Initiative.

After confirming with the California Arts Council (CAC), duos, groups, and collectives can apply for a single project grant and the award will be split evenly amongst each artist. Each collaborating artist must be listed in the application and will be added to the CAC’s Creative Corps Award registry, just in case any of the artists have applied for a Creative Corps grant outside of YBCA’s program. We encourage individual artists within a group to apply to other Creative Corps programs to solicit additional support for the project of their duo, group, and collective.

Since the entirety of funding, across all 14 administering organizations, derives from the California Arts Council, an artist is only eligible to receive one award. The California Arts Council is actively creating a list of awardees as each administering organization makes decisions on which artists will be awarded from their respective programs. YBCA will be referencing that list to ensure that no artist that is selected for funding from our program has been previously awarded.

YBCA’s Creative Corps Initiative makes available $2.85 million to artists across the Bay Area region working at the intersection of arts and one of the aforementioned key issue areas. Each awardee will be awarded $70,000 to $72,000, depending on the amount of applicants. This initiative is fully funded by the California Arts Council.

Awardees will receive a payment ranging between $70,000 and $72,000. This payment can be used towards any personal expense and is categorized as taxable income. Within this artist award, all awardees are expected to spend a minimum of $10,000 to $12,000 to implement the project/campaign detailed in their application. Therefore, these funds are to be allocated to the awardee’s Creative Corps Initiative project and detailed in the awardee’s project budget. Awardees will provide YBCA with a financial report outlining the use of the implementation funds at the conclusion of the grant period.

Yes, this award is taxable income.

Awardees will be asked to complete a W-9 form, alongside an agreement and payment documentation. For YBCA’s purposes, an awardee can complete their W-9 form without having to provide a social security number. YBCA’s finance department must have a W-9 form from all awardees for auditing purposes and no information shared on the document will be used outside of that strict purpose.

Application and Review Process

Applications for the Control Group will be accepted from Monday, May 15, 2023 at 12:00pm PST until Friday, July 14, 2023 at 5:00pm PST. The Creative Corps Initiative’s Control Group application will be hosted on the online platform Submittable. Application review will take place in July and August 2023 by designated YBCA staff and state/local partners from the Bay Area region. Applicants will be notified about their awards status and begin the contracting process in September 2023. All awardees are required to attend information sessions outlining benefit offerings for the Creative Corps Initiative in late September/early October 2023. Funds will be distributed after the completion of the contracting process and benefit information sessions in October 2023.

The application is divided into eight (8) brief sections, with an expected completion time of less than an hour. The sections of the application include:

  • Eligibility – an applicant must confirm that they are eligible to apply;
  • General Information – an applicant must provide general information about themselves, such as their name, email, phone number, address, and zip code;
  • Issue Area Selection – an applicant must select the primary issue area their project/campaign will focus on;
  • Artist Background – an applicant must provide proof of residency, their artist CV/resume, and state if their artistic practice is deeply rooted in one of our priority communities;
  • Nonprofit Partnership – an applicant must provide contact information for their nonprofit partner organization and a letter of agreement/partnership;
  • Narrative – an applicant must describe their proposed project/campaign and the depth of their relationship with the community they reside in and/or serve; 
  • Grant Period Activity – an applicant must provide a timeline of proposed activities and a corresponding budget;
  • Confirmation and Submission – an applicant must confirm that all the information provided is correct and true.

No, an applicant can only apply once.


Priority Zip Codes
San Jose95110, 95111, 95112 95116, 95117, 95121, 95122, 95125, 95126, 95127, 95128, 95131, 95133, 95148


94589, 94590, 94591, 94592



Bay Point 







94533, 94534

San Raphael 



94704, 94720

The Test Group communities include Bayview/Hunters Point (SF), Chinatown (SF), Fillmore (SF), Hayward, Oakland, Richmond, and the Tenderloin (SF).

The lead facilitators in the Test Group communities are as follows:

Bayview Opera House – Bayview/Hunters Point (SF)

Chinese Cultural Center – Chinatown (SF)

African American Art and Culture Complex – Fillmore (SF)

BE-IMAGINATIVE – Hayward and Richmond

Eastside Arts Alliance – Oakland

ABD Productions/Skywatchers – Tenderloin (SF)

The issue areas this opportunity will be focusing on are civic engagement, climate/environmental justice, community health and wellness, and social justice.

No, all applicants must partner with a nonprofit organization to apply that either focuses on one of the issue areas or is an arts institution. The partner organization should be a nonprofit with a 501c3 status or a fiscally sponsored project that is sponsored by an organization with 501c3 status. Please contact us at if you have any questions pertaining to the organization you wish to partner with.

Applications will be accepted from Monday, May 15, 2023 at 12:00pm PST until Friday, July 14, 2023 at 5:00pm PST.

Completed applications must be submitted by the deadline—no exceptions will be made. The Creative Corps Initiative’s online application can be accessed through Submittable.

Applications will be accepted in the following languages: Chinese, English, Spanish, and Tagalog. If you are having any trouble selecting your preferred language, please contact YBCA ( or we suggest asking a friend, neighbor, or family member to assist you. The application is brief and simple, and we encourage non-English speakers to apply.

Payment Process, Awardee Benefits & Reporting

If your application is selected, YBCA’s Community Investment Team will reach out to you with an email notification. That notification will be followed by an agreement and financial forms, via DocuSign. Please review, complete, and sign the DocuSign as soon as possible. Payment will not be processed or disbursed until the DocuSign is completed. All applicants that are not awarded will receive an email notification at the conclusion of the awardees contracting process.

  • Monday, May 15, 2023 at 12:00pm PST – Application Opens
  • Friday, July 14, 2023 at 5:00pm PST – Application Closes
  • September 2023 – Awardee Notifications Made
  • October 1, 2023-September 30, 2024 – Awardee Grant Period

YBCA is offering additional benefits to awardees beyond funding. All awardees of the Creative Corps Initiative are contractually obligated to attend information sessions outlining benefit offerings. These benefits include cultural strategy training from the San Francisco Foundation.

The San Francisco Foundation is offering trainings in cultural strategy, connecting contexts and strategies in the key issue areas.

These offerings are completely optional and YBCA will cover the majority of the administrative cost for these benefits. The portion YBCA will cover will depend on the amount of awardees that opt-in to these programs.

Awardees will provide YBCA with a financial report outlining the use of the implementation funds at the conclusion of the grant period. Additional to the final financial report, Awardees will be required to complete a quarterly survey providing updates on their Creative Corps Initiative project/campaign. There are particular quantitative data points that the California Arts Council are looking to collect pertaining to the number of events, audience, and artists served by the statewide Creative Corps program. Awardees will also be connected to a YBCA storytelling team. This team will be deploying photographers, videographers, and interviewers to capture certain projects as they unfold, from planning to implementation. The entire multimedia design to capture the Creative Corps Initiative is meant to both document the projects for archival purposes and to elevate the awardee’s work to broader audiences across the Bay Area and the state.


Yes, the Submittable platform requires that you create an account to apply. If you have any trouble creating an account, please contact us for any assistance at

Providing proof of residency is not required by the California Arts Council, but is recommended by YBCA’s Community Investment Team.

You must submit a document from a third party that clearly shows your name and current address. We will accept the following documents as proof of residency:

  • Driver’s license or government-issued ID card
  • Utility bill (electricity, water, gas, internet service, or phone bill)
  • Health insurance statement or medical bill
  • Bank or credit card statement
  • Statement of government benefits (this could include SSI, SSDI, SNAP, etc)
  • A signed letter on the letterhead of the shelter you reside in

We only need to see the name and address on your document. You do not need to upload the entire document. Please cover up all sensitive information.

The only file types supported for these uploads are PDF, DOC, DOCX, PNG, JPG, JPEG, and GIF. For Artistic CV/Resume, there is a space to provide a website.

The only file types supported for these uploads are PDF, DOC, DOCX, and XLSX (Excel).

Yes, the Community Investment Team will host office hours on Mondays from 1-3pm and Fridays from 10am-12pm during the duration of the application period, which is May 15, 2023 to Jul 14, 2023. You must schedule a time to speak with a team member by emailing your preferred time to

If you have questions about this initiative or the application process, contact YBCA at with the subject line: “Creative Corps Initiative” and your best contact number.

In addition, YBCA staff are here to provide applicants technical support, if needed. Contact with the subject line “Creative Corps Initiative Support” for assistance. We will try to respond as quickly as possible, but we may need a full business day to respond.