Field Studies by Arts Service Organizations Rooted in Communities of Color

The Wallace Foundation

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Predicted Deadline
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Next predicted deadline: Mar 23, 2024 8:59pm PDT (Letter of inquiry)

Later predicted deadlines: Jun 23, 2024 8:59pm PDT (Full proposal)

Grant amount: Up to US $400,000

Fields of work: Art & Culture

Applicant type: Government Entity, Indigenous Group, Nonprofit

Funding uses: Research

Location of project: Anywhere in the world

Location of residency: United States

990 Snapshot



Across the nation there are thousands of arts organizations that were founded by, for, and with communities of color. These organizations span artistic disciplines and include organizations serving various roles within, and providing numerous services for, their community/ies. Although there is more variation than likeness across these organizations—involving a range of factors including artistic focus, community served, location, purpose, organizational culture, and mission— research suggests that many have, in their founding missions and continuing practices, and at the core of their organizational strategy, a deep and intertwined commitment to excellence in artistic practice and production along with a strong community orientation (Halley & Valdez, 2000; Voss & Voss, 2021). “Community orientation” has been described, across the literature, as preserving or presenting the artforms of a particular racial, ethnic, or tribal group, supporting artists from the focus community/ies, developing the cultural workforce of that community, and advocating for the community within broader socio-political contexts, among other activities.

Arts service organizations rooted in communities of color play essential roles in the arts ecosystem as they connect, resource, advocate on behalf of, strategize with, and otherwise support artists and arts organizations of color.1 They represent, support, and advocate for their communities’ cultural workers, organizations, artistic disciplines, and practices in broader national arts and culture conversations and make the case for the critical contributions of arts organizations of color to the field. These organizations also play central roles in documenting the scope, scale, focus, and contributions of their member or affiliated organizations (Bowles, 1993; Matlon et al., 2014; cf Driver, 2020)

As a part of The Wallace Foundation’s five-year initiative intended to support arts organizations rooted in communities of color as they explore strategies for achieving organizational well-being, The Wallace Foundation invites arts organizations operating as, or exercising functions of, arts service organizations (e.g., directly supporting and advancing arts organizations and artist networks of color) to propose research projects that answer important questions related to the arts communities they serve. In this  second round of Field Studies grants, we are broadening our definition of arts service organizations to  encompass arts organizations that are engaged in functions more typically falling within the purview of arts service organizations of color. Thus, eligible organizations will be arts organizations that are:

  • founded by, for, and with communities of color
  • grounded in one or more artistic discipline
  • exercising the functions of an arts service organization by strengthening the broader arts ecosystem by, for example:
    • providing professional development, resources, and networking opportunities for other arts organizations of color or for networks of artists of color
    • providing field research and information services
    • serving as a field advocate for artists or arts organizations of color
  • leading or participating in networks or structures that provide the context for you to share and disseminate the results of your study with arts organizations or networks of color that face similar issues your study will address

This broadening of scope is meant to recognize the multiple roles and purposes many arts organizations of color play – for their artistic discipline, for their community, and for their peer organizations.

Please note that this RFP is not designed for entities that are primarily youth arts or arts education organizations, but rather for community-serving organizations, which may include youth. A separate youth arts program at Wallace will have research calls in the future.

Proposed studies should address key issues of importance to the work of arts service organizations founded by, with, and for communities of color. The Foundation invites arts service organizations to submit a proposal for one of three types of studies:

  • A research planning grant to support the development of a research plan for up to a one-year period (up to $50,000)
  • A research implementation grant (up to $250,000)
  • A research expansion grant, which proposes to scale up or refine an existing robust research design and implement an expanded research project (up to $400,000)

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This page was last reviewed November 03, 2023 and last updated November 03, 2023