Unfettering Artists' Productivity and Impact

CALI Catalyst provides unrestricted grants of up to $5,000 to California changemakers who are shifting the arts and culture sector in ways that tangibly give underrepresented voices more power and influence.

Please note that with the benefit of CALI Catalyst's first application round (June 1 - July 15) and the input of applicants' valuable feedback, CCI has updated the CALI Catalyst review process and grant criteria to more clearly target the program’s intended beneficiaries. Guidelines, Frequently Asked Questions, and the Application Preview have been revised and are effective September 29, 2021. 

CCI was inspired by the actions of individuals who have made an impact in shifting power and influence in the arts and culture sector in 2020, and wants to help ensure that the momentum for field-wide change continues undeterred. We acknowledge and give credit to people like Taylor Brandon, who held the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art more accountable for its censorship of Black voices; Ely Sonny Orquiza, creator of “The Living Document of BIPOC Experiences in Bay Area Theater Companies,” which collected anonymous testimonials of racism within the region’s theater industry; and former Marciano Art Foundation workers in Los Angeles, whose efforts to unionize led to greater awareness of the need to protect museum workers.

Individuals who take bold actions do so with risks to their jobs, social standing, and reputations. But this is precisely the moment when the arts and culture sector can embrace and support people who are changing the field in ways that work better for marginalized people—BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and those with disabilities. The arts and culture sector is better for it when strong voices and actions, for example, expose discriminatory hiring and employment practices that plague the arts and culture nonprofit and commercial industries; disrupt philanthropic practices that harm communities; and dismantle barriers to entry for artists and arts workers to be supported. The CALI Catalyst grant program is meant to give such leaders financial support, understanding that the fear of financial risk is, itself, a silencer and discourages changes to the status quo.

To help ensure that the momentum for field-wide change continues undeterred, CALI Catalyst will support artists and arts workers who are on the frontlines of effecting greater inclusion, access, diversity, and equity in the arts and culture sector.



CALI Catalyst applicants can be individuals or teams of individuals.* To be eligible for CALI Catalyst consideration, applicants must:  

  • Be an artist or arts worker (e.g., arts administrator, cultural producer, culture bearer, creative, cultural practitioner, teaching artist, or specialized technician); and
  • Be a full-time resident of California. 

Additionally, to be eligible for review, an applicant’s action must have taken place or commenced (i.e., the action is still in progress) on or after January 1, 2020.

*Only one application will be accepted per team (i.e., individual team members cannot submit separate applications that describe the same action). Teams will therefore need to select a single team member to apply, and if funding is approved, this individual will be responsible for fulfilling the grant requirements. For more details, review the Frequently Asked Questions in the APPLICATION LINKS section below.  

The following are ineligible for funding consideration: 

  • Organizations; 
  • Individuals or teams of individuals who are requesting funding to support an organization; and 
  • Individuals or teams of individuals who have a conflict of interest (family or financial relationship) with the board, staff, or directors of the Center for Cultural Innovation.



Applications are due by 5 p.m. PT on the 15th of every other month, with a one-month response turnaround. For the 2021 award cycle, the remaining application deadlines (and notification dates) are: 

  • July 15 (notification by August 15)
  • September 15 (notification by October 15)
  • November 15 (notification by December 15)

Applications will be accepted online ONLY through CCI’s Submittable platform and applicants MUST create an account in Submittable before they will be able to access the grant application. Learn more about using Submittable in the APPLICATION LINKS section below.



Apply Now



images/pdf_icon.jpgFrequently Asked Questions 

logos/Word Doc ImageApplication Preview 

images/pdf_icon.jpgApplication Preview 

images/pdf_icon.jpgSubmittable Quick Tips

images/pdf_icon.jpgPress Release Announcing Round 1 Grantees and Program Updates (August 24, 2021)

YouTube Icon August 2021 Webinar



CCI staff are here to help and listen. Please email us at cali@cciarts.org or call 415.288.0530 for assistance.



The CALI Catalyst grant program is made possible with support from: