Unfettering Artists' Productivity and Impact

CALI Catalyst provides unrestricted grants of up to $7,500 to California changemakers who are shifting the arts and culture sector in ways that tangibly give underrepresented voices more power and influence.

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 APPLY 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.


CALI Catalyst will offer two open application rounds in 2023. 

Round #1

Applications accepted from March 8 to May 3, 2023 at 12 p.m. PT (noon). Notifications shared on July 5.

Round #2

Applications accepted from June 1 to July 27, 2023 at 12 p.m. PT (noon). Notifications shared on September 28. 

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 APPLY section below.


CALI Catalyst ephemera will be updated for 2023 and published prior to the March 8, 2023 launch date. In the meantime, 2022 versions are referenced below.

images/pdf_icon.jpg 2022 Guidelines 

logos/pdf_icon.jpg 2022 Frequently Asked Questions

logos/Word Doc Image 2022 Application Preview

images/pdf_icon.jpg 2022 Application Preview 

images/pdf_icon.jpg Submittable Quick Tips


images/CALI Catalyst 2022 Visual Directory

images/CALI Catalyst Grantee Directory Cover Page

Learn more about the 2021 and 2022 CALI Catalyst grantees by clicking here or on the image above, or visit CCI's Past Recipients Directory


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

To learn more about CALI Catalyst, watch our May 2022 webinar which provided an overview of grants and trainings available to arts and culture workers in California, including CALI Catalyst Grants, Quick Grants, and The Business of Art boot camp and workbook.


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