Grant LAB

ARTISTS UP Grant LAB awards support vision and inspiration for 18 Washington artists

Eighteen artists from Washington State were awarded funds from Grant LAB, an experimental program designed to remove barriers for historically under-represented artists and increase racial equity in grant making programs. Inspired by qualitative research with artists, Grant LAB aligned the grant selection process with how and why artists work and create. Each artist will receive $3,000 to support their artistic vision. Additionally, for artists and administrators interested in our process, we are pleased to offer a report about our exploration: Learning from Grant LAB.

“By engaucomp-photoaging artists as allies and dismantling barriers, the Grant LAB is advocating for an inclusive future in the arts,” says Marilyn Montufar, artist and photographer. “I am honored to be a recipient of the Grant LAB, a grant that advocates for change and greater equity in the arts.”

Grant LAB is an experimental program created to test grant making ideas, approaches and practices for greater and equitable access to opportunities. Applicants were evaluated on one of three different criteria; potential or demonstrated skill, innovation/experimentation, and community engagement.

This grant puts into action the goals of ARTISTS UP, from 2012-2016, a collaborative effort by 4Culture, the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture and Artist Trust to improve and expand capacity and networks for under-supported artists in Seattle, King County and Washington State. The Grant LAB funds artists working in all disciplines.

“The application process felt like I was actually being given a chance” says Kamari Bright, a writer, filmmaker and musician. “Although credentials are important, they don’t dictate the level of passion or capacity for impact my work will have.”

Kamari Bright, John Bunkley, Danielle Christian, Alex Crozier, Lynn DeBeal, Rome Esmaili, Kiana Harris, Sarah Moreno León, Emma Levitt, Xavier Lopez, Sarah Maria Medina, Marilyn Montufar, Tamiko Nimura, Sandra Pressley, Gabriel Teodros, David Tucker, Gordon Wood, and Miriam Zmiewski-Angelova.

Each of the three agencies, and Artists Up as is own entity, promoted the Grant LAB opportunity through email and social media. The Artists Ambassadors were asked to reach out to their contacts and also were requested to nominate fellow artists, particularly if the artist may not elect to seek the opportunity on their own. Each of the nominated artist were then contacted with a special invitation to apply. Workshops were held in Seattle and Kent, and a webinar, with more than 500 views, was provided. 4Culture hosted the on-line application and provided technical support.


Individual artists were deemed eligible to apply by meeting the following eligibility requirements:

  • Individual artist residing in Seattle, King County, or Washington State
  • Must not have received more than $1,600 from any one agency (the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, 4Culture, and Artist Trust) during 2014-2016.
  • Must not have student status
  • Applicants must be 18 years or older

Each applicant was asked to select one of the three Choice Criteria to serve as a general framework for their narrative responses. The Choice Criteria are:

  • Innovation/Experimentation
  • Potential or Demonstrated Skill
  • Community Engagement

All applications were evaluated using the following criteria:

Does the applicant:

  • Plainly articulate the training and/or creative experiences that have helped them develop their art?
  • Describe their most recent artistic/cultural presentation that they accomplished in a compelling way?
  • Convincingly express what continues to inspire their work as an artist/cultural worker?
  • Clearly outline how they plan to reach their creative goals in the next three years?
  • How well do the applicant’s responses to the narrative questions or work samples respond to the Choice Criteria they selected?

Following the September 28, 2016 deadline, applications were assigned to one of three panel review groups, at random.

In each panel group, applications were evaluated using a Choice Criteria, but funds were not allocated by these categories. Of the three Choice Criteria, applications were submitted under Innovation/Experimentation (34 Applicants), Potential or Demonstrated Skill (103 Applicants), Community Engagement (43 Applicants), and 5 applicants did not indicate a Choice Criteria.

Artists were asked to self-identify as an individual and as an artists. These were intentionally open-ended, and artists responded with information, including their race(s), sexual orientation, gender, creative disciplines etc. However, because we abide by State law (RCW 49.60.400) this information was not provided to the selection panelists. It will be used to assist us in better understanding how artists identify themselves personally and artistically.

Each of the three panel groups agreed to common panel practices. Additionally, to further experimentation, the Artist Up partners utilized several test practices when facilitating the panel group (e.g. private scoring, pre-scoring, blind review etc.).

  • Natasha Alphonse –Seattle
  • Juventino Aranda – Walla Walla
  • Ivan Arteaga – Seattle
  • Silong Chhun –Tacoma
  • Kiana Davis –Renton
  • Ari Glass –Seattle
  • Chad Goller-Soujourner – Seattle
  • Kamla Kakaria – Tukwila
  • Srivani Jade – Kirkland
  • Wilson Mendieta – Seattle
  • Ruben Rodriguez Perez – Seattle
  • Rudy Roushdi – Seattle
  • Melissa Woodward – Shoreline

Please contact us if you’d like more information about the Grant LAB experiment.


Grant LAB

The Grant LAB is an experiment of Artists Up [a collaborative effort between the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, 4Culture, and Artist Trust], offering $3,000 awards to Washington State artists working in all disciplines, to enhance their creative process.
We seek to support artists who have received less than $1,600 from any one of the collaborative partners in the past 2 years [2014-2016]. Artists of color are strongly encouraged to apply.

Deadline: September 28, 2016 – 5pm PacificArtists Up Logo

The Grant LAB is experimenting with grantmaking ideas and practices for greater access and equity to benefit ALL communities in Seattle, King County and Washington State. This support aims to enhance artist’s creative process. Artists of color are strongly encouraged to apply.
Awarded artists in all disciplines and cultural forms must offer an opportunity to share in-progress or finished work with the community. This can include an exhibit, installation, performance, reading, screening or collaborative presentation.
Workshops: Applicants are encouraged to attend a workshop or listen to a webinar for learn about the application, review or contracting.

APPLY: Grant LAB Guidelines 2016

Artists Up is a collaborative effort by three funding agencies [Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, 4Culture and Artist Trust] that was created to improve and expand capacity and networks for under-supported artists in Seattle, King County and Washington State.
If you have questions or need more information, please contact us!

Photo by: Hugo Ludeña



9 Comments on “Grant LAB

    • Hi Virginia – You can find it here: -you’ll see a link to the application on the second page of the guidelines.

  1. I don’t see a page two nor do I see a hot link to get to the application.
    Can you tell me the web address to the link?

  2. Pingback: Artist Profile Series: Marilyn Montufar | Artist Trust

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