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2021-2022 Tacoma Artists Initiative Program (TAIP) Funding


The Tacoma Artists Initiative Program (TAIP) was established in 1999 to encourage the contributions made by individual artists within the city of Tacoma. The goals of the program are to recognize creative expression of the artists in our community, financially assist artists in generating new work and growing their skills, and engage the broader community through free public components presented by the funded artists. Artists working in all disciplines including literary, performing, new media, visual arts, and interdisciplinary are encouraged to apply. Only one application per artist will be accepted.

In alignment with Tacoma City Council Resolution 40622, the Tacoma Arts Commission is committed to sustained and transformational anti‐racist work, including through the Tacoma Artists Initiative Program. As stated by Mayor Victoria Woodards, "Dismantling more than 400 years of systemic racism will not happen overnight. This must be a sustained effort that invites the whole community to join us in radically reimagining our institutions and the services they provide."

We invite applicants to consider how their proposed public component can help build a more Compassionate Tacoma with projects that are equitable and inclusive, offer opportunities for connection and relationship building, and contribute to the social, emotional, and physical well-being of our residents. 

All projects must follow state and local health regulations; applicants should be prepared to adjust projects, as needed, in response to the current public health situation at the time of production.


Project Requirements

  • Creation of New Work - Artists should focus on the generation and/or completion of new artwork. Applicants are encouraged to consider how TAIP funding can be used to help them grow as artists. All funded projects must take place within the Tacoma city limits.
  • Public Component - Artists are required to share their art or artistic practice with the residents of Tacoma in a public forum that is free and accessible to everyone and is located within the Tacoma city limits. The public component can happen either physically (within state and local health regulations) and/or virtually.

Funding Priorities

The Tacoma Arts Commission strongly supports justice, equity, inclusion, and access. We celebrate Tacoma’s diversity of people, places, cultures, and artistic expression. The arts are uniquely positioned to touch every person and every part of Tacoma, and we are committed to supporting the entirety of our community.

The Tacoma Arts Commission is committed to investing in communities most impacted by racial, social, and economic inequity. We are committed to addressing historic and structural inequity through our funding opportunities as we work toward justice for all.

TAIP funding will be prioritized for artists’ projects that meet one or more of the following:

  • Projects that primarily give voice to Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC)/ African, Latinx, Arab, Asian, Native-American (ALAANA) communities 
  • Projects that primarily give voice to economically or socio-economically marginalized communities
  • Projects that primarily give voice to LGBTQIA+ communities
  • Projects that primarily give voice to people with disabilities
  • Projects that primarily give voice to racial justice and/or social justice
  • Projects that will use TAIP funding to directly pay Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC)/ African, Latinx, Arab, Asian, Native-American (ALAANA) collaborators to create work that is central to the project
  • Emergent community needs related to the global pandemic


To be eligible for TAIP funding, applicant must:

  • Be a resident of the City of Tacoma
  • Be a practicing artist, dedicated to producing artwork on a regular basis
  • Be applying as an individual artist
  • Be 18 years old or older
  • Produce a public component to their project that will be free to the public and will take place within Tacoma city limits 
  • Already have or, if selected for funding, will obtain a City of Tacoma business license
  • Comply with the laws of the Federal Government, the State of Washington and the City of Tacoma, including non‐discrimination, Americans with Disabilities Act, and equal employment opportunities
  • Acknowledge the City’s funding in all appropriate marketing and promotion of the project
  • NOT have received a TAIP award in the past funding cycle (2019-2020)
  • NOT be a full time undergraduate or graduate student in an arts-related degree program
  • NOT be a member of the TAIP selection panel
  • NOT be a current Tacoma Arts Commission member, City Council member, or City of Tacoma employee


Virtual Application Workshop (optional)

A virtual application workshop will be held on December 16, 2020 5:30 - 7 PM online at https://tinyurl.com/yykqp68z. The workshop will be recorded and posted here.  


Preliminary Application Feedback Deadline (optional)

January 13, 2021


Application Deadline

January 25, 2021, 11:59 PM


Funding Application Guidelines

Download the 2021-2022 TAIP application guidelines (PDF) for complete funding information, including eligibility.


Download the 2021-2022 TAIP budget sheet. You will need to fill out this budget sheet and attach it to your online application.


Download a sample budget sheet to see an example of how to fill out the project budget.


About the Money

TAIP funding awards are $3,000 and are determined through a competitive application process. The number of contracts awarded will be based on the availability of funds. A panel of community members will review and score each application using the Evaluation Criteria detailed in the guidelines and will make funding recommendations to the Tacoma Arts Commission. The Tacoma Arts Commission will review the panel’s recommendations and make a final determination on which applicants to fund. No funding is guaranteed until official approval of the budget by Tacoma City Council. The financial need of an applicant is not considered when evaluating applications. Applicants are encouraged to support their projects with a variety of cash and/or donated resources.

Artists selected for funding will be required to sign a contract for services, which will lay out the public benefit that the artist will provide to the residents of Tacoma in exchange for the funding. TAIP funding will be broken into several payment phases spread out over the term of the funding contract. Artists will receive final payment after all services have been provided and a final report has been submitted. Artist should be prepared to cover the costs of their project until that time, but the City will work with each awardee to stagger payment phases to lessen financial strain.


How to Apply

Applications must be submitted through the Tacoma Artists Initiative Program Funding online application form at www.tacomaarts.submittable.com/submit. The application will ask for:

  • Basic contact and project information
  • Narrative Responses (see page 4 of the 2021-2022 TAIP application guidelines for a list of narrative questions)
  • Budget Page (download the budget form, fill out, and attach to your electronic application. To see an example of how to fill out the budget form, click here.)
  • Artist Resume or Bio
  • Location Confirmation or Plan: Written permission (email or letter) from the property owner to indicate their willingness to host the proposed public component. Or, a written explanation of the preferred location along with a clear plan to secure the necessary sites/partnerships should funding be awarded. A letter is not needed if applicant is hosting project virtually or at a location they own. 
  • Letter of Commitment: If you are collaborating with any organizations or individuals whose role is central to your project’s success, provide written confirmation (letter or email) of their commitment to your project.
  • Proof of Residency such as a photo of your Washington State ID, Driver’s License, housing lease, or current utility bill to indicate your current residency within the City of Tacoma limits
  • Artistic Work Samples and descriptions



For assistance, please contact Naomi Strom-Avila at (253) 591-5191 or nstrom-avila@cityoftacoma.org.

Panel Interest Form

What is a Panel?

A panel is a group of individuals pulled together by staff to review applications or nominations for Office of Arts & Cultural Vitality managed programs or opportunities. Panel members use published review criteria to evaluate applications and make recommendations about who gets grant funding, public art projects, roster appointments, etc.

Panelists are selected for a variety of reasons which can include: their connection to community, knowledge of relevant subject matter, and the diversity of perspectives and experiences they bring to the group overall. For each opportunity, we assemble a unique panel of three to nine people to make collective recommendations about which applicants should receive funding or commissions through our office. Those recommendations generally go to the Tacoma Arts Commission or the Tacoma Creates Advisory Board for final approval.

Why be a Panelist?

The Office of Arts & Cultural Vitality (OACV) is deeply appreciative of the time and expertise community members invest in serving on panels. Serving on a panel is a proactive way to impact how public funds are spent in Tacoma, and panelists receive valuable professional development as well as insight into how the application review process works from the inside.

OACV provides panelists with free parking and food during meetings, in addition to offering a monetary stipend.

The length and number of meetings needed for a selection process vary based on the project. Depending on the application, some panels will require a small amount of prep work in advance, one to two hours, and some panels may require extensive reading and evaluation work in advance of the in-person panel meeting, anywhere from 10-50 hours. Community members will be offered a stipend for their service as follows:

  • $50 – quarter day meeting (1 – 2 hours)
  • $100 – half day meeting (3 ‐ 4 hours)
  • $200 – full day meeting (6 – 9 hours)
  • $100 – pre‐meeting work to digitally read and score applications (only when requested)

Members of a City‐appointed commission or board are volunteers and are not eligible to receive a stipend for their service on a panel. City of Tacoma employees and project staff are not eligible to receive a stipend for their service on a panel.

Submit a Panel Interest Form

Please complete the online form to be considered for a position on an upcoming OACV panel: www.surveymonkey.com/r/tacomapanels 


Staff will take into account many factors when putting together panels, and may not be able to use the services of all qualified individuals who submit. If an individual is offered a position on a panel but is unable to participate because of scheduling or conflict of interest, OACV will continue to consider them for future panels. Panel Interest Forms will be saved and reviewed periodically for up to three years from the submission date.


If you have questions, please contact Naomi Strom-Avila at nstrom-avila@cityoftacoma.org or (253) 591-5191.
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Naomi Strom-Avila

(253) 591-5191