Creative Commonwealth

July 2017 Community Conversation at the Narrows Center for the Performing Arts


About Creative Commonwealth

Building Blocks for Nonprofits

Together is Better

Building Philanthropy


About Creative Commonwealth

Through a partnership with the Barr Foundation in Boston, the Community Foundation is pleased to announce the unique and dynamic Creative Commonwealth initiative to fund arts and culture programs and initiatives throughout New Bedford and Fall River in 2018 and 2019. Using information gathered from our inclusive Community Conversations (Read the New Bedford transcripts) (Read the Fall River transcripts) in the summer of 2017, we have laid the groundwork for determining the most effective use of funding to meet the areas of greatest need, including:

  • Increase access and artistic expression in New Bedford and Fall River, with a focus on underserved, youth, culturally diverse, and immigrant populations.
  • Improve collaboration and build capacity in our collective creative community using a model that can be replicated throughout the region
  • Grow and diversify philanthropic investment in arts and culture.

Under the guidance and direction of our Arts & Culture Committee--comprised of an immensely talented and eclectic mix of volunteers from throughout the South Coast--we will move forward over the next two years with grants and capacity-building opportunities for non-profits, as well as building a network for art serving organizations in our region.

Our Goals

1. Youth and culturally diverse communities are better supported and engaged and their artistic expressions are more visible and respected.

2. Arts and cultural organizations are better connected and networked to address community engagement challenges and opportunities.

3. Support and audiences for culturally-specific and emerging arts and cultural organizations increases.

4. Public awareness of and support for public art projects increases among municipal and business leaders.

5. Staff and volunteers participating in capacity-building activities are better equipped to manage and/or steward their nonprofit organizations.

6. The Community Foundation is a leader in cultivating arts donors.

Building Blocks for Nonprofits

In partnering with another community organization, we will launch a cohort-based pilot program for five to six qualifying non-profit organizations. This capacity building training will equip them with the tools necessary for enhancing their services. The topics for the trainings will come directly as a result of needs assessments performed with the organizations participating in the cohort.

Together is Better

Improving upon the Arts and Culture network of organizations and artists both in Fall River and New Bedford. We expect that this will lead to greater collaboration and better shared knowledge and resources.

Building Philanthropy

By increasing our internal capacity we will be able to serve our community in greater ways and extend our outreach especially with social media and networking. We also aim to further develop our knowledge to promote diversity, access, and opportunity in our community, specifically surrounding our engagement with the arts.


Through funding projects and programs, we anticipate and look forward to several outcomes that will benefit our community. The vision of the Creative Commonwealth aims to expand the collaboration among youth-serving agencies and arts and culture organizations to maximize participation in current and new offerings.  

Additionally, by implementing programs that engage new philanthropic investment in culturally diverse populations we can help to build trust while improving the overall perception of our cities. We will actively seek proposals from organizations engaging youth and serving culturally diverse populations and immigrants. In alignment with one of our key partners, the Barr Foundation’s Arts and Creativity Program, we welcome applicants that embrace artistic risk-taking and bold organizational change; expand the diversity of creative experiences and audiences; and present work that inspires with its excellence and relevance.

Our first area of granting focus and opportunity is to support the creation of excellence in Public Art.

Through this Public Art grant opportunity we are emphasizing accessibility and inclusion where Public Art is open to all and encourages community-wide ownership of the arts. Ideas include but are not limited to:

Temporary or permanent installations
Community murals
Public performances (theater, music, festivals, etc.)
Artistic solutions to public issues

We are welcoming applications for projects that highlight and reflect the following criteria:

  1. Impact
  2. Transformative
  3. Collaboration
  4. Artistic Excellence
  5. Community Engagement
  6. Innovation

Grant Applicant Requirements

  • Must be a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Organizations and individual artists may collaborate with groups, however the applicant listed must have 501 (c)(3) status
  • Project must serve and/or take place in New Bedford or Fall River
  • Demonstrate history of serving or the capacity to serve culturally diverse and/or youth populations
  • Align with our vision for the Creative Commonwealth 

Grant Timeline

  1. Letters of Interest due by Friday, July 6, 2018 at 5pm
  2. Invitations to apply will be sent by Friday, July 20, 2018
  3. Grant applications due by Friday, August 17, 2018 at 5pm
  4. Notification will be made by Mid-September 2018


Please contact Rayana Grace, Arts and Culture Program Manager with any application questions:

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