The Arts

The Fund’s arts grantmaking helps Bay Area residents to appreciate and benefit from art’s full potential to build cross-cultural understanding, explore ideas, and enrich their lives.

New Work Ahead

On November 1, 2023 we paused the Arts grantmaking program. We are using the pause to reflect on past grantmaking and engage with community in the design of grantmaking that integrates our support of the arts with disaster and climate resilience, Jewish life , and racial justice grantmaking. In 2024, we will be looking back at what these programs have accomplished, lifting what they share in common, and inviting grantees and community to help us shape the Fund’s grantmaking for social well-being, and deepening our support for culture, community, and connection.

We are working with current grantees of the Arts program to provide continuing support during the Fund’s integration, and cultivate their insights for the work ahead.

Grant Opportunities

  • The window for application to the Arts program is closed.
  • No new grants will be awarded under the Arts program in 2024.
  • The Creative Work Fund, a program of the Walter & Elise Haas Fund, also generously supported by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation will announce its 2024 program in December.
  • Click here to subscribe to our announcement list about the program integration, including opportunities to participate in our co-design.

What Has Guided Our Arts Grantmaking So Far

Arts Education is Essential

All people — including children and youth — should share the opportunity to study and create art. We fund arts education efforts that:

  • Are led by professional artists, are of substantial depth and duration, and that mitigate the barriers that often limit low-income students’ full participation. Such programs may:
    • Take place in public schools and address state and district arts education standards;
    • Take place in safe and appealing after-school settings and incorporate excellent youth development and youth leadership practices;
    • Take place in juvenile detention facilities (proposals by invitation only).
  • Strengthen the role of teaching artists in and out of the classroom.
  • Promote policies and advocacy efforts that benefit children and youth with increasingly robust arts education programs.

Arts Build Resilient Communities

Arts participation unifies communities, fostering mutual understanding and respect, and the arts are a powerful tool to address injustice in all of its forms. We fund efforts that:

  • Reach an authentically diverse cross-section of local residents, involving them in shared arts experiences. Such programs reduce barriers to participation for under-served population groups and collect evidence of achieving broad participation.
  • Use the arts to foster a more just and inclusive society by engaging participants with different backgrounds and life experiences in creating, presenting, and witnessing the arts together. These programs commit to building new relationships and respect and to positing a reimagined and equitable future. Competitive requests commit to these activities over time rather than proposing individual events or presentations.
  • Create opportunities for recent immigrant or Native California organizations to serve their artists, their communities, and the general public. These organizations provide support systems for immigrant and native artists and foster the preservation and transfer of cultural traditions and knowledge across generations.

Artists Engage Us through Collaboration

Through the Creative Work Fund, we support the creation of new artworks that are developed out of collaborative partnerships between artists and nonprofit organizations. Principles guiding the Fund are:

  • Artists’ creativity merits philanthropic support.
  • Individual creativity is the source of cultural richness and diversity.
  • The arts can be a powerful vehicle for problem-solving and community renewal.
  • Collaboration among artists, organizations, and their constituents can generate a productive exchange of ideas and bring the arts to new audiences.

The Creative Work Fund is a program of the Walter & Elise Haas Fund, also generously supported by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. For a detailed program description and application information, please visit

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