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What is Creating Queer Communities? 

Creating Queer Communities (CQC) is a professional development training program for queer and trans artists in the San Francisco Bay Area. For over 25 years, Queer Cultural Center has provided CQC members an opportunity to build their knowledge base around their artistic practice by providing small grants, free educational opportunities, and mentorship. QCC is offering this paid, structured learning and performance opportunity at two levels for the first time.

This open call is for the Level Two cohort of Creating Queer Communities. 

Queer Cultural Center will select 5-7 applicants for the CQC2 cohort. CQC2 cohort members will receive professional development workshops and will produce an individual cultural event as part of QCC’s 2025 Spring Queer Arts Festival. 

The artistic theme for the 2025 Spring Queer Arts Festival is “Pleasure in the Storm”. We invite projects that address queer approaches to sustaining ourselves and our communities through cultivating inner joy, community connection, and sensory pleasures amid the ongoing political, cultural, public health, and climate crises that shape our current material conditions.

What Queer Cultural Center all about?

Queer Cultural Center promotes social justice and the artistic and financial development of queer art and culture. We steward artists whose programs nourish, connect, and mobilize trans & queer communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. QCC’s services for artists include fiscal sponsorship and hands-on training with financial literacy, fundraising, and capacity building. Since our founding in 1993, QCC has served an estimated 125,000 LGBTQIA2S+ San Franciscans and the 350,000 LGBTQIA2S+ residents of the greater regional SF Bay Area. We’ve curated 26 consecutive month-long National Queer Arts Festivals featuring work from more than 2,500 LGBTQIA2S+ artists. QCC’s artist services has supported over 50 Bay Area LGBTQIA2S+ artists and arts organizations to secure over $10 million in programmatic and general operating funds. 

Program Benefits

QTBIPOC artists selected for the 2024 CQC Level Two Artistic Project Development cohort will receive:

  1. Paid Learning Opportunities – hands-on workshops on topics including fundraising, financial literacy, technical aspects of production, marketing & promotion, and community safety.
  2. A $5,000 artist commission to produce an event that will be part of QCC’s 2025 Spring Queer Art Festival. Commission award is contingent on successful completion of required workshops.
  3. Artistic, technical, venue, marketing, and box office support for your event, valued at approximately $5,000 (NOT exchangeable for an increased commission. QCC will pay vendors directly).
  4. Professional photo documentation of your event.
  5. Networking opportunities with fellow cohort members and other Bay Area QTIBIPOC arts leaders.

Important Dates

Information Session [Video Recording]May 15, 2024
Applications DueJune 3, 2024 July 1, 2024
Finalist InterviewsJuly 23 & 25, 2024
Notification of Selectionby July 31, 2024
OrientationAugust 2024
Workshops beginAugust 2024
Performances/ExhibitsMay – June 2025

Applicant & Project Eligibility

You are eligible to apply if you meet all of the following criteria:

Applicants must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Identify as a member of the LGBTQIA2S+ community
  • Identify as Black, Indigenous, or another Person of Color
  • be an individual artist or arts group/collective based in the San Francisco Bay Area. NOTE:  If you apply with a group/collective, please designate one primary person who will attend workshops on your behalf, to support continuity of learning.
  • NOT currently be a fiscally sponsored project of QCC
  • Commit to attend mandatory workshops from July 2024-May 2025 (some in person in San Francisco and Oakland, some virtual)
  • Have 1-3 yrs experience in event production or have produced more than one event in the past 2 years.

Proposed projects/events must:

  • Support QCC’s goal to nourish, connect, and mobilize queer and trans communities in the San Francisco Bay Area
  • Be able to be realistically implemented within a 12-month timeline 
  • Fall clearly into one or more of the following disciplines:
    • Literary
    • Theater/Performance
    • Dance/Movement
    • Music
    • Visual Arts
    • Nightlife/Drag
MusicVisual ArtsNightlife/
Poets, playwrights, songwriters, novelists, graphic novelists, storytellers, spoken wordActors, performance artists, playwrights, directorsDancers, movement artists, choreographersSingers, musicians, DJs, music producers, Painters, Printmake, Sculptors, Ceramicists/Potters,Photographers, Comics, multimediaDJs, party planners, Lip sync event producers, 

Please note: video/film can be incorporated into your project, but CQC does not support projects that are primarily film (e.g., documentary or narrative films, either short form or feature length). If you are a filmmaker, we encourage you to reach out to QWOCMAP, Frameline, and the SF Transgender Film Festival.

Selection Process

  • The selection committee for this cohort consists of QCC’s full-time staff members.
  • Initial review: we will review applications as a group and determine which projects best meet these criteria:
    • Applicant and project meet all eligibility criteria
    • Project alignment with QCC’s objective to nourish, connect, and mobilize queer and trans communities in the San Francisco Bay Area
    • Project alignment with festival theme, “Pleasure in the Storm”
    • How well the project complements other selected projects to form a cohesive, connected festival together
  • Final review: We will invite finalists to interview via zoom, to be held in late July, 2024.
  • We will notify applicants selected for the CQC2 2025 cohort by July 31, 2024.

Tips for making your application as strong as possible

  • DON’T wait until the last minute to start. Rushed work is obvious and demonstrates a lack of planning.
  • DON’T rely on prior relationships with QCC staff or board members as a guaranteed “in”
  • DO attend the information session on May 15, or watch the recording and review the slides if you’re not able to attend live.
  • DO review the video recording and budget template from our event budgets workshop when preparing your project budget
  • DO make sure your project description clearly connects to the 2025 Spring National Queer Arts Festival theme, “Pleasure in the Storm”
  • DO connect with people you’d like to collaborate with. Group shows / events that feature the work of multiple artists are more likely to be selected than solo shows/exhibitions.
  • DO ask colleagues to read through your materials to see if what makes sense in your head also makes sense to someone not intimately familiar with your project.
  • DO read your application OUT LOUD before submitting so you can catch any wording or phrasing errors, incomplete sentences, etc. 
  • DO write out your answers to the application questions in a separate document before filling out the application form. 

How To Apply

Before applying, please read this document thoroughly. You can download/make a copy of the application questions here before filling out the form (highly recommended!). Here is the template for your project budget. When you’re ready, click here to access our application form

Frequently asked questions

Don’t see your question listed? Please email any questions to [email protected]

Q: I want to be in the National Queer Arts Festival. Does the CQC program connect me to that?

A: Yes! Successful completion of workshop activities and homework is a prerequisite for receiving a new works commission in the 2025 Spring Queer Arts Festival.

Q: Will not having a work sample reflect negatively on my application?

A: Having a work sample is mandatory for level two applicants. 

Q: How many hours is each workshop?

A: Each workshop varies. Some will be on the shorter side, about 90 minutes, and the longest will be an all-day in-person workshop for the mock grant panel review. Most workshops will last 2-3 hours.

Q: Are all the workshops required?

A: Yes. In order to participate fully and get the most out of the CQC program, workshops are required. If you are unable to attend live, we can arrange for you to make up the material for one or two workshops. 

Q: Can I apply with a collaborator?

A: Yes! The CQC Level Two cohort, which launches in summer 2024, is open to collaborative acts / arts collectives. 

Q: Are San Jose City and Contra Costa County considered SF/Bay Area?

A: Yes! QCC considers the Bay Area to include the 9 counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma counties. Please note that some activities will be in person in Oakland and San Francisco.

Q: Do I have to report the new work commission and workshop honorarium on my taxes?

A: Since total amount QCC will pay out is greater than $600, we are legally required to report the income on an IRS form 1099-NEC for all artists. We offer a Taxes for Artists workshop to our CQC1 and CQC2 cohort where you can learn more about how to manage your income and leverage expenses against your individual tax liability. 

Q: How many people will be selected for the 2025 CQC Level Two artist cohort?

A: Our budget allows us to select 5 – 7 applicants as members of the Creating Queer Communities Level Two cohort. 

Q: What if I don’t get selected for this cohort?

A: You will not receive a commission to present your work in the 2025 Spring National Queer Arts Festival. However, many of our artist development workshops are open to the public for a nominal fee (no one turned away for lack of funds). You’ll need to register ahead of time and there will be a cap on attendance at all in-person workshops. 

Q: Am I required to attend the information session before submitting my application?

A: We highly encourage all prospective applicants to attend the information session or review the materials if you can’t make it live, prior to submitting your application. The information session is designed to help applicants put together the strongest possible application. It is to your advantage to attend live on May 15 or review the materials afterward. Please register here. 

Q: How do I get paid?

A: If you are selected for the CQC2 Cohort, QCC staff will provide payment information during orientation.