OPEN CALL – 2024 Creating Queer Communities – First Level


What is Creating Queer Communities? 

Queer Cultural Center is thrilled to relaunch Creating Queer Communities, our beloved professional development training program for queer and trans artists in the San Francisco Bay Area. For over 25 years, Creating Queer Communities has been an incredibly successful program that gives artists an opportunity to build their knowledge base around their artistic practice by providing small grants, free educational opportunities, and mentorship. Starting in 2024, QCC is offering this paid, structured learning and performance opportunity at two levels for the first time. 

The CQC Level One cohort will perform in the Fall of 2024 in a showcase and the Level Two cohort will perform in the Spring of 2025 in individual events that the selected cohort members produce. This open call is for the Level One cohort of Creating Queer Communities. For this cohort, QCC defines a new or early career artist as someone who has never shown their work publicly, or has less than 3 credited, published works. We will send a separate call in early 2024 for our second-level offering for established QTBIPOC artists and artist collectives. 

Before applying, please read this document thoroughly. We held an information session on December 18, 2023. We *HIGHLY* RECOMMEND that you review the presentation slides and watch a recording of the session before submitting your application.

When you’re ready to apply, you may access the application form here. The application includes a checklist to help you gather the necessary materials and information, including contact details, artistic and project information, artist CV or bio, artistic work samples and descriptions, and basic demographic questions.

Why apply?

QTBIPOC artists selected for the 2024 Level One CQC emerging artist development cohort will receive:

  • Structured virtual and in-person training series of 8 workshops including topics such as Taxes for Artists, Budgeting, Grant Writing, Event Production, Marketing, and more, in Oakland and/or SF. 
  • Opportunity to perform in QCC’s 2024 Fall Queer Arts Festival emerging artist showcase (20 min set per artist)
  • One-on-one coaching from QCC staff for artistic and technical production support 
  • Professional headshots
  • Artistic mentorship with a working artist
  • Honorarium to support participation in the 7-8 workshops at $150 per workshop (total of $1200)*
  • $500 commission for your new work to be presented in the 2024 Fall Queer Arts Festival new artists showcase (October/November 2024)*

*If you are accepted into the CQC Level 1 cohort, you’ll need to sign up for QCC’s online payment system, including your banking info, government name, and uploading a W9.

Who can apply?

You are eligible to apply if you:

  • Are a new or early career queer artist embarking on your journey into the art world. QCC defines a new or early career artist as someone who has never shown their work publicly, or has less than 3 credited, published works. 
  • Are based in the SF Bay Area
  • Are at least 18 years old
  • Identify as a member of the LGBTQIA2S+ community
  • Identify as Black, Indigenous, or another Person of Color
  • Are willing and able to attend mandatory workshops from February – September (some in person in San Francisco and Oakland)
  • Want to share your artistic work in a 20 minute set in the Fall 2024 National Queer Arts Festival Emerging Artists Showcase for 2 nights in October/November 2024 (exact dates to be confirmed)
  • Want to create and share artistic works that nourish, connect, or mobilize queer and trans communities in the San Francisco Bay Area and its diaspora
  • Seek that ever-elusive foundational knowledge to gain confidence and learn how to grow your creative practice. 
  • Have an artistic or creative practice falls into one or more of these four categories:
LiteraryTheater/PerformanceMusicEvent Production
Poets, playwrights, songwriters, novelists, graphic novelists, storytellers, spoken wordActors, performance artists,Singers, musicians, DJs, music producers, Party planners, stage managers, fundraisers, 

Please note: For the 2024 program year, QCC is running the Level One CQC cohort on an accelerated timeline, from January – October 2024. As a result, we are offering the program for artists in a narrow range of disciplines in order to provide the best possible service to selected artists. We hope to expand this range in future years. Visual artists – stay tuned for more open calls coming soon for the Spring 2024 and Spring 2025 National Queer Arts Festivals. 

CQC Level One Workshops & Services for 2024

  1. Workshops:
    • Taxes for Artists – online
    • Grant Writing 101 – online
    • Grant Writing 201 – online
    • Grant Writing 301 (Mock Grant Panel Workshop) – in person
    • How To Make A Budget – in person
    • How To Write An Artist Bio/CV – in person
    • How To Market/Promote Your Work – online
  2. Complimentary professional headshots
  3. Artist mentorship as you develop your piece
  4. Fall Queer Arts Festival Emerging Artist Performance Showcase
    • Production meetings
    • Structured rehearsals
    • Performance – 2 nights in Oct/Nov 2024!


All selected artists will receive a $500 commission to produce new work for the 2024 Fall Queer Arts Festival as well as honoraria of $150 per workshop (7-8 workshops, honorarium total of $1200). The total combined compensation for each artist will be $1700, including the commission and workshop honoraria.

Important Dates

Monday, December 18 2023, 6 to 8pm PSTOnline information session. Recording & slides will be posted on this webpage after the live session is over.
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.
January 7 2024, 11:59pm PSTApplications due. 
January 19, 2024QCC staff notifies accepted applicants by email.
Thurs, Feb.1st 2024, 6pm PST -OR- Sat. Feb. 3rd 2024, noon PSTOrientation (in-person, meal provided) for selected CQC Level One cohort members. This orientation is mandatory, so please mark your calendars! 
February – September 2024Monthly workshops, to be scheduled in alignment with cohort members’ calendars. Some will be in-person in San Francisco and Oakland, some will be online. All are mandatory for selected cohort members.
October/November 2024Fall Queer Arts Festival in-person in San Francisco and Oakland. Includes CQC Level One cohort artist showcase.

Frequently asked questions

Don’t see your question listed? Please email any questions or comments to QCC’s Program Manager Ali Scott: [email protected].

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

A: Sure does! CQC Level 1 & 2 cohort participants will be commissioned to make work for the CQC showcase, a vital part of our updated Spring and Fall National Queer Arts Festivals. This open call is for the CQC Level 1 cohort, which will perform in the 2024 Fall Queer Arts Festival in Oct/Nov 2024.

Q: How do I get paid?

A: You’ll need to sign up for QCC’s Gusto payment system, including your banking info, legal name, and uploading a W9.

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

A: Having a work sample is not mandatory for first level applicants. If you have work samples to share, it will help give our panel a better understanding of your work.

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: No. CQC Level One is targeted to individual artists. The CQC Level Two cohort, which launches in spring 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: The total between honoraria and new work commission per cohort member is $1700. Since that amount is greater than $600, QCC is legally obligated to report the income on a 1099 for all artists. The first workshop in our CQC Level 1 series is on the subject of Taxes for Artists, where you can learn more about how to manage your income and expenses against your individual tax liability. 

Q: Can the piece I perform in the Fall 2024 Queer Arts Festival be less than 20 minutes long?

A:  Yes! Your project can be under 20 minutes but can NOT exceed 20 min. 

Q: How many people will be selected for the 2024 CQC Level One artist cohort?

A: For 2024, our budget allows us to select six (6) individual artists as members of the Creating Queer Communities Level One cohort. We hope to expand this number in the future.

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

A: That’s okay! Anyone who applies for this cohort can still attend our workshops with no charge. You’ll need to register ahead of time so we can get a head count for lunch, and there will be a cap on attendance at all in-person workshops. You won’t get a spot in the Fall 2024 artist showcase, though, and there are a few perks (ex: free headshots) that will be offered only to cohort members. But we’re glad to share our learning space with you! 

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 Monday Dec 18 or review the materials afterward. Please register here. 

About Queer Cultural Center

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 San Francisco and its diaspora. 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 $9.2 million in programmatic and general operating funds.