Engaging Artists Commission

More Art’s Engaging Artists Commission is an opportunity for early career artists focused on the incubation and commissioning of a public art project and carries an $8000 award to realize the project, plus curatorial, conceptual, budgetary, and logistical mentorship.

The Commission is part of More Art’s Engaging Artists program which provides infrastructure and laboratory for artists to gain a deeper understanding of the history and vitality of public and socially engaged art.

The call for Commission applications opens annually in October with a deadline in November.

Program + Application Information

Timeline + selection information

October 1, 2023: Application opens.

November 8, 2023 by 11:59 EST: Applications due.

November 2023: Shortlisted candidates will receive interviews.

December 15, 2023: All applicants will be notified of the results of the open call via email.

The selected artist or collective begins working with More Art staff January 1, 2024, with the culminating project to take place between March 1st and December 20th, 2024.

Applications are first reviewed by More Art staff for completeness, eligibility, feasibility and quality. Applications moving forward to the next round of review are assessed by a jury panel composed of More Art staff as well as outside specialists including EA program alumni, curators, and may also include representatives from the public spaces with whom we collaborate.

What to expect

$8000 will be awarded to one socially-engaged art project to take place in a public space in New York City. The selected project must culminate in a public art installation, event, series, collaboration, or engagement between March and December 2024.

In addition, More Art collaborates with the selected artist or collective to facilitate community engagement, strategic project management, budgeting, curatorial vision, modes of presentation and circulation, PR and press outreach, identification and vetting of sites within the Parks system, application for permits, and the curation of final installations, performances, and educational programs. The selected artist will be working directly with More Art staff including the Chief Curator, Associate Curator, Director of Operations and Strategy, and the Community Engagement Coordinator, as well as representatives from the public spaces with whom we collaborate.

Artists are also invited to participate in workshops, artist talks, and peer network support with the EA Fellows. Click this link for more information on the Fellowship program.

We welcome artists who are looking to develop a new project or build on a current project in its early stages. The Commission is an opportunity for artists to collaborate deeply with More Art on all aspects of the artwork—as such, we are seeking projects that would benefit from mentorship and artists who are flexible to change and exchange. We are unlikely to support projects that have been presented elsewhere. 

Click here to read our definitions of public art and socially engaged art.

How do we define the EA Commission?

2025 will be the sixth year of this program, which grew out of the Engaging Artists Fellowship. The Commission was renamed recently to better reflect its purpose—it was previously called the “EA Residency.” While the EA Fellowship model supports the professional development of emerging public artists working at the intersections of art & social justice, the Commission provides a platform for early career socially-engaged artists to present their work in a public space.

Previous commissions have included Immanuel Oni’s Beyond Memorial (2023), Lily & Honglei’s The Red String (2022), Sean Desiree’s Beam Ensemble (2021) and Nolan Hanson’s Trans Boxing (2020).

More Art offers artists a unique pathway to be able to continue their practice in collaboration with advocacy organizations, schools, coalitions, unions, groups of neighbors, or the public at large. We highly encourage applications from artists whose work is participatory or follows traditions of interventionism and partnerships or elements of community organizing and education.

Community engagement + the Engaging Artists model

More Art believes art and artists play an integral role in empowering social justice movements by creatively illuminating social issues, engaging new audiences in activism, and catalyzing public discourse. The EA program enables artists to deepen their understanding of public art that is socially engaged through direct action including volunteering, outreach initiatives, workshops, expanded stakeholdership and the building of publics, educational programs, and public works. When applicable, More Art will assist our participants in establishing and/or sustaining crucial partnerships with community-based organizations, advocacy groups, agencies, neighborhoods, places, individuals or groups of New Yorkers.

Artist community + mentorship

In order to build strong artist-led coalitions, More Art believes in creating synergies between artists in various stages of their careers through dialogue and access to accomplished artists working in/with the public. There will be opportunities to connect with More Art’s commissioned public artists.

Our EA artists will also have an opportunity to engage and collaborate with a diverse network of past EA participants whose work addresses such critical issues as immigrant rights and economic empowerment, food justice, health and human services, housing justice, and gentrification. A large number of our EA alumni from both program tracks continue work in collaboration with others they have met during the program.

Click here to learn more about our commitment to community engagement and the Engaging Artists model.

  • Interest in More Art’s work and eagerness to learn
  • Willingness to present, support, and attend work produced in community and public settings, as opposed to galleries and museums
  • Strong commitment to More Art’s values, including but not limited to social justice and public engagement, diversity, equity, accessibility, and collaboration
  • Commitment to intersectional thinking and artmaking
  • Willingness to act with care and respect toward all collaborators, including More Art staff, EA fellows, and community members
  • Interest in establishing and/or sustaining partnerships with community-based organizations, advocacy groups, agencies, neighborhoods, places, individuals and/or groups of New Yorkers
  • Belief that art and artists are integral to empowering social justice movements by creatively illuminating social issues, engaging new audiences in activism, and catalyzing public discourse
  • Flexibility and openness to feedback
Applicant eligibility
  • Over 18 years of age
  • Not enrolled in a degree program during 2024
  • Individual artists or artist collectives may apply
  • NYC-based (or commuting distance) during the time of the project (March-December 2024): All applicants must be willing and able to be in NYC regularly for meetings, site visits, workshops, and events/gatherings throughout the year, as well as artwork maintenance (see next bullet point)
  • For artworks that have a physical element on view for a prolonged duration (eg. sculpture in a park on view for 1-2 months), the artist must be able to visit, monitor, and maintain the artwork 2-3 days a week during the “exhibition” phase. The artist must also be available within 24 hours to respond to vandalism or damage
  • We ask that artists commit to having no more than one overlapping fellowship, residency, and/or project at a time to avoid scheduling conflicts and spreading oneself too thin
  • Applicants should be early career artists who have an established practice as an artist (record of exhibitions, talks, reviews, publications, or public presentations) with a demonstrated history of work in social or community-based practice, but who have had limited opportunities to produce and present their work to the public. Oftentimes, the EA Commission is an artist’s first public art project.
  • More Art welcomes applications from artists of all disciplines, including but not limited to: visual artists, performers, choreographers, musicians and sound-based artists, designers, and new media artists.
Project eligibility + guidelines

Quick Project Eligibility Checklist

  • The public facing/exhibition phase of the project must take place between March and December.
  • Projects must be new or build on a current project in its early stages. Previously presented or recently completed projects will not be considered.
  • Must be free, open and accessible to the general public within New York City. It is preferable that projects take place within the NYC parks system but we are open to considering other options. Proposals for the presentation of work within art galleries or traditional presentation venues will not be considered.
  • Projects must be socially engaged through its creation and/or its presentation. We define socially-engaged artwork as a form of creative practice that involves the public in ways that build power and agency among participants and strive towards equity and justice.
  • We are open to any and all disciplines of art and creative practice including music/sound, choreography/dance, performance, theater, video, visual art, writing, community organizing, and more. We are also open to disciplines that may not traditionally fit into an artists practice, however the project must have some kind of art element.
  • We are open to projects that can exist in physical and/or digital space, however we give preference to projects that take place in physical space within New York City. For digital projects, we are particularly interested in applications from artists who explore the potential of digital space as a public space. This includes research, digital models, web design, and remote learning.

Project Feasibility Considerations

  • More Art will not consider any projects that would require a temporary structure permit from the NYC Dept of Buildings (DOB). This includes a structure that is taller than 10ft, or a stage, press platform or scaffolding that exceeds two feet in height and covers an area of 120 square feet or more. Any structures enterable by the public also fall within this requirement. A small 10’ x 10’ open sided tent that is erected for a single day/event is allowed.
  • Electricity access within the NYC Parks system is extremely limited. Please note any projects that require electricity for prolonged periods (eg. overnight or over the course of a number of days) may be considered non-feasible. More Art has access to a 2000w portable battery-powered generator for events which cannot be left unattended and needs to be recharged and stored in the office overnight.
  • Please also consider how any electronic, expensive, or fragile elements may be secured from theft or damage if installed in public spaces over prolonged periods of time.
  • High profile tourist-heavy parks such as Central Park, Union Square, and Washington Square Park are often difficult to gain access to for public art projects. Moreover, we give preference to projects located in communities that would benefit from access to public art and socially engaged projects.
Budget + resource allocation

The $8000 award should cover all elements of research and development, production, exhibition, display, and documentation. A project budget is requested as part of the application. Below is a suggested budget breakdown which can be adapted to fit the needs of the proposed project and should be articulated in the project narrative and budget.

  • 50% Exhibition Production
  • 15% Research & Outreach
  • 10% Artist Fee
  • 10% Video/Photo Documentation
  • 10% Public Programs/workshops
  • 5% Contingency

In Kind Costs

Please also include a breakdown of any potential in-kind or non-monetary supports, such as those from partners or other sponsors for the project. For example, technical assistance with digital projects, pro-bono or consulting from “experts” or representatives of community-based organizations with whom you wish to work, etc.

More Art works with a PR company for outreach to press outlets—the cost of which does not need to be accounted for in the budget and is included as an in-kind from More Art.  

Click here for a sample project budget.

Have a question? Contact us

Please email madison@moreart.org with any questions about the Commission program or application process and we will respond as soon as possible!

Past Commissioned Artists