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Populus Fund FAQ

What is Populus Fund?

Populus Fund is a re-granting initiative organized by The Union, through the generous support of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts in order to support innovative artist projects throughout Omaha–Lincoln metros. Populus Fund was founded to provide essential support for projects exemplifying new ways of working in, for, and with the public.

How are 2022 Project Grants different from the Emergency Grants distributed in 2020 + 2021?

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, many artists were in need of critical financial support. Instead of awarding funds for projects, Populus Fund’s inaugural 2020 and 2021 grants were in the form of unrestricted emergency funds to support vital needs such as medical bills, rent, debts, and food.

In 2022, Populus Fund grants will move to a project-based model, with a total of six $10,000 grants being awarded. Funds are designated for projects proposed by artists or artist groups working outside established institutions that provide experiences, content, materials, activities, platforms, etc. that engage and connect with the community through art. Union staff will remain neutral in the selection process. We will have a short vetting process to ensure our selected awardees meet our eligibility criteria. Awarded projects will be selected by an outside jury.

Am I eligible to receive a Project Grant if I received a Populus Fund Emergency Grant in 2020 or 2021?

YES! If you received a Populus Fund Emergency Grant in 2020 or 2021, you are definitely eligible to receive a Project Grant in 2022.

I applied in 2020 and/or 2021, but DID NOT receive a Populus Fund Emergency Grant, am I eligible?

Yes, you are eligible!

How can I apply?

If eligible, you can apply here, via the Submittable platform. If you’ve used Submittable before and have an existing account, you will need to enter your login credentials. If it is your first time using Submittable, you will need to create a new account.

If you have any technical issues on Submittable, such as questions related to password retrieval, confirming receipt of applications, or revising submitted applications, please contact support@submittable.com.

What if my eligibility status might change throughout the course of the project timeline? For example, I plan to move out of the 80-mile radius or anticipate receiving 501c3 status?

If you anticipate a change in your eligibility status during your project implementation timeline, please do not apply. This funding is meant to support independent artists living in our region throughout the duration of the grant support.

What can I use Project Grant funds for?

Project Grant funds may be used for all aspects of the proposed artistic project including research, materials, collaboration, development, and creation, as outlined in your proposed budget.

The Union believes in paying artists. We strongly encourage fair compensation for all artists and collaborators involved in the project. Please reflect this in your proposed project budget.

Who will make up the jury?

The jury will be comprised of 5 individuals from the following categories:

  • Artist, arts professional, or community organizer from out of state (1 juror)

  • Two artists, arts professionals, or community organizers working within the 80-mile radius of The Union (2 jurors)

  • An artist working in the visual arts in a public facing way (1 juror)

  • Arts professional working for one of the original 16 re-granting organizations funded by The Andy Warhol Foundation (1 juror)

What criteria will jurors use when reviewing artist project proposals?

Projects will be reviewed by the jury based on the innovative, artistic, and creative strength of the proposed project, as well as the overall articulated vision of the applicant. Jury members will also take into consideration the capacity of the applicant to complete the project within the proposed timeline and budget.

Projects that support community collaboration, inclusion, diversity, equity, and access will be prioritized. In-person projects must incorporate COVID-19 safety protocols for the health and safety of participants and community.

How will my application information be used?

The information you provide in this application is confidential and may be used to report demographics without identifying information. Demographic information is optional and not required to submit an application.

How can I share about my creative or artistic practice within the application?

Within the application, you will be asked to share 5 work samples. You can upload these work samples as individual files, or you can link to an exhibition, performance, public event, or project you participated in. You can also share a link to your website or social media account used to share your art, or a publication about your work.

Alongside your work samples, you will be asked to provide a document identifying each work sample with the title, a brief description, your role, and dates.

The majority of my financial support does not come from my artistic practice. Am I eligible?

Yes, as long as you can establish that you are a practicing artist that is making your work publicly available.

I am a theatre artist, dancer, musician, performance artist, or practice another art form. Can I still apply?

Populus Fund has an expansive understanding of the visual arts. If your project is connected to the visual arts and you can communicate this within your application, you are eligible. This could include visual/multidisciplinary artists who create original work in painting, drawing, sculpture, book art, ceramics, fiber, printmaking, digital/media works, film, video, photography, performance art, sound art, social practice and/or hybrid or interdisciplinary practice of any/all of the above.

If you are uncertain, please reach out to our team – populusfund@u-ca.org – to determine your eligibility.

Why are only visual artists allowed to apply for this funding?

Populus Fund is part of the Regional Re-Granting program funded by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. The Warhol Foundation’s funding priorities are to support visual artists working in partner cities.

I own or run a nonprofit entity or LLC. Am I eligible to apply?

Organizations such as non-profits and independent art businesses are not eligible for funding as entities, however individual artists associated with entities are eligible as individuals. This project grant is intended to support the creative practice of individual artists and artist collectives.

I am currently a Union Fellow, teaching artist, performing artist, or exhibiting artist. Am I eligible to apply?

Yes. Eligibility is not impacted by prior or current engagements, awards, or programming affiliations with The Union or The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. However, you may not be or have an immediate family member that is on Union staff or board.

What are the boundaries of the 80-mile radius?

Please refer to this map to determine your location eligibility. Your location will be reviewed by Union staff to determine eligibility.

Does the project being proposed have to happen within the 80-mile radius boundaries?

Because this funding is meant to impact our regional arts + culture communities, a significant part of the project being proposed must occur in and engage with communities living within the 80-mile radius. However, projects that engage communities outside of the 80-mile radius in addition to our radius requirements will be considered.

What should I do if I have to move after I’ve submitted an application?

If you are selected as a grant recipient, please include your new address in your email response to the notification, along with your W-9. It is not necessary to contact anyone about a change of address prior to being selected. However, funded artists must live within the 80-mile radius during the application process and for the duration of their project implementation.

Can I receive assistance and/or feedback when filling out my application?

The Union will be scheduling 1 on 1 feedback sessions April 5 - 9. During this time applicants can receive direct feedback regarding their application from a Union staff member. CLICK HERE to register.

Additionally, The Union will host two virtual info sessions (March 2 and March 5) to outline the process and eligibility requirements and answer any questions applicants may have. The March 2 info session will be recorded and then shared at the top of our FAQ page for viewing.

If you have a question about the application process or eligibility that is not answered in that video tutorial or need assistance from our team in reading or filling out the application, please email us at populusfund@u-ca.org.

I’m having trouble with the online application form. Can I submit a paper application, or email it to you?

No, unfortunately although we do usually make accommodations with paper applications, in this instance current limitations of the COVID-19 situation require us to only receive applications digitally. If you need assistance or access to technology/wifi to complete the online application, please contact us at populusfund@u-ca.org or call 402-933-3161 and leave a message with how to contact you.

Can I apply on behalf of someone else with their consent?

Yes. We are aware that many individuals whose need is greatest may not have regular internet or computer access. If you wish to submit an application on behalf of another person with their consent, you will need to create a Submittable account for them and be sure to fill out the rest of the application with their information. If you are filling out the application for more than one project, you will need to create a unique Submittable account each time.

Will Union staff be selecting Project Fund recipients?

No. Following best practice in funding, Union staff will remain neutral in the selection process. For the Project Fund awards, we will have a short vetting process to ensure our selected awardees meet our eligibility criteria. Awarded projects will be selected by an outside jury of individuals.

When will I be notified if I am receiving funding?

Awardees will be notified in early June 2022.

Will Project Grant awardees be announced?

Yes. Recipients of the Populus Fund Project Grant will be announced in June 2022.

What will you require to issue my grant?

If your application is selected for a grant, you must be able to provide a W-9 and Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), and a mailing address at which you can receive a paper check. We will provide grantees with a digital link to complete and sign the W-9 in addition to a grant agreement form.

Is this grant taxable?

Yes. Awardees will be sent a 1099 tax form for the $10,000 award. Project budgets can consider this in their use of funds. Please contact your tax advisor for specific recommendations.

If I am applying as part of a collective, how will the grant payments be distributed?

The Union will work with the collective to split up the grant award amongst the artists working together in the collective. We will make every effort to accommodate payment arrangements as needed.

If I am not selected for a grant, will I still be notified?

Yes, we will respond to all applicants, whether they are selected for funding or not.

What if I am selected and need an accommodation for payment installments due to disability, unemployment, or other status?

We will make every effort to accommodate selected recipients with alternate payment arrangements. If you are selected for a grant, please include your accommodation request in your response.

What kind of support will The Union provide for grant awardees?

The Union will schedule regular check-ins with all Populus Fund grant awardees to discuss progress and offer project guidance. The Union will also offer communications support and promotion of funded projects via our channels (social media, etc.). Beyond this, responsibility for the implementation, creation, and completion of all funded projects is held solely by awardees.

Can you explain the project development timeframe?

Funded projects need to be put into action and implemented between the dates of June, 2022 and June, 2023. Not all projects will have a definite conclusion and may, by their nature, be operating indefinitely. Therefore, the June, 2023 conclusion date does not suggest the necessary "end" or "completion" of projects, rather it is the date by which all projects must be fully in-progress, having made significant steps toward the point of being ready for engagement with, or presentation to, the public

Can The Union host, collaborate, or support my proposed idea?

No. The Union cannot be a project partner or host any aspect of the proposed project. Should your project be funded, the $10,000 grant will be the only monetary support offered.

Any other questions not answered on this FAQ, please contact Union staff at populusfund@u-ca.org or call 402-933-3161 and leave a message with your contact information.