Downtown Program Fund Grant
The deadline for submissions was noon on February 7, 2024
Downtown Program Fund 2024
Is there an event or artistic installation you would like to present in downtown Eugene? Community-driven events and programming are needed now more than ever to build community, uplift the soul and share the stories and experiences from our increasingly diverse city. The Downtown Program Fund grant, offered by City of Eugene Cultural Services, provides artists and organizations with an opportunity to transform public spaces into arts and culture destinations that support the vibrancy, economic vitality and livability of the cultural heart of Eugene.
Funding of up to $5,000 per project will be awarded to organizations or individuals who wish to produce their own quality programming in publicly accessible spaces in Eugene’s downtown core. These spaces include the Park Blocks, Kesey Square, the Farmers Market Pavilion and Plaza and other public right of ways, such as sidewalks or City streets. Funding can support any artistic or cultural discipline, including visual art, dance, music, theatre, film/video/media, multidisciplinary fields and events.
The 2024 Downtown Program Fund seeks to:
- Bring visitors, economic vitality, a sense of place and safety to the downtown core through activation of public spaces with arts and culture events and/or installations.
- Help our regional artists and arts organizations thrive.
- Foster a sense of belonging and safety for historically marginalized and underrepresented communities, such as Eugene’s BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities, low-income communities, people experiencing disabilities, unhoused individuals, youth and seniors.
- Promote cultural exchanges through public art and experiences that will generate empathy, understanding, dialogue, wonder and curiosity.
Public Info Sessions
You are invited to attend one or both sessions.
In-person Work Session
Monday, Jan. 29, 4:30-6 p.m.
In-person • People's Collective, 1695 Jefferson St. (use the building entrance on Jefferson St.)
All interested applicants are welcome to attend this in-person, drop-in session where you can talk about your specific project and bring your questions.
Online Info Session
This online info session, led by Senior Downtown Events and Permitting Coordinator David Dickinson, was held on Jan. 18, 2024. In this video, staff answers questions about the City of Eugene's Downtown Program Fund grant and provides tips on navigating the application and budget.
At the 20:06 minute mark, you can see an example of the budget process for a hypothetical event.
- The Downtown Program Fund grant is open to all organizations and individuals headquartered/physically residing within Lane County.
- Organizations or artists with outstanding Downtown Program Fund grants are not eligible to apply until their programs are completed and final reports have been submitted.
- Previously funded programs, artists and organizations are eligible to reapply. Approximately 30% of funding will be awarded to first-time programs, small-scale programs or programs occurring in areas other than the Farmers Market Pavilion and Plaza.
- Proposed programming must take place between April 1 and Oct. 31, 2024.
- Programs must take place in publicly accessible spaces in Eugene’s downtown core. These spaces include the Park Blocks, Kesey Square, the Farmers Market Pavilion and Plaza and other public right of ways, such as sidewalks or City streets.
- Programs should be made as accessible as possible for community members. If the event is not free to attend, a portion of tickets must be offered for free or on a sliding scale.
- Applicants must provide a 1:1 cash, in-kind and/or volunteer time match for the project that equals the amount of your Downtown Program Fund grant amount (e.g., if the City awards you $1,000 then you must also contribute at least $1,000 toward your project costs). Your total match amount should consist of one or any combination of the following:
- Cash: either already secured or additional funds you anticipate raising through sponsorships or other fundraising.
- In-kind: this includes donated materials and supplies, valued at full retail or rental cost.
- Volunteer time: value each hour of volunteer time given to the project at the nationally established rate of $31.80 per hour.
- Please note that you can choose to use in-kind and/or volunteer time as 100% of your match.
- Applicants may submit proposals for as many as two programs. If two programs are proposed then a complete and separate application is required for each one.
- City of Eugene employees are not eligible to personally apply for a Downtown Program Fund grant as individuals, but may be involved with an organization or group led by a non-City employee who is applying for a grant.
- The applicant must be able to obtain liability insurance as a requirement of the Downtown Activity Zone Permit.
- Read the tabs on eligibility, selection criteria and timeline to learn more about the Downtown Program Fund.
- Before filling out your application, prepare by reviewing the list of application questions.
- Complete the Downtown Program Fund Application. Creating an account is not required but is strongly encouraged as it will allow you to save your progress and return at a later date to finish your application.
- Applications must be submitted by noon on Feb. 7, 2024.
- To what extent will the programming draw people to downtown spaces and meet the goals of Downtown Program Fund and the mission of Cultural Services?
- Does the programming allow for adaptability to last minute changes? Does the project allow for flexibility/scaling?
- Does the applicant demonstrate the capacity to display thoughtful planning and produce the proposed programming? Does the applicant have experience administering and producing similar programming?
- How will the project demonstrate community engagement with the communities the applicant serves and/or represents?
- To what extent does the project impact the community the applicant serves?
Equity, Inclusion and Diversity:
- Is the program accessible and welcoming for all community members? Are diversity, equity and inclusion incorporated?
- Does the program support historically marginalized or underrepresented communities? Does the project provide access, opportunities and/or resources to these communities? Is the applicant’s marketing plan sufficient to connect with these communities?
- Does the budget look thorough and complete?
If awarded, Cultural Services expects the awarded individual/organization to:
- Conduct all marketing and promotion of their program, aside from limited marketing support from Cultural Services (see below for details).
- Include the City of Eugene Cultural Services logo on all visual marketing materials for the program and/or the written name in the program press releases and other written information.
- Upon completion of the program, submit a completed Final Report Form and provide the City with 3-5 high quality, copyright-free digital photographs of the program for use in future City promotions.
- Awardees will receive 80% of the funds upon award notification and 20% upon completion of their program with the completed Final Report Form due no later than Nov. 15, 2024.
Support from Cultural Services
In addition to funding, Downtown Program Fund awardees will also receive:
- An initial consultation with the Cultural Services staff, including advisement on permits and assistance in scheduling a meeting with the departments issuing relevant permits.
- A marketing toolkit with tips on best practices for promoting the event. Marketing contributions from Cultural Services will be limited to mentions on the division’s website and social media posts. Awardees are expected to manage and fund all other marketing campaigns for their programs.
- Access to available City equipment, including tables, chairs and canopies.
- Introductions to relevant downtown businesses.
Jan. 3: Grant applications open
Jan. 18, noon-1 p.m.: Online info session
Jan. 29, 4:30-6 p.m.: In-person work session
Feb. 7, noon: Application deadline
Mar. 11: Grant recipients announced
April 1 to Oct. 31: Programming events occur
Nov. 15: Final report due
- Does my match need to be 100% cash?
No, your match can be any combination of cash or in-kind contributions. Read more about the budget in How to Create Your Downtown Program Fund Budget for step-by-step instructions.
- What do I do if my expenses and revenue do not match up in the budget?
The total revenue shown in your budget must match your total expenses.
- If your expenses exceed your revenue, consider ways you can increase your revenue sources. Ideas for this are listed in the document How to Create Your Downtown Program Fund Budget.
- If your revenue exceeds your expenses, consider the need for your program. How will your expenses contribute to the long-term success of the participants and of downtown Eugene? Is this funding essential to your program and what does your program uniquely bring to the City?
- Am I responsible for paying the fees for permits my program requires?
Yes, all awardees are responsible for paying the necessary permit fees. Cultural Services staff will be available to advise on permits and to assist in scheduling a meeting between you and the departments issuing relevant permits.
- I have an idea for an event, but not a date. Can I still apply?
Yes, but please list a preferred date or timeframe on your application even if the date is not yet confirmed (e.g., “one Saturday evening at the end of August”). Knowing your date or timeframe helps the selection committee approve programs that are evenly distributed between April 1 and Oct. 31. If approved, you can work with Cultural Services staff during your advising appointment to select a final date.
- I want to include artists in my program, but how do I calculate how much to pay them?
We encourage you to connect with the artists you would like to include in your program before you submit your application. Ask them the amount of their current rate and how they would like to be involved.
- I want my program to happen outdoors. How should I plan for inclement weather?
It is critical to plan for last-minute changes such as rain or wildfire smoke. Can your program continue using canopy tents or a nearby shelter? What planning can you put in place now if you need to postpone your program, such as having back-up reservations for visiting artists or a marketing plan to announce a change in date?
Cultural Services Mission
City of Eugene Cultural Services provides responsible and catalytic leadership to support the public’s vision for a thriving arts and cultural sector that contributes to the community’s social and economic well-being. The Community and Cultural Affairs section believes the work of the arts creates a stronger, more vibrant and creative community through shared experience that uplift the soul and tell the diversity of stories from our communities.