Precipice Fund (PICA) Emergency grants for portland area artists


In light of the severe economic impacts of COVID-19 on artists’ livelihoods and practices, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art’s (PICA) Precipice Fund will convert its grantmaking for Round 8 (2020) to awarding $60,000 in emergency relief grants for independent visual artists based in the Portland Metro Area who are experiencing financial hardship. At the invitation of parent funder The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and in solidarity with partners in the Warhol Foundation’s Regional Regranting Network, PICA has quickly shifted course to adjust and adapt Precipice Fund’s core values, criteria, timeline, and giving priorities to implement and distribute this short turnaround, need-driven aid.

This effort reflects the centrality of artists to PICA’s mission and the ways in which the organization remains committed to artists, their lives, and their work, in crisis, and always.

Through an application-based selection process, a total of 120 grants of $500 each will be awarded to eligible visual artists* based in the Portland Metro region.

The application will ask artists to: 1) declare significant financial hardship or need through brief multiple choice questions and a narrative response, and 2) demonstrate an active visual art* practice through a brief artist statement, visual support material, and a description of their engagement with local art communities. Optional demographic questions will help panelists better understand and review applications through an intersectional equity lens.

The grantmaking process will be administered by PICA, and applications will be reviewed by a panel of local cultural workers, artists, and members of the PICA staff. Panelists will evaluate applications based on a combination of eligibility; application content, including demonstration of both financial need and active artistic practice; and a commitment to equity that ensures diversity among awardees and the inclusion of artists whose communities are underrepresented in relationship to visual art opportunities, economies, and funding streams.


  • Applications will go live via Submittable on Monday, May 4, 2020 at 9:00 AM PDT
  • Applications will close on Sunday, May 10, 2020 at 11:59 PM PDT
  • Applicants will be notified of decisions by Monday, May 18, 2020
  • Grant funds will be issued by May 31, 2020
  • All grantees will remain anonymous.


  • Must be 18 years of age or older and reside in the Portland Metro Area of Oregon.
  • Must be an actively practicing visual artist*.
  • Must submit a completed application form by the deadline.
  • *See FAQs for our definition of visual art.


    In the interest of administering the grant and distributing the funds as quickly and efficiently as possible, we have attempted to anticipate and answer any common or crucial questions below. Please refer to the FAQ’s before contacting Precipice Fund staff. We want you to apply with the knowledge and skills you have at hand. Please know that our panelists will take great care in reviewing your application.

    If, after reviewing the FAQ’s, you still have an urgent question about eligibility, the application form/process, or the program at large, please contact a Precipice Fund staff member at [email protected] for questions.


    What is your definition of visual art or visual artist*?

    We have an expansive definition of visual art practice. In addition to more traditional forms such as drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, installation, and similar mediums, we are also open to artists practicing in film/video, new media, sound art, performance art, and social practice. Artists whose practices are firmly rooted in dance, theatre, music, or industry/feature filmmaking are not eligible to apply. We are open to innovation, experimentation, and risk-taking in the field and are supportive of diverse approaches to visual art making.

    While this grant is not limited to past Precipice Fund awardees, if you have received a Precipice Fund grant before, please know that we already consider your practice to fall within these definitions. If you are new to PICA or unfamiliar with the Precipice Fund, choose from the left-hand menu of “Past Grant Recipients” for a sense of the kinds of artists and projects we have supported in the past.

    Why is the grant exclusive to visual artists?

    The Precipice Fund is part of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts’ Regional Regranting Program, which exclusively serves visual artists, in line with its founding mission. While PICA supports artists working in a multitude of disciplines, our Precipice Fund program is necessarily narrower in scope.

    What kind of artist statement and visual support material are you looking for?

    Applicants will be asked to provide a brief statement about their artistic identity/practice and demonstrate an active visual art practice for the past three (3) years or more through submission of visual support material (images, video, audio, and/or links). We will also ask applicants to describe how they are engaged in local art communities. The application is meant to be relatively short and simple so as not to create more burden for artists or ask for too much of their time, energy, or focus in the already stressful conditions under which we are living.

    How do I determine if I meet the financial need requirements?

    Eligibility is based on an applicant’s self-determination of need. We do not require proof of loss of income, cancellations, etc. We will ask applicants to identify their financial need via multiple choice questions. They will also have the option to describe their need in more detail.

    Relief aid is meant to serve those most vulnerable who are currently unable to afford essential costs of living, such as food, rent/mortgage, utilities, transportation, healthcare, prescriptions, caregiving, and childcare. Please be honest in assessing your own need, and mindful that we will receive far more applications than we will be able to fund. If you are currently financially stable (able to pay rent, buy food, etc.), please refrain from applying at this time.

    Do the grant amounts fluctuate? Can applicants request more or less than $500?

    No. All awardees will receive $500.

    Am I eligible to apply if I am a student currently enrolled in a degree-earning program?

    Yes. Unlike many other grant programs, the Precipice Fund’s Emergency Relief and regular rounds of grantmaking are open to currently enrolled students.

    Are artists in Astoria or Eugene areas eligible to apply?

    While the Precipice Fund normally awards grants to artists in the Eugene and Astoria areas of Oregon, and we understand there is financial need among artists in those regions, the Precipice Fund Emergency Relief Grants are restricted to artists based in Metro Portland due to the overwhelming need in the area, which is PICA’s headquarters. The anticipated number of applications from Portland alone is expected to greatly exceed our giving capacity.

    If I have received a Precipice Fund grant in the past, am I still eligible? Do I have an advantage?

    Past Precipice Fund grantees are eligible to apply for the Emergency Relief Grant regardless of when they were awarded a Precipice Fund grant. Thus, 2019 grantees are eligible to apply for the Emergency Relief grant. Past grantees do not have an advantage over other applicants.

    Who is on the panel?

    Panelist names will remain confidential. Panelists include a mix of Portland-based artists, arts administrators, cultural workers, and PICA leadership.

    Will grant recipient names be publicized?

    No. Unlike past rounds of Precipice Fund, the Emergency Relief Grants are largely need-based, and thus all awardees’ names will be kept confidential and will not be publicized by PICA.

    Will there be another round of applications or distribution of more funds?

    In 2020, we have a finite budget from the Warhol Foundation that covers grants as well as the costs of operating the program. We hope to secure additional funds through other channels that will allow the Precipice Fund to make more Emergency Relief Grants available in the future.


    Precipice Fund



    The Precipice Fund provides critical support for artist-driven organizations, projects, initiatives, and publications that exist on the edge of new practice. These projects operate outside of traditional forms of support, galvanize communities, promote critical dialogue, and encourage generative and expansive artistic process while driving culture forward regionally and nationally. These often informal, anti-institutional, serious, intentionally nebulous, and innovative projects are an integral part of the greater Portland region’s vital art ecology and are emulative of the pioneering spirit of the Pacific Northwest.

    2019 Grant Recipients View grantees >

    Precipice Fund is proud to announce our Round Seven (2019–20) grant recipients. In the program’s seventh year, $60,000 was awarded to 13 collaborative artist projects, programs, and spaces, ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 each.

    Grant recipients were selected by an external panel of artists, curators, and art professionals throughout the country, including Ashley DeHoyos (Houston, TX), Ashley Stull Meyers (Portland, OR), Lydia Rosenberg (Pittsburg, PA), and Ralph Pugay (Portland, OR).

    Follow us! @precipicefund


    Precipice Fund is administered with lead support from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts as part of the Regional Regranting Program of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Additional support has been provided by the Calligram Foundation/Allie Furlotti and the Oregon Community Foundation.

    The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual ArtsCalligram Foundation/Allie Furlotti

    About the Warhol Regional Regranting Program

    The Regional Regranting Program aims to support vibrant, under-the-radar artistic activity by partnering with leading cultural institutions in communities across the country. The program allows the Foundation to reach the sizeable population of informal, non-incorporated artist collectives and to support their alternative gathering spaces, publications, websites, events and other projects. The Foundation plans to expand this program with partner organizations in areas where the level of on-the-ground, self-organized artistic activity is highest.

    The 12 re-granting programs–developed and facilitated by organizations in Albuquerque, Baltimore, Chicago, Houston, Kansas City, Miami, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Portland (OR), Portland (ME) and San Francisco–provide grants of up to $6,000 for the creation and public presentation of new work. Together the programs have funded more than 240 projects over six years. For more information, visit

    Partners in the Regranting Network

    Precipice Fund, Portland OR
    Alternative Exposure, San Francisco, CA
    Fulcrum Fund, Albuquerque, NM
    Grit Fund, Baltimore, MD
    The Idea Fund, Houston, TX
    The Kindling Fund, Portland, ME
    Platforms Fund, New Orleans, LA
    The Propeller Fund, Chicago, IL
    Rocket Grants, Kansas City, MO
    Visual Arts Fund, Minneapolis, MN
    Wavemaker Grants, Miami, FL
    Velocity Fund, Philadelphia, PA