Unstoppable Voters 2021
We believe that for U.S. democracy to work for all of us, it must include all of us.
But the U.S. freedom to vote is under extraordinary attack. On a state level, over 20 bills have already been enacted just this year to deliberately exclude voters and make it harder to vote. On the federal level, efforts at implementing national, pro-voter standards are in serious danger of being dead in the water. And at a broader level, there is apathy, division, and distrust.
However, we have hope. We believe we can become a country where people feel invested in and excited about civic life. We believe legislation can be passed at the federal and state levels to support that civic life and protect the freedom to vote. And we know that we need to use the powers of art and culture to make this promise of democracy real for us all.
That’s why we’re funding people and projects that share this vision – and will use their creativity to implement ambitious, impactful actions that will make a huge difference. Read on to learn project details, funding and support specifics, timeline, evaluation criteria, and more, and to apply.
The Center for Artistic Activism’s Unstoppable Voters 2021 will fund projects around major voting issues, such as:
Cultivating community and creating a culture of civic engagement and excitement that extends beyond any one election or administration
Countering feelings of obligation, apathy, and disconnection around civic life
Increasing power and reach of pro-voter groups by recruiting and retaining diverse and dedicated volunteers
Countering volunteer attrition, shallow engagement, and limited reach
Increasing trust in the election process
Countering frivolous audits, baseless claims of fraud, and outright rejection of voters’ clear election choices
Increasing safety for voters and election officials
Countering fears and threats of political violence, election worker intimidation, and more
Making voting accessible through passing legislation that implements popular, effective measures including: early voting; vote by mail; ballot tracking; automatic, online, and same-day voter registration; making Election Day a holiday; restoring voting to people who are in or have completed time in prison
Countering deliberate barriers to voting such as: forcing people to carry a specific type of ID to vote, requiring voters to have a witness or a paid notary to submit a mail-in ballot, barring people from voting by mail unless they provide an excuse, deleting voters from voter rolls, prohibiting people from helping voters waiting in line to vote
Ensuring fair representation and fair drawing of political maps during redistricting
Countering the disenfranchisement of gerrymandering, in which politicians choose their voters instead of us being able to choose our politicians
Ensuring people understand their freedom to vote and the deliberate attacks to take that freedom away
Countering under-education, misinformation, and disinformation
Helping pro-voter groups integrate creative and cultural strategies and tactics, including local artists and other creative people, into their long-term plans and campaigns
Countering the inclination to repeat familiar but increasingly less effective strategies and tactics, and the artificial separation of art and activism
We’re interested in projects that are collaborations between pro-voter organization(s) and creative(s). There’s no one way for this collaboration to manifest: it could be led by an artist who volunteers with an organization, a staff member at an organization who has an idea for a creatively ambitious project, a more extensive partnership between an artist and a group, a creative connection with a body or institution with a voting freedom and/or social justice background, and more.
Funding and Support
Support of up to $15,000 includes: mentorship, communications training, project amplification, cohort building, and resource sharing, totaling $5,000. Each project will be awarded up to $10,000 in direct funding for materials and people’s time.
We are particularly interested in projects that have impact in states that are facing extraordinary anti-voter efforts, including Georgia, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Texas. However, attacks on voting are happening across the country, and we are seeking proposals for projects based in any location whose populations need their freedom to vote protected.
We accepted applications through June 25th at 11:59 pm EST.
By around July 9th, a panel of judges will select 4-6 projects.
Work on selected projects should begin immediately and continue through October.
We will evaluate project proposals by the following criteria (though projects do not need to meet every single one):
– Is the project creatively risk-taking, innovative, and might not be supported elsewhere?
– Will it have real impact against deliberate barriers to voting, especially in communities that are experiencing the most aggressive anti-voter efforts? Is the project relevant, exciting, pressing, and likely to get people to show up to protect our freedom to vote?
– Does it do more than raise awareness? Does it have the strong potential to change people’s behavior and/or change policy?
– Is it a deep, exciting collaboration between a pro-voter group and a creative person or people?
– Will it motivate people to act on pro-voting calls from advocacy organizations? Will it help advocacy organizations engage, inspire, and retain their audiences around voting issues?
– Does it empower and create community? Does it welcome people to participate? Does it inspire people to take specific actions?
– Can it be repeated and amplified by other artists and groups?
– Is it funny, weird, borderline impossible AND ALSO clear, direct, achievable within the timeframe and resources provided?
The Center for Artistic Activism is a 501c3 nonprofit, and projects we support cannot advocate for or against any candidate running for office or otherwise work to influence an election.
The application is now closed.
Please be brief. Questions have suggested word counts, but we understand it might make sense to write more for one answer and less for another. Overall, across all questions, please have a word count of no more than 1,750.
If you’d like to submit more than one idea, you’re welcome to – just submit a complete, separate application for each.
Email C4AA’s Special Projects Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.