Fifty-seven local arts organizations and projects will receive financial aid thanks to the City of Sacramento’s Creative Economy Pilot Project, who earlier this month announced 13 recipients of grants up to $25,000 and 44 recipients of microgrants up to $5,000.

The purpose of providing Creative Economy Pilot Project grants, according to a fact sheet provided online at, is to “Support arts and culture projects that stimulate economic development and activity, as well as social impact.” It goes on to say that, “The City recognizes the significant impacts the creative economy contributes and is interested in testing a place-based approach to developing small-scale economic hubs through arts and culture to sustain or create investment and jobs in a targeted area.”

Throughout a 45-day application period, a total of 481 applications were filed with $7.6 million in funding requests. Under the Pilot Project, $500,000 was awarded. Applications were reviewed by a nine-member panel of experts in economic development and the arts, including six members appointed by the Mayor and three by the City Manager.

A few standouts from the 13 projects and organizations that will receive the larger grants from $8,000 to $25,000 are: First Festival, an all-local music, art and comedy festival whose 4th annual event will take place May 5–6, 2018, at Tanzanite Park; the Sacramento Black Book Fair, which celebrates black literature along with related cultural productions such as music and art; Hacker Lab’s SacMade, a brand that unifies and supports the Sacramento maker and manufacturing community; Fairytale Town’s Pop-Up Adventure Play Days, which will offer free fun and games for the whole community; and Swell Productions’ Roots and Branches Walkabout and Concert, which will be a self-guided event in Oak Park with live blues, spoken word, gospel, jazz, live cinema and a lightshow.

A few of the standouts from the 44 smaller microgrant recipients of up to $5,000 are: Capital Dance Project’s G.R.O.U.N.D., an interlocking flooring and pressure sensor system to collect data created by the interaction of performers and audience members; Zero Forbidden Goals and AndYesPoetry’s Operation FreeSoul project; local artist Eben Burgoon, who will host city-wide comic book workshops at schools in each district; ATLAS Lab Inc.’s TOPOshare, a temporary art installation that seeks to improve public life on Broadway and serve as a community outreach tool for nonprofits; The Red Museum, a local arts and culture event center that will produce a year-long series of 18 creative events in its Mansion Flats warehouse and artist space; The Cypher Hip-Hop Workshops, which aim to give youth experiencing homelessness an opportunity to find their voice through hip-hop culture; The Mahogany Urban Poetry Series, who will throw a festival featuring live music, poetry, workshops, food and local vendors; and many, many others.

And in the interest of being fully transparent, we are thrilled that our very own company, Submerge Magazine, was also awarded a microgrant to aid in purchasing more news boxes to reach and engage with more readers around the city via our free arts and entertainment coverage. We’re honored to be among the list of local organizations and projects chosen for funding assistance, and we truly hope that everyone who applied and did not get funded will not give up on their projects. Go forth, makers, and make rad things happen!

A full list of the Creative Economy Pilot Project grant and microgrant recipients can be viewed online at

**This article first appeared in print on page 8 of issue #253 (Nov. 20 – Dec. 4, 2017)**

    Jonathan Carabba

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    Find me at the bowling alley. Co-founder + Advertising Director + Marketing at Submerge. Contact: