Precipice Fund

ROUND 5 (2017) APPLICATION NOW LIVE (DUE: October 13):


Round Five (2017) Application Guidelines and Criteria

The Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA) is pleased to announce Round 5 of the Precipice Fund for 2017, with information sessions throughout the month of July, and an application deadline of October 13th.

The Precipice Fund will continue to award 15-20 grants of up to $5,000 each, for a total of $75,000 in giving, to unincorporated, collaborative, visual art projects, programs, and spaces in the metro areas of Portland, Astoria, and Eugene, OR.

To view 2017 Grant Guidelines, please click here.

See below for a schedule of information sessions, which will provide an overview of the Precipice Fund program, application process, eligibility and selection criteria, and tips for project budgeting and proposal writing.

To view previous grantees and their project summaries, select from funding years in the left-hand menu bar. We strongly encourage you to become acquainted with some of the successfully funded past projects in order to better understand the intentions and priorities of the Precipice Fund program.

Sign up for the Precipice Fund mailing list to stay abreast of important dates, deadlines, news, and the release of the application form, which will go live via Submittable on August 14th.


In Round 5, the Precipice Fund will award 15 to 20 grants of $500 to $5,000 each, for a total of $75,000 in annual giving. Occasionally, projects may be awarded less than the amount requested in a proposal.


Monday, August 14: Application opens online via Submittable

Friday, October 13, 11:59 PM Pacific Time: Application Deadline

Thursday, December 7: Grant Recipient Public Announcement / Celebration

2017 Funding Priorities & Eligibility (abbreviated)

The Precipice Fund prioritizes projects that:

- are innovative, experimental, and ambitious
- are artist-run, artist-driven, or artist-centric
- generate opportunities and platforms for local artists and audiences
- challenge or break from established notions, models, and forms of practice, presentation, and organization
- are presented in unconventional or non-traditional sites, spaces, and contexts
- engage a public via process, presentation, production, or publication
- contribute to the Portland, Astoria, or Eugene area cultural hubs’ critical, intellectual, and creative depth


Precipice Fund awards grants to visual art projects. Works in performance or other media are only eligible if the project clearly incorporates visual art elements at its core, and/or engages visual art discourse or an expanded definition of visual art practice. Film projects may be eligible in their creation phase, and if they clearly demonstrate connection to visual art practices/communities. We are open to innovation, experimentation, and risk-taking in the field and are supportive of diverse approaches to visual art making. If you have eligibility questions, please attend an Info Session.


The Precipice Fund aims to be flexible, open, and inclusive while prioritizing support for unincorporated projects and programs that are ineligible for most grant and funding sources.
Federal, 501(c)(3) registered nonprofits ARE NOT eligible.
Oregon (state-level) unincorporated nonprofit organizations ARE eligible.
LLC’s (limited liability companies) ARE eligible if their primary purpose is not a commercial or for-profit enterprise. We understand that some independent and artist-run spaces and collectives operate as LLC’s, but still function at no- to low-profit.
Projects must be collaborative (carried out by a collective or group of individuals). An individual artist’s project may be eligible if it is highly participatory, collaborative, or engages multiple publics via production and presentation.
Primary Contact must reside in Portland, Astoria, or Eugene/Springfield, OR. Collaborators may work or reside elsewhere.
If funded, projects must be completed by December 1, 2018.


Work that is not visual art (see explanation above).
Projects proposed, fiscally sponsored, or presented by a for-profit business or federally registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.* LLC’s or Oregon (state-level) registered nonprofits are eligible (see above for clarification).
The work of an individual artist that does not involve other artists or participants, or projects that are a continuation or completion of private studio practice
Projects that are part of a 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts organization’s core programming.
Projects on which the Primary Contact resides outside the Portland, Astoria, or Eugene/Springfield areas.
Projects that do not have a public component.

*The Precipice Fund supports independent projects, programs, and spaces that are otherwise ineligible for charitable and grant funding. This is a value of PICA and a mandate of our primary parent funder, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, which established the Regional Regranting Program to support artists and endeavors not otherwise eligible to apply directly for Warhol Foundation and other major grant funding. In a sense, we aim to “even the playing field”. Further questions? Attend an Information Session or contact [email protected]


One person must apply as the Primary Contact, who serves strictly as the point person during the application and granting process and is not considered the lead artist. All collaborators are viewed equally as artists, applicants, and grantees.
Primary Contact is the primary point person for communications during the application and grant process.
Primary Contact must reside in Portland, Astoria, or Eugene/Springfield, OR.
You may list up to five (5) collaborators* who share organizing responsibility for the project. Artists supported by your project but who do not have organizing or coordinating responsibility need not be listed as collaborators (e.g., an artist who is strictly exhibiting work but not planning the project/program). Unlike Primary Contacts, collaborators do not need to live in the Portland, Astoria, or Eugene areas. However, the Precipice Fund strongly encourages projects that involve and support Oregon-based artists.
An individual may only submit one application as a Primary Contact but may be listed as a collaborator on any number of applications.


Proposals will be reviewed by an external panel comprised of local, regional, and national artists and visual art professionals. PICA staff members do not serve as panelists. To be considered for funding, projects must be submitted on time and meet the minimum qualifications outlined above. Selection criteria includes but is not limited to:


Degree to which projects exemplify innovative or experimental practices
Potential to generate support and opportunity for local artists
Broader vision of the applicants


Capacity of applicant(s) to carry out and complete the project
Feasibility of project to be realized within grant period and with available resources


Accessibility to the public of the project’s final output
Commitment to serving local artists and audiences
Potential for impact on the region’s broader arts ecology