Ends on October 12, 2018

Southern Exposure's Alternative Exposure grant program supports the independent, self-organized work of artists and small groups playing a crucial role within the San Francisco Bay Area arts community.

Alternative Exposure provides monetary awards – giving grants of up to $5,000 – to foster the development and presentation of artist-led projects and programs that are accessible and open to the public. Funded activities may include a new exhibition or exhibition series, the ongoing work of an arts venue or collective, a public art project, a one-time event or performance, publications directly related to the visual arts, an online project, an artist residency, a series of film screenings and more.


Application Deadline: October 12, 2018

Round 12 Grantee Announcement: December 7, 2018 


Southern Exposure will host four free information sessions to provide more details on the application process, questions of eligibility, appropriate uses of grant funds and more. While attending an info session is encouraged, attendance is NOT required to apply for the Alternative Exposure grant. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Southern Exposure, 3030 20th Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

E.M. Wolfman Books, 410 13th Street, Oakland, CA  94612

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

NIAD, 551 23rd Street, Richmond, CA 94804

Saturday,  September 29, 2018

3:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Southern Exposure, 3030 20th Street, San Francisco, CA 94110


The program, launched in 2007 in partnership with the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, was developed in response to the dynamic work of artists and small groups that have long been emblematic of the San Francisco Bay Area's arts community. Now in its twelfth year, Alternative Exposure has awarded $717,700 in direct funds to 184 Bay Area projects to date. In 2017, Facebook’s Artist in Residence program provided additional funding to expand visibility for grantees with short video documentaries about their projects and a culminating daylong summit in Spring 2019. To learn more about the many projects funded by Alternative Exposure visit www.soex.org.


Since developing Alternative Exposure, The Andy Warhol Foundation has invested in the creation of a growing national network of regional re-granting programs by partnering with leading artist-centered, visual arts organizations across the country. In addition to San Francisco, there are programs in Houston, TX, Kansas City, MO, Chicago, IL  Portland, OR,  Miami, FL, Portland, ME, New Orleans, LA, Baltimore, MD , and Albuquerque, NM. 


Alternative Exposure grants directly fund visual arts projects that provide frameworks of support for artists to create and continue their work. Alternative Exposure is focused on supporting projects that present the work of more than one artist. Both individuals and groups are eligible to apply. If applying as a group, the artistic group or venue can be either long-standing or formed specifically for this opportunity.


Alternative Exposure will support projects at levels ranging from $500 to $5,000.


Alternative Exposure supports visual arts and projects strongly related to the visual arts. The work of media and performing arts are eligible when the visual arts are a central and essential element of the finished work. Southern Exposure is committed to new, diverse, and risk-taking forms of visual art and helping to define new practices. If you have questions about whether your project is eligible please attend one of the information sessions.


If your project has more than one organizer or you are applying as a collective, please choose one person to serve as the lead organizer. The lead organizer will be the primary contact for the project during the application and granting process. You can choose to list up to six additional collaborators on the application. The collaborators you list should be people who share organizing responsibilities on the project. Artists who are supported through your project, but do not have organizing responsibilities, do not need to be listed as collaborators in the application.


• The lead organizer must live in San Francisco, Contra Costa or Alameda counties. For groups, additional collaborators may live outside of these counties but the majority of collaborators in the group must live in an eligible county.

• Resulting project activities must be accessible and presented to the public within the San Francisco Bay Area.

• 501c3 non-profit organizations are NOT eligible to apply.

• Projects may not be a part of the primary programming of an established 501c3 non-profit arts organization.

• Funded projects should not begin before December 7, 2018. For projects or programs that are a part of existing venues or larger projects, the work supported by Alternative Exposure should not begin before this date.

• Funded projects must be completed by June 30, 2020. For projects or programs that are a part of existing venues or larger projects, the work supported by Alternative Exposure should be completed by this date.

• Applicants may be a lead organizer on more than one application, however, in these cases only one of their projects may be selected for funding.

• Applicants that have received Alternative Exposure grants from Rounds 1-8 (2007-2014) are eligible to apply again as lead organizers if 1) they are applying for a completely new, unrelated project, and 2) the first project was successfully completed and the final report was submitted to Southern Exposure.

• Grantees from Rounds 9, 10, or 11 (2015-2017) are NOT eligible to apply again as lead organizers in Round 12. However, former grantees (both lead organizers and additional collaborators) from all previous rounds may participate in Round 12 applications for new, unrelated projects as collaborators.


• Work that is not based in, or strongly related to the visual arts (see above description of visual arts).

• An individual artist seeking support to make their own work.

• Individual artists whose work includes groups of people in its creation, but whose finished work is solely considered that of the individual artist’s, not the collaborative group as a whole.


Southern Exposure’s review process will take 6-8 weeks. Applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

• The artistic strength and creative vision of the proposed project.

• How the proposed project will create a framework of support for Bay Area artists to continue their work.

• The demonstrated capacity of the applicant(s) to realize the proposed project.

• The completed project's accessibility to the public and its commitment to serving a local constituency.

Proposals will be reviewed by a panel of three local and/or national jurors made up of artists and arts professionals currently working in the field of visual arts in collaboration with Southern Exposure staff.


Your application must be completed via electronic submission. Paper applications are not accepted.



General information about the applicant(s). All biographies must be in narrative form. Do NOT submit individual resumes or artist CVs.


Outline your project in the form of a brief summary along with a full description and address the following:

A) Project Title

B) Project Summary (100 words max.)

• Summarize your project in a short paragraph.

C) Full Project Description (700 words max.)

• Describe your project in detail.

• What form will your project take? (e.g. exhibition, public art project, event, performance, publication, film series, interactive website, archive, publication, etc.)

• Where will your project take place? (Proposed projects may not take place at Southern Exposure.) If you don’t have a location yet, how do you plan to secure one? If your project does not require a physical venue, how will it be publicly accessed?

• Address your motivations for the project and your plans to support local artists.

• Who is your intended audience? What kind of community impact do you anticipate your project will have?

• Tell us about your project timeline and include milestone dates relevant to your project. (Refer to the ELIGIBILITY section for restrictions on project start and end dates.)


Complete the budget form with a project budget that estimates all of your anticipated expenses and income (including donated, or 'in-kind' services and labor). This writable PDF is best used with Adobe Acrobat. You will be prompted to upload the completed budget form when you are completing the online application. Please include your project title in the PDF name. For Example MyProject_BudgetForm.pdf.


Include up to two forms of support materials with your application. You will be prompted to upload all digital files and URLs when you are completing the online application.

• Up to 15 digital images – formatted as JPG, GIF, TIFF, or PNG files (not to exceed 800 x 600 pixels, 180 dpi). Each image file should be labeled with your name and a number that corresponds to an annotated image list (see below). For example, the first jpg submitted by applicant Jane Smith should be labeled Smith_Jane_01.jpg.

• Video: You may submit up to three works or three excerpts of works. We will view up to FIVE minutes of work in total. Please submit URLs to Vimeo, Youtube, or a personal portfolio website.

• Web-based Projects: submit a list of up to 3 URLs.

• Print materials (e.g. brochures, publications, books, etc.): Scan and submit as PDFs when appropriate. 

For print materials that cannot be submitted digitally, please clearly label the package with the lead applicant’s name and the project title, and mail or deliver in person by 5:00 PM on Friday, October 12, 2018 (receipt deadline, not a postmark deadline):

Attn: Alternative Exposure

Southern Exposure

3030 20th Street

San Francisco, CA 94110


Include a checklist that corresponds with each item of your visual support materials. Indicate artist name or organizer's name, title, year, medium, and brief description of each image (digital image, video, publication, website, etc.).


Tell us how we can get in touch with the lead organizer, and up to six additional collaborators.