Mural Matching Grant

                              Mural Matching Grant FAQs


Do I need permission from the City to place a mural on my property?

If not seeking funding from the city, a property owner may install a mural on their own building without a permit as long as it does not cross over into a commercial sign. If you are renting or leasing property, you should receive permission from the property owner to install a mural. If you think your mural might include logos, emblems, words or symbols that may cause it to be considered a commercial sign, please check with the Planning Department before proceeding at 831-420-5100 or planningcounter@cityofsantacruz.com

I would like funding for my mural project, what kinds of mural projects receive funding?

Grants for murals may be awarded for projects that meet certain criteria as determined by a review panel. The criteria will depend on the amount requested – with the higher the request amount the more criteria that need to be met. All projects, however, are reviewed at a minimum for the following: artistic merit; scale; feasibility; media; structural and surface stability of the wall; graffiti mitigation; maintenance agreement; public accessibility and safety; and, if the project supports the Vision, Mission and Values of the Santa Cruz Arts Commission.

Who can submit mural projects for grant funding consideration?

Anyone can propose a mural project, including property owners, artists, organizations, neighborhood associations, and government agencies. Ideas for murals will be accepted from anyone, provided they address and meet the criteria laid out in the Mural Matching Grant application.

What are the funding levels for mural projects? Murals may be funded with an equal match from the applicant. The current policy allows a City match up to $30,000. This means that if the City provided $30,000 in grant funds the total project cost would be $60,000. Most requests and grant awards are much smaller than this. The criteria for approval are laid out in three funding tiers and the full policy can be found here.

What counts as a match for a mural project? Cash, in-kind contributions (e.g. donated equipment or paint) and volunteer time – or the combination thereof- can all be proposed as a match. Volunteer time is calculated at $26.87 per hour in 2016. See the budget worksheet on the Mural Matching Grant application for further details.

How do I apply for a Mural Matching Grant? You will be asked to submit a detailed proposal including sketches/rendering, a budget and a timeline. Forms are provided on the website or via e-mail.  Grant application deadlines and forms are found online on our Programs and Partnerships Page (at the bottom of the page) and you may also contact staff by e-mail at PublicArt@CityofSantaCruz.com or by phone at 831-420-5154 for information.

How does the mural selection process work?

The selection process varies depending on the funding level but generally the City Arts Manager will convene a selection panel for the proposed project. The panel may approve, approve with conditions, deny the mural proposal, or may refer the decision to the Arts Commission. Applicants will be informed if they have been selected to receive grant monies. It is possible that an approved project may be funded at less than the requested amount.

How long do I have to complete my project?

You should complete your project within a year of being awarded the funding. A final report is due within 30 days of the project completion.

I already have an artist selected to do my project, is that OK?

Yes, but it is important that the artist is able to manage the project and has experience with placing outdoor murals. The artist should have knowledge regarding the appropriate wall preparation, appropriate paints, and the ability to deliver a project within the budget and on time. If you would like to work with a less experienced artist the City may be able to connect that artist with resources, on a limited basis, such as finding mentors or training. The selection panel will consider the feasibility of the proposed project in determining if funds are awarded.

Do I need to have the artist sign a contract with the City?

Yes, artists working on mural projects funded in part of in whole by the City will be required to execute a contract with the City that includes a Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA) and the California Art Preservation Act (CAPA) waiver.

Do I need a signed maintenance agreement from the property owner?

Yes, the property owner must sign an agreement to maintain the mural for a minimum of five years, with some limited exceptions.

Will I need a Temporary Encroachment permit from Public Works to install a mural?

If the artist will be occupying the public side of the private property, such as the sidewalk or street, a temporary encroachment permit is needed from the Public Works department. The permit is $200 and requires insurance. The artist may need to provide a pedestrian or traffic control plan depending on the complexity of the encroachment into the public right-of-way.

What is the history of the Santa Cruz Mural Program?

The former Redevelopment Agency began placing murals in downtown alleys in 1994 and then in 2007 in the Merged and Eastside Redevelopment Areas. Through a matching grant model, murals were encouraged on both public and private property for the purpose of historical identification, district identification, to mitigate graffiti and help create a sense of place. In 2015, the Santa Cruz Arts Commission sought to establish a clearer review process and the resulting Mural Matching Grant Program was created.

How do I find out more?

Contact staff at PublicArt@CityofSantaCruz.com or 831-420-5154 for information.