Niloufar Talebi, photo by Devlin Shand 


Drawing inspiration from the vision of Phyllis Wattis and her legacy of support for the arts in the Bay Area, the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation remains committed to funding the creation of both the fine and performing arts through its New Works grants program, as well as organizations providing direct support to individual artists through its Legacy Grants program. The foundation prioritizes support for smaller, independent arts organizations presenting challenging and cutting-edge works. 

The general requirements for eligibility are:

  • Organizations and artists that work in Alameda, Marin, and/or San Francisco counties

  • Public charities operating under an IRS 501(c)(3) status or fiscally sponsored by a 501(c)(3) organization

Grants are made in support of the following practices:

  • Visual Arts, including the exhibition of painting and sculpture

  • Performance, including opera and theater works

  • Music

  • Dance

  • Other, including festivals 


Organizational support is provided for arts organizations and intermediary programs providing support for individual artists, this can include access to financial support, professional development, networking and career advancement opportunities.​

The foundation will not fund: organizations whose overall budget is greater than $2.5 million dollars, capital expansion, endowment funds, seed grants, scholarships, direct individual awards, or research and planning.  


The foundation awards grants twice per year. As of March 2021, funding for the Legacy Grant program has been allocated for the year, focusing primarily on renewed support for existing Legacy Grant recipients, providing comprehensive support for working artists, including funds for individual artists and cultural workers navigating the ongoing impact of COVID-19. The second grant cycle will focus on the project-based support for artists creating new works. The following outlines the grantmaking calendar for 2021:


March 1 – March 15, 2021
Submission invitations issued to eligible organizations

Late May 2021
Grants awarded



July 1 - 16, 2021
Letters of Inquiry (LOIs) accepted. The deadline for submission is 12 p.m. PST on July 16, 2021.
Please visit the How to Apply page for further guidance on accessing the grants portal and submitting an LOI.

November 2021
Grant decisions will be issued.

Grant Period
New Works Grants will have a grant period of 12 months. Projects must be produced within 12 months from the date of receiving funding.