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. 

Grantmaking for 2020 has been adjusted to respond to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, as outlined below.

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. In light of the devastating impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our communities, the foundation has shifted all grantmaking in 2020 to direct unrestricted support Bay Area arts organizations, including increasing the number of Legacy grants awarded, supporting regional artist relief funds, and placing the New Works grant cycle on hold.

The following outlines the grantmaking calendar:


Legacy Grant decisions were issued in June 2020. Please check back in early 2021 for information on the subsequent cycle. 


The 2020 New Works grant cycle has been placed on hold. 



In place of funding for New Works the foundation will open a second round of relief grants focused on unrestricted support for small Bay Area arts organizations.

August 20, 2020 - September 3, 2020

Applications for relief funding will be accepted between August 20 - September 3, 2020. The deadline for submission is 5:00 pm PST on September 3, 2020.

Please review the How to Apply page for detailed submission instructions and information about accessing our online application system.

November 2020

Funding decisions will be issued. 


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