San Francisco Dance Company FACT/SF Pays Artists to Apply

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Artists in a processional wearing colorful clothing atop a coastline ridge, with the sea in the background.
San Francisco dance company FACT/SF has announced a new series of grants, scholarships and performance opportunities. Pictured are 2021 Fieldwork program recipients Detour Dance. (Robbie Sweeny)

To any artist that's ever applied for a grant or a residency, this process will be familiar:

Step 1: Spend hours of unpaid time applying
Step 2: Don’t hear back for weeks or longer
Step 3: Receive rejection with no feedback or dialogue

San Francisco dance company FACT/SF wants to change that. The organization has announced a new series of grants, scholarships and performance opportunities — and, best of all, they'll pay artists $25 just to apply.

FACT/SF is selecting performing artists looking either to present and produce work or participate in a nine-day dance workshop immersion with company founder and choreographer Charles Slender-White.

“It's pretty uncommon for a dance company to be running a program like this,” White told KQED in an email. “I'm pretty sure we're the only (or one of the only) organizations in the country that actually pays people to apply.”


FACT/SF’s Fieldwork initiative provides material resources and presenting opportunities in seven different programs, including fiscal sponsorship and artist consultation. Since its inception in 2014, Fieldwork’s programs have supported over 50 choreographers, dancers and teachers.

Artist in pink tulle is dancing on stage in front of another performer who is watching them
Caitlin Hicks & Eric Garcia in a work by Sharp & Fine, previous Fieldwork recipients (Robbie Sweeny)

In FACT/SF's characterization, artists don’t apply to the various opportunities, but “self-nominate” through an open-ended dialogue between nominees and FACT/SF’s curatorial panel, which consists of company members and Bay Area dancers. Part of the curation process is guided by the company’s goal in selecting at least 50% BIPOC and 50% LGBTQ+ artists.

White announced the new iteration of their Fieldwork programs in an open letter that details the resource tracks. Those include production support grants ($1,000 each), paid performance opportunities in the August 2023 FACT/SF Summer Dance Festival at ODC in San Francisco ($1,250 stipend), and scholarships to attend the FACT/SF August 2023 Summer Dance Lab at ODC.

Opportunities also include tech and dress rehearsals for the Summer Dance Festival and, for those looking to instruct workshops in the Summer Dance Lab, $100/hour to teach.

“As we recognize that applying for opportunities is real work, we offer a $25 honorarium to all artists who nominate themselves for one or more of our programs,” White wrote in the open letter.

“We know that this sum is small, but we hope that it signifies our respect for your work and time, and that this resource inversion of the application process might nudge the larger field towards less extractive and more ethical practices,” White added.

Self-nominations for FACT/SF’s 2023 Fieldwork opportunities are due by Oct. 31, 2022. Artists can learn more and apply here.