Celebrating 5 Years of the Kindling Fund

We are so excited to launch a commemorative publication of five years of the Kindling Fund (Download the full 12.7MB PDF here), including an appendix of information about the grant and how to apply this year. The application portal will be open on August 1st and applications will be due on Sunday, October 20th at 11:59pm. Stay tuned for a full schedule of the Information Sessions we will host at partner organizations throughout the state. Find more information about our grants at kindlingfund.org and we'll be launching a new website this summer that will include Kindling Fund resources and project info all in one place. 

Artists have a preternatural drive to start their own projects, initiatives, collectives, and spaces. Creative communities are full of visionary world builders; their projects and prototyped organizations construct worlds in beautiful contrast to the one we live in daily. In these worlds, ideas are a potent currency that catalyze community conversations and push artists to innovate outside of market considerations. Yet, this work is frequently embarked upon with only an artist’s own personal resources and unpaid labor. 

The Kindling Fund is a financial resource for artistcentered projects across the state of Maine, creating an alternative infrastructure for sustaining artist-organized activities. Along with our growing cohort of national peers in the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts’ Regional Regranting Network, SPACE seeds funding for projects that take place outside of conventional institutions and value public engagement. Through these grants, we sustain resources for artists so they can take larger risks, initiate dialogues with audiences in meaningful ways, and propose alternative futures for creative practice.

For the Maine artists among us: we hope this publication will serve partially as a time capsule and also as an inspirational hub. If access to resources has limited the pursuit of your dream project, please use the following pages to learn more about our work and to read about our eligibility requirements. We can’t wait to hear from you.

SPACE is honored to celebrate five years of these artist-organized initiatives, sustaining a new era in contemporary practice across our state. With these funds, our grantees build equitable platforms for artists that pay participants for their labor, have the resources to undertake ambitious creative leaps, and center social and environmental justice in their work. Kindling Fund grantees have forged new paths for public art processes, fostered opportunities for hundreds of participating artists in their projects, and reconsidered where art can be made and shown, from the open ocean to rural convenience shops. These projects have a footprint far larger than their proposed scope, and the ripple effects of their work have continued to be felt across Maine and nationally.

To provide a kind of core in this galaxy of projects, we teased out five project models that have broadly defined the spirit of the Kindling Fund projects to date. Many of these inspiring initiatives are interdisciplinary, expansive, and propose new modes of working. Because of these factors, many projects proudly defy a single category. We offer these organizational headings as a guide to the driving tactics behind these projects but by no means seek to limit any of their innovative and nuanced work.

Help us celebrate this work by telling your communities about the Kindling Fund, encourage your peers to develop projects and apply, and support the latest artists with your attendance and participation in their work. SPACE sends its deepest congratulations to every past and present grantee in these extraordinary five years. We can’t wait to see what comes next.


Kelsey Halliday Johnson, Executive Director

& Elizabeth Spavento, Visual Arts Programmer

(Download the full 12.7MB PDF of the 5 year publication here)

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