The Critical Fierceness Grant

Dearest Communities -

We are in the midst of coordinating a gigantic multisite series of events to unfold throughout September and October of this year. This is taking a huge amount of resources and energy, and as such, we are postponing our biannual microgranting program until further notice. We are hoping and aiming to be back in action with the free dollars for queer arts by this next Winter Cycle (January 2016). Stay tuned for updates! We love you and hope this isn't too much of a let down.

Hugs, etc

Team Chances


Since its founding in 2005, Chances Dances has sought to create a safe space for all gender expressions by bringing together the varied LGBTIQ communities of Chicago. The creation of the Critical Fierceness grant expands upon this goal by offering a unique platform to fund queer thinking and expression through art. Individuals or groups who identify themselves or their work as queer are encouraged to apply. The Critical Fierceness Grant supports the development and realization of queer artwork through project-based financial assistance of up to $500.

In 2012,Chances Dances expanded the Critical Fierceness Grant to include the Mark Aguhar Memorial Grant, which specifically funds artwork by feminine spectrum (such as woman-identified and trans-feminine) queer artists of color. The Mark Aguhar Memorial Grant supports grantees through project-based financial assistance of up to $1000. Chances Dances is proud to provide both these opportunities for personal exploration, developing community, and radical change.

What we fund:

The Critical Fierceness Grant is intended for proposals for projects in visual art, performance, media art, creative writing, independent publishing, and music. In general, the grant covers expenses directly related to your proposal, such as raw materials and supplies, fees for performers, assistants, or other essential personnel, venue rental, temporary or permanent equipment, shipping, preparation, printing, etc. While we do not solely fund general expenses for art practice (such as studio rental, or research costs like travel and residency fees), we understand that such expenses may be essential to the completion of an artwork. Such requests will be permitted within the context of a specific project’s larger budget.

What we DO NOT fund:

We do not fund requests for non-specific personal stipends, indirect expenses (e.g. paying your bills while you take time off to work on a project), or the general operations of non-profit or for-profit organizations.

For January 2015 Applicants:

For this granting cycle, we are encouraging proposals with an intended completion date on or before late summer 2015. Chances is mounting a ten-year retrospective of work centered around the Critical Fierceness Grant in September 2015, and is looking to place this round of finalists’s work into that exhibition. We are excited to extend the impact of the grant by providing this follow-up and exhibition platform.  

How to Apply

The Critical Fierceness Grant is awarded twice yearly. Deadlines are always on July 31st and January 31st. NOTE: The Critical Fierceness Grant is temporarily on hold. We will not be awarding grants during the summer of 2015. We hope to return to granting Critical Fierceness and Mark Aguhar Memorial grants by the next cycle, in the Winter of 2016. The application is open to all residents of Cook County who identify with the above criteria. 

Applications are accepted via email only. You can download the writeable PDF application here: CRITICAL-FIERCENESS_ALL_CYCLES.pdf - NOTE: DO NOT USE YOUR BROWSER to fill in the application - it will not save your entries. Please download the application, fill it out using your computer's default PDF reader, and return the saved file via email. 

Email chances.dances[at]gmail[dot]com for more information.

About The Critical Fierceness Grant

Check out this short video we made about Chances and The Critical Fierceness Grant, called Chances Dances: A Blueprint. The video had a dual premiere at our 5 year anniversary party and as an art object at the DeVos Art Museum as part of the group show, A Unicorn Basking in the Light of Three Glowing Suns curated by Philip von Zweck and Anthony Elms.

To learn a little bit more about the history and mission of the Critical Fierceness Grant, check out this »slideshow« from a presentation by Chances organizer Latham Zearfoss, presented on the “New Shared Enterprises” panel for the Grantmakers in the Arts Support for Individual Artists Pre-Conference in October, 2010.