SPA Frequently Asked Questions

I am an artist who wants to participate in SPA. How can I do that?  

At this time, SPA is available to MAP grantees and Jerome Hill Fellows. Due to significant COVID-related changes to the MAP grant program in 2020 and 2021, new grantee enrollment in SPA was temporarily suspended. We will resume enrollment in the 2022 grant round. Stay tuned for more information when future opportunities are announced. 


How are MAP artists selected to participate in SPA? 

Historically, SPA focused on artists who did not have ongoing institutional relationships, leading them to primarily self-produce their work. We identified these self-producing artists based on MAP staff’s knowledge of their practice — through application materials and other sources — and artists were invited to participate. Through a 2019 program assessment, artists shared their view that any MAP grantee could benefit from the SPA program and that an ever-growing group of artists are now experiencing the need to self-produce, even when they have partnerships with organizations. We are currently developing a more equitable process for selecting which artists will participate, including ways for MAP grantees to indicate their interest in SPA. To learn more about our grantmaking program, click here.  


How much does SPA cost?

Currently, the per-artist cost is $6000 for participation in both one-on-one coaching and a virtual gathering. This amount includes a $1000 stipend that goes directly to artists to support their participation in the gathering. Thanks to our funding partners, SPA participation is offered at no direct cost to artists. 


How does SPA select its coaches?

When looking for coaches, the SPA Program is interested in folks who have worked in the arts, culture, and creative sectors in multiples ways and have specific experience providing advice, guidance, a listening ear, and support to individual working artists. In addition, we want folks whose practice reflects our program values and who bring a structural analysis of oppression, a commitment to justice, and an ability to work with artists across a wide range of identities, experiences, and social and political locations. We are currently in the process of expanding the coaching ensemble. If you are interested in working as a SPA coach, please email with more information about you, your coaching practice, and your interest in working with SPA. 


How are artists matched with a coach?

It’s a mix of information and intuition. When artists enroll in SPA we offer them an opportunity to share topics they’d like to discuss with a coach as well as characteristics they are looking for in a coach. Coaches indicate whether they think they might be a good or not-so-good match for each artist based on their review of artists’ responses as well as information artists share about their identities, practices, and desires for their creative work. Ultimately, the SPA program director makes the final pairings based on all of the above. 


How are the one-on-one coaching sessions structured? 

Coaching relationships unfold in the course of a year, with up to seven coaching sessions. Each session can last from 45 to 90 minutes, depending on the artist’s preference and in agreement with their coach.


What are some examples of the kinds of topics artists discuss with their coach?

Some areas of consistent inquiry include: strategizing around a specific creative project (design, troubleshooting, implementation), clarifying one’s purpose and vision, creating sustainable structures for creative work and life, relationship building (networking), and accountability partnership. 


How do coaching sessions occur?

Most coaching sessions happen remotely — via phone or videoconference, based on the agreements between the coach and artist. Occasionally, coaching sessions take place in person, when artists and coaches are in the same location. Like SPA participants, coaches live and work across the country, so in-person sessions may not be feasible. 


Do gatherings happen in-person? Online?

Prior to the SARS-COV2 pandemic, SPA gatherings routinely took place in New York City. Since the pandemic unfolded, we have moved to online gatherings, which have proven to have similar power and impact on participants. Going forward we may offer a mix of in-person or online gathering options, based on public health and safety guidelines as well as participating artists’ preferences.