SPA Program History

Starting in the early 2010’s MAP staff noticed a pattern: artists were more frequently contacting them with concerns about self-production. Fewer large arts institutions were providing comprehensive commissions to support the creation of new work. As a result, individual artists faced increasing pressure to secure funding from multiple sources, identify development residencies, manage collaborating creative staff, and contribute to the technical production and marketing elements of bringing a new work to life. While this redistribution of labor can result in much sought creative control for independent artists, it also demands a skill set artists are not always trained in, or inclined to develop. These trends continue today.

Co-designed by MAP staff and consultant David Sheingold and launched in 2012, the Scaffolding for Practicing Artists (SPA) Program provides unique forms of support to independent artists and ensembles in response to these dramatic, nationwide shifts in arts sector producing structures over the past decade.