McKay Grants for Artists

Design and creation funds for art projects in the Fremont Solstice Parade, which transform the street into theater with social commentary and the unexpected. Awards of $500.

Proposals Due: May 18, 2016


In an age of mass culture, a special kind of courage is needed to bring creative self-expression into the public arena.  Dave McKay embodied this courage.  He was a celebration artist who brought his master costume-design skills, thoughtful intention, and deep attention to detail and craftsmanship to all his art, especially in his work with the Fremont Solstice Parade and Santa Barbara Summer Solstice Celebration. He believed art and art making should be a part of everyone’s life.  The primary goal of the Dave McKay Parade Art Grant Fund is to support artists in their efforts to bring engaging art to the streets of Fremont, and to enhance community creativity and collaboration.

FAC most often funds proposals from artists for the development of parade ensembles.  Parade ensembles are groups of five or more people, working within a common theme, performing in procession.  Proposals for parade-related art installations (Gas Works Park, gateways, etc.,) and other crazy ideas that elevate the artistic quality of the event are also accepted for funding consideration.

Grant Funds

Grant funds may be used for artists’ fees, materials and supplies, equipment purchase or rental, travel and transportation. Existing artwork can be re-mounted for parade exhibition.

Grant funds may NOT be used to stage fundraising events; for project expenses that occur prior to or after the project dates; or for operating costs not directly associated with the parade project.

New Projects: Proposal Ideas

Get Big! Get Bold!
Nothing says “Summer Solstice” like a giant puppet or a large float rolling down the streets of Fremont! We are seeking proposals that GO BIG. Artwork may seem huge in your front room or garage, but once it’s out on the street the scale can be surprisingly small. Take your idea and magnify by 10x!  FAC has float bodies (platform trailers with push bars fore and aft) free for you to reserve.

Bicycle Puppets!
Bicycles transformed into rolling creatures or crazy contraptions. These are usually designed as paper sculpted attachments (heads, paws, parts) attached to a bamboo rig on a normal road bike. Anyone up for creating an outrageous posse of rolling artwork? All ideas for making fun bicycle-centered artwork will be considered.  his ensemble can be featured with either the main parade (clothes on) or with the painted cyclists (clothes off).

Spectacle Fashion
Remember the outrageous paper dresses of the Ice Queen ensemble? How about Nick Cave’s Soundsuits? We are seeking proposals from artists and fashion designers who want to bring to life wearable creations.

Who Can Apply?

Any artist or artist group who has a vision for something awesome they want to bring to life in front of thousands of people should send us their idea.  All grantees must be members of the Fremont Arts Council. To join, please CLICK HERE; for a $50 annual fee, membership in this vivid cultural oddity is it’s own reward.

The Fremont Arts Council (FAC) is a community-based celebration arts organization. We value volunteer-ism; community participation; artistic expression; and the sharing of arts skills. The Fremont Solstice Parade is the primary event of the FAC.  We celebrate the longest day of the year through profound street theater, public spectacle, and a kaleidoscope of joyous human expressions.  We welcome the participation of everyone regardless of who they are, or what they think or believe. The FAC, however, reserves the right to control the content presented in the Fremont Solstice Parade. The rules of the Fremont Solstice Parade, which make this event distinct from other types of parades, are:

· No written or printed words or logos
· No animals (except service animals)
· No motorized vehicles (except wheelchairs)
· No real weapons or fire.


Applications will be reviewed by a selection committee composed of FAC members, Fremont stakeholders, and Solstice Parade Staff. This is an open competitive process and, unfortunately, not every applicant will receive funding.

Special consideration given to:
First time applicants
Creating the project in our community art studio
Leading a public workshop in the production of artwork
Large-scale projects that use the 360 degree space of the street theater
Use of repurposed materials
Directly engaging the audience along the parade route
Kinetic movement
Thought-provoking and innovative ensembles
Cross-disciplinary collaboration (i.e., dance and visual arts).

To Apply

Please answer the questions in the application below.  Please limit your answers to these questions to three pages.

Along with this application, please submit:
Sketches: A picture is worth a thousand words.  Drawings or photos of your ensemble elements are helpful for the selection committee.
Budget: Please include as detailed of a budget as possible of estimated costs/expenditures for your ensemble/project.   (e.g.-breakout estimates for materials, labor, artist fee, equipment rental, or other line items) Is this project amenable to partial funding? Are there other sources of funding, or in-kind support to feed the project?
Examples: Any artwork, press, video or audio recordings that will support your application. Up to 5 digital images, may be submitted on CD, or by email. Please consider reducing the size of any electronically sent files.
Resumes or bios of key artistic personnel (max. 1 page per person)

Application for 2016 can be found here

{Photo by M. Freedman 2014}