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The Democracy Cycle FAQs

What kind of projects are you looking for?

The Democracy Cycle was created to support new performing arts works in theater, dance, music, opera, and multidisciplinary practice that are based on the promise and challenges of democracy.

Proposals should identify and respond to ideas or themes related to democratic values, such as political equality, majority rule, minority rights, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, among others.

What are some examples of existing projects that would have fulfilled the goals of this initiative?

What the Constitution Means to Me, by Heidi Shreck; Little Amal by The Walk Productions in association with Handspring Puppet Company; Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On, as performed live; Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda; City Council Meeting by Aaron Landsman and Mallory Catlett; The Crucible by Arthur Miller; American Utopia by David Byrne; Twilight: Los Angeles by Anna Deavere Smith; An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen; The Fever by 600 Highwaymen; Liza Jessie Peterson’s The Peculiar Patriot; Samora Pinderhughes’ The Healing Project, as performed live.

What if my proposed project premieres in spring or summer of 2024?

Projects that are planned to premiere before November 1, 2024 will not be eligible and should not apply.

How many projects will you commission in response to this first Open Call for Proposals?

Eight. There will be two more Open Calls for Proposals, in early 2025 and early 2026, for a total of 25 new works.

Why aren’t you including other disciplines? For example film, or digital art? I want to apply with my film or digital art project that looks at issues of democracy.

This commission supports works that will be performed live in front of an audience. Proposals that include film or digital art as part of a live performance will be eligible. Proposals that lack a live performance element will be deemed ineligible.

How do I know I am eligible to apply?

Please look at the Eligibility section of both the RFP / Request for Proposals and the Submission Guidelines, and do the Eligibility Screen in Submittable. If you still have questions, make an appointment with the director of The Democracy Cycle via Calendly.

What kind of work samples should I include?

Include your strongest 1-2 work samples. (One work sample is fine, you don’t have to have two.) We understand that you are proposing a project you have not yet completed or perhaps begun development on, and understand that your work samples will not necessarily be representative of your proposed project. See more information about file type and size limit in application.

My budget numbers in the Submittable application are not auto-computing. How can I get them to add up?

Only numbers should be in the right-hand column of the budget form. If you have any words or symbols or anything other than numbers in the right-hand column, the budget will not auto-compute. Write any line-item notes you may have in the left-hand column. Note: Expenses and Income totals should equal each other (or show a surplus).

Are you looking specifically for projects that reflect a particular political ideology or point of view?

No. We believe that the idea of democracy is not party-specific. The Democracy Cycle is a cross-ideological project. Proposals that advocate by name for a specific party or candidate are not eligible. We welcome proposals from artists of all persuasions, on topics that reflect all points of view. We are looking for projects that derive from a fundamental belief in democracy and the imperative of protecting it.

How and by whom will proposals be selected for funding?

After The Democracy Cycle staff screens applications for eligibility, each eligible proposal will be reviewed by (at least) two Readers. Using the assessments of those Readers, a pool of finalists will be identified. Those finalist proposals will move forward to a panel made up of experts in both the performing arts field and experts on democracy, who will select the 8 proposals to receive commissions.

Can I apply more than once?

You can apply as a lead artist only once in each Commissioning open call. If you apply and are not commissioned, you are welcome to apply again in subsequent open calls.

Do artists need to be U.S. citizens to be eligible to apply?

No. Artists of all nationalities may apply.
Note: All commissioned artists will be responsible for any tax implications involved in accepting a monetary award from a U.S.-based arts organization. International artists who are commissioned should also note that U.S. artist visas are not included in this commission. While a visa is not required to apply, international artists will be responsible for securing a non-immigrant working visa to attend any workshops and performances in the U.S.

Will all of the Democracy Cycle-commissioned projects have their world premieres at PAC NYC?

PAC NYC will have the option to premiere commissioned projects but no obligation to premiere a commissioned project. 

Does The Democracy Cycle, PAC NYC, and/or Galvan Initiatives own a percentage of the rights to the new works being created?

Artists own the copyright and the title rights to their work. As needed, this may include agreements between collaborators that split up ownership and/or royalties. If a commissioned work is premiered by PAC NYC, it would be subject to an agreement addressing subsidiary rights and other production-related matters.

Will I be required to credit PAC NYC and Galvan Initiatives as commissioners of the performance work in perpetuity?

Yes. Like other commissions and funding streams, PAC NYC and Galvan Initiatives will ask you to include the funding credit for The Democracy Cycle commission in all programs and other materials related to future versions of the show, whether online or in hard copy. The specific wording for that credit will be in the commissioning contract.

I have a question that isn’t answered here, what should I do?

Please contact Boo Froebel, the Director of The Democracy Cycle, at Please allow at least seven business days for a response. We also urge you to check back on these FAQs as they will be updated based on the frequency of questions we receive.