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The $5,600 CSAW Award for New Work by Circus Artists of Color at Cannonball Festival

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CSAW is thrilled to announce our collaboration with Cannonball to bring you this grant for US Circus Artists of Color for the second year in a row! 

This $5,600 award for a BIPOC circus artist, company or collective will culminate in an opportunity to show your work in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania between September 1st and 29th 2024. Keep scrolling to learn more!

Cannonball Festival is an independently produced performing arts festival, concurrent with the Philadelphia Fringe, that presents risk-taking independent artists in back-to-back performances next to delicious lounge spaces, fostering creative collisions and community conversation.

*Please note that, unlike our Microgrant and Tuition Grant programs, this application will be through Cannonball Festival and not through CSAW. The application looks a little different and is done through Google Forms, not Zoho Forms.





The CSAW Award for New Circus Work at Cannonball Festival in Philadelphia is an opportunity available to BIPOC artists, ensembles, companies or collectives who are creating a new full length circus show (40-60 minutes).

As part of this grant, artists will perform their work a minimum of four times during the running of the festival.


*For our purposes, circus is defined however you would like it to be, and new means that the version of the show that you present has not been seen or performed before.

Finalists who are not selected to be a part of the track may be offered a co-presentation opportunity at Cannonball, which may include a smaller stipend. Click here to view all of the tracks available at Cannonball:


  • $5,600 total stipend

  • 50% of all ticket sales for your performance

  • A minimum of 4 performances at Cannonball Festival, including production, marketing, and technical support:

    • 8 hours of tech rehearsal over two days

    • A dedicated stage manager

    • Documentation of your show

    • Marketing support - artists are, however, expected and encouraged to promote their event as much as possible in order to generate ticket sales

Cannonball and CSAW are committed to providing artists with these resources because we understand the disparities that exist for funding for BIPOC circus artists and BIPOC-created works. In addition to the $5,600 grant and other funding that we are providing, below are few other resources that we may be able to provide on a case by case basis for artists to help with the rehearsal and production process:

  • Housing

  • Transportation within Philadelphia

  • Rigging

  • Equipment/Equipment Rentals

  • Production Guidance/Mentorship

  • Rehearsal Space

*Every artist and every show has different needs for support. While Cannonball cannot guarantee any of the above resources, producers of the Festival will be meeting with the CSAW Awardee to determine if and how best they can support you with the above. 



To be eligible to apply for this grant: 

  • You must be 18 years of age or older by the date you submit your application.

  • You must identify in part or whole as a person of color (a person of color is defined as non-white)​

    • *Please note, if you are applying on behalf of an ensemble/group, only the leaders of the project need to identify as BIPOC. Leaders may identify as founders, directors, choreographers, or head artists. Leaders should not identify as non-persons of color, however it is permissible for non-persons of color to be part of the makeup of your ensemble/group. 

  • You must be a US citizen, resident alien, permanent resident or have a current and valid work permit.

  • You must have fully read and understand the Cannonball Venue Packet in order to confirm that your work can realistically be produced at one of Cannonball’s venues during the festival.

  • You agree that flight transportation and housing fees are to be covered using the provided grant funds, and that any additional expenses are not guaranteed as these logistics will vary by applicant. 

*If you have any questions or concerns about eligibility requirements, please email and they will get back to you as soon as possible.




The $5,600 CSAW Award for New Work by Circus Artists of Color at Cannonball recognizes the unique challenges that circus artists and small circus companies can face in developing and self-producing full length works, as well as the ongoing lack of resources available to produce this work.


Compounding this, artists of color remain under-represented in the circus industry and face systemic challenges in finding support for their work and artistic growth. This partnership with Cannonball, which creates performance and presentation opportunities for independent artists of all disciplines through resource sharing, brings dedicated resources and support to begin the work of a more inclusive and supportive circus community with fewer challenges and more opportunities.  

Cannonball Festival is providing all of the resources listed below as well as hosting the application and subsequent selection process. CSAW has collaborated and sponsored this grant by providing funding as well as support for Cannonball by spreading the word and making the circus community aware of this opportunity. 



Applications will first be reviewed by Cannonball producers to ensure projects are logistically feasible at Cannonball’s venues. Then, they will be reviewed by a panel of three BIPOC circus professionals according to the following criteria for evaluation:

MERIT: Does the work demonstrate an attention to craft and discipline? What does the work inquire? What is it in conversation with?

IMPACT: Is this track necessary for the Artist? Does the stipend provide the Artist with the opportunity to present new work that could otherwise not be presented? How much impact would the stipend provide for the artist presenting this piece?

RISK: What does the Artist envision through this work? What artistic risks are involved? Is the work pushing forward on form, content, or political/social discourse?

REACH: Is the work grounded in an inclusive worldview? Does the work connect to BIPOC communities, foster ongoing dialogue, and expand representation at Cannonball Festival? 

After the panel meets to discuss the applications, panelists will select finalists. Finalists will be selected and notified by May 1, 2023. Finalists may be invited to participate in a brief 15-30 minute video interview about the work.

Awardees will be notified no later than May 15, 2023.


All applications will be accepted through Cannonball’s 2024 Open Call on Google Forms.
For more information, visit the open call page.

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