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Grant Writing


Janel

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For at least the fourth time, I am applying for a particular, substantial, grant. Grant writing is a strengthening and thoughtful activity. Whether or not an application for a grant is successful, there are rewards in the process.

 

Have any of you written applications for grants as artists? Is this a topic which might engender serious and thoughtful discussion, that might help any of us learn to be more successful with seeking support for our activities as carvers and artists?

 

Janel

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No, but I could sure use one. I have been wanting to build a teaching studio so I could take in students. I wouldn't even know where to begin with the grant process so any information would be a help.

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Well, lets see if there are things to learn about! I invite everyone to participate. Are there on-line lists of foundations and organizations, for artists, in your own country? (reminding us that this a world forum)

 

Peter Welsh (unable to make the computer hardware/software work to participate with TCP) responded this morning with:

 

" Have just read your entry on TCP re: Grants. You may find the following useful(?) http://www.artquest.org.uk/funding/advice/applying.htm . This group is for artists based in London only, but they do have a good section on art law, etc. (I'm sure you have similar sites in the U.S.)

 

Recently, I was advised by an exhibition organiser that, when applying for grants or submitting work to galleries, exhibitions, etc., artists should submit photos of their work in both mac, and pc formats. "

 

Thanks Peter. The artquest.org.uk page has some good suggestions. I did not read every work, but is makes very sensible suggestions.

 

The second statement about the mac/pc format issue could also be a Photography topic discussion. Mac/PC format considerations might be in regard to sending larger files for magazine articles or advertisements, resulting in a printed image. When saving an image in TIFF format, my software asks for Mac or IBM formated selection, and offers different methods of compression. When preparing images which will end up as a print with another party using it, it is advisable to communicate with the recipient of the data, to learn the specifics of their need. DPI (dots per inch) resolution, TIFF, JPEG, etc., formated, MAC/PC, canvas size in inches or pixels __x__, file size in Megabyte limits, and so on. Some recipients will have specific needs, others will say to just send a JPEG file with some specifics. JPEG works cross platform, but may not be the best for the job. When in doubt, send an email and ask for details so that your time is well spent preparing it correctly the first time. If I have doubts still, I will save one in Mac, one in PC and one in JPEG, burn all the data on a CD and send it that way. I think that CD's do not require PC to PC these days. Are your eyes rolling yet? Artists have to learn these things to keep moving along, unless you can hire it done. More fodder for other topics :D .

 

Some art fairs in the US are requiring that artists apply on-line with digital images. If any more discussion is wanted on image preparation for specific needs, lets take it to the Photography topic or another Doing Business topic.

 

Grant application image submissions may follow, but at this point, I find that slides are being required, since the foundations are not yet signing on with the digital jury system. I participated in one such jurying in April this year, for a top art/craft exposition. It was a good look into the future of jurying processes.

 

I have used the internet to look for grant opportunities. You can also. Use Keyword Searches for grants, foundations, your areas of interest and what else... please post your significant findings in this topic. If anyone has experience with writing successful grants, please contribute here.

 

I recently overheard a snippet of talk, could have been on TV, stating that there is more money available than ever before to be given away to applicants. That could mean in all walks of life and work, but the arts area has its share, if one pursues the opportunities. There is a time investment when writing an application for a grant, but you will find that time to be well spent when you end up identifying your accomplishments and determining a central path and goal for your work of choice. It helps one to focus on work for the future. Whether or not a grant is awarded for the effort, one gains by the process.

 

Good morning to you all!

 

Janel

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I'll take a stab with my experiences this year. As I've mentioned on this forum before, I applied for and received an Individual Artist Project grant from the Indiana (my state of residence) Arts Commission. This is a state agency which among other things, offers five or six different grant classifications for artists, institutions and groups throughout the state.

 

The application procedure consisted of submitting a brief portfolio (either in digital form or slides of 5 artworks), artist resume, and five essays, plus some financial information and a project budget which could not exceed $1000.

This was not a means-tested selection process, so it didn't matter that I wasn't a fully professional artist and had income from other sources.

 

The essays were about 250 words per, on topics such as community impact, development of you as an artist, proposed project, etc.

 

None of the application procedures were what I would call difficult; they just took a bit of time getting 'ducks in a row', and phrasing things in a direct and articulate manner. It helped that I had a friend who is a professional artist and recipient of a number of grants look things over; her advice was very helpful.

 

My grant went to sending me to the International Netsuke Society Convention last month in San Francisco. In my essays I explained the nature of my craft and the fact that as an artist, one needs a certain amount of peer review to develop. That review is few and far between with such an obscure hobby, so the conference presented an ideal solution to schmooze, study, and be inspired. I'll need to write a follow-up letter in a few months explaining the result of my 'project'.

 

After the fact, I was told that I got the highest judged score of all 300-some applicants this year. I think this may be due to the fact of the relative novelty of my request. Most artists this year seemed to have written grants to purchase studio equipment, produce promotional brochures, or travel to paint.

 

I think that if I have advice to offer it would be to:

-Design a unique project the grant review board might not see regularly

-Find a funding source that doesn't normally fund your interests

-Write and prepare all supporting documents in a very literate, professional manner. One would be surprised at how many people don't proofread submissions.

 

As Janel said, there seems to be more grant money available than people to spend it on. From a professional in a non-profit institution, I can vouch for that. Our development and grants people are most successful when they're creative about who they hit up for money.

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I've received a couple of state arts grants and Jean was pretty successful getting them when she worked at an art center a few years ago. It may sound simplistic, but I think the single most important thing is to understand what the funder is wanting to fund and make sure it's a fit to your

needs/project. It's important to carefully study their mission statement, and frame your request in some of the same terminology that they use to describe their aims. If your needs and their aims line up, they want to give you money! Don't waste your/their time if it's not a fit.

 

The best online resource I know is:

 

The Foundation Center

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I wanted to clarify one aspect of what I gave as advice, namely "find a funding source that doesn't normally fund your interests". I realize this sounds odd.

 

What I mean is that say you practice bladesmithing in a style like that of the Vikings in a committed way. Maybe there is an organization out there that funds research into the field of ancient Norse history; chances are they see a lot of applicants who want to write academic papers, but maybe not someone who wants to travel to see weapon collections in museums, be inspired, and create a body of work from what they learned,and perhaps write an article for a journal.

 

At my place of work, we have a complete set of Audubon bird prints in need of some t.l.c. This is a major project that would require me putting down my normal work to concentrate on this for several years. Instead of hitting up the NEA and NEH (government funded arts and humanities agencies in the USA) for money, we're having a lot of luck with a major chain store which sells birdhouses and bird seed.

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