Individual artists, artists’ collectives, and museums are all often in need of funding to support large-scale art projects, educational initiatives or community outreach programs. However, donations or profits from art sales are often not enough to support one’s artistic endeavors. Thankfully, numerous federal, state and private grants are available to help support the arts.
Research available grant programs that you may be eligible for. You should review the website for the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as state-specific grants offered to artists or for specific arts projects. Your state’s council on the arts likely offers a variety of grant programs each year. In addition, you may come across other artist grant programs in artist’s publications like “The Artist’s Magazine” or “American Artist.”
Select a small number of grants to apply for from all of the grant programs that you have researched. Depending on the time line for your project, you may only have the energy to focus on one grant application. However, to avoid “putting all your eggs in one basket,” you should apply for several grants. You need to select grants (or combinations of grants) that will give you enough funding to realize your vision. In addition, you will want to select grants that you have a good chance of winning.
Scrutinize the rules, application guidelines and other requirements associated with the grants you wish to pursue. The last thing you want to do is overlook an important step in the process and realize it just days before the deadline.
Review some grant-writing resources, particularly if this is the first grant application you have ever filled out. Your local library will have a whole section of books on grant-writing technique, and numerous web resources can also be found by doing a simple Internet search. Even if you have written many grants in the past, it is a good idea to refresh your memory on basic technique.
Prepare a summary for your grant application, which outlines the basic project that you need funding for.
Craft a persuasive description of how your project will benefit the community around you. You must persuade the grant committee that you are the applicant who is most deserving of financial need.
Break down your budget for the project, and explain clearly how the grant money will be used, if awarded.
Prepare samples of your work/portfolio for review by the grant panel. Some applications require slides of your work, while others prefer digital files.
Submit your grant application and all relevant materials prior to the deadline. Plan to submit your application at least 1 week before the actual deadline in order to give yourself a little wiggle room.
Resources and References:
- Art Business: How to Apply for Art and Artist Grants, Residencies, Funding, Aid and Other Opportunities for Assistance
- University of Colorado at Boulder: How to Write Grants in the Arts and Humanities
- Artist’s Foundation: Grant Writing Tips for Individual Artists
- National Endowment for the Arts: Apply for a Grant
- The Artist’s Magazine
- American Artist Magazine
- Writing World: The Art of Grant Writing