Art Grants

Everything You Need To Know

Why do people think artists are special? It’s just another job.

- Andy Warhol

WeavingWhen you think about art, and jobs for artists, you probably do not think about money, instead you probably think of the starving artist. However, being an artist is legit; there are more paid artists than lawyers, judges, and journalists combined. A 2001, Princeton census study, which used the National Endowment for the Arts definition of an artist, found that there were more than 2 million US citizens paid to be artists, and more than 2.5 million Americans who self-identified as artists. You may be special, but if you are an artist, then you are just like the rest of us job and grant seekers.

What are Art Grants?

So, you self-identify as an artist (or perhaps art is a growing hobby), and you need money, what can you do? The first thing you need to know is; when it comes to seeking funding, art is not limited to painting, singing, and dancing. There are large-money Art Grants for Arts Education in Public Schools, Artist Communities, Research, Museums and Libraries, Multidisciplinary Works, and so much more. There are grants for Organizations and their are grants for Individuals. Art grants, in general, mirror art, in their diversity and subjectivity; almost any art form can be considered worthy of funding, if you can find the right funders.

If you choose to do your own research, spend the necessary time researching foundations, universities, and government programs, until you find the right fit.* The biggest mistake novice grant writers make is over-estimating the link between seeker and foundation. It is easy to overestimate your own art-related talents in relation to prospective funders. You could spend days perfecting your proposal only to find out you completely misunderstood the type of grantee the funder was looking for. Make sure to get grant writing advice from experts before you spend the next week writing a non-starter grant proposal.

How to Write an Art Grant

If you have already done the research, then you are on to the not-so-fun part of the proposal – actually writing it. Here is a generic Art Grant outline, including components of each section:

Cover Letter (1 Page)

  • What you are applying for (the Title and the Money)

  • Short summary of your individual, or organizational, project

  • Two highlights from your proposal; what are you most proud of?

  • Your signature

  • List of enclosed documents

Grant Proposal

  • Title Page (1 Page)

  • Table of Contents (1 Page)

  • Executive Summary (1 Page)

    • Summarize the entire proposal

    • Include the need, the project, methods, objectives, budget, sustainability, other funding, etc.

  • Statement of Need (2 Pages)

    • Why is your project important

    • Who else is working on your project

    • Explain the relevance of your project in the field

    • Explain the importance of the field

  • Project Description (3 Pages)

    • Introduction, why should anyone care (be creative)

    • Method

      • Aesthetics

      • Design

      • Materials

      • Audience

    • Conclusion

      • Art-world big picture

      • Reiterate the need for your project (personal and/or field-related)

  • Budget (1 Page)

    • Include all direct and indirect costs (rent, electricity, water, etc.)  associated with project

    • Personnel costs, if they exist

    • Compare the cost of similar projects to your project

  • Conclusion (2 Paragraphs)

    • Sum up everything you have already stated

    • DO NOT add anything new

Appendices (optional)

  • Resume/CV

  • Reviews of your work

  • Press Releases

  • Portfolios

The most important thing to remember when writing any grant, is to follow the exact directions of the funding organization. If they don’t want anything other than the proposal, then do not include your latest portfolio.

Art Grants Bonus Points

Gigi Rosenberg is a self proclaimed, “author and artist coach”. She penned, The Artist’s Guide To Grant Writing, a resource for the aforementioned starving artist. In a recent interview, Rosenberg, lifted up the following points for aspiring artists, turned grant writers:

1) Write a Grant because it helps you better articulate your vision

2) Share your proposal with friends and family (or even better, experts)

3) Exude confidence, in your text

4) When you are told “NO”, ask why

The final point I want to make, is also the most important one; there is a lot of money out there, you just need to know how to ask for it. There are nearly 300, artist-endowed foundations (organizations that actual artists created to empower other artists) in the US, which hold, altogether, nearly 3 BILLION DOLLARS in total assets. High-Five.

*Finding the right foundation/university/government program to apply to is a challenge. Do not waste all your time on the wrong proposal, let Grant Proposal Example make life easier; we will do the research and propose 5 matches for your project. Click on the contact link.

If you still have no idea, then shoot me an, and we will personally work with you, to find funding for your next project.

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2 comments on “Art Grants
  1. I have been an artist for 7 years. I’ve shown in festivals, galleries and a museum. I’ve been somewhat successful, but I am truly a starving artist. Are these grants good for me? I am about to be foreclosed on. I’ve gotten seriously ill and take 21 medications. I will be in the streets within weeks and I am very scared. Should I apply for an artist grant or if there is any other place that can help me soon I would appreciate it. I live in Dallas, TX and I’m serious about this and do not live in far away place scamming for money.

    • Frank C Jones says:

      I’m sorry to hear that you’re struggling and hope are able to find a way to get through the problems you’re currently facing. Applying for artist grants is not a quick fix to personal finance problems or piles of medical bills. An art grant can take some time to complete and even more time for the money to finally disburse. Additionally, the money that comes from an art grant is there to help you complete an art project. My suggestion is to reach out to local charities in your area and seek assistance with your medical expenses and housing costs. Perhaps there are churches and other non-profit organizations that will be able to help you. These organizations may even be able to help organize a show for your work and you could donate a portion of the proceeds to help them assist others in similar situations. I hope everything works out for you and maybe an art grant is a good idea for your long-term goals.

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