Having some extra cash for your projects sound good? Grants are available for artists at all stages of their art career, but they're not a "quick fix" for cash flow problems. Applying for grants can be labor-intensive and a long process. Plus, it can be difficult to articulate an idea for a project that doesn't exist yet.
However, with some preparation and thoughtful research, grants just might be a way for you to get that extra cash to fund your projects. Here are four steps to take to get yourself ready:
- Don't do it all alone, get help from experts.
Start by getting and reading a copy of Gigi Rosenberg's book The Artist's Guide to Grant Writing (Watson-Guptill, 2010). In it Gigi will teach you how to win grants, fundraise creatively, and ensure that every second you spend writing a proposal pushes your art further into the world. Also, read Aletta de Wal's interview with Gigi.
- Get really clear about who and what you are, and what you want to do with your art. You're going to be communicating that to a grantor and to potential collectors of your work too.
As Gigi Rosenberg says, "Imagine the project done and then describe it...The process of forcing yourself to articulate 'this is what I want, this is what I'm doing, this is what this is about,' will actually help you make better art. That process of naming your project is something that many artists actually can't do...you need to write about your projects as if they're already completed so somebody else can see what your vision of your art is in the world."
- Get your stuff together.
- There are grants for artists at all stages of their art career. You can even be an emerging artist, but you should have a body of work in your signature style.
- Get great images of your work. A snapshot from your cell phone won't cut it. If you don't have the skills to take professional-quality images of your work, get help.
- You'll be supplying written information to the grantor. If you are not skilled at writing in an engaging and clear style, hire a professional editor to help you. Good grammar and spelling are essential. Check it yourself, do not rely on the spell checker in your software as many mistakes can slip through.
- Keep it all organized and at-the-ready. Going through the process of applying for a grant will be much (much) less stressful if you can easily put your hands on what you need.
- Give yourself plenty of time to find the right opportunity for YOU. Make sure that you are a good match for any grant you are considering. Read their guidelines and info. If it's not a good fit for where you want your art career to go, pass on it. Then, when you apply, be sure to follow their directions to the letter. Seriously, the biggest mistake artists make is not following the directions.
Hope that helps. If you would, please, help us all learn and grow by sharing any ideas/comments you have on this topic by leaving a comment here.
All my best to you and yours,
Artists get their art marketing questions answered in these two audio recordings. Reeeally valuable info here for a song. Each hour-long Q&A session is only $15. Get more info and order them here.
If you're like me and love to have great resources around, I suggest you get on the email list for Aletta de Wal's new book "My Real Job Is Being An Artist: What You Should Know Before You Quit Your Day Job (Or Get One)." It will help you get really clear about where you are and what YOUR most effective next steps are. Email me to get on the notification list, and get special goodies too!
Got a burning question about your art marketing? If you haven't already had one, you can request a free 15-minute conversation here. It's a great start!