My 1st solo biennial, EXPERIENCE, was my 1st exhibit once completing my formal education. As mentioned in Part 1, I didn’t start to receive grants until working toward my 3rd biennial CHANGE. Through grants alone (13 so far), I have raised $36,000 toward my 18-year biennial project (~30% the final budget of the first 8 exhibits; the rest raised through all my profit from drawings, sponsorship drives, honoraria, in-kind donations, and the donation jar).
I rarely raise enough toward my work to cover my traveling expenses, and never enough for any artist fee. To raise money toward my living expenses, I always have a job or three.
I started applying for grants just before my 1st biennial. It couldn’t hurt to try. I additionally figured, each time I applied, not only would my chances improve, but also my writing about and understanding of my work. At first, grant questions forced me to think about my work in ways I hadn’t contemplated before. As the years passed, each time I applied for the same grant, my answers got richer, thinking more about the whys with each submission. Now, approaching 2 decades later and having answered these same questions over and over, I still try to improve my writing, to find new ways to respond, and to expand upon my work’s significance. In other words, I don’t copy and paste last year’s answers.
As I devise my 9th and final biennial‘s 9 installation concepts, I don’t think about how much things cost (this would detract me from coming to ideas). However, as always, in the back in my mind: I have to raise a lot of money, again. Where will it come from? This is always surreal to me and a little scary. That being said, I know I will at least raise “almost enough”–somehow, whatever it takes, to make the work I want to make.
Grant Writing For Artists (Part 2)
Give as many details and specifics about your art project or need as word count maximums allow, grant foundations preferring too much information over not enough.
For example, if you require a specific material for your project, state specifically what and how much of this material you require, also how it will be used.
Be sure to include in these details, your reasons for doing the project, your project’s significance. This will be stronger, if you also convey how your project is connected to the overall context of your work.