Some funding for my solo biennials comes from local, regional, and national grants (I have received 1-5 grants per exhibit since my 3rd biennial CHANGE). For each biennial, I submit anywhere from 10 to 25 grant applications, the number of applications dependent upon how many grants are available (the timing of the grants). Most in-state grants I receive come from the Maine Arts Commission.
I am currently working on my 5th-try application for the Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant (I’ve applied for the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship 7 times; Creative Capital 6 times; and multiple others multiple times).
I keep trying with these particular grants, because any grant writing is good practice, and it will be time when it is time. Each time my application is rejected, I know it’s not something I did wrong, nor that my work is not strong enough. For every excellent application, each deserving of a grant, there are tens even hundreds of equally deserving applicants. The foundations only have so many they can give, and some day it will be my work’s turn. I also don’t give up, because each time I apply my work is exposed to curators/directors/critics I might not have reached otherwise.
It would be great to receive a Pollock-Krasner or Guggenheim grant (or both, why not?), or (and?) one of those anonymous nomination-only grants, toward my 9th and last biennial. Any one of them would be helpful, not only so I can make the work I want to make for MEMORY, but also for when I continue to make work after this 18-year project ends.
Grant Writing For Artists (Part 1)
Before you start a grant application, read through its guidelines and instructions completely. Make certain the grant is one for which you are eligible. Also, know what is expected of you if awarded.
Follow the instructions precisely. Grant foundations receive hundreds or thousands of applications. To pare down, some foundations eliminate applications that wrongly interpret instructions, even slightly.
State the basic information about your art project and need, in your grant narrative’s first sentence—the type of project, the project’s title and location, the amount you are requesting, and for what specifically you require money. This allows the grant committee to visualize your idea and understand your need from the start, while the details and context that follow answer most if not all questions the committee will have.
For example: “I am applying for a $1,500 Curtis Foundation Grant to purchase materials for Big Things, a large-scale installation work to be exhibited at XYZ Art Space, October 4-November 2, 2015.”