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Art Funding information

Art Funding information

Funding for art projects is something an artist may need at one time or another so here are some practical tips and ideas to help you when you start looking at applying for funding.

Firstly, you need to do your research. Make sure the priorities of the foundation, corporation or government agency you're applying to are the best match for what you are proposing. Check out things like their web-site and make sure you understand what their eligibility requirements are. It pays to also check out who they have funded in the past to get an idea if the sort of thing you are asking for funding for is similar. Most funding oganisations won’t fund individual artists unless their particular project is beneficial to the community as a whole, and are more likely to fund group activites, so you need to check around if its just for your work. Places like the Hamilton Community Arts Council www.hcac.org.nz will fund some individual projects which is where I got some of my funding from for this project.

  • Writing your application - quality writing is really important. A clear, concise, well-written proposal does make a difference. If you don't have much experience in writing grants, or you don't feel confident in your writing skills, find someone who does and get them to review your application before you submit it. Always proof read your application.
  • Take a grant-writing workshop. HCAC run one in conjunction with several other agencies and groups that provide arts funding, I did this course and it certainly helped demystify the process. You should also make time to meet with the program officer for the grant you are applying to. Most funding organisations have staff available to help answer questions and can even review draft proposals. Making a personal connection with these people before submitting an application can be invaluable in putting together the strongest application possible.

The first step to your application is to have a well-written artist statement. This will help you to focus on the writing of your application. Keep it simple, clear, and straight-forward, remember not everyone understands art speak or knows your work personally. The committee reviewing your proposal needs to understand the proposal the first time they read it. You don’t want it looked over because it was hard to read or understand.

You also need to have good documentation and detailed information about your work that relates to your application.

It’s a good idea to have two copies of the grant guidelines/form on hand its easy enough to make copies yourself. Use one of the forms as your main working document where you can make amendments and notes etc and the second copy for the finished application that you will end up presenting.

Make sure you follow the directions/guidelines closely and start preparing your application well ahead of time, as the deadline will creep up on you quickly.

If its irrelevant information then don’t add them in, it could make the difference of your proposal being sent to the rejected pile or not. Also it pays to not make a nuisance of yourself by constantly ringing or calling in to the organisation about your application, you should be organised with all your questions at meeting times or try to keep it to one or two phone calls and ask them all at that time.

So what about your budget, you need to add in the total cost of your materials although you wont receive funding for all if it. Make a list of things you'll need to complete the project along with their prices; most funding organisations will only cover 50% of these costs so make sure you add in everything.

Then there are the Funding Deadlines. Each organisation has different deadlines so it pays to keep on top of when they all are. Most places will announce their funding deadlines for the upcoming year about two to six months in advance of when the applications are due in. Remember too that it often takes up to four months to review applications. Most applications for individual artists are on an annual or biennial cycle, so when you plan your projects, plan to target grants to fund your project at least four months to 2 years in advance.

Some opportunities have no specific deadline dates, so submit as projects come up. Some have not set deadline dates yet; check their Web sites periodically to avoid missing a deadline. Others have specific deadline dates. You will always want to double-check in advance if the deadline date is a "postmark deadline" or an absolute deadline (meaning that the organisation needs to have the application in front of them by that date).

If it's a postmark deadline, play it safe and take it to the post office to get a postmark on your application. That way you can also make sure you have the correct postage as well (Imagine it not arriving because of insufficient postage!). If it's an absolute deadline, personally dropping it off, or sending it well in advance of the deadline and using some sort of delivery verification service (paying extra to get a receipt when the package has been accepted by the organisation) might be best. Always double-check that you've addressed your application correctly (Horror of horrors receiving a return to sender parcel that you thought was merrily going through the process of a funding round!).

Some places to apply to locally are –

www.creativenz.govt.nz/

www.artswaikato.co.nz

www.hcac.org.nz

Posted: Monday 29 March 2010

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