As an artist, steady income can be something of an issue particularly early on in your career. Grants are also a significant source of funding for working artists. You may be thinking, that’s all well and good but where do I actually find and apply for a grant? Wonder no more, we have answers for you right here. There are plenty of places to look for available grants, and what’s more, there is also a whole Praxis course about creating a timeline to have you organized and applying before you know it. The suite of courses I offer, actually incorporate Grant Writing, Time Management and much more, but today I will give you some resources to move forward.
If searching the entire internet for a grant feels totally overwhelming, you’re not alone. The World Wide Web is a big, and often confusing place and it is perfectly normal to feel at a loss when it comes to finding grants that might be suitable for you. Because we know this, here at Praxis Center we offer an extensive resources page. This is a place where you can find all sorts of useful information. There are open calls, residencies, and of course grants. The page is regularly curated and we highlight a few opportunities each week. Scrolling down, you will find an extensive list of resources for all of the above mentioned and much more.
Another way to find out about grants is to seek out the places offering them. Again, this can feel like a bit of a Herculean feat if you’re unsure where to begin. A simple google search can be one way to point you in the right direction. Most grants come from nonprofit organizations so a detail to be aware of is the web address of any organization you might consider applying to. While not a hard and fast rule, more likely than not most foundations offering legitimate grants will have a .org website as opposed to a .com. In these times you can’t be too careful, so if you are unsure about a site do your due diligence before sending information or money. This very blog offered a post listing some of the top places for US artists to consider when looking for a grant.
Another excellent resource for searching grants is The Foundation Center. The mission of this nonprofit is to advance knowledge of philanthropies around the globe. From their homepage you can conduct searches on any topic you can think of. The most obvious search would be “artist grants” and this in fact does yield numerous results. The benefit of this, just like with the Praxis Center resource page and blog posts, is that the grant foundations are pre-vetted. This takes any worry over legitimacy out of the picture allowing you to browse freely.
Now that we have gone over some paths to finding a grant, let’s discuss how to actually apply for one. Our own course breaks down the process of grant writing into eight bite-sized pieces. The course is designed to remove fear from the process and give you the tools to organize your time and create a first rate grant proposal every time. We cover everything from the initial search period to what to do once you have submitted your first grant (hint: find another one!). It is no secret that you will absolutely not get every grant you apply for, so while quality is absolutely key when submitting a grant, quantity also plays a role.
The actual writing of a grant is an acquired skill and over time you will become more comfortable with the process. If there is one piece of knowledge though, that can make or break your application before you are even out of the gate, it is to read through your grant and follow the instructions to the letter. If your grant asks for a 500 word statement explaining how your work relates to the mission statement of the foundation, do not under any circumstances fail to deliver exactly this. Be sure you know your grant inside and out. Do not miss a deadline, do not fail to submit exactly what you are being asked for in a timely manner. The fastest way to be out of the running is to fail to follow instructions, and every grant is different. That being said, not every grant will be right for you. Perhaps your work simply doesn’t relate to the mission statement of the foundation offering a grant you may have found. That is absolutely OK and it is better for you to move on than to try fitting a square peg into a round hole.
As a working artist, finding and writing grants must be part of your regular practice. You must give it some level of priority because this is a true part of any artist’s bread and butter. We have so many resources to help you get started, and once you begin to feel more comfortable you will be finding and writing grants on your own and won’t remember why that ever seemed so overwhelming in the first place.