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12 More Grant Writing Tips for Artists

12 More Grant Writing Tips for Artists

13. Attend the Info Session

If the grant is offering an info session, attend it. I can guarantee you will learn something even if you have applied to the grant before. Things always change in applications.

14. Complete Your Grant Before the Deadline

I once was panicking because I couldn’t get the DOC format of my grant to upload into the online application forms. With literally minutes to spare, I got my application in after I found this secret button that magically uploaded my proposal. Don’t wait last minute and double triple check everything. You may have uploaded the incorrect file or missed an important detail. Give yourself the time to correctly complete and submit the grant, you’ve worked hard on your grant and deserve to have it reviewed.

15. Avoid Posing Questions

When you start to pose questions and ask the grant reviewer to consider something, you are now distracting them from essentially your project. This is dangerous especially when your work is political. Remember that not every grant review is a professional artist who works in your media or understands or agrees with your topic. The grant reviewer’s job is to simply decide if your proposal meets the outcomes of the project and if you meet the criteria of the grant itself. If you do, great…. you get funded! But when you start posing questions directly at the reader, you are asking for a response, opinion, or answer on part of the reviewer which may not be in your favor. Play it safe and just explain your grant without posing questions to the reader. 

 16. Name It

If the project or the series of work that you are making has a title or name, include it into the project. It gives it a focus and cohesiveness that often lacks in grants that just mention they want to make X number of paintings about theme Y. The more details you can provide the more it appears you have thought out the project and this includes your project name. Remember you can always change the name of your project as the project evolves.

17. Use Statistics & Research

If you have done any research to help you with your project and have numbers or stats to help argue for the project, include them. They can only help!

18. Have Good Images

I am guilty of doing this in the past, but taking snapshot photos of the artwork does not do the art justice. There can be no extra background, frame, or flaws in the professional documentation of the images. Whatever is in the image that is presented in front of the panel is considered art. The panel doesn’t discriminate what in the image is or is not the art. Take the time to invest in good photographing materials and take good images or pay to have someone do it for you. It is worth the money.

19. Choose wise words

“Behemoth” and “weirdo” are words you may use in day-to-day conversation with friends but are not exactly the most professional when writing a grant. These were a few word choices that distracted me when I was grant-reviewing because they stood out. Pretend you are writing to the President, or someone you hold in high regard, use clear, professional language that keeps you authentic. This doesn’t mean you should load in a bunch of art jargon to sound smart.

20. Working Larger is not Growth

Many artists want to work larger. Paint bigger, larger canvases. While desiring to work larger is something many are interested in doing, it’s not really a push into furthering or developing the work itself. Consider adjusting the budget to be able to afford larger substrates to work on however do not make the main theme of your project about working larger.

21. Go to the Review Sessions

You will get valuable feedback. Public grant panels often allow you to sit and listen to the reviews. If the grant proposal has a public review, attend! You won’t be able to defend your application or answer questions the group may bring up but it will provide critical feedback for when you apply again.

22. Background Information

Background information is important to the grant proposal. It tells the panel where you have been in your career and where you are heading. When you align your project to your background it helps the panel understand how the grant will help and impact your career. As important as this section is, don’t focus the majority of the word count you get to describe yourself. Panelists want to know your background but are focused on the goals and the project. Have a solid background and then move on with the project.

23. Get Feedback

If you have the opportunity to have another artist or grant writer read over your proposal do it! Get as much feedback you can.

24. Apply and Apply and Apply

At first you don’t get funded, apply apply again.


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