Forgive my absence, my holidays were art filled, if unproductive. Happy New Year!
I want to start the year with a shout-out to the Arts Council of Hillsborough County. Not only have they continued funding Individual Artist Grants, they have upped the total dollar amount available for awards to $40,000. These grants have disappeared from many county and state budgets; this Arts Council (and county) have been steadfast in creating funding for individual artists and cultural organizations.
The Individual Artist Grant application deadline is January 22, 2016 at 5:00 p.m. Time is short, there is less than two weeks from the deadline. But if you are an accomplished Hillsborough County artist ready to further your professional development, you can apply.
I am intimately familiar with this grant, having worked at the Arts Council and can share a few suggestions. But no offers of help, suggestions or tips online substitute for meeting with a representative of the Arts Council or any granting organization where you are applying. These meetings can increase your chances of success and are sometimes required for first time applicants.
A Few Tips:
1) Read the grant guidelines, carefully. Read the grant application, carefully. Decide and articulate your project. Meet with a representative of the granting organization with questions and make sure the project falls within the guidelines. Set your deadline one day before the grant is due for submission. Anything can happen, trust me. Including an address change for the Arts Council - check their website.
2) If you are a professional artist, I am sure you already have a folder on your computer containing an up-to-date resume, updated list of exhibitions or performances, and current work samples. ( If not, New Year resolution: one hour a week, or one full morning or afternoon a month). Having these materials updated allows you to take advantage of available funding on a moment's notice. However, it is possible to complete these requirements in time for the deadline. Work methodically.
3) Determine your vision and goals for your project. Articulate it with your peers. The more clear you are with the project, the more confidence you will have completing the grant application.
4) Gather budget documentation for your project - be thorough. Your budget and documentation should outline your project as clearly as your narrative. Provide specific documentation.
5) Ask for letters of support and gather support materials from previous dance performances, gallery shows, etc.(unless they are in that folder on the computer).
6) Complete the grant questions. (You may find reviewing the criteria for scoring helpful as you put together the grant.) Write clearly and directly, answer the questions. Consider having a friend or colleague review the application; it is helpful to have feedback.
7) Prepare your work sample. This is your strongest asset. Make sure it meets the application guidelines required format for your discipline.
8) Review, review, review.
9) Submit the application and the required number of copies before the deadline. Deliver it to their new address: 505 E. Jackson Street, Suite 306, Tampa, 33602.
10) I strongly encourage attending the panel review. It is a excellent learning experience. If you are not applying but would like to in the future, attending the panel review can also be helpful.
The Arts Council has frequently asked answers on their website at tampaart.org. Similar tips I shared above, and more, are also available with a quick search on the internet.
You won't find Individual Artist Grants in every community.
But you have to apply.