It’s difficult to sustain your career on art sales alone. Throughout your career you may face financial challenges. These road blocks should not thwart your desire to expand your creative impulse. Thankfully, there are a plethora of valuable funding resources and grants for individual artists that fulfill different needs. In this article I include six organizations that exist to provide artists with funding in the U.S. You’ll also find in this article a link to an informative video to learn how to write a grant proposal and how the grant giving process operates.
You may also want to read Three Fellowships That Provide Funding For Visual Artists.
Artists Fellowship Helps Artists in Need
If you are in dire financial needs or know of any artists who are, The Artists’ Fellowship, Inc. is a charitable foundation that assists professional fine artists (painters, graphic artists, printmakers, sculptors) and their families in times of emergency, disability, or bereavement. Assistance is given without expectation of repayment. One does not need to be a member of the Fellowship to receive assistance; neither does membership in the Artists’ Fellowship entitle one to assistance from the foundation.
The Artists’ Fellowship’s Board of Trustees and Officers all serve as volunteers in service to our community of artists, so all of the funds it receives goes to artists in need.
CHF Offers Financial Support
The Clark Hulings Fund (CHF) helps professional visual artists compete in an increasingly complex marketplace “by providing them with strategic business support, training, and targeted financial assistance.”
It maintains the Business Accelerator Program, that offers a much needed direct and customized training to visual artists. Those artists who are chosen for the program receive a range of benefits. They receive free tuition to attend CHF’s year-long workshop course on the business of art. They are also eligibile for CHF’s grants.
NYFA Offers Many Different Grants to Artists
NYFA is committed to supporting artists from diverse cultural backgrounds at all stages of their professional careers. In 2016, NYFA awarded 92 grants to 98 awardees with 5 collaborations totaling an amount of $647,000.
The NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowships are administered with leadership support from New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. These fellowships, awarded in 15 different disciplines over a three-year period, are $7,000 cash awards made “to individual originating artists living and working in the state of New York for unrestricted use.” These fellowships are not project grants but are intended “to fund an artist’s vision or voice, regardless of the level of his or her artistic development.”
National Sculpture Society Offers A Range of Services
National Sculpture Society (NSS) promotes excellence in sculpture that is inspired by the natural world. Established in 1893, its founding members – including Daniel Chester French, Augustus St. Gaudens, Stanford White and J.Q.A. Ward – established the Society to “spread the knowledge of good sculpture.”
For more than 120 years, NSS has continued to support sculpture today as an active, vital, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Its many programs include Sculpture Review magazine, NSS SculptureNews, scholarships, grants, exhibitions and competitions.It also holds the Sculpture Celebration Conference which features a range of programs such as panel discussions, demonstrations, information sessions, studio tours, and awards presentations. These educational programs are just a few of the ways NSS serves as a link between the public, sculptors, educators, and collectors.
The National Sculpture Society has two major grants. One is the Marilyn Newmark Memorial Grant, an unrestricted prize of $5,000 for a sculptor, specializing in animal sculpture, “who has demonstrated a commitment to sculpting and outstanding ability in his or her body of work.”
The Alex J. Ettl Grant is another grant sponsored by NSS. The unrestricted prize of $5,000 is awarded annually to a figurative or realist sculptor “who has demonstrated a commitment to sculpting and outstanding ability in his or her body of work.”
Creative Capital provides “integrated financial and advisory support to artists pursuing adventurous projects in all disciplines.” This organization has awarded $40 million to 642 groundbreaking artists nationwide through funding, counsel and career development services. Its Professional Development workshops “have empowered nearly 12,000 creative minds to strengthen their careers and enrich their communities.” It takes pride in providing “risk capital” in the arts, which means it takes chances to fund innovative creative ideas that are outside the mainstream. It has funded all forms of digital arts, gaming, sound art, architecture, design, interdisciplinary projects, and new genres.
The next application date will be in 2018. As an applicant you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent legal resident, at least 25 years old, and have had at least five years as a working artist. Full-time students are not eligible.
Foundation for Contemporary Arts
Foundation for Contemporary Arts was established in 1963. Since its inception, the mission of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts has been to encourage, sponsor, and promote innovative work in the arts created and presented by individuals, groups, and organizations. Its legacy continues today with unrestricted, by-nomination grants supporting pioneering work across the fields of dance, music/sound, performance art/theater, poetry, and the visual arts. A fund is also maintained to assist artists with emergencies and unexpected opportunities related to their work. To date, nearly 1,000 artists have made these grants possible by contributing paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, and photographs to fifteen fund-raising exhibitions held over the years.
Learn How to Write A Grant Proposal and More
If you have thought about applying for a grant as an individual artist, you may have discovered there are few resources available to show you how. Foundations that give to individuals have highly specific criteria, and this makes it hard to create a comprehensive “how-to” guide.
You can learn about this subject by watching a presentation by Lisa Tuttle, Public Art Program Education and Outreach Coordinator, Fulton County Arts Council. She discusses how to write a well-developed, clear and organized public art proposal. This presentation offers insight into the proposal writing and commission selection process.
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