We just had a grant writing workshop with Peter Kingstone from the Toronto Arts Council. For those of you who weren’t able to join us in person, here are some tips that we gleaned from the workshop.
Peter is super approachable and always willing to sit down and talk to you about your in progress grant. He loves having tea with people and talking about ideas so you should definitely email him ([email protected]) in advance of the deadline to see about whether you are eligible for the grant that you want to apply for. There is nothing worse then going through the whole process only to find out that you weren’t eligible! While Peter doesn’t make any of the decisions on who receives money himself, he can give great feedback about what you need to do to make your grant appealing for the jury.
The Level One Visual Artist grant (for emerging artists with 2-7 years experience) is due on October 1, 2014. A Visual Artist grant is for the creation of new work (not specifically for exhibition costs or travel – there are other grants that you can apply for to help cover those costs). There are other grants for the dissemination of work, for organizations or collectives, but that deadline isn’t until March 1, 2015.
There are three major components to the Visual Artist Grant: the proposed use of grant, your CV, and your support images.
The proposed use of grant should explain who you are and what you want to make. You should include 1-2 paragraphs explaining who you are as an artist, what kind of work you have made in the past and what experiences you have had as an artist that best reflect your practice. Then you should explain what you plan on doing with the grant. It is best to avoid words like hoping and dreaming, and instead focus on clear and direct explanations of what you will do. You should also make clear links between your proposed project and your practice as an artist, focusing on how this work reflects what you’ve done in the past, as well as what receiving the money will do in support of your career. It is also important to include an explanation of who is the audience for the work.
Your CV should be a maximum of 3 pages and should list your exhibition history, as well as any awards or past grants that you have received. You only need to include experience that is relevant to your practice. If you work part time at McDonalds and make work specifically about working at McDonalds then you can include that on your CV, but if your work has no relation to your art practice, then the jury probably doesn’t need to know about it. Don’t worry if your CV is not yet 3 pages long – you don’t need to try and inflate the experiences that you have had to make it seem like you have more experience then you do.
You can include 10 support images, or up to 5 minutes of video. One minute of video counts as 1 image. So you could include 3 minutes of video and 7 images in support of your application. You also will be able to include a 50 word description for each of your images, explaining how an image responds to the idea for your grant.
The nice thing about the new online grant application is that Peter can actually look at the saved draft of your grant before you submit it. This is why it is a good idea to write the grant as far in advance of the deadline as possible because it allows for you to contact Peter and get feedback on the grant before you submit it!