Emerging Artist Grant – Part 1

Posted on September 11, 2013 by Haymaker

Dan was awarded a 2012-2013 Emerging Artist Grant from the Durham Arts Council. The following is part one of a two-part series describing his experience. The 2013-2014 Emerging Artist Grant deadline is September 18. Be sure to apply! Look for part two on Ant Hampton’s workshop – FANTASY INTERVENTIONS – next week.

About this time last year, I devised a plan to make myself a better artist. Then I asked the Durham Arts Council to pay for it through the Emerging Artist Program. I think you should do the same thing.

With the deadline quickly approaching, I thought it might be helpful to ask Margaret DeMott for her advice. She is the Director of Artist Services at the Durham Arts Council, and I found her perspective extremely valuable when developing my application. The following is a loose transcript of my conversation with Margaret.

Good luck!

Can you offer some perspective on the Emerging Artist Grant?

The intent of the Emerging Artist Grant is to support an artist’s development. Applicants should focus their application on their emergence. How will this grant take them from who they are now (point A) to who they want to be (point B)? How is the grant going to help them move toward their career goals?

Can you give some tips to potential applicants?

–Be clear in the narrative and the budget.

–The “Goals” question of the application is really important. It sets the context for everything else. What’s your vision? What are you trying to get out of the grant? The key is for the applicant to articulate their career goals and their career path to give relevance to their application.

–Make the Durham Arts Council understand the significance of the grant for you. Be persuasive about the impact the grant will have on you. Remember: as an applicant, you are setting your own rules. Our job at DAC is just to evaluate.

–Give yourself time.

What are some common mistakes?

–Applicants don’t write a crisp enough narrative. Get someone else who hasn’t heard your idea to read your application. Then ask them: what did you get? Remember, it’s a narrative. A story. What are the relevant details? What aren’t?

–Poor work samples. Your work sample should be representative of who you are, relevant to your application, and memorable to us. It should stand out in a crowd. After your review panel has read all of the applications, you want them to remember your application.

–Budgets don’t add up. Remember to double check your work. Add up your budget.

Other thoughts?

We hope everyone gets something out of applying. Even thinking through the project is useful. Remember DAC gives feedback. 45% of people who didn’t get the grant requested and received feedback last year. Unfortunately, a grant program isn’t like a class grade where everyone who earns an A gets an A—we receive lots of very worthy applications which we can’t support, just because we don’t have enough funds.  We evaluate the applications on the criteria and goals of the grant program—which may or may not be relevant to who you are and what you are trying to do.  If you don’t get a grant please ask for feedback—use the opportunity to find out if you could have made the application stronger.  You may or may not choose to reapply to the program, but what you learn from us may help you next time you apply for something else.

For more information go to: http://www.durhamarts.org/artistinfo_emergingartists.html