limited methods for the accurate tracking of individuals with arts as
their primary income source, estimated figures of total US working
artists (from literary to performing, cultural and visual) are around
It’s often very difficult for working artists to
conveniently finance the creation, exhibition, and marketing of their
arts thanks to their relatively low earnings. This makes them almost
always in need of financial support for art materials, fabrication
costs, travel, studio space, exhibition, marketing, and other expenses.
most foundations generally provide grants to nonprofit organizations
only, artists are the exception to this rule as fellowships and grants
are a very popular source of their funding amongst others cited below;
Fellowships and Grants
provided by private foundations and a few art agencies (publicly
funded), the funds can take care of fees and other expenditures giving
the artist freedom to worry only about creativity. Grants are generally
competitive and provide assistance of different terms such as the
awarded amount, procedures for application, stipulations etc. Some are
much more restricted than others with eligibility and openness varying
from nomination and application, to need or being awarded as a for a
funding opportunity for artists usually requires displacement from
normal obligations and environment to benefit from studio space,
housing, living stipends, and travel often provided in Residencies.
with a non-profit for fiscal sponsorship when having projects related
to their mission can provide a valuable funding opportunity for artists.
This fiscal sponsorship relationship implies the artist makes use of
the tax exempt status of the sponsor to solicit for charitable
contributions which are tax-deductible.
Free or Discounted Services
organizations and agencies are dedicated to making health care, tax and
legal services particularly available to cash-strapped artists facing
hard times. Some of these services are provided at discounts with others
being totally free.
Even with the existence of numerous funding
opportunities for artists such as cash grants, internships, employment
and residencies, understanding eligibility issues and qualification
requirements is very important and should be given enough attention.
Poor proposals account for many artists being overlooked for funding.
So, amongst the important activities like research for valuable
information, hiring the services of a qualified grant writer will
definitely have great enhancement effects on the chances of an artist to
be selected for funding because his/her proposals are prepared with
Although eligibility is by nomination
only, the MacArthur Fellowship and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant
are amongst the most valuable and prestigious awards to support artists.
With a wide range of different requirements for eligibility, examples
of leading artist grant opportunities available for open application
The Awesome Foundation for the Arts and Sciences
For: Awesome projects
Time: Awarded monthly. Applications are rolling
Foundation is a group of small philanthropists awarding monthly
micro-grants of $1,000 to individuals who have awesome ideas. The grant
for every chapter is donated by 10 trustees, $100 each for scientific,
artistic and/or social projects. Previous “awesome” beneficiaries
include a phone book farm in Ottawa, a pipe organ (portable), and a
Boston giant hammock. There are no eligibility restrictions for this
Brooklyn Arts Council Grants
For: Enthusiasts in G train
Time: Late summer, annually
Value: Average between $1,700 and $2,100
grant is open to artists based in Brooklyn. It rewards projects with
public component funding. It covers dance and theater productions,
gallery exhibitions, musical concerts, films, workshops, installation of
public arts, screenings and curatorial projects. With about 30 – 40 %
of applicants usually benefiting from at least some funding, chances of
getting assistance upon application are very high. Eligibility requires
artists with proof of residence in Brooklyn.
The Pollock-Krasner Foundation
For: Painters, drawers, printmakers, and sculptors
Time: No deadlines
Value: Depending on the circumstances particular to the artist ($5,000 – $20,000)
foundation, started by Jackson Pollock’s widow, Lee Krasner, who is
also an Abstract Expressionist painter awards grants at all times within
the year to artists. Applicants are required to be of financial need
while possessing and demonstrating peculiar artistic talent with their
recent works in galleries, museums and/or exhibition spaces. Examples of
Individuals of note who have received this grant include Zoe Leonard,
Jane Benson, Valerie Hegarty, Thornton Willis, Alyson Shotz.
New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Fellowship
For: New York based writers, artists, filmmakers, and musicians
ever changing categories and mediums every year, this grant is the Holy
Grail for New York based artists. Artists from a wide range of
disciplines receive cash awards through the NYFA fellowship without
restrictions on how they will be used. Five categories are open for
applications each year. Examples of notable grantees include; Zhou Long,
Jennifer Egan, Doug Aitken, Barbara Kruger, Todd Haynes, Junot Diaz;
Spike Lee, Marilyn Minter, Christian Marclay.
There exist many
other accessible national and international grants, fellowships and
other funding opportunities for artists which are general or speak to
particular groups like disciplines, location, race, sex, religious
belief, ethnicity, political background etc. Finding the ideal one only
requires proper research and application or follow up.