For an artist, acquiring a grant can make all the difference between a project sitting stagnant or coming to full-fledged life. Grant writing can be an art in and of itself and the application process may seem daunting at first – but it doesn’t have to be. ArtsNL Program Officer Katrina Rice will lead a free workshop in grant writing, focusing on ArtsNL’s Professional Project Grants Program (PPGP), at the Foran-Greene Room at St. John’s City Hall. Katrina and Reg Winsor, Executive Director of ArtsNL, took some time to chat with Business & Arts about the application process and how the PPGP has helped support the province’s arts community for almost four decades.
Business & Arts NL: What are some of the most important things that artists/artist groups should keep in mind when preparing their grant applications?
Katrina Rice: There are many grant programs from ArtsNL to which people can apply. I’ll focus on the Professional Project Grants Program (PPGP) here. When preparing a grant application to the ArtsNL PPGP, an applicant should remember that there are different parts to a complete application package. The parts of a complete application package include:
· the completed application form
· artist CV (for the applicant and any other artists involved with the project)
· project description
· support material
· price quotes of projected budget costs (if applicable)
· any support or reference letters (if applicable)
The applications are reviewed by peer assessment committees so it is important that a complete application package is submitted.
The application forms for ArtsNL granting programs are available on the ArtsNL website under the grants section. An artist CV should highlight an applicant’s professional arts career and arts training in the arts discipline to which they are applying. The project description is a very important element of the application package, it should include the who, what, where, when, and why of the proposed project. This will help the peer assessment committee read what is being created, background of the proposed project, who will be involved, the stages of the project, and a timeline and schedule, as well as the value of the project to the artists involved. Support material should be described and be relevant to the proposed project, and any included reference letters should refer to the applicant’s artistic background and the proposed project.
All ArtsNL grant programs are competitive and a complete application will help explain an artist’s project, vision and plan. Applications should be read carefully before they are submitted and hopefully by more than the applicant (especially if it is a first-time application). An ArtsNL program officer, Labrador cultural outreach officer, or program manager can also be contacted for feedback on a proposed project application.
There is a section on the ArtsNL website called “Advice on Writing a Grant Proposal for the Professional Project Grants Program.” Here you can find a few more details as to writing a PPGP application, how applications are assessed, and definitions of professional artists and arts groups.
Business & Arts NL: What are some of the reasons why a seemingly good application may get rejected?
KR: As mentioned, the ArtsNL grant programs are competitive. A good application may not be successful receiving a grant within a granting session. But making sure the submission is a complete application is the best start to the process. If details are left out of the budget, timeline, schedule, or project description, it can lead to questions about a project. Also, support material that’s related to the proposed project and explained is very important to the application review process. If an application is unsuccessful in receiving a grant, an applicant can call the ArtsNL office for feedback that may be helpful for future applications.
Business & Arts NL: How successful has ArtsNL’s Professional Project Grants Program been in helping to grow the province’s artistic community and helping to increase their output?
Reg Winsor: More often than not, grants that professional artists receive through the Professional Project Grants Program, and other ArtsNL grant programs, leverage additional funding sources – both public and private. That’s to say that it’s usually one of the earlier funding contributions awarded to applicants’ projects, and then becomes seed money. When private businesses, and other public funders, see that a project has been awarded an ArtsNL grant, there is a certain level of endorsement associated with the artist’s ability to bring the project to fruition successfully, and also private business is reassured that they’re not the only financial backer.
With ArtsNL celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, we have now provided almost $25-million in funding to professional artists and arts organizations for the creation and production of fine art, literary works, music, dance, film, and theatre projects. These projects often employ a number of individuals beyond the funded professional artist, and have created thousands of jobs over the years leading to significant contributions to the provincial economy.
For more information on Katrina Rice’s grant writing workshop, click here.