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Grant Writing for Artists 101.1


It’s grant writing season! I’ve just crawled out from under 3 long artist grant applications - two for myself and one for a fellow artist.


Even though I write for a living, the process is never easy and once again, I must tease apart my art and process and find a way to communicate my vision or that of another artist, to a potential jury or peer assessors as we now call them/us.


Having been at the table, assessing the applications of others a few times, I recall what the applications that people were most drawn to. I recall at times how drastically different our views were. I recall that art can be subjective to the creator, to the viewer, listener, and experiencer. We have to find the best way to reveal ourselves.


The Interview

In my experience, I always come back to this technique. Have someone interview you, ask you hard questions, tease the reason that you are making this art, how does it connect to every aspect of the most mundane parts of your life. How older where you when you first held a pen? What kind of pen was it? Where do you stand when composing? These may not seem like important questions but trust me, they may lead so something critical that helps to explain your vision and to help someone else to ‘get’ it. Or maybe, it will just explain you to yourself and then you can edit and tease out the most pertinent bits.


In current times, there may not be anyone on-site to interview you. Maybe a trusted friend can interview you on your artistic process via Zoom. Maybe you can go for a walk and talk into your phone. Press record and listen later. It’s amazing what is revealed - even if you are interviewing yourself!


When not writing essays, poems or songs, I interview scientists, bureaucrats, musicians and other writers. The best stuff often comes up after the microphone is turned off and I must dash to turn it back on. It could be a related memory triggered by the sound of the wind or an interesting connection to a childhood incident. Sometimes this reveals the most intriguing part of the story that can be woven into the artist vision or biography.


There you go. Good luck.


If you’d like to collaborate with me on artistic or writing projects, you know where to find me.



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