Tips for Writing a Great Application
Culture Works held an Artist Opportunity Grant Workshop at the Dayton Metro Library on August 19, 2019 for individuals interested in applying for the 2019-2020 grant cycle. Slides from the workshop presentation are available here. Much of the workshop information is also summarized below, along with links to additional resources.
Artist Resume and Artistic Documentation:
You will be asked to submit an artist resume and documentation of your work as part of your application. When creating these, it’s important to ask: How effectively are you conveying the quality of your art/artistic career? Panelists will pay special attention to the quality of the artist resume and artistic documentation when determining scores for Artistic Merit and Administrative Capability.
The Montgomery County Arts & Cultural District has provided a Sample Artist Resume for reference. Your resume should:
- Be clear and error free
- Be in reverse-chronological order
- List performances/published works/exhibitions (depending on your discipline)
- Include workshops/seminars you’ve participated in that are related to your art
- Include any fellowships, grants, and awards you’ve received for your art
- Include RELATED work experience (Note: This is not a full professional CV, but if you have work experience in the arts, feel free to include it)
- List any committees, boards, and professional memberships that illustrate your involvement in the arts community
Artistic Documentation/Work Samples:
The type of documentation will depend on the medium in which you’re working but could include: high-quality photos of your work, links to a personal website (if available), links to high-quality video, etc. A few things to note:
- If you don’t have a personal website, a link to a public Google Drive or other folder is acceptable as long as panelists do not have to create a login/account to access the materials.
- The application asks for examples of your work from within the last year; however, you can also include work from further back if it relates to the project/opportunity for which you’re seeking funding.
For more details, see our complete Work Samples Guidelines.
The artist statement is your opportunity to provide panelists with more detail about your vision as an artist and the trajectory of your artistic career. Panelists will consider your artist statement when evaluating your project’s Artistic Merit and Potential Impact (on your career).
While artist statements will be unique to each artist, a three-part structure that works well for many artists is:
- How would you describe the aesthetic and style of your work (tone, overarching themes)?
- How would you describe your current body of work (in terms of medium, subject matter, the specific ways it addresses larger themes in your work)?
- What is your vision (the impact you hope to have with your art, where you want to go as an artist)?
Visual artists may be familiar with, and wish to use, the format developed by the Art Dealers Association of America. This Artist Bio/Statement Guidelines document, provided by The Contemporary Dayton (formerly DVAC), explains the format and includes links to other helpful resources and examples.
Regardless of how you structure your artist statement, some things to consider including are:
- Vision and developmental goals
- Elaboration on artistic documentation submitted
- Your professional ambitions
- Prevalent themes/issues in your work
Note: Your artist statement should be written in first person (“I… My work…”).
In the Program Details section of the application, you will be asked to describe the opportunity/project for which you’re seeking funding, to explain its impact on your career and work, and to describe its public benefit. Some things to consider:
- Why or how will this opportunity be important for the development of your work/career? Connect the dots for the grant reviewer. Explain not just why it appeals to you but how it will help advance your work: By improving a technique you are already using? By providing you with assistance to mount a one-person exhibition that is on the books? By giving you an opportunity to branch into a new medium that you feel an affinity for?
- How do you fit in to the larger community? How does your work relate to issues facing your city/neighborhood? How does your work fit in to the artistic landscape? Does it fill a current need or lack in the artistic/larger community? Do you bring a perspective that is underrepresented in your field?
Questions about applying for an Artist Opportunity Grant? Contact Karen Maner, Culture Works Communications & Project Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.