Saturday, March 19, 2011

MN artists and arts funding 2011-2012

While there's still a lot of dithering going on at the Minnesota State Arts Board and the continued funding issues in the Minnesota legislature, it's important for individual artists to keep a sense of key programs likely to be available:

Artist Initiative—Project grants for artists at all stages of their careers, to support artistic development, nurture artistic creativity, and recognize the contributions individual artists make to the creative environment of the state of Minnesota. The typical application deadline is the end of August.

Arts Learning—Project grants to provide opportunities for lifelong learners to acquire knowledge and understanding of and skills in the arts. The typical application deadline is the beginning of November.

Arts Tour Minnesota—Project grants to support touring performances, exhibitions, and other related arts activities throughout the state. This application deadline is typically mid-October.

Cultural Community Partnership—Project grants to enhance the careers of individual artists of color. Artists, at any stage in their careers, can apply for grants to help support collaborative projects. You apply in mid-November typically.

Folk and Traditional Arts—Project grants to support the artistic traditions and customs practiced within community and/or cultural groups by identifying, documenting, preserving, presenting, and honoring Minnesota’s folk arts and traditions. This is usually in the beginning of January, and it's very easy to miss this one because of the holidays.

In addition, emerging artists and groups of artists in MN will want to keep an eye out for funds offered by their regional arts councils (MRAC in the Twin Cities, for example) as well as COMPAS and the McKnight Fellowships offered through institutions such as the Loft Literary Center for writers and MCAD for visual artists. Intermedia Arts also offers a number of exceptional grant opportunities and the Jerome Travel and Study Grant is also a good resource.

I will say that a number of otherwise good artists who are applying are getting taken out because they aren't developing a good strategic sense of their plan for themselves or developing a compelling worksample set for themselves and are scrambling for the last minute. But a good request typically takes an entire year into account and can justify what role these funds will have not only in the immediate but over the long-term.

For most of these grants you need to be able to explain this in less than 250 words, so be efficient about your details and realistic in the scope of your plans. It's helpful to look at previous grants that not only were approved but those that weren't. The ones that weren't selected are often easy to identify, in hindsight. Good luck, and remember there are staff members and many community volunteers available to help you, but you need to give everyone time to provide adequate feedback and support!

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