[Free Download] Artist Grant Proposal Template

Artist Chelsea Hart installs a mural in a co-working space in Denver, CO

Thinking of applying for an artist grant, but not sure how best to present your project in the grant proposal?

An art proposal template can help you get started.

If you are looking to receive support and funding for your art through an artist grant, you may be required to submit an art grant proposal.

Most artists aren’t trained as grant writers either, but with a few guiding questions and an outline of what to include in your proposal, you can better advocate for your project and secure funding. Being able to write persuasively about your work helps others see the value and meaning of your work quickly, and can be the difference between receiving the grant or being ignored.

Before you start creating your own proposal, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Research the franchising body and art organization before you start writing

There are few things more exciting than being at the start of a new project. However, before you begin writing your proposal, make sure you have a good understanding of the organization funding the grant.

Why was this organization started? What is your mission? What do they look for in an applicant? If they have had similar grants in the past, who has won those grants?

Organizations are usually looking to further a specific cause, and you want to make sure your work fits their vision before you take the time to apply. Reading about the program’s mission can also help inform how you approach writing your proposal, so the funding organization can see that your project is in line with its vision and goals.

With limited time away from the studio, you want to make sure your art practice and schedule are a good fit for this project, so you don’t waste time applying for something you’re not eligible for.

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Next, research all the application guidelines and take note of the requirements. You don’t want your application to be rejected before they have a chance to review your work because your file names are mislabeled or you submitted the wrong materials.

Create a plan to apply and don’t procrastinate

Planning ahead not only gives you time to contact the funding organization if any questions arise, it also allows your creative process to breathe. Working against a deadline can dampen the excitement of the project and leave you stressed.

Look ahead a full calendar year to see what applications and grants you want to apply for. Many grants post their deadlines at the beginning of the year or have an annual deadline similar to previous years. You can also use a resource like Artwork Archive’s Guide to the Best Artist Opportunities to find and save upcoming deadlines.

Then, create a deadline in your art file schedule to stay on top of the request and create a plan to complete your proposal on time.

Depending on the amount of funding and how extensive the application process is, preparing to apply for an art grant can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. You’ll want to brainstorm your proposal, organize your thoughts, create a draft, collect your images, and have someone review your application—all of which take planning!

Get clarity on your proposal topic and process

While you may have a clear idea for your proposal, it takes time to turn the seed of an idea into a fully formed written proposal. Even the best ideas require multiple iterations to turn a great idea into a concisely written project schedule with clear steps and goals.

Starting with a draft or freewriting exercise can help you get all the floating thoughts out of your head and help you organize them into a compelling proposal.

You can use the guiding questions in the artist grant proposal template download below to help clarify your project and writing.

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Some sample questions to ask yourself as you brainstorm your proposal are:

  • Why is this project important?

  • How does my project connect with previous artists that you have supported?

  • How does this project relate to my other work?

  • Why is this project timely?

  • Why this organization? What do we have in common?

  • The “who”, “what”, “where”, “when”, “how” of the project: Who else is involved? What resources will I need? Which will take place? When will it take place? How will the project be completed and how will it be evaluated?

Have the app basics ready to go

While every application is different, there are some basic requirements for most grants that you should have prepared ahead of time.

Since each application will require an artwork list, it can be helpful to create collections of your themed work in the Artwork Archive, and then quickly generate artwork lists or inventory lists when you need them. Inventory reports are a great way to display the overview of information about your artwork that granting institutions require. With each artwork, you’ll want to include the following:

  • Title
  • Medium (eg cedar carving, acrylic on canvas, etc.)
  • Date
  • Dimensions or length of the artwork and
  • A brief description of your intention behind each piece.

With the Artwork Archive, you can include all of this information in a few clicks and generate a list of artworks with a thumbnail of the work and a link to the high resolution image as well, making it easy to pull all of this information together in seconds so you can focus on the unique aspects of each application.

Don’t waste time doing the same thing over and over again, searching for image files or building a list of illustrations from scratch. See how to create inventory lists here and start your free trial with no credit card required here.

Avoid making your proposal exclusively about yourself and your needs.

Wanting support for your art business for studio or living expenses is valid, but most grants seek to work with artists who are in line with their larger vision. Avoid saying you want or need the money to pay for your education or living expenses. Unless the application clearly states that it is an open or cash grant, the awarding agency will want to see exactly where the money is going.

This means you’ll need to be clear about where the budget is going on the project and follow up with receipts to show how you’re using the grant.

You’ll also want to avoid generalities and vague statements about the project, budget, or schedule. The more direct and clear you can be, the better you can understand the panel and support your project. Don’t assume jurors know anything about your background, mission, or methods. Provide context and meaning through detailed explanations when needed.

Create a strong application using the Art Grant Proposal Worksheet

The key to preparing for a grant application is to remember not only to present a complete picture of the project and how it will be carried out, but also why it should be funded in the first place. Many times, it is the writing that will set your project apart. A thoughtful, clear and concise proposal will always have a competitive advantage, especially when there is money on the table.

The free worksheet download below includes an easy outline to organize your ideas, fully explain your project, develop a budget, and write your strongest art grant proposal.

Download Artwork Archive’s free grant proposal worksheet below to get started!

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