Friday, April 20, 2012

Proposals for Grants, Residencies & Exhibitions

Three months in Japan working on your artwork along with a travel stipend.   

A large cash prize and six month drawing in a New England forest. 

Cash support for preparing art for an exhibition.  

These may sound like dreams, but these are real awards that transform artists' careers. Liz Roth and Debby Kaspari have applied for and received many such awards. They will share tips and ideas at the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition Artist Survival Kit workshop on April 28, 2012. Roth answered a few questions about proposals and opportunities below. 
Presenter Liz Roth explains her Art 365 project in 2008
Q: What do you do when you get a rejection letter?

Liz Roth: When I get a rejection letter, I have a 24-hour rule. The rule is:  I send out an application within 24 hours of receiving a rejection.  I am able to do this because I keep an ongoing list of opportunities in a document on my laptop, organized by date. I update this list constantly. I always want to have something (a possible acceptance) to look forward to. So I generally have between 5 and 9 applications “out” at any given time.

Q: What is the biggest opportunity to which you’ve applied? Why did you want to apply?

Roth: The biggest opportunity I applied to that I received was the Kamiyama Artist in Residency in Japan. It is a three-month long, remarkable residency. Basically, I like to travel and wanted to go to Japan, so I applied.

What happened was, I went there and it pretty much changed my life and the direction my art would take.  I have had a fair amount of experience working abroad, but being in a foreign country where your job is to be an artist and to complete a project you proposed was fantastic and quite challenging. 

I learned how to really think about a place and create an esthetic experience tailored to the community’s interests. I learned how to push my esthetic agenda, while remaining respectful. I created more work in three months than I though was humanly possible. And my final work was so interesting to me, that I have been using that project as a springboard for other projects in the ten years since.

Q: What will you address in the workshop?

Roth: My role in this workshop is nuts and bolts. I will talk less about the grants and residencies I have received, and more about how to think about transforming what you already do into a project that will be attractive to grant and residency review committees. Also, I will demonstrate how to find these opportunities on the web, and how to prepare your application materials. We’ll have a brainstorming part of the workshop, but by all means, bring your ideas and your writing and we’ll look at them!

Q: A good question to ask is, what percentage of applications that you submit are accepted?

Roth: The answer is it depends upon what I am applying for. But usually, 1 out of 10.

Roth and Debby Kaspari will lead artists through funding and proposals at the "Applying for Artist Grants" workshop on April 28. See for more information and to register. 

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