Why Art Professors Always get Grants: 6 Myths of Art Funding

Why Art Professors Always get Grants: 6 Myths of Art Funding

The fact that you’re reading this week’s post is probably because you have had a few missed opportunities and feel a bit stuck on grant writing and other creative opportunities.  While it may feel like established artists and professors always are receiving awards and grants, that’s not the case.

This week’s post talks about the challenges you face as an emerging artist when it comes to granting and creative opportunities and perhaps gives you insight into the inner workings of the system. 

Myth #1 The Grant System Weeds out Emerging Artists: The granting system is not set up to sort out the professional from the emerging artists but that doesn’t mean that the granting system is perfect. Oftentimes, those who understand how to write the grants in the technical format and have strong writing abilities tend to get funded. Artists with access to grant writing support, consultants to help guide them, and the time or funds to attend workshops or training also may have a better chance. This often means that younger emerging artists who haven’t had training in formal grant writing have less of an opportunity. 

Myth #2 Grant Awards are Based on your Income: Grant awards are not based on your income. Grant applications oftentimes won’t ask for income information. If you are a starving artist or a well-established professional, your income doesn’t impact whether or not you get an award. 

Myth #3 Professors Always Get Funded Artists who are more established tend to get more funding because they have a stronger body of work, understand their creative work, and can describe a plan where they want to go in the future. An emerging artist who may still be experimenting, developing a body of work, and learning their creative habits are less likely to be funded. Spending time in the studio or working with a mentor may help a younger artist develop more than a grant. 

Myth #4 You can Get Paid to Travel and go on Creative Vacations: It may seem like certain people get funded for silly projects, art inspiration vacations, and getting worked framed for free, this is not the case. All grants have specific guidelines, outcomes, and evaluation methods. Nobody is just handed a check and gets to do whatever they want. 

Myth #5 Politicians are in Charge of Arts Funding: Politicians do not decide who gets funded. It’s not a popularity contest even if it feels that way. In Minnesota, a certain amount of arts funding is granted and the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Regional Arts Councils take it from there. The legacy fund is extremely important to our vibrant arts community, and all artists including you have the ability to receive some of this funding.

Myth #6 If they Said No Once, They will Say No Again: If you wrote a grant and was not accepted, ask for some feedback. Chances are if you apply what feedback the panel or organization had, you have an increased advantage for the next time you apply. Continually being open to criticism and feedback for your grant applications will increase your chances of funding. 

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