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Grants Contributions Fiscal Sponsorship Thinking outside the box With Jenni Rebecca Stephenson, Fresh Arts. Funding for the Individual Artist Local opportunities & Getting Creative. Money is always the issue. So, where do you find it?. $$$. Art Sales/commissions

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Fiscal Sponsorship

Thinking outside the box

With Jenni Rebecca Stephenson, Fresh Arts

Funding for the Individual ArtistLocal opportunities & Getting Creative

money is always the issue so where do you find it
Money is always the issue. So, where do you find it?


  • Art Sales/commissions
  • Performance/recording contracts
  • Residencies
  • Apprenticeships (Princess Grace Foundation) / internships (Getty Trust)
  • Professional development programs
  • In Kind Support
  • Grants (Foundations or City, State, or Federal Funding)
  • Corporations (art/artist as business expense)
  • Contributions (Individual)
  • Monetary Rewards- like Hunting Prize (fairly rare)
  • Fellowships (usually recognizing career accomplishments)
  • Fill in the blank... Innovate!
this presentation will touch on
This presentation will touch on:

It won’t solve all your problems, and it won’t dive too deep into the How To’s… Fresh Arts hosts workshops covering those details. We encourage you to check them out!


Grants usually come from private foundations or from governmental agencies. (Direct)

OR from contracted organizations who function as a gateway for other (often governmental) funding- i.e. Houston Arts Alliance.(Indirect)

*There is usually more indirect support available for individual artists than direct.

some local state national opportunities


  • All disciplines:
  • Idea Fund
  • Houston Arts Alliance Individual Artist Grant
  • For visual artists:
  • Hunting Prize
  • The Big Show
  • Artadia Fund
  • For writers:
  • Poets & Writers
  • NANO Prize
  • Barthelme Prize
  • For musicians:
  • Ima Hogg Competition
  • Local, State & National Funders
  • Houston Arts Alliance
  • Texas Commission on the Arts
  • National Endowment for the Arts
  • Foundation for Contemporary Arts
  • Creative Capital
  • Map Fund
  • Mid-America Arts Alliance
  • National Dance Project
  • United States (Artists must be nominated)
  • Puffin Foundation
  • The Awesome Foundation for the Arts and Sciences
Some local, state & national opportunities
individual artist grant from haa
Individual Artist Grant from HAA
  • The City of Houston is one of the only cities in the country that offer grants to individual artists. They do this through their partnership with the Houston Arts Alliance with funds generated by the Hotel Occupancy Tax.
  • Understanding the guidelines is very important– like the tourism component.
  • This last grant cycle, HAA made grants to 22 individual artists totaling $185,000 in funding.
  • The next anticipated grant period for IAG funding is in Spring 2013. Guidelines being tweaked now, so make sure to attend any workshops that are offered.
  • The program’s goal moving forward is to increase awareness of the program, with the anticipation of funding between 35 and 50% of applications.
identifying other grant opportunities

There are MANY clearing houses for grant information

  • Pro?They weed out the less desirable opportunities.
  • Con? Their information can be incorrect or outdated.
  • A few examples:
  • Mira’s List
  • Glasstire Classifieds
  • Fresh Arts’ Field Guide (
  • NYFA Source (
Identifying Other Grant Opportunities
before you apply consider timelines requirements a nd your intent

Are you searching for a grant to fund a specific project you already have in mind? (Is it time-sensitive?)

Are you open to the project parameters dictated by the funder?

Grant cycles can be as long as 1-2 years ahead.

Before you apply…Considertimelines, requirementsand your intent.

example individual artist grants from houston arts alliance
Example… Individual artist grants from Houston Arts Alliance
  • GRANT TERM: March 1, 2012–December 31, 2012
  • Dec 2011: Application & Materials Due
  • Feb 2012: Project/Fellowship Panel Review
  • March 2012: Award Notification
  • March 2012: Contract, Artist W-9 & Venue Confirmation Due
  • March 2012: 1st Payment
  • June 2012: 2nd Progress Report (2nd Payment)
  • Sept 2012: 3rd Quarter Progress Report Due (3rd Payment)
  • Feb 2013: Final Report Due (Final Payment)
timing of project grant payment budgeting is key

Keep in mind that frequently funding is received AFTER the project is completed, which means the up-front investment (materials, etc.) is YOUR responsibility.

Timing of project & grant payment (budgeting) is key.

  • Obtain a contact person for funding sources
  • Develop a relationship with funder & contact them in ways they prefer: Don’t know? Ask!
  • Review previously funded projects (Have they already funded a project EXACTLY like yours?)
  • Some funders post previously funded proposals!
for help crafting the actual proposal

Grant Space (The Foundation Center)

  • Fresh Arts (Spacetaker) Artist Resource Library
  • Fresh Arts’ ARC Workshops:
  • Crafting Project Descriptions for Artists (Oct 23rd @ 6pm)
  • Grant Proposal Clinic (Date TBD)
For help crafting the actual proposal…
  • This is HUGE for individual artists!
  • Pay careful attention to requirements:
  • Some won’t fund degree-seeking artists.
  • Some won’t fund “interpretive” artists.
  • Some fund only specific aspects of projects.
  • Some require 501(c)3 status…
what to do about that 501 c 3 status
What to do about that 501(c)3 status?

Fiscal Sponsorship

…is one option.

Definition (from Wikipedia):

“…the practice of non-profit organizations offering their legal and tax-exempt status to groups engaged in activities related to the organization's missions; typically involving a fee-based contractual arrangement between a project and an established non-profit.”

national organizations who offer fiscal sponsorship services
National* organizations who offer fiscal sponsorship services:
  • Fractured Atlas
  • The Field
  • NYFA (New York Foundation for the Arts) /
  • *Be careful here! Some (not all) funders want fiscal sponsor in same state as the granting institution.
the hoops you have to go through
The hoops you have to go through:
  • Most sponsorship applications require resume, project description, budget, work samples
  • Fiscally sponsored projects must have “charitable” component
  • All contributions filtered through your fiscal sponsor (Usually 7-10 day turnaround.)
  • To apply for grants, you either apply individually (with a letter of affiliation) or through a special grant system set up by the fiscal sponsor
the benefits of fiscal sponsorship
The benefits of Fiscal Sponsorship
  • Access to grants/services designed for the individual artist (particularly The Field/Fractured Atlas)
  • A degree of legitimacy (depending on the fiscal sponsor)
  • Ability to apply for more grants
  • A TAX DEDUCTION for your contributors

Speaking of Contributors…

Patronage is NOT dead.

Patronage is simply directed to individual/personality-driven nonprofits, rather than to unaffiliated individuals.


fundraising friend raising
Fundraising = Friend-raising

Fundraising, whether for a nonprofit or for yourself, is about relationships.

Start with your friends.

Your friends, family, and colleagues are the foundation for a support network. Their support can also be used to leverage other funds.

three examples

Photographer David Brown raised $8,000 to fund his trip to France for Lens Culture FotoFest Paris to meet with curators & photo editors

Local band Two Star Symphony raised over $7,000 to fund studio time to record the score for their collaboration with Dominic Walsh Dance Theatre

Collaborative of artists (including Houston’s Troy Stanley & Amberry Jam) raised just under $10,000 to build a temporary sculpture at Burning Man

All almost entirely from individual contributions!

Three examples:

what do these projects have in common
What do these projects have in common?
  • Money was raised for a very specific purpose
  • All are generally regarded as creating new, innovative work
  • All have received significant press coverage
  • All parties went above and beyond a simple email appeal & leveraged existing relationships
  • 2-3 projects leveraged crowd-funding tools

From Glasstire:

  • Prompt: A New Hope-- Kickstarter!
  • It's great. Artist as entrepreneur. (65% of vote)
  • It's digital panhandling. (25%of vote)
  • Voxpopuli, voxdei. (5%of vote)
  • To boldly fund where nobody has funded before!(5%of vote)


  • Popular Options:
  • Kickstarter
  • IndieGoGo
  • Crowdsourcing is less direct & can make the artist/donor relationship more comfortable.
what crowdfunding does

Showcases the campaign in a public forum

  • Expresses the fundraising need
  • Presents the fundraising goal
  • Aggregates & showcases fundraising activity
  • Incorporates social media, allowing donors to engage with & share your fundraising message
What crowdfunding does
how crowdfunding works

All campaign info lives on crowdsourcing site

  • You design giving levels & corresponding “perks” for donations
  • All donations, receipts & campaign updates filtered through site
  • Crowdfunding site retains a portion of the proceeds (% to site, % to any 3rd party processors, etc.)
  • Funds disbursed after campaign is completed to your Paypal or bank account
How crowdfunding works
a comparison kickstarter vs indiegogo
A comparison …Kickstarter vs. IndieGoGo

* Tax deduction available if a campaign is tied to a fiscal sponsor, like Fractured Atlas.

be specific
Be specific.
  • Patrons want to know the scope & specifics of the project.
  • Visuals and examples speak volumes.
  • A defined project and goal is both actionable and attainable.
  • Remember: Crowdfunding sites are only a tool… all fundraising rules still apply
get creative and set yourself apart
Get creative! And set yourself apart…

Leverage a successful campaign into a consistent strategy to cultivate an ongoing network of supporters and advocates.

And remember, whether it be grants or donations, consistency & persistence are KEY.

Keep trying!

thank you for listening

This is a truncated version of Fresh Arts’ popular workshop: Funding Strategies for Individual Artists. For more details, come see us at the Artist Resource Center!

Thank you for listening!