Rasmuson Foundation

If you are considering applying for an Individual Artist Award, there are two things to keep in mind:

1. It’s a highly competitive process and there’s a good chance you will need to apply more than once.
2. The application process requires that you commit time and attention to articulating your goals and vision -time perhaps well spent regardless of the actual receipt of a grant.

Margo Klass of Fairbanks applied four times before receiving a $5,000 Project Award in November to create an Alaska Book of Hours. Where some would have thrown in the towel, Margo used the process of submitting the annual application to her advantage.

“I used it (writing the application) to refine what I wanted to do,” Margo said. Each year, applying for an Individual Artist Award helped Margo reflect and re-evaluate where she was in her work and in her goals. “It helped to do it in writing. You have to think about your project, the timeline you’re going to do it in, and the budget that’s actually going to be required to accomplish the work.”

In her blog 49Writers, Andromeda Romano-Lax shares similar thoughts about the benefits of applying for Artist Awards.

She writes, “Grant applications come with an often overlooked bonus. Polish your writing sample, determine how you might spend that $5000 project award (for example), make a detailed timeline for your project and — here is the best part — with or without landing the actual grant, you’re halfway to your destination. A grant application helps you focus, commit, schedule, visualize, and get better at meeting deadlines. Those are the same skills you need to get published or sell more books.”

Even though her first three applications were not funded, Margo says the annual exercise of applying guided her work for several years.

“No matter whether I got the award or not, I went forward and I did the work” that was described in each application.

Margo also offers this advice to applicants:

1. Completing the application takes time. Applicants should plan on investing as much time as needed to articulate the project, pull together work samples, and to do research.

2. Look at past awards on the Rasmuson Foundation website. Andromeda echoes this advice. The Foundation posts information about Individual Artist Awards from prior years including the artist’s name, artistic discipline, award amount, and a summary of the project that was funded.

This year the Foundation will host a series of teleconferences that are open to all potential artist applicants to provide information about Individual Artist Awards and answer questions about eligibility, the application process, supporting materials, timeline, the selection process, and other questions brought forward during the calls.

Later this year, after the applications are gathered and reviewed, Rasmuson Foundation will announce one Distinguished Artist Award, six Fellowships, and a dozen or so Project Awards. If you apply, your name might be included in the announcement, or it might not. Either way, the application process might be a valuable learning experience where the awards and benefits go beyond the money.

Do you have experience applying for grants that would be helpful to others? Please share it here.

Listen to a Margo Klass interview here: margo_klass_perseverance

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