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Our approach to project grants is driven by two core convictions. First, that the best way to serve new music is to ask practitioners what they need rather than tell them what they should want. Second, that the process for requesting financial support should be simple and should help artists connect with audiences, not just funders.
Applicants are asked to present their projects using the same language and media they would use to build public interest in their work. Our goal is to make grantmaking less about grant writing, and focus instead on how artists naturally talk about their work.
Through our project grants, awardees gain more than a grant award; they gain access to our public network. By promoting awarded projects through social media, email, and our deep connections within the field, we work tirelessly to build a community around projects while supporting awarded artists as they develop their work.
AWARDS AND COMMITMENT TO SMALL GRANTS
Awards can range between $250 and $15,000.
With a continued desire to impact the greatest possible breadth of artists and informed by valuable feedback we’ve received from the field, we will be placing continued emphasis on small grants requesting $3,000 or less. Similarly, we will continue our committed effort to support the widest range of creative work in all areas of the nation as much as we possibly can within the limits and restrictions on our own funding.
Keep in mind that both full and partial awards will be made and we will work hard to provide grants that are meaningful to your efforts. You can be sure that we always want to support as many great projects with as much money as we can. To get a sense of our general award distribution and other project grants stats, check out our Let’s Break it Down blog post.
DEADLINES AND NOTIFICATION
The deadline for submission will be 5 pm Eastern Time on Thursday, January 31, 2019. The online system will open on December 3, 2018. Notification will be sent via email before June 30. Please make sure you have whitelisted firstname.lastname@example.org to ensure you receive an email notification.
We are open to a huge range of new music projects. A “project” to us means any activity that involves new music getting out into the world through a live performance or recording. Projects can take place up to two years past the deadline (January 2021) or retroactively up to the previous deadline (December 2017). Requests can come from individuals or organizations. We understand that creative people often undertake many projects simultaneously, which is why we allow individuals and organizations to take part on multiple projects per deadline. While you are allowed to submit multiple projects for consideration, please keep in mind that by doing so you are essentially putting those projects in competition with each other. In the interest of spreading our resources to as many deserving artists as possible, it is less likely that a given individual or organization will receive multiple awards. Please use your best judgement when deciding whether to submit multiple projects.
We’re especially interested in having our funds go towards paying artists directly for their work; whether that’s creating, engaging, performing, or something else. We place special emphasis on funds towards:
The creation of new musical work
New live music for dance
Residency and community outreach activities
We’re interested in making sure that we award a lot of smaller grants along with the larger ones, so we will continue to place emphasis on requests of $3,000 and below.
There are activities that we are unable to support. In particular:
Projects in which work is not in some way delivered or disseminated publicly through performance, recording, etc.
Expenses that are not connected specifically to a project, including general administrative expenses
Expenses related to purchasing equipment, instruments, computers or software
Competitions or contests
Benefits or fundraisers
Funds for artists and organizations based outside of the USA
Projects with less than 300 words in the project narratives may potentially not move forward to panel. Your project description should be clear as to what the project entails, who’s involved, and how it addresses the review criteria.
If the scope or purpose of your project is unclear from the project description, it will not move forward to the panel.
Typically, projects with only one work sample tend not to score well in the panel process. Therefore, if the volume of submissions is high, our staff reserves the right to not advance a project to panel review if the project only contains one work sample.
The most competitive projects are those that include specified living composers and recent music. Projects that involve long-deceased composers or music written decades in the past may be removed from panel consideration.
HOW TO APPLY
To apply for a project grant you will first need to log in to your existing profile (or register for one), which can be updated at any time. Your profile can be as simple as a photo and a link to your own website, or can include your bio and general samples of your work. Each project page links to the profiles of the participating artists, and profiles can serve as opportunities to provide additional information or media samples that aren’t included on your project page. We encourage you to fill out a complete profile.
Once you are logged in, you simply create a project page of your own. It will remain hidden to the public through the course of the review and decision process. If your project is awarded, we will publish your project among our other funded projects, and you’ll be able to post updates as your project unfolds.
Your project page breaks down in three sections:
STEP 1: PUBLIC INFORMATION
Here is where you will provide your project title, some general ways of categorizing your project, a project narrative that uses the same approachable language that you would use to build public interest in your project, the date(s) of your project’s performance or recording, and a header image. You will be asked to tag the people and organizations you’re working with as collaborators, who will then be asked to confirm their role in the project via email – this important step takes the place of a “letter of commitment.”
Be sure to check out our published project pages as they may help you prepare for this section in particular.
STEP 2: MEDIA
Your project page needs to contain one to three work samples that reflect the best work of the artists involved (audio, video, or score samples). These are included on your project page as Vimeo, YouTube, or SoundCloud links, or are uploaded directly as MP3s or PDFs. Your media samples will be public if awarded, but we understand that artists can’t always share everything, which is why you can choose to have them remain private. Your project media is one of the most important parts of your project – your media represents the artistic merit of your work and the work of your collaborators. We urge you to think carefully and choose media of the highest artistic quality.
STEP 3: PRIVATE INFORMATION
Regardless of whether or not you are awarded, some information will always remain private. This section is where you will provide a breakdown of your project expenses, your grant request, and any tentative income or plans that you’d like to share only with our staff and panelists.
Want to know more? Read these helpful tips from the grants team, or let us walk you through the project grants process in our Google Hangouts.
Projects are first screened by our staff for eligibility and completeness to make sure projects contain sufficient information, media samples that work, etc. Projects are then evaluated through a peer review process involving approximately 30 to 50 panelists per cycle.
All panelists work remotely online around the country. Projects will be reviewed using the following three criteria:
Artistry – as demonstrated by examples of past and/or present work (project media)
Impact – as defined by positive effect of the project on communities and participating artists (as outlined in the project narrative)
Capacity – as defined by the ability to execute the project as proposed (based on request appropriateness and confirmation of parties involved)
You can read over the panelist criteria for project grants here.
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