Tips and Tools: Advice from a First-Time Grant Winner

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“Assent” by Laine Nixon, Courtesy of Laine Nixon

Abstract painter and Professional Development Program alumna Laine Nixon recently applied for and won her first major arts grant: the John Ringling Towers Fund Individual Artist Award. When she talks about her recent win, Laine stresses the lessons she learned through Creative Capital’s “Grantwriting for Artists” webinar and was kind enough to share the top tips she walked away with that helped push her application over the top.
To experience Tracie Holder’s highly requested webinar for yourself, join Creative Capital on January 18th for “Grantwriting for Artists.

1. Inspire Confidence
“I would say one of the biggest things that helped me was how Tracie explained that one of the major things a grant application should do is inspire confidence. Specifically, it should inspire confidence in your ability to put forth your vision of what you’re trying to accomplish, and convince the panel that you’ve really turned over every stone and can anticipate all the challenges of what you’re proposing.”
2. Put It in Context
“Another critical recommendation that Tracie made was to put our proposed work in context, which I took straight from her course and applied.  I started the application with the wider context of abstraction, specifically abstract painting and why that’s important to me. Then I focused down into my own process and the work I have already produced that is solid and developed. Then I went down into, ‘okay, here are the specific pieces I want funding for because they represent a kind of experiment for me.”
3. The Eight Things Every Grant Proposal Should Have
“During the webinar Tracie listed the eight critical components every proposal should have:

  1. Project description
  2. Credentials
  3. Timeline
  4. Audience
  5. Impact
  6. Fundraising plan
  7. Budget
  8. Work samples

“As I was writing my application for the grant, it was really nice to refer to those eight elements as a kind of checklist. Even if I didn’t have them in that order, I made sure that I touched on all the components and I really think that helped to make it a strong proposal.”
4. Try, Try, and Try Again
“This is not the first time that I’ve applied for this grant. I’ve applied several times, but every time was useful because every time the proposal grew a little bit stronger. Now that I have won this first grant, and can show the progress I’ll make from idea to execution, it’s just going to make the next application more powerful.
For more information on how to put your best foot forward in grant applications, be sure to RSVP today for “Grantwriting for Artists” with Tracie Holder on January 18, 2016 at 7pm EST.
You can stay up to date with Laine’s practice here and check out more of her incredible work on Instagram (@lainenixonstudio).
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