Posts tagged ‘fundraising’

Opportunities for artists and nonprofits

Part I. GRANTS

So, I’ve been applying to a lot of grants, prizes, competitions and exhibitions in the last few years in order to fund my work. And I’ve noticed a couple of things.

First of all, it is hard to find the information, it’s hard to organize it, and it’s hard to get the timing right, unless you just become obsessive about applying for and researching grants, which is not advised if you want to keep your personal relationships intact.

That’s one reason I wanted to start this blog and to create the grants list in the Creative Momentum section of PhotoPhilanthropy—I am always looking for good sources of information on the web. Incidentally, if you can recommend any good grant aggregators or blogs for this kind of information, please do! Comment below or send me a note at eliza@photophilanthropy.org.

But I’ve also noticed that there is an exciting trend toward promoting and funding photographic art that drives social change. A number of organizations and programs have emerged in just the last couple of years that have this specific mission, some of which explicitly require collaborations between artists and charitable organizations.

1.    There is the Shoot Q grant, whose 2009 winner, Annie O’Neill, was just announced (sign up here to be notified when they begin accepting submissions for the 2010 prize).

Annie O'Neill

2.    Getty Images added a new grant program to their existing $20,000 editorial grants (deadline: May 1st). Called “Grants for Good” the new program specifically funds collaborations between photographers and nonprofits. In their words, “Nonprofits need imagery to tell their stories effectively, which is why our Grants for Good provide two grants of $15,000 annually, to cover photographer, filmmaker and agency costs as they create compelling new imagery for the nonprofit of their choice.” Deadline: March 1st. Boo yah.

3.   Once you’ve made the work, you need to figure out how to get it to a broader audience. The Open Society Institute & Soros Foundation Network has a new Distribution Grant for artists and partner organizations to create new ways to distribute their work. Amounts from $5,000-$30,000; deadline, June 2010. Read about last year’s winners here.

4.    The Aftermath Project, another initiative of the Open Society Institute, supports projects that document the aftermath of war. Deadline: November every year.

Asim Rafiqui

5.    The Alexia Foundation gives $15,000 grants to professionals and similarly generous grants to students for projects that further their objectives of promoting peace and cultural understanding. Deadline: January 12, 2010.

In my experience, partnering with a nonprofit organization was helpful in funding my work because it dramatically expanded the breadth of funding sources the project was eligible for. With COAR–Community Outreach & Advocacy for Refugees–my most recent partner organization, I could apply for independent artist grants, artist prizes, project or collaboration-specific grants, and the project was written into general program and operations grants that the organization was submitting anyway.

Because of our collaboration, we were eligible for 4 different categories of funding, instead of one or two. We ended up receiving about 1 grant from each of those categories of funding—so I feel like that strategy served us well. And, I don’t think the project would have been able to move forward if we had disregarded any of those categories.

Last year at ASU, I attended a talk given by Subhankar Banerjee where he recounted his own experience trying to drum up financial support for his projects. If you haven’t seen his work before, you should check it out: I particularly like his landscapes because they are so geometric and organic at the same time; they show you caribou crossing vast swathes of the arctic that could also be cytoplasm drifting around a single cell—it reminds me that I don’t really know how I fit into the world or the universe, I don’t really know how large or small I am, which is unexpectedly inspiring.

Subhankar Banerjee

One of the strategies he pursued in funding his photographs about climate change in the arctic was to partner with Blue Earth Alliance, a nonprofit organization that fills the role that COAR played for me when I was looking for funding. Blue Earth Alliance is relevant in situations where artists have not found an appropriate organization to partner with. This is a very cool org, that offers a lot of different kinds of support to artists—well worth knowing about.

And they have a blog too. Here’s a post I found really useful, all about fundraising strategy.

Next up: publication opportunities and grant aggregators. Very sexy.

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November 18, 2009 at 2:42 am Leave a comment


"In this way his work is more powerful in its moments of creation, when real human interactions are eroding racial stereotypes, than in its exhibition. And if the work succeeds, it is not because Subotzky can use a camera like no one else, it is because his photographs embody his efforts to confront social injustice on a personal level." --Charles Schultz on Mikhael Subotzky

PhotoPhilanthropy’s blog is written by Eliza Gregory

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