Posts tagged ‘Opportunities’

Beginning again

I just moved to Melbourne, VIC, Australia from Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A. and today I was cranky. Here I am again, with no way to print pictures, no studio, no scanner, no structure, no particular project going, no knowledge of local nonprofits and local issues, and no idea how to tap into the artist community…besides getting tattoos on my calves. (I saw a woman today with two aggressive nymphs staring each other down from each of her calves.)

It is the same old problem that all artists deal with, on micro and macro levels, all the time. You have to make art in order to get support. And you have to get support to make art. You have to know people to meet people. You have to have money to get money.

So I started wandering into galleries, asking questions. I found the Gertrude Contemporary Art Space, and wished desperately that I had found them just a few weeks earlier, when it would have been BEFORE their application deadline. So typical.

A lot of the organizations that help emerging artists are community-based, like that one. In Phoenix, I received a lot of support from the eye lounge, which is an artist-run coop gallery; and Contemporary Forum, which is a group of people affiliated with the Phoenix Art Museum. Best way to find equivalents in your community is, of course, through word of mouth and google. And by looking at the resumes of other artists in your local community, and figuring out who supports them.

However,  I’ve been keeping my eye out for non-local organizations that support emerging photographic artists for a while, so I have a few to list below, for anyone else that might be searching for a boost. (And let me know what else is out there with your comments.)

I think the same problem applies to anyone trying to tap into a network for the first time, and volunteerism is no different. There was an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal recently about the trend toward taking both short trips and mid-career sabbaticals to volunteer abroad. PhotoPhilanthropy offers one way to make connections if you are looking to donate your time as a photographer through the Volunteer Opportunities tab in the Creative Momentum section. And the WSJ article’s author, Steve Mollman, compiled a list of organizations that facilitate non-photo-based service.

For anyone looking for a meaningful way to give back via the arts, I think philanthropist Ted Decker is an excellent example. His Catalyst Fund, set up in 2003, is designed to help artists market themselves—an expensive and yet crucial component of getting your work out into the world and moving your artistic career forward. He supports both international artists and Phoenix-based artists, and is a strong presence in the Phoenix arts community. His often-small—sometimes less than $300—grants make a huge difference. By helping a few individuals, he builds stronger ties between many people within a disparate city.

So, the nitty gritty—arts organizations that give emerging artists a boost:

1. Humble Arts Foundation New York is a not-for-profit organization that works to advance the careers of emerging fine art photographers by way of exhibition and publishing opportunities, limited-edition print sales, twice–annual artists grants, and educational programming. @humblearts

Bar Tender | San Antonio, TX | 1-Person Household | Goes to sleep at 8AM and wakes up at 4PM daily. by Mark Menjivar

2. Jen Bekman’s 20×200 print editions: (limited editions x low prices) + the internet = art for everyone. And Jen Bekman also has a blog (she is another arts entrepreneur whom I idolize, obviously). This is unrelated, but I love her Thiebaud + O’Hara pairing…”You are trapped in a croissant factory. And you love it.” @20×200 @jenbee

The pictures above and below are from 20×200, and are just the kind of image I’m immediately drawn to–the feral house illuminates a social issue that I’m aware of but haven’t really seen in this way before. And the fridge, in its demonstration of an extreme, reminds me of how unsustainable many of my own patterns are and yet how many other people I share them with. They are also bizzare and funny–a pleasure to look at.

Feral House #7, James Griffioen

3.  The Puffin Foundation seeks to provide support to artists who are outside the mainstream because of their race, gender or social philosophy (grant deadline Dec 9th!)

4. Artist-A-Day highlights a new person every day and sends out info to a large following.

5.  Women in Photography offers grants and exhibition opportunities. This photograph, part of  a series currently featured on the WIPNY site, delights me.

I throw myself at men #1, Lilla McElroy

6.  Saatchi Online, Photography is another chance to post your work and engage with a community of artists, collectors and gallerists.

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December 2, 2009 at 12:55 am 2 comments

Opportunities for artists and nonprofits

Part II: GRANT AGGREGATORS AND PUBLICATION

So, as we know, actually doing projects and making partnerships takes resources. And then getting the work you’ve done out to a large audience takes even more resources. And finding those resources, publication opportunities and exhibition opportunities is a challenge. I have yet to find the definitive artist-opportunity aggregator, but I’m searching hard, and  I have found a few grant/call aggregators that I think are terrific.

Grant Aggregators

1. The best of them are all at the state level, so I suggest finding your state arts organization’s website. I’ve looked at California’s—the California Arts Council—and Arizona’s—the Arizona Commission on the Arts—and they are both terrific.

2. The New York Foundation for the Arts lists national grants and calls for work. They have a searchable database and lots of other resources on their site. This is an excellent resource.

3. Then there is Call for Entry, a site that aggregates opportunities for the Western States. It posts a lot of hyper-local opportunities that you have to wade through to find what’s relevant, but it also has a lot of content and a streamlined application system so that you can upload images only once and then use them to apply to multiple opportunities. (Hey grantosphere—we need more of this! More streamlining of applications!! How can I possibly work to support myself, and make my art, and apply for dozens of different grants with different applications all at the same time? I can’t! It makes me terribly cranky!)

4. And there is the Foundation Center, the go-to source for nonprofits that lists some arts grants as well. They have a lot of different support services, including a massive database of foundations that is accessible via the web, for a subscription fee, or for free via a “cooperating collection” (click here to find the one nearest you).

Publication Opportunities

There is also the issue of getting your work out there so that you have an audience…and also so that you can build the credibility to make you a better candidate to receive grants. I am still hunting for more of these kinds of opportunities, but a few whose tone I appreciate are below.

1. Jen Bekman is an arts entrepreneur whom I admire very much (I recommend following her on twitter; @jenbee). She has a lot of great things going on which I will mention in future posts, but one of her projects is the blog Hey, Hot Shot! which, like PhotoPhilanthropy, posts and discusses the work of many photographers who submit themselves for support. Here is a longer description of what it is and how to apply.

Kipp Wettstein via Hey, Hot Shot!

2. The Aperture Foundation has the “portfolio prize,” with the added bonus of using the grant process as a way to scout for book proposals. When you submit a portfolio, it gets looked at by the editors of Aperture books, which makes the application worth your while, even if you don’t win the prize.

3. Photo Lucida’s Critical Mass competition is similar—only this time the prize is the book publication. The organization seeks to build community at the same time by distributing the book they end up creating to all applicants (a project subsidized by the hefty entry fee of around $75). Updates for the competition are available on their blog.

4. There is also an organization called the Magenta Foundation: Publishing for the Arts, that has just launched the Flash Forward Festival to promote and exhibit emerging photographers in Canada, the U.S. and the UK. In the past they have also published books. Submissions now being accepted for 2010. Deadline: Dec 31, 2009.

5. And, of course, more and more people are jumping into the self-publishing that internet companies like Lulu and Blurb have made so popular, and that is a great way to catalogue a partnership in a way that shows off both organization and artist. These sites allow you to create a book and then order copies as you need them, which is good for both parties. Make a book. Hand it out. Achieve instant fame and glory.

So that’s a start. Please comment below if you have resources to add.

November 25, 2009 at 9:07 am 1 comment

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.

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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