Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Well, lately I've been getting a lot of questions about grants so I've put together some of the most frequently asked questions. I'll add to the list in time but for now, here are the most common ones. Feel free to respond or ask more! Best wishes, Mira

Q: What do you think about foundations that charge an application fee?

A: Most foundations do not charge a fee so I would be rather suspect of one that does. That said, there are some reputable fellowship applications that charge a fee as well as some residencies. But before I applied to any grant (or fellowship, etc.) I would thoroughly check the foundation out. Look at their list of previous winners and projects they have funded, etc. Ask around. Don't be scammed!

Q: I need to find funding so I can frame a group of paintings for an upcoming show. How far in advance should I apply for one?

A: The rule of thumb is a year in advance, although there are some grants with shorter deadline to grant dispersal time. But plan ahead. I can't tell you how many people write me to say they have a show in a couple months and they need to find money to frame it.

Q: Are international artists/writers eligible for U.S. grants?

A: It depends on the grant. For instance, the Pollock-Krasner Grant for visual artists is open to artists from all countries but our regional grants offered by each state are not. Usually the foundation tells you somewhere on the website.

Q: I am fifty and have been a painter for over twenty-five years, however, I have never bothered to exhibit my work. Can I still get a grant?

A: With no professional track record, i.e. public shows, reviews, etc., you are unfortunately considered very, very emerging! You really need to start exhibiting if you want to be eligible for any grants or other opportunities. Sorry!

Q: I am sixty years old and although I have never published anything, I'd love to get a grant to just stay home and write all day! Can you help me?

A: Once again, you must have a track record to get a grant, although there are a couple small grants I have come across for unpublished writers. Go to my label list and look for "emerging writers" and see what's there. There are many grants for writers who have only published a little in literary journals so I would suggest that you start sending your work out now.

Q: Is it a good idea to state on an application that I am applying for other grants too?

A: Yes, it is. Foundations want to know that you are resourceful and are looking for other funding. However, tell the foundation that you will use the other grants for different things—for example, if you are trying to fund an artists' residency abroad, tell the first grant foundation that you will use the money for the plane ticket and tell the second one that you will use the money for art supplies.

Q: I just got accepted to a residency overseas. Should I apply for a Fulbright Grant to fund my stay?

A: Absolutely not! That is not what the Fulbright is for. See my article on Fulbrights ("Fulbrights: The Inside Scoop) for more information:

Q: What's the difference between a fellowship and a grant?

A: A fellowship is a kind of grant and is often quite substantial. It is sometimes awarded along with a residency, a research position at a university or some other kind of opportunity. A fellowship is considered rather prestigious in the humanities world. Grants can also be large, prestigious, etc. but they can also be quite small or be awarded for emergency assistance, etc.

Q: I lost my job three months ago. Are there any emergency grants out there for people like me?

A: I can't really answer your question unless I know what you do, if you have a track record (i.e. you have published or you have had several shows, etc.). However, if you go to the links on my right-hand side bar, you will find various emergency grant links to start your search. These are hard times and many foundations have drastically cut their funding. However, there are still some places out there that can help, so do not lose hope!

Q: Can I apply for a grant if I am a graduate student?

A: In most cases, no. Most grants are for emerging artists or professionals with at least five years of experience out of school. However, it really depends on the grant. I feel that if the foundation does not ask you about your student status, then don't bother to tell them. But if they say that students are not eligible, don't lie.

Q: I'm applying for a grant that gives "up to $5,000." Should I apply for the full amount?

A: It depends on your situation, however, you will have a better chance if you apply for a lower amount.

Q: I got accepted to a residency in Europe for next year but would like to find a grant to cover my travel. The place is free if I can get there.

A: This is probably my most frequently asked question of all! And the hardest one to answer, especially these days when there is less money to go around. All I can say is that keep coming to Mira's List and see what I post. Check out the links on my sidebar for travel money. Also, contact the embassy and other cultural institutions for the country you are going to. You would be surprised what you find. If you have time, read my long article, "Finding Money for Your Dreams," about the grantwriting process. I talk a little about travel funding: I also plan in the future to do a separate article on finding money for overseas travel.

Q: Would you find a residency grant for me which can cover travel, accommodation, food, material for my art project, as well as a nice stipend?

A: Wouldn't that be nice? But NO, I have no time to help you do that. That is why I do this blog. I spend tons of time on it so that artists can be resourceful and help themselves. You have to do the research, not me. That's not to say that, AFTER searching and searching for things on my blog (and the other links I provide on my sidebar) you still cannot find what you need, well then, yes, you can write to me and see if I have any brilliant ideas. Other than that, you are on your own! Good luck!

Q: I would like to start a non-profit arts organization. Do you post about those kinds of grants?

A: Sorry, but no. Maybe in the future but my focus is really on grants and opportunities for individual artists. I suggest doing a google search using "grants non-profit organizations" to start. Also check out as well as your local arts council. Good luck!

Q: I'm a graphic designer and would love to find a grant to help pay my bills. What do you suggest?

A: Unfortunately, most grants are for gallery artists, not graphic designers who make money from the work they do. That said, there are occasionally some really interesting cross-disciplinary grants and fellowships that invite artists and designers to participate and/or collaborate in some kind of very specific cultural project. They are far and few between but they do exist.

Welcome to Mira's List

This blog provides information on upcoming grants, fellowships and residencies for artists, writers, composers, and media artists. It is for serious professionals only, from emerging to mid-career to established. I also publish information for graduate students from time to time. However, I do not publish information on exhibition or publishing opportunities, nor do I advertise artist retreats and workshops that charge money. At least that is my current policy. For more info on where to exhibit or publish, please see my links section which I try to periodically update. I sift through hundreds of search engines and websites to find opportunities for YOU dear artist. In return, I ask you to pass the information along to those who need it. Also, since this is a free blog, I don't always have the time to weed carefully through everything. If you find a grant or website or residency that is not up-to-date, is dodgy in some way, or is no longer in existence, please let me know! Also, if you stay somewhere at one of the residencies I suggest and have a good experience, I want that feedback too. Please check my FAQs at the top right side bar if you have questions before starting your search. Best wishes and happy hunting!