Thursday, April 30, 2009


Here are only two among several artists' residencies in Latin and Central America, South America and the Caribbean. For more places south of the border, please go to: and

Since 1981 the Artist-in-Residence Program at Altos de Chavon in the Dominican Republic has welcomed a roster of distinguished participants as well as artistic newcomers. Painters, sculptors, photographers, writers, musicians, and architects broaden the cultural and intellectual exchange at Altos de Chavon through three-month residencies. One of Altos de Chavon's goals is to expose its visitors to art and artists at work. The Artist-in-Residence Program seeks out participants whose work will be enhanced by interaction with a tropical, Caribbean environment. At the same time, an effort is made to attract artists who are comfortable working in a community setting with open studios. The three-month residency gives emerging or established artists an opportunity to live and work in a setting of architectural and natural beauty. Many of Chavon's visitors, and some of the artists, are Dominican, so a knowledge of Spanish is very helpful. Artists live in compact, comfortable apartments that are part of the School of Design’s housing complex. Artists pay nominal monthly rent, their own airfare, and daily living expenses. Near the apartments are small individual studio spaces. Each artist is expected to be part of a group exhibition or give a performance at the end of his or her residency. Artists can sell their work through the Gallery at Altos de Chavon. For more information, go to:
Deadline is July 15.

ESTACIÓN FORESTAL CENTRO RURAL DE ARTE: International Artist in Residence Program, 25 de Mayo City, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina. Deadline: June 3, 2009 for residency September 14th thru 26th, 2009. This call is open to artists of different disciplines: drama and performing arts, dance, fine arts and visual arts (video, cinema, photography), literature, music and sound research, landscape creation and others. Individual artists or groups can apply. The residence will take place in Estación Forestal INTA 25 de Mayo, Argentina, and every artist carries out a creative project that can be either ad hoc generated or part of a work in progress. For more information contact:


Created in 1993, The Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grants provides speedy funding for visual and performing artists who have unanticipated, sudden opportunities to present their work to the public, or who incur unexpected or un-budgeted expenses for projects underway and close to completion. The grants are intended to support the creation of innovative and experimental work, and are meant to assist individuals and groups when there is insufficient time to seek other sources of funding. Requests are primarily granted to artists who are "emerging" and have few sources of financial support. Emergency Grants applications are accepted year round; there is no deadline. There is no application form; please go to website for more information on how to apply: Grants are determined on a monthly basis. In 2007, grants ranged in amount from $200 to $2,000; the average grant was $1,000. In keeping with the FCA's mission of encouraging, sponsoring and promoting work of a contemporary, avant-garde nature, applicants must demonstrate that they are working within this context.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


**I just got this question from a reader and although I normally don't deal with MFA issues, I thought I'd post it because it's a common question that keeps popping up in my email box:

Q: Dear Mira,
Do you know of low-residency MFA programs (poetry) that offer financial aid in the form of grants, not simply loans? Or can you point me to a resource that lists these? I can't imagine there are very many such programs. I've done some searching, but "financial aid" usually seems to focus on loans, and I can't go into more debt, so I'm looking for some balance of loans and grants, if I am to pursue an MFA. I live in western MA, and something near here would be especially good, but a low cost, quality program is my priority.

A: That's a tough question, one I had to research for myself a few years back when I was applying for MFA programs in fiction. I opted out of the low-residency system because when I was looking, the programs I was interested in didn't offer funding at the time (although some might now...I'm not sure). However, the Warren Wilson program now offers some scholarship funding so others might too. You need to pick the places you are interested in and just see what they offer. Since you are in Western, MA, if it is possible for you to do a full MFA Program, you have one of the best in the country at Umass Amherst (where I went to) and they give funding via teaching fellowships, internships at literary journals, etc. For info on both low-residency and traditional MFA programs, the best site I have found is a blog: There's a link regarding funding and many other helpful links. Sorry I don't know enough about this subject but if anyone else out there does, please comment below! And check out the creative-writing-mfa-handbook blog. It's excellent! And good luck!
Best Wishes, Mira

***BTW: (For those of you who do not know what a low-residency program is, it is an MFA program for working adults who cannot go to grad. school on a daily basis. You attend intensive workshops, lectures, and so on, for ten days twice a year for two to three years and send your manuscript you are working on (or images from your art portfolio) about every three weeks to your teacher/mentor for feedback. There are programs like this all over. A couple of the most famous ones are Warren Wilson in Asheville, North Carolina, and Bennington in Vermont. For more information on MFA Programs, here is a great blog I just came across: (and for specific low residency info:


(ALL) The Artist Trust/Washington State Arts Commission Fellowship awards $7,500 to practicing professional artists of exceptional talent and demonstrated ability. The Fellowship is a merit-based, not project-based award. Artist Trust seeks applications from individual generative artists for the 2009 Fellowship. This year artists in the following categories are invited to apply: Music, Media, Literary and Craft Arts (Emerging Fields, Cross-Disciplinary, Performing, Visual and Traditional & Folk Artists can apply in June 2010.)
Deadline: June 12, 2009

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Good morning. A couple people asked me this week why I chose that odd little guy with the hat for my logo. Well, here's the answer: the engraving comes from the Netherlands and the title is "The Making of Gelderland in Beeld." When I first saw it (on the most amazing blog in the world, BibliOdyssey) I mistakenly thought it meant: The Making of Money (gelt). I liked that a lot because here was a little dude with a big heart, offering things to the world (books, beautiful places, nature, money, etc), and for my blogalicious and altruistic purposes, that worked for me. But I have since found out that Gelderland is a real place and "in Beeld" means "in a picture." Gelderland is actually a province in the east of the Netherlands, bordering on Germany to the east, Utrecht to the north, Noord-Brabant to the south and Zuid-Holland and Utrecht to the west. Nevertheless, perhaps the title does, in some strange way, mean the creation of money or culture or general goodness (Dutch speakers help me out here). And since I really like the picture, the little dude is here to stay, at least for a while. Below is the full sized engraving where the detail resides, for you archival geeks out there. And speaking of the creation of gelt (as opposed to guilt), a great big thank you to the couple people who sent me donations last night—while I was sleeping! As some of you know from reading my long grant article, I can't work full time anymore so I greatly appreciate any contribution, large or very wee, any book purchase via my site (more books to come eventually), or anytime you simply pass on this site to other people. It is all good, all gelt, and all guilt-free. More to come soon...I'm always thinking of you and how to get you money, time and a place to create. I love doing this blog and when I'm done with my book revision (hopefully the end of May), I will launch some new things I think you'll like. In the meantime, keep making art, have a big heart and toss some good things into the air.

Friday, April 24, 2009


(ARTS WRITING) Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program
The Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program is pleased to announce the renewal of the Arts Writers Grant Program for a five-year period. The 2009 grant cycle will open for submissions on April 27, 2009. Designed to encourage and reward writing about contemporary art that is rigorous, passionate, eloquent and precise, as well as to create a broader audience for arts writing, the program aims to strengthen the field as a whole and to ensure that critical writing remains a valued mode of engaging the visual arts. The program’s renewal signals the continued commitment of Creative Capital and the Warhol Foundation to these goals. These grants range from $7,000 to $50,000 in four categories—articles, books, short-form writing, and blogs/new and alternative media—and support projects addressing both general and specialized art audiences. Creative Capital will start accepting submissions starting April 27th, 2009. They also have other kinds of grants available so please check the website. For more info on the arts writing grant, go to:

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


(WRITERS) Astraea Lesbian Action Foundation: e-mail Address: [email protected], website: The Lesbian Writers' Fund Awards offer grants of $10,000 each to emerging lesbian writers in fiction and poetry who have published at least once in a magazine, literary journal, or anthology. Write to Lesbian Writers' Fund Awards at above address or see the web site for guidelines and application. Application Deadline: June 30

Monday, April 20, 2009


For a fourth year, the Caisse populaire Desjardins du Mont-Royal and OBORO in Montreal unite to offer a creative grant to an artist under 35 access to OBORO’s New Media Lab resources and equipment (a $5,000 value). The grant will be awarded to produce an innovative project that delves into the realm of new media (video, audio, web, or multimedia). In addition to basic technical support, the chosen artist will have the opportunity to present his or her completed work to the public in an artist talk. The winning project will also be given a choice spot in OBORO’s annual programming. OBORO also offers prizes for short films and videos and help with production assistance for creative media projects. For a complete project description go to: For Questions and further info, email:[email protected]

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Greetings Earthlings.
As promised, here are some notes I took while at the Transcultural Exchange Conference in Boston a couple weeks ago. I spoke about Fulbright grants a little at my talk during the first day of the conference, but the next day I was fortunate to hear Fulbright spokesman, David Abrams speak and I learned a couple new things about this amazing web of overseas programs. Anyway, first, a brief explanation of the Fulbright Program from their website: The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.” With this goal as a starting point, the Fulbright Program has provided almost 300,000 participants—chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential — with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

There are several programs administered by the Fulbright Program. Go here to figure out which program is right for you: The two most people and former students of mine ask me about is the program for students, post-doc or MFA graduate students, and young professionals/scholars/artists and the other one for scholars (who can also be artists, by the way) There are also Fulbrights for professors from American universities to teach abroad and several other programs, all under the umbrella of the Fulbright Program, but I am going to just deal with the two travel programs for artists/independent scholars/professionals and students. If you are still close to your first or second degree and it was less than five years ago that you got it, you should apply for the Full Grant for students. In order to be eligible for a Full Grant, under the auspices of the U.S. Student Fulbright Program, you must be:
  • A U.S. citizen
  • A graduating senior; hold a B.S./B.A. degree; be a master's or doctoral degree candidate; or you are a young professional or artist, and
  • Are thinking of studying, teaching or conducting research abroad, and
  • Are in good health
The student program pays for the following:
  • Round-trip transportation to the host country
  • Maintenance for the academic year, based on living costs in the host country
  • Book and research allowance*
  • Medical Insurance
  • Mid-term enrichment activities in many countries or world regions
  • Full or partial tuition, in most cases (see relevant Country Summary for details)
  • Language or orientation programs, in some cases (see relevant Country Summary for details)
  • These grants provide some funding for research, books, and/or supplies. Grantees with projects that require extensive research support, in-country travel, study materials, or equipment should explore additional funding from other sources to supplement the Fulbright funding.
If you want to apply for the The Fulbright Scholar Program (i.e. independent scholars, artists, composers, writers, etc as well as academic scholars), you should be at least ten years past your MFA, PhD or, in the case of a professional artist who never got a graduate degree, you should have at least ten years of a strong career under your belt.
Example: I got a Fulbright (from the Fubright Scholar Program) when I was 35 yrs. old and was ten years out of grad school. I had no academic affiliation but applied as an independent scholar to collect stories from the Sámi (formerly known as Lapps) in Northern Norway, and to study their material culture in various museums.

Some random notes and tips regarding Fulbrights:
• Describe in detail what you are doing to do. One of the biggest mistakes on applications is writing way too much background information on a subject rather than dealing with the project you want to pursue.
• Think about your methodology: How are you going to do what you are planning to do? Talk about this in a detailed and articulate way.
• Why that country? What does that country offer to your research (or your art) that another one wouldn't? You have to have a reason to go there.
• How will the experience contribute to your personal and artistic development?
• Make sure that your project doesn't sound insurmountable. Be realistic. For instance, if you are planning on going to India for nine months, don't write about a project that would take you over three years to complete. Think about what you can actually achieve in the set amount of time that you have, given all the cultural barriers you might encounter.

A Couple Misconceptions:
• You have to be fluent in the host country's language.
Nope. It really depends on the project. If you are applying to France to translate all of Proust's work then yes, you do need the language. But if you want to go to, say Brazil, and do a series of paintings based on the cultural history of Carnival, then you don't need the language. It really depends on the project. The Fulbright Program is very understanding when it comes to people in the arts wanting to pursue creative projects abroad.
• You need to have letters from institutions from the host country.
Up until recently, I actually thought this was necessary, because when I applied years ago I heard that it did. But the truth is that it depends once again on where you are applying to and why. The description of the award listed will tell you whether or not you need letters. Read the description very carefully. Example: The description of the award says getting invitation letters from the host country would be advantageous to your application. And let's say your research is entirely dependent on your access to specific museums somewhere. You must then write those places and tell them you are applying for a Fulbright and ask if they would be willing to send you an invitation letter to come and perform research at their institution. Make sure you say you do not need office space or financial assistance, etc., but that you just need a letter inviting you to visit them. And do this way in advance. If the deadline is October, do you do this in the middle of the summer? Absolutely not. You do it way months before. Things are slower in some countries and in the summer, many people go away on vacation for four to five weeks. Also, it is much better to get a snail mail official letter than some email message. Much better. On the other hand, some countries really prefer you NOT to get invitation letters. Asian countries in particular. If you have any questions about the letter issue or anything at all, it is a really good idea to call the staff person at the Fulbright office who is responsible for the country you applying to travel to. Most of the staffers are friendly and helpful and you can bypass a lot of problems by just calling their office directly.
• If you get accepted to a residency overseas you can apply for a Fulbright to pay for your travel.
WRONG. That is not what a Fulbright is for. A Fulbright must be used for your research in the host country, not for funding to attend a residency. Sorry. That would be really cool but it ain't gonna happen.
• You won't get accepted to a country where you have already been.
Well, that's not really true. It depends on many things. Take me for example. I had been two Norway twice before I applied, but the time lapse had been ten years. If I had just been there the year before, or if I had relatives there and went back frequently, then it would definitely lessen my chances. But I hadn't been to Norway for ten years and I also wanted to do research on a place that I had never been to in the north, above the Arctic Circle. The Fulbright Committee looks at several things when making their decision. I had also traveled to Europe, North Africa and the Middle East but that didn't seem to matter either. It also depends on the rest of the applicant pool. Let's say two people apply to go to England and study papermaking techniques at some traditional paper mill. Their applications are almost identical. But one of them had just been to England the summer before. That could be the tipping point. But I wouldn't worry about it. Just apply and see what happens.

A couple other questions people always ask me:
• If I apply for a Fulbright, can I also apply for other grants to supplement my trip?
Yes, in fact that is a great idea. However, when you mention to either source that you are applying for funding elsewhere, make sure that what you are applying for is not duplicated. For instance, Fulbright grants give you airfare to and from the host country but do not offer in-country travel money (I think there is an exception for some arts programs in Africa but that's about it). Look carefully at what each grant is willing to pay for and what they are not and see if you can try for both. As I said in my grant article ("Finding Money for Your Dreams"), applying for more than one grant shows resourcefulness. Just don't double-dip, if you know what I mean.
• What if I get a Fulbright to do specific research but end up going down a very different path than what my proposal had mapped out?
I think it's best to go with a plan but leave yourself open to a new culture, to new ideas, to the unexpected. I knew a guy who went to Ireland to study labor history and ended up spending half his time at pubs learning traditional fiddle tunes. He did his research, but his life became immensely enriched by his musical connections in that country. I went to Norway to do anthropology research, came back and wrote only one article about the Sámi, but now, years later, I am plotting out a graphic novel that is set in the place where I lived and incorporates all kinds of mythological and historical details I learned while I was there. My point is that you never know what will happen to you in a new country and even though you must go with a detailed plan, leave yourself open to change.

Thanks for reading this....these are just a few little pointers on Fulbrights. For the real meat and potatoes of the Fulbright Grant Program, visit their websites: for students and/or artists/scholars, etc. less than five years out of school or for artists/scholars over ten years out of school.
Good luck and feel free to leave comments and questions. Good luck!

Friday, April 17, 2009


Okay, this is shameless promotion. Sometimes you just gotta do it....I am reading in NYC (along with a couple other people) from an anthology I'm in that is coming out soon. I'm announcing it on my blog because if any of you faithful bloglettees are from the city, I'd love to meet you! So come on down to the KGB Bar (85 East 4th St., between Bowery and 2nd Ave.) on Tuesday, April 28th, at 7 pm to hear me read from Dirt: The Quirks, Habits, and Passions of Keeping House, along with other writers Janice Eidus, Mindy Lewis (editor) and Rebecca McClanahan. It's free! AND it has nothing to do with grants, fellowships and residencies.

On another note: I'm in the middle of revising a book and am on deadline, so my postings are not as frequent as I'd like them to be. That should change in about a month or so. Some of you have sent me great requests and ideas and I plan to honor them...a couple things coming down the road, along with the usual deadline here and there: Fulbright grant tips (coming this weekend I hope), more info on environmental residencies, and info on residencies in Latin America. I also have plans to do some interviews with residency and grant foundation directors as well as artists whose careers have benefited greatly from particular residencies. But that's later down the you know, I do this for free and it takes a lot of time. But I love doing it and I love hearing from all of you. And it was especially cool to connect with some of you who came to hear me at the TCE conference in Boston.
Best wishes and happy spring...hope to see some of you down in NYC at the end of the month. Mirabee

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Q: Dear Mira,
I enjoyed meeting you at the TransCultural Exchange conference in Boston—your talk was so informative. I'd like to invite you to my studio in New York whenever you are in town. I'm in the process of researching residencies (there's a lot out there). I wonder how you handle the letters of recommendation that are requested by residencies, grant organizations, etc.. Do you stockpile these letters in your files and use as needed or do you ask your contact people for a letter each time the requests come up?(I hate asking-it feel like begging.) It's especially tricky when the organization wants the letter sent directly from the recommender.

A: Thanks for writing and great to hear from you. I'm glad you liked the talk I gave. As for recommendation letters, unfortunately, you need to contact those people in advance, send them a brief description of what you are planning on doing, a little info on the place, and so on. The letter should be specific to what you are asking for. I know. It's a pain in the butt and who likes to bother anyone? But it's just part of the deal and remember that those people whom you are asking have also been the ones who asked in the past. For some things you can use a standard letter from someone but not that often. An example of this is when someone is leaving an MFA program and they create a professional file in the career office. When that former student applies for a teaching job, the office just sends out the student's file which contains their CV, other related materials and general letters regarding his/her teaching experience.
A couple hints: ask WAY in advance (no one likes to get asked at the last minute), ask someone who knows you and your work well, and make sure you send a nice thank you email or card. Those thank you's go a long way! Hope that helps!

Monday, April 13, 2009


Environmentally themed residencies at A Studio in the Woods. This prestigious and funded fellowship, just outside the city limits of New Orleans, is offered to artists of all disciplines
—visual, performing and literary or a six-week placement at our New Orleans facility. Cammie Hill-Prewitt, Prog. Coord.
A Studio in the Woods Announces Changing Landscapes: A Dialogue Between Art and the Environment, Four Funded 6-Week Artist Residencies. These environmental residencies are based on the premise that Southern Louisiana can be seen as a microcosm of the global environment, manifesting both the challenges and possibilities inherent in human interaction with the natural world. We ask artists to describe in detail how the region will affect their work, to propose a public component to their residency and to suggest ways in which they will engage with the local community. The call is open to artists of all disciplines who have demonstrated an established dialogue with environmental issues and a commitment to seeking and plowing new ground. Four six-week residencies which include a $3000 stipend and $1000 supply budget are to be offered between September 2009 and April 2010. Submissions must be postmarked by
June 19, 2009. A copy of the application can be downloaded from the website at For more information, please email [email protected]

*Note: If you haven't read my article, taken from my talk at the TCE Conference, "Finding Money for Your Dreams," you might find it helpful. Go to: And coming on writing Fulbright Grants!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


***Note to all: This is a long article, about 10 pages single-spaced. Just warning you! It is taken from my talk on grants that I did this past weekend at the Transcultural Exchange (TCE) Conference for Opportunities in the Arts. I hope some of you find it useful. I don't usually write many personal things but this one contains part of my story. Oh, and one more thing...special thanks to Erin Williams, Executive Officer of the Worcester Cultural Coalition in Massachusetts for such an amazing introduction and thanks also to Mary Sherman, Director of TCE, for her amazing spirit and relentless support of the arts.

Some of my old friends call me “The Grant Queen.” Recently, a new friend asked me why. I said that it all started when I was hit by an eighteen-wheel tractor-trailer almost ten years ago on the New York Thruway. I woke up the next morning with an MTBI, a mild traumatic brain injury, and a lawsuit that didn’t settle for five years. I tried to go back to teaching, but found I’d get lost mid-sentence or develop a migraine from the sound of the heater or someone cracking their gum in the room. I couldn’t read any of the articles or stories I assigned to students because I’d get stuck after one or two paragraphs and have to begin all over again. Most of the time, I couldn’t follow my own train of thought for more than a few minutes. I gave up trying to teach art, lost my freelance writing jobs, maxed out my credit cards, and could no longer afford health insurance. I had to do something to pay my bills. Even though it took me three hours to write a cover letter back then, I applied for every kind of grant under the sun. I surfed the Internet for emergency funding and asked every friend I knew if they had heard of grants for people in my situation. I googled keywords like, “money for women” or “emergency grants for writers,” “artists fellowships” and so on. I thought about what I wanted to ask for and I typed in the words.
I ended up getting emergency funding from Pen-American, Change Inc., the Author’s League (which gives no interest loans), the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, the Barbara Deming Money for Women Fund and other places. I also applied for visual arts grants and received $20,000 from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation and $5000 from the Gottlieb Foundation, as well as several smaller art grants. I kept applying to anything that seemed applicable to my situation. Every ‘yes’ I got in the mail spurred me on to apply for more. Every ‘no’ just made me say, hell with you people, I’m on a roll! In 2004, several months before my lawsuit settled out of court, I applied for A Room of Her Own Foundation's (AROHO’s) Gift of Freedom Award, a $50,000 grant for creative nonfiction writing. By then, I could write again, although with limited endurance, for I’ve never been able to fully recover. I heard about the grant the week before it was due. I canceled my life for seven days and focused on that application (it’s a huge one). I didn’t get it—it went to another writer, named Merideth Hall, but I found out I was a finalist. A finalist for a $50,000 grant? Are you kidding? I didn’t even expect to get in the final round. I had no book out there yet, only a handful of literary journal publications. Then I found out that even the winner hadn’t published a book before. In fact, I had more journal publications than she did. I thought at the time—if I could be a finalist for something this big, couldn’t I win someday too?
When I was asked to speak at this conference on how to find money for your dreams, I realized, after thinking about it for a while, that I really became a Grant Queen long before my car accident. I was a twenty-something artist living in Chicago in the mid-1980s, trying to juggle a painting career, teach, maintain a relationship, and not give up the freedom I enjoyed by creating my own schedule. I had figured out a way to organize my work life so I could travel or paint for several uninterrupted weeks at a time.
I didn’t receive my first real grant for writing or visual art but for teaching. I worked for a place called Artists Book Works, a struggling artists’ book/letterpress printing studio in Chicago, which, combined with a papermaking studio, eventually became the Columbia College Center for Paper and Book Arts. While working there part-time I wrote a grant to create an interdisciplinary book arts program in the Chicago Public Schools. I thought—wow! I can create a job for myself and get money for it? My boss, and wonderful mentor, a woman named Barbara Metz, helped me write the grant and in a few months I was the visiting artist at a vibrant and progressive elementary school on Chicago’s North Side. I got paid well, had fun and began to see the possibilities of finding funding for my own artistic projects, not just educational ones.
During the time I worked for ABW, I managed ABW’s slide registry of book artists and helped manage the place. Suddenly I was on the other side of the table, looking over slide sheets from strangers and offering input as to which ones were appropriate for shows, residencies, exhibits and our archives. I was the slush pile gal. I got to help separate the sheep from the goats at the tender age of twenty-four. The experience had a profound effect. If, after spending an entire day shuffling through slides, I came across a set that was overexposed or out of focus, or the person wrote an undated, misspelled and awkwardly written cover letter without a SASE, I dumped it in the NO pile. I took no prisoners. I also saw how true professionals projected themselves in image and print. They wrote succinct, articulate and kind letters. Concise and well-written artist statements. Their slides were impeccable and clean. They never pressured us to get back to them the next day, or any time soon. And most importantly, they never said things like, “My grandma really likes my art,” or “I think you’ll like my totally awesome books. Everyone does.”
While working for ABW, I began applying to artists’ residencies. Another older woman artist I knew had been to one, and encouraged me to apply. This woman, and others, like my mentor Barbara, who were all twenty years or so older than me, kicked my butt. One older friend said to me once, “Well, if you never ask, you won’t get a damn thing.” Opportunities didn’t come to her—she came to them. She believed in herself and believed that her work was worthy of support. She, and my other older women mentors, were always entering shows, putting themselves out there, without giving a damn whether they might be accepted or not. They just did it. Before they even heard back from one place, they already had twenty other slide sheets out in the mail. These were our first wave feminist artists and I was on the receiving end of their wisdom and their will to thrive and succeed. They had had families, hardship, illness—all that stuff that makes us human as well as very, very tired. But these women were not whiners; they just forged ahead and cleared the path for newbies like me.
At that time, when I was in my mid-twenties, I got into my first residency, in printmaking, at a place called Centrum in Port Townsend, WA and soon after that I got accepted to one called Ragdale, just outside of Chicago. Around that time, I applied for a Fulbright to study fresco painting in Italy and didn’t get it. I didn’t do all the things I since have learned you should do when applying for a Fulbright, i.e. get invitation letters from the host country’s institutions where you want to study if they require them, ask the people you need recommendation letters from way in advance and so on. I was new to all this and didn’t know. But still, I had about fifteen other things in the post by then and my learning curve grew exponentially. I wanted to apply for an Illinois Arts Council grant but soon realized that I wasn’t professionally ready to apply for their larger grants for mid-career artists. I had had only one one-person show, the rest were group exhibitions. That told me that I was “emerging” but not mid-career. Nevertheless, I felt qualified to apply for an IAC professional development grant. I received about $1500 and used the money to hire a professional photographer to shoot high quality prints and slides of my work so I could use those for galleries, other grants and residencies, thereby cultivating more work and shows, more time to do my painting and more grants. This was obviously way before the Internet, so I had to do all my grant research at a foundation center in Chicago, and at the public library and of course, through word of mouth. I also got on mailing lists of arts organizations that published upcoming deadlines; I joined CAA (College Art Association) and any magazine or organization that offered information on opportunities for artists. Eventually, when I began writing I took out subscriptions to Poets & Writers Magazine and the The Writers’ Chronicle. I did get a Fulbright by the way. I just got it ten years later. And by that time I knew a lot more about how to write a kick-ass application.

What irks me now sometimes is that when I tell certain friends or colleagues to apply for a grant or some great opportunity, they often let out a big sigh and say things like: “Oh, you really have to know someone to get one of those.” Or—“My work’s just not good enough.” Or, “I teach at a university. I don’t feel right about asking for anything.” Or this one—“What if I get rejected?” And then, my favorite—“I don’t know how to use the Internet. I don’t even use “the email.””
Well, the truth is—these are all myths, fallacies and poor excuses. There is a method to this madness. If you are willing to take a little time and have a bit of courage, you will be able to reap the fruits of your labor. Before we get started with the nuts and bolts of finding money for your dreams, here are a couple things I think get in the way of asking for what you want.
Myth One: You have to know someone in order to get a grant.
Truth: No. You just have to be good.
Maybe you still have to know the right person in Hollywood but not in the world of grants. You just have to be good, and then put yourself out there. You do have to have talent. Mediocrity usually doesn’t generate grants, hard work and talent does. I didn’t know a soul when I started applying for money and yet I still got funding. Sometimes I did, however, need a recommendation from someone in my field. Those contacts I had to cultivate. I often did that at residencies, workshops, as well as conferences such as the Transcultural Exchange Conference on Opportunities in the Arts. But a lot of grants don’t ask for recommendations. They go on your work and the way you write that application, which we will cover in a minute.
Myth Two: In order to get a grant, you have to be famous.
Truth: Most people who are awarded grants are on their way up, not already there.
Case in point. Look at me. Do you see my face on every billboard? Or take Meredith Hall, the woman who won that $50,000 award for nonfiction. She hadn’t yet published a book, had started writing in her late forties and yet, she won the award. Famous people don’t need grants, we do. Meredith calls asking for money to make one’s art The Audacious Act, especially when women do the asking. She was audacious to ask for $50,000, even though she had barely published. And she won!

Fear of Rejection
The fear of being rejected prevents a lot of people from applying for opportunities that are out there. This phobia reminds me of that old song we sang in the schoolyard when we were kids. I loved it because it was so gross. The song goes: Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, guess I’ll go away and eat worms all day. And so on.
Do you really want to go hide somewhere and eat worms all day? Rejection—who cares? We are rejected every single day. People don’t like our hair, the color of our skin, our politics or our fashion sense. Fear is our worst enemy. Look how it drove our country into ruins during the last eight years. It’s time for all of us to be fearless—we really have nothing to lose. Remember, judges are only human and the judging process is subjective. The person who wins this year’s arts council grant might not win next year because there are different people on the panel. What’s the worst that can happen if you just apply for something? Okay. You don’t get the award. Does that mean you truly suck and should just quit making art right now? Or are you more afraid that you might get the award and then have to deal with the responsibility of the hard work that follows, maybe even the success that follows the completion of the work.
The best remedy for fearing rejection is to not apply for one thing but to apply for five to ten things at the same time. Keep a log, date each entry, and label it, record when you hear back, send things out again right afterwards. If you keep those applications alive, tweaking them here and there to suit a particular grant or residency, those applications just become one of a host of many. In time, you will get used to the ebb and flow of yays and nays. The Audacious Act of asking for money will become as easy as taking a breath or turning on your computer, opening up a tube of paint or sitting down at the piano to practice your scales. Something natural that is part of the process of creating.
Once I asked my friend Jack, a professional singer, how in the world he had the guts to sing all the solos he did in front of so many people. “Aren’t you ever afraid they won’t like you?” I asked. He replied, “It’s just singing. They’re just people.” Then, he said, “When I am on stage about to sing, I imagine everyone sitting there petting a cat and drinking a cup of tea.” He added, “Okay, so sometimes I also imagine them naked.” So the next time you are gripped with terror at actually sending out an application for a writing or art grant or something else, try to imagine the person at the other end, sitting in by the fire, their hair kind of messy, a cup of tea in their hand, and a big yellow cat purring in their lap. You can imagine them naked or not. These are real people. I know many editors and directors of foundations now and I can tell you that most of them are very kind, they work long hours, often for little money and they really and truly want to support your projects.

Letting go of ego.

The most important thing to remember, when you are starting out writing grants—keep you mind on your work, not your ego. Once again, I think of music—I have been an amateur musician and singer for years and always loved what a conductor said to our choral group once, following an outburst of bickering amongst the sopranos: Ladies, serve the music, not yourself. This might sound counter-intuitive when talking about grants, etc.—shouldn’t you be serving yourself? Isn’t that what it’s all about? You worked hard—you deserve a break, and so on. But in my opinion, thinking that you deserve it might not the greatest thing to focus on. Thinking you don’t deserve it is just as unfortunate a mental and social construct. Both concepts are about feeding the ego, not the act of creation itself. The more you ask for and do in the world for the work, the greater your ability is to create. Your work will be here long after you.
I don’t believe in deserving something but believe in what Meredith Hall calls Audacious Act—asking for what you needed. The act of asking creates the possibility to ask again, to encourage others to ask, to say to yourself I need money to work, to create, to make art because I have a voice that has something to say. I don’t believe in entitlement. Entitlement is a deep and bottomless well. Entitlement makes us lusty consumers, not great artists or greater human beings. I would frame it differently—keep the focus on the art because it’s not about you. Serve the music not your ego. Serve the writing and the art, not the writer or the artist.
One more thing about what stops us from writing grants—I have been taking surveys for over a year now from a wide range of people in the arts, all ages, genres, stages in their careers. Across the board, the main reason people tell me why they don’t apply for grants and other opportunities is that it takes away from the time they need for their work. That’s a very valid point—one I struggle with myself. If you don’t apply for anything, it is hard to evolve as an artist, fund that perfect residency, build your CV. Next to impossible, actually. Yet you need to work as hard as you can on your art. I think the answer lies in finding a balance between those two things, and everyone has to find the right place for him or herself. For me, I tend to work for several months, then, during a time when I know a lot of applications are due, say, around mid-September or mid May, I blast several applications and/or literary journal submissions out in the mail. I used to apply for things or enter contests every two months or so but now I only do that after I’ve created a larger volume of work. Then I take a week off from my own work and focus solely on applications. And if, during the year, something really important suddenly pops up, I stop everything and apply for it. That’s what happened with the $50,000 AROHO grant. The other thing I do to ease the pain of application writing is I keep a good cover letter template and a good application template in my computer, then customize those things to fit specific grants, contests, etc.

The Nuts and Bolts of Grantwriting
Now that we’ve gotten some of those myths and misconceptions out of the way, here are some suggestions to get you started on finding funding.
1. Work really, really hard at what you do.
The first rule is obvious: write, write and write or paint, paint and paint. Or whatever you do, do it early and often. You can’t get a grant or a residency or fellowship if you have nothing to show. You need to have a body of work. If you’ve never published a book before, start thinking in terms of a book, not separate pieces. A book will change your life, a published story won’t. Think of a collection or essays, or a novel, or a book of short stories or poems. Show up at the desk and write. If you are an artist, show up at your studio and work toward that one-person show. Work hard. You know that. That’s the first step.
2. Get your work out there.
For those of you just starting out in your career, or those of you returning to your art after a long period, when you are ready, send your work out—send your writing out to be published, or your slides or jpgs out for shows, films to festivals, whatever it is you do. You will not get a grant or fellowship if you cannot show that your work is and has been in the public eye. You need a track record. This comes before all applications. Grant givers want to know that art is your serious passion, not just a hobby.
3. Do your homework.
This is extremely important. You need to learn how to look for opportunities and discern which ones are right for you. Many rejections from grants and other opportunities are actually the result of an artist or writer not choosing the right place for her work, or ignoring the small print that says “must have published at least three poems in a literary magazine,” or “award is for only for artists under thirty-five who have not had a one-person show.” Know your market—If you’ve never published a story before or have had a one-person show, you are not going to apply for a Guggenheim or an NEA. Read the eligibility requirements. Are you an emerging artist or mid-career? You can be in your fifties, but still be considered emerging, depending on how many shows you have had or other projects out in the world.
Know what kind of grant you want and investigate what is out there. Here are just a few kinds of grants available to you, depending where you are in your career: Grants for special projects, need-based emergency grants, career fellowships, short-term fellowships, travel and study grants, research grants, residency fellowships, emerging artist grants, distinguished artist grants, collaborative grants, production grants to complete a work in progress, and more. By the way, a really good book on grants is listed on my sidebar toward the bottom on the right. It’s called Guide to Getting Arts Grants by Ellen Liberatori. The book contains excellent advice on everything from researching the right grant for you to how to write a personal statement or application essay.
As far as doing your homework, go online and visit different search engines to learn more about opportunities. Visit my blog, Mira’s List, to start with. There, you will find links to search engines, deadlines for grants, fellowships and residencies and more. Nowadays, the best sources are all online. If you are an artist, go to the CAA website and NYFA, if you are a writer, visit the Pen-American site and Poets & Writers. Michigan State University has a great grant database for all the arts. Visit your state Arts Council site. There are many, many sites out there—there are university search engines, such as the great one at MSU, blogs and blog carnivals to subscribe to, email alerts for deadlines, etc. And there is the fine art of googling. When looking for grants—technology is your friend.
Remember: this is a process. You don’t have to do it all in one day. Give yourself a half hour here, a half hour there. If you can’t find what you are looking for on my blog or other sites, type specific words into your search engine …for instance, "Grants for Women Artists 2009." Or Money for Gay Jewish Poets. Artist Residencies. Printmaking Fellowships. Fiction grants. You get the picture. Also, don’t discount using the phrase “small business grants,” especially if you are searching for local funding. I got an interest free car loan that way once. Here’s another thing to try: look up artists you like, google them and see if anything pops up about what grants they’ve gotten. Read their bios, the foundations they thank. When you get the name of the organization that gave them money, go to that site. See what they offer to people at your career level. See if they have a place to click on for “links” or “resources” and check those sites out too. Sometimes you have to sniff around a bit.
4. Put yourself out there.
No one is going to know about you if you stay at home. Cultivate professional relationships by attending conferences, residencies, workshops, retreats, etc. Check out blogs and list serves and grant forums on Yahoo and Google, if that sort of thing appeals to you. Tweet on twitter if you are into tweeting; connect with other artists on Facebook and other social networking sites like LinkedIn or Go to readings and events that support people in the arts. Be a recluse when you do your work but come out of the barn from time to time to build your community.
5. Keep Track of Everything
I keep a log of submissions to journals, publishers and exhibits as well as grants and residencies. I list when I completed a work, the title, when I sent it out and to whom. I also list the reply date, if there was a personal response, if I had to query about anything. This way, I know to whom I sent what to and when, in case I forget or I just want to track my progress. It also gives me a sense of accomplishment to see how many things I’m actually sending out into the world.
6. Have your ammunition ready
I’m sure you know this, but just in case you need reminding: before you start applying for grants, you should have these things at your fingertips: a good, no, a GREAT artist statement. I know. This is always a tough one and hard to write. Keep it to around 250 words. Talk about your artistic approach, who your influences were, what your accomplishments have been. Your personal vision. If you need helping writing this, go to a workshop offered in your community or look for help online at various forums and get feedback from a more established artist or writer. Okay. You usually need a good bio (once again, short and sweet) and/or a full CV, reviews if you have them, business cards and brochures if that is appropriate to what you are applying for. You often will need recommendation letters from professionals in your field, so ask for these way in advance, not at the last minute. And last but not least, you need a good solid work sample for each application. Have you revised those twenty-five pages a million times so they are absolutely polished? Have you double-checked to see if your jpegs or slides are overexposed? Is the sound quality on that MP3 up to snuff? Strive for perfection. Your work sample should be the best example you have of what you do. Dazzle the committee that opens up your application.

Start The Process
If you’ve never applied for a grant before then I suggest a good way to begin is to start local but dream global. Try your hand at a local arts council grant first, a smaller one for professional development, not one of the larger $5,000-7,000 ones. Maybe ask for enough money to attend a writing conference like AWP (Associated Writers and Writing Programs) or the next TCE or CAA conference down the road. Or ask for money to hire a photographer to shoot your work like I did, or to travel to an artist residency in another state. Most local starter grants are between $500-1000. That will buy you a plane ticket and then some.
Okay. Let’s say you are a painter who has been in several group shows. You need the time and space to focus on developing a body of work for a one-person show. You would love to land a residency in Japan, since your work right now is highly influenced by a strange juxtaposition of Japanese manga (comic book art) and ancient Zen scroll paintings. You find out about a great residency at an art colony outside of Tokyo. You take the chance and apply for a three-month residency and you get it. Great! But now what? The foundation that runs the residency offers you an apartment with an adjoining studio, rent-free. You will also have the opportunity while you’re there to give a talk on your work and be part of a huge show at a gallery in Tokyo. All great things for your career. You’ve taken a leave from your summer teaching gig so you can go to Japan, but now what? Can you really afford it? You do the math. You need to buy a plane ticket, keep up with your bills at home, and save a little money for the fall. Even if you got a sub-letter for your flat, you still can’t do it without extra money. You’re going to have to find a grant to fund your trip to Japan. But how much should you ask for? First you come up with a budget. How much do you need to pay your bills? How much does a plane ticket to Japan cost? What does one week of groceries cost times twelve? And so on. After careful consideration you decide that you need $12,000 for the summer to live in Japan.
The next step is finding the grant to serve that goal. You first go to a website such as Trans Artists and click on “related subjects” and go down the list to where it says, “funding.” You try their suggestions, the sites they say to go to. You go to my blog, Mira’s List, and find the links on the sidebar that direct you to finding money for travel, such as the Kansas City Artists Coalition which sponsors the Lighton International Artists Exchange Program that gives up to $5,000 grants for artists to travel, provided they get involved in the arts community where they are traveling to. Okay, you also visit other sites, like,, other sites listed on my sidebar. You google Travel Grants for Artists, Japan arts grants, etc. You check your state arts council and other arts foundations in your home state. Some might offer travel and study grants, like the Jerome Foundation in Minnesota. Alright, let’s say that you find a fantastic grant from some Asian cultural organization, such as the Asian Cultural Council in New York, that offers up to $15,000 for travel grants (I don’t know if the ACC in NY does this…I’m speculating here). $15,000—great! Do you ask for that much? No. Ask for what you need. You don’t really need more than $12,000. They can tell when you are stretching the truth, believe me. Plus, it’s greedy. Here’s an important tip—when applying for larger grants like this, let the foundation know that you are trying to find funding from other sources, but not for the exact same thing. You can apply to one organization for travel funding and another only for materials and certain expenses. Foundations don’t want to be your only gravy train. They are not banks, but rather, supporters of the arts. You have a better chance getting a larger grant if you show resourcefulness on your application.

Here are some other tips to help you along:

Use tasty language when applying for grants. The same rules apply for grants as they do for good writing. The language in grants must be focused, specific, and concise. Be really clear about what you want. Use direct verbs and sentences. Don’t be redundant or vague. Go for the particular, stay away from generalized sentiments. With applications, the devil IS in the details. You need a good hook just like you need one with a great short story. Avoid describing your work as “interesting,” and all those other words we are told to avoid in Writing 101. Be succinct but eloquent. Let them know why your work stands out from the others. What you specifically will do with the money. Where else you are looking for funding. Why this is important at this time in your career. How it will affect your work in the long run. How will it affect your community, the art world at large, if that is important in the application? Remember, serve the project, not yourself. This is about the art, not you. And this is key: pay attention to the order in which a funder asks for information. Follow the rules and just write a great application. If they ask for a five-page essay explaining why you think you should get this grant, use all five pages, unless you find that you are repeating yourself. This is your opportunity to shine, to stun the committee with your brilliant writing, and a chance to reaffirm to yourself where you are now and where you want to be a year or so from now. If you have trouble writing, don’t be afraid to ask for help, from a seasoned mentor, at a grant writing workshop, or online forum. And, as I mentioned earlier, if you are applying to several places at once for the same thing, you can use that application as a template for other grants, just tweaking the text here and there to fit. There is no need to re-invent the wheel each and every time.
The lesson is clear—be direct about what you want, and have the track record, the planned out budget and the brilliant work to back it all up. There are some great artists and writers out there who fail time after time when it comes to grants primarily because they send in poorly written, vague requests. Treat your grant like a great piece of writing. Check your spelling and grammar as you would anything you send out. Make sure you’ve included everything they ask for. If you send a cover letter, make it warm, professional, short and sweet. The person reading it probably read a thousand other grant applications that week, she’s got to get home to feed her cat (remember, she has a cat and drinks tea, perhaps naked, perhaps not), and her baby needs to be fed, she’s being audited by the IRS, and she’s had the week from hell. Keep it short and don’t be whiney or sound desperate, even if you are applying for emergency funding following some financial or medical disaster. Put a stamp on the envelope, make sure you include your own SASE and send it in the mail ON TIME. After that, forget about it. Send out another the next day and the next. Then get back to work, because that’s why you’re here in the first place.
The Ripple Effect
There’s a ripple effect with this application process—Grants beget grants and so do residencies, fellowships and any kind of award. There is something about winning a grant or an award—somehow it tends to breed other ones. When I was awarded a Fulbright in anthropology in 1997 to live with reindeer herders above the Arctic Circle in Northern Norway the money started to flow after that. It’s important to keep the momentum going. When people and foundations see your other awards and residencies listed on your resume, they’ll assume you have resourcefulness, passion and drive. They will all want to invite you to their party. Assuming your work is good, and you have a track record of getting it out there.
The ripple effect also affects others—Honor those who have helped you—send thank you cards, encourage others to apply for grants and fellowships. Remember—You don’t deserve a grant, your work does. If you score a month long residency at Yaddo or somewhere else, you most likely will produce more than you would have in several months. Then you apply to another place or you send that essay you’ve been sitting on for two years because you read it at a little reading one night at Ragdale or the Millay Colony and people loved it and one of those people said, Oh, try this literary journal, they’re looking for some new work. And you send that essay out and it gets rejected but the editor really likes your style and says send something else in a few months and you do and it gets in and lo and behold, that journal recommends it for a Pushcart Prize. And slowly you build up your publishing resume and sooner or later you are eligible to apply for an NEA because you’ve got at least five great publications out there.
It is really crucial that you don’t throw in the towel, even if you have a year of rejections. Or two years. Some of the greatest artists were rejected dozens of time before they got their first grant. I now refer you back to the worm eating section of my talk. If you feel compelled to wallow in self-pity by not getting that Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant for five years in a row, start humming the worm song to yourself and use some good old self-deprecatory humor to get back on track.
For me, the key to committing the Audacious Act of asking for money with grace and guts is to take the path of nonattachment. Don’t expect anything, but ask for it all. Acceptance isn’t resignation; it’s simply not being attached to the outcome. Don’t put stones in your pockets and walk into the river if you don’t get a Guggenheim or Bunting Fellowship this year or the next. Go to the river and toss a stone in instead. See the ripple effect of your own making. Grants beget grants beget residencies beget others being inspired who apply for grants which then, in turn, begets change and courage and brings forth stories and art that do not destroy but heal. I’ve always loved that old Graham Nash quote: “Make sure that the thing you do keeps us alive.” We need your stories and poems; we need your paintings, your beautiful prints and songs and films to keep us going. You need money, time and a place to create. So toss a pebble in the stream, turn on your computer, open that studio door or violin case and begin.


A faithful fan just pointed out that the Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund address I posted a couple days ago was different than the recent one she just found on the web. I do believe the one I just posted now (P.O. Box 309, Wilton, NH 03086) is the correct one. If anyone has any trouble with that address, let me know. They are hard to track down.

Also, a note to feedburner people: I'm going to post a very long article on grants soon...maybe later today...that is taken from my talk at the Transcultural Exchange Conference in Boston. It might be too long to go through your feed. I don't know enough about feedburner yet so please forgive me. You might have to actually visit my blog to read the article, if you think it will interest you.

Thank you to everyone who has written me lately with their questions and comments, and thanks to all of you who connected with me at the conference. Keep your eyes peeled for this next's a long one but might be worth a read. Cheers, Mira

Monday, April 6, 2009


Okay, I said I'd first post some little bits of wisdom that I gleaned from the TCE conference but then when I opened up my email, there were tons of emails from people asking about various grants. So here are a few but know that I haven't double-checked the sites in a couple months. I hope they are all still going on. Also, check my links for artists on the side bar. And I will write about the conference soon. Good luck in your search!

The Artists’ Fellowship, Inc. is a private, charitable foundation that assists professional fine artists (painters, graphic artists, sculptors) and their families in times of emergency, disability, or bereavement. 47 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10003. (646) 230-9833

Ruth Talaber Emergency Fund was established to provide aid to
Illinois artists who find themselves in need of immediate
monies to cover an expense due to loss from fire, theft, a
health emergency, or other catastrophic, career-threatening
event. To get more details about the application process,
please email [email protected]

Diana Braunschweig, Exec. Dir. E-mail: [email protected]
No telephone inquiries. We do not consider performing arts categories but grants in the fine arts and various literary arts (fiction, including playwriting, prose, poetry, and creative nonfiction) and for certain unaffiliated scholarly and/or research projects. These are one-time grants to individuals only. Deadlines are in mid-spring for submissions.

Emergency Grants applications are accepted year round; there is no deadline. There is no application form; please refer to the application requirements below. Grants are determined on a monthly basis by the Emergency Grants Panel, a volunteer committee of established artists. In 2007, grants ranged in amount from $200 to $2,000; the average grant was $1,000.

Change, Inc., P.O. Box 54, Captiva, FL 33924 Phone: (212) 473-3742
Awards of up to $1,000 for medical, living, or other emergencies. Open to artists of all disciplines, with no U.S. geographical restrictions; students are not eligible. Each applicant must submit a detailed letter describing the financial emergency, copies of outstanding bills, medical fee estimates, etc., and current financial statements, along with a career resume, exhibition or performance announcements, slides or photos of work and two letters of reference from someone in the affiliated field (no video tapes). Only complete applications will be accepted.

c/o Key Trust Company of Maine, P.O. Box 1054, Augusta, ME 04332
Application Address, P.O. Box 382203, Cambridge, MA 02238-2203
Grants awarded to artists in very special circumstances. $1,000 - $10,000. Initial contact by letter stating purpose, amount requested, period of funding, supporting letter.

Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation
Two grants for painters, printmakers and sculptors: 1) Individual support grant-20 yrs mature phase of art. 2) Emergency assistance grant-10 yrs mature, victim of catastrophic incident such as fire, flood, or medical emergency. No Geographical restrictions. Open to USA residents and International Artists.

Grants for Women in the Arts - BDMF
The Barbara Deming Memorial Fund invites applications for small grants ($350 to $1,000) for feminist women in the arts whose work in some way focuses upon women. Grants limited to fields of art, fiction and nonfiction prose, and poetry. Contact: Susan Pliner, Executive Director, Money for Women, Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, P.O. 309, Wilton, NH, 03086.

Biennial Grants for Mature Women
Women artists, sculptors, or photographers who are at least 35 years of age are invited to submit three color prints of any medium (oil, watercolor, original works on paper, or sculpture) or three color or black-and-white prints of photographic works. Grants: $1,000.
Email: [email protected] Website:

The Ruth Chenven Foundation
Grants of up to $1,500 to artists and craftspeople for current and new projects in the visual arts. Applications may be downloaded from the website and must be received by July 31; to receive an application by mail, request must be made prior to May 31. See website for most up-to-date contact and application procedure information.

The Ella Lyman Cabot Trust, Inc.
98 River Street, Dedham, MA 02026 Contact: Brooks Thompson, Clerk of the Trust
Program Description: The Trust is interested in giving help to individuals at critical points in their lives in the development of projects, which have personal significance to them and, at the same time, show some promise of making a contribution to other people. A project must be strategic and in some way unique for the individual, a turning point perhaps, and not a part of his or her routine professional or occupational efforts. The Trust is relatively small, and the grants, given twice yearly (May and Nov.), are modest: $1,000-$20,000, most often in the range of $7,000-$12,000.

Artadia: The Fund for Art and Dialogue
The Artadia Award is unique, providing substantial financial support, critical validation and broader public exposure for artists across the country: Cash awards are granted in participating cities on a rotating basis. Awards ranging from $15,000 to $1,500 are unrestricted, and can be used however the artist sees fit. Application is open to all visual artists who reside in Artadia's participating cities.

The Puffin Foundation: grants for unusual projects
To receive an application packet please send a SASE (#10 self-addressed stamped envelope) to: Puffin Foundation Ltd., 20 Puffin Way (formerly East Oakdene Ave.), Teaneck, NJ 07666-4111. The Puffin Foundation Ltd. makes grants that encourage emerging artists in the fields of art, music, theater, dance, photography, and literature whose works due to their genre and/or social philosophy might have difficulty being aired. The Foundation does not have the means to fund large film/documentary proposals, grants for travel, continuing education, or the writing or publishing of books.
Average grants are: $1,000.00 - $2,500.00


I just got back from the Transcultural Exchange Conference on International Opportunities in the Arts and it was amazing! I wish you all could have gone and highly suggest that you invest in yourself two years from now and make it to the next conference. There were people representing residencies from all over the world (Egypt, South Africa, Italy, France, Denmark, Ghana, China, and just about everywhere else!), as well as representatives from DAAD in Germany, the Fulbright Program, Res Artis, Trans Artists and many others—not to mention all the artists, writers and musicians who came to listen to those of us who spoke on panels. It was a unique opportunity to ask all those grant foundations and residency directors questions and also hear about application tips that aren't often posted on their websites. All of the speakers were very generous with their time and information and I am grateful for their accessibility and inspiring talks. Above all, I am (and I'm sure many others are as well) grateful to Mary Sherman, Founder and Director of Transcultural Exchange. She did a super human job putting the conference together. There was a great spirit of good-will amongst us all and Mary was largely responsible for creating that atmosphere.

Anyway, I have several things to share about tips on applying for grants and residencies as well as my own talk on grant writing that I gave at the conference. So keep your eyes peeled for those postings in the coming days and/or weeks, depending on how quickly I can get that material up. In the meantime, lots of deadlines are coming up mid-April and mid-May for residencies in the U.S. and abroad, so check this site as well as Res Artis, Trans Artists and Alliance of Artists Communities for more indepth information on international residencies.

I am pretty busy the next six weeks but I will try to keep up with my blog as best I can. In the meantime, keep applying, keep making great art, and keep in touch. Don't forget to comment on anything and I'll respond. And if you feel like this blog has been helpful, keep it going by sending in a small donation. Or send me a pony. I like ponies a lot.


Sitka Center Art and Ecology Program
Sitka’s residency program is designed for an artist, writer, or naturalist who has earned a BA, BS, BFA, and/or MA, MS, MFA, PHD degree or has equivalent professional experience. It is open to visual artists, naturalists, writers, and musicians. Selection by the Residency Committee will include consideration in three categories:
* Emerging Artist/Writer/Naturalist
* Mid-Career Artist/Writer/Naturalist
* Artist/Writer/Naturalist on Sabbatical
They also offer a residency in Printmaking.
Application Deadline: April 21, 2009
You may apply for either a fall or spring residency of up to four months. Please specify on your application your preference (October-January or February-May). Periods shorter than four months may be available, but preference will be given to applications for four-month residencies. Please indicate if you have had a residency at a non-profit arts institution in the last two years. This may be considered as a determining factor between two equally qualified applicants. For more info, go to: Period and Previous Residency Experience

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Montana Artists Refuge - Residencies Available
Springtime in the Rockies! Special May 2009 vacancies available. Located in tiny Basin, Montana--about halfway between Helena (the state capital) and Butte--the Montana Artists Refuge is a place where visual artists, writers, and musicians find quiet and respite from the rigors of modern life. There are a couple scholarships available for this residency (otherwise it costs money) so check the website for details. Their May 15th deadline is for a fully funded residency in October. Visit: for more information.

Montana Artists Refuge / American Indian Artists Residencies /
All Disciplines
The Montana Artists Refuge calls for artists to apply for the American Indian Artists residencies for 2009. The American Indian Artists Residency (AIAR) is a fully funded month-long program for five Native American artists. Funding includes: rent and stipends for food, materials and travel expenses. AIAR applications can be downloaded from
If you have questions, please contact Debbie Sheehan at 406.225.3500 or Visit: for more information.
Deadline: June, 15, 2009
Email: [email protected]

ArtsEdge Residency Project In Philadelphia / Call to Artists & Writers
ArtsEdge is a new collaborative residency project designed to encourage the careers of emergent writers and artists. Residencies last for one year and include a dedicated studio for each writer/artist, living space, and close affiliation with the writing and artistic communities at Penn. During the course of their residencies, writers and artists will be encouraged to develop at least one collaborative project with the Writers House or Fine Arts Department. Qualified applicants may also be considered to teach one course at Penn in the spring semester.
For more info, write to: ArtsEdge Residency, Kelly Writers House, 3805 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Or email: [email protected]
Deadline: April, 15, 2009

These three listings are from ARTIST'S TRUST where you can find many more great things, such as exhibition and publishing opportunities, jobs, internships, etc. And if you live in Seattle, go to one of their grant workshops!

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!