That’s because now, more than ever, talk is cheap and what artists really need is support.
For the new year, I put together this list of helpful hints, carefully selected, or you could say curated for you — places for artists to get jobs, places to get grants, things like that.
But you — YOU need to connect the dots. That’s your job. Fortunately for you, out of the millions of people who see this post, chances are that most will not apply to anything here. More good news is that of those who do apply, many will not submit good applications, will leave out important documents, or just send in blurred pictures of their work. So when it comes down to it, your odds are actually much better than you might think.
First of all, someone once told me the way to get rich is to have something that everybody wants. I thought about it, and it kind of makes sense. For Apple it’s iPhones, for McDonald’s it’s cheap cheeseburgers, for Jeff Koons it’s his sculptures and paintings. While artists don’t require money to make good art, it doesn’t hurt. Like everyone else though, they do need to pay rent and buy food. So just for fun, let’s start the list with tips on how to become rich and famous or vice versa:
How to become a famous artist
HOT ART OPPORTUNITIES
ARTADIA.ORG. Offers grants of $3,000–$15,000, a New York residency, and many other resources.
JOAN MITCHELL FOUNDATION. They offer several artist grants, including one specifically for promising MFA students about to graduate.
POLLOCK–KRASNER FOUNDATION. Their mission is to aid those individuals who have worked as artists over a significant period of time and yet are still broke. The foundation’s criteria for grants are recognizable artistic merit and financial need.
CREATIVE CAPITAL. Creative Capital is the only national grant-making and artist service organization for individual artists with an open application process. The selection process includes three steps: inquiry, application, and panel review. They also have an art writer’s grant and may even support some crazy project you have. SFAI faculty member Meredith Tromble recently won a writer’s grant and does a great blog called Art & Shadows.
NEW YORK FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS. A cornerstone of art resources for both New York and the rest of the country. Always worth checking, as many, many new listings come up every week.
ARTIST OF COLOR? WOODSTOCK A-I-R is a workspace residency program designed to support artists of color working in the photographic arts who reside in the United States with access to time, facilities, financial, critical, and technical support.
SKOWHEGAN. Important artist residency program in Maine for people in various places in their career. Many well-known artists teach the summer classes.
BEMIS CENTER FOR THE ARTS (Nebraska). TIME: three months of uninterrupted, self-directed work time.
SPACE: the Bemis Center is housed in two urban warehouses totaling 110,000 square feet. Each artist is provided with a generously sized live/work studio with a private bathroom and 24-hour access to facilities including a wood shop, installation spaces, and a large sculpture fabrication facility.
SUPPORT: $750 monthly stipend. *Note that you can buy a decent house for $100,000 in Omaha, Nebraska, so that $750 goes a lot farther than it would if you were in San Francisco.
HEADLANDS CENTER FOR THE ARTS. Headlands offers a lot of opportunities for artists and writers. Being accepted also means you will be among the best-fed artists in the country. They have a legendary kitchen that produces mouthwatering meals for those lucky enough to be there. Opportunities include: Artist-in-Residence program, the Tournesol Award, graduate fellowships, and more. Be aware that many people are rejected once, twice, or three times before getting the residency, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t get it the first time you apply.
GET A JOB
CREATIVECIRCLE. Creativecircle is a temp staffing agency, but for people with creative skills, like graphic designers, presentation specialists, copywriters, proofreaders, etc.
CREATIVEGROUP. Creativegroup is similar to Creativecircle and is also worth a look.
INDEED. Indeed is a great resource for creative jobs of all kinds, and is also national.
FOR THE UNKNOWN WRITERS AND UNFORTUNATE POETS
THE MACDOWELL COLONY “is the nation’s leading artist colony. The Colony nurtures the arts by offering creative individuals of the highest talent an inspiring environment in which they can produce enduring works of the imagination. We are pleased to offer stipends to artists in all artistic disciplines so that they may take advantage of a residency at the Colony. Funding is also available to help reimburse artists for travel to and from the Colony. Financial aid forms are mailed upon acceptance, and aid is awarded based on need.” Open to artists and writers.
BREADLOAF WRITER’S CONFERENCE. Meet other writers, work on projects, network, and take amazing workshops.
YALE YOUNGER POETS COMPETITION. If selected, Yale publishes a book of your work and sends you around on tour to read in all kinds of places. It’s an amazing award and puts your work before a national audience.
THE VERY HONEST MCSWEENEY’S SUBMISSIONS GUIDELINES PAGE. McSweeney’s publishes a lot of stuff. They say up front they might get back to you in ten minutes, a week, or never. Maybe they would like your work, but nobody will ever know unless you send them something. Here are their web submission guidelines and Quarterly Concern guidelines.
ANDREWS FOREST WRITERS’ RESIDENCY. The H. J. Andrews Experimental Forest offers one-week residencies to poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers in March, April, and May in the Oregon Cascades, forty miles east of Eugene, Oregon. The residency is open to writers whose work “reflects a keen awareness of the natural world.” Residents are provided with an apartment (which includes kitchen facilities), access to the forest research site, and a $250 stipend.
WALT WHITMAN AWARD. Administered by the Academy of American Poets, the award provides winners with a $5,000 prize and a residency in Vermont. They also publish your book in an edition of 500. Sounds pretty good.
POETS & WRITERS is a great resource and has current listings throughout the year for writers and poets. Most are not scams.
WALLACE STEGNER FELLOWSHIP. At Stanford University. These fellowships include a living stipend of $26,000 per year. In addition, fellows’ tuition and health insurance are paid for by the Creative Writing Program. One of the best writing programs out there.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST: EVERYONE LOVES FREE STUFF
OPENCULTURE is a clearinghouse full of free learning resources — online college classes from Yale, MIT, etc.; language courses; free ebooks; free podcasts, lectures, and music. Weren’t you going to study French or Spanish at some point?
PROJECT GUTENBERG offers over 40,000 copyright-free books — all online in a variety of formats.
THE INTERNET ARCHIVE has literally millions of songs, books, films, and the raw material artists can use to make art with.
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS has a lot of their collection online. This includes Mathew Brady’s daguerreotype studio collection, and a vast amount of cultural artifacts that will hopefully never appear on Antiques Roadshow.