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You got a grant from the Arts Office? How do I get one of those? – Choosing the right project.

Every local authority has an Arts Office and they all run a yearly grant scheme. The details of all of these schemes vary from Arts Office to Arts Office. To find out the type of grants, the amounts available and the application window you should contact your local Arts Office.


In this blog series we will look at two key areas you should focus on when applying for a grant.

1: Choosing the right project.

2: Writing a good application.


Ok, so you’ve contacted the Arts Office, you’ve found out the type of grants available and you’ve identified the grant you are going to apply for.


Now what are you going to apply for?

This is where you should really think about the type of arts project you want to engage in with your young people as it will affect the rest of your decisions, from choosing the artist to filling out the form.

What art form do we want to work in? Is this a process or product driven project? What do I want the group to get out of this?


Applying for funding is difficult and in any grant scheme I’ve been involved in either as an administrator or an assessor there is never enough money to go around. This means that there is generally only resources to fund the really strong applications. Below are some of the questions you should be asking yourself when choosing your project.


Does this challenge the young people creatively?

It should, if it doesn’t you should go back to the drawing board and come up with a more creative idea. Ask the young people what they want to do, use their creative ideas and your experience to come up with a good idea.

The assessors are generally arts professionals with many years experience in developing and delivering high quality arts projects. The project should be something you wouldn’t be able to deliver without grant assistance or solely by the people already working with your group or organisation. It should push the young people creatively, remember with limited resources available only the strongest ideas rise to the top.


Have you identified an artist to work on this project?

Not identifying an artist in the application form or stating that ‘we will choose an artist if we get the funding’ make it very difficult for assessors to award you a grant. The artist is a key part of the project and you should have picked them before starting the application. Most artists are used to filling out grant application forms and could be a real asset to you when designing the project and filling out the form.


Have you agreed a fair fee with the artist?

Lots of applications I have seen over the years have a limited or non existent artist fee. All Arts Offices advocate for paying artist properly, this is how they make a living, and you should too. If you are unsure about the amount you should be paying an artist, ask them, they have probably developed set fees or rates that work for their particular art form. Remember, their fee reflects their training, expertise and experience not just the face to face time!