I haven’t much worked on the big watercolor in the past couple of days, because as I mentioned before, I am working on the COLA grant application. The COLA is just a faster way to describe the City of Los Angeles Individual Artist Fellowship. I’ve actually been working on a couple of grants. But I did do what I said I would with that area in the foreground. I went crazy overkill with making all kinds of squiggly lines. I like how it turned out because it makes no kind of friggin’ sense.
It is true that I apply for a lot of grants, but there are not that many grants for all artists to apply to. It’s a shame really. For instance, I applied for the Pollock-Kranser Fellowship many, many times before it happened for me, (like seven years or something crazy like that). With that one, You can only try once a year – or at least at one point they implemented that rule. I was even about to give up! Good thing I didn’t. That fellowship, while very competitive, is a need-based grant. However, not all artists are financially hurting (believe it or not).
The Guggenheim is not a need-based grant, but that is just as difficult to win. Maybe even more so. I think it’s a lot more heavily rooted in academia, but at least you can apply for it. Then there are many grants that you can’t even apply for. You have to be invited to apply. Someone else has to nominate you. You might as well wait for Hell to freeze over. But it can happen. Just keep your name relevant and your work out there and don’t give up hope. It’s happened for me twice.
There’s also the California Community Foundation Fellowship for Visual Artists, which comes out in the spring. There are grants for both emerging artists and mid career artists. Pretty cool. But like all the grants, they’re competitive, and this one seems to lean heavily towards artists that give back to the art community in some way. It’s helpful anyway.
When you apply for these grants, it’s a good idea to always take a look at the organization’s mission statement as well as carefully reading their guidelines. And you should always submit your images and documentation exactly the way they ask for it.
So now, I want to mention a brand new grant that has just been introduced for Los Angeles artists called the Davyd Whaley Mid Career Artist Grant through the Davyd Whaley Foundation. The application is going to become available in just a couple of weeks on their very new website. It is not a need-based grant at all. It’s for artists that have dedicated themselves to their work, but perhaps haven’t had that full-on recognition that they’ve deserved. Is that you? It is a $10,000 award and I’m sure you can use that no matter what financial situation you’re in. And I understand that the foundation will only become more recognized and these awards will most likely get increased over the years. For now, they are offering two grants though: a mid-career artist’s grant and a teaching grant. The teaching grant will be available in January. Go to their site and read more about it.
If you go to the Davyd Whaley website (his personal site), you can view a short film about Davyd and see what sort of person he was, and what his bold and vibrant art stood for. It is a very moving film that I highly recommend watching, whether you are looking to apply for a grant or not – just so you can get to know this young artist and what a sweet person he was. He was an asset to the community and could have continued to be. It made me cry that he was no longer with us. His life was cut way too short. For me, I feel that one of the greatest things about art in general is honesty and authenticity. I believe Davyd was a truly authentic creative person. You’ll see what I mean when you watch the movie.
As for the COLA, I mentioned before that their application is now online for the first time ever (which is great), and then I complained about how you still have to print out the application and send it in. But I found out yesterday from Cultural Affairs that this is really not a big deal. It can be printed out in black and white, double sided, and it’s just one copy (not eight, like in previous years!) because it’s just for their files. Easy-peasy. So I take back my complaints. Sorry Cultural Affairs. Please forgive me.
And I wonder if this is actually “grant season?” Because the Gottlieb Foundation grant is also available and due soon. I applied for it for the first time ever last year, even though it seemed ever-so- slightly premature for me. You have to demonstrate that you have been working as an artist for 20+ years, which I can, but since I am only 48, I am younger than their average awardee. I’m sure most of their winners took the art school route. They didn’t panhandle their wares on the streets of LA since they were 16. I was about 16 or 17 when I got very serious about my work. I sold my first painting when I was 16. It’s a little difficult to explain my life story in a short narrative. I’m not sure if I am going to apply again this year. I may wait until I’m 50 so my chances are more “normal.” They might not think I have “paid my dues” yet. But what do I know??? For all I know, I came close to winning last year. You just never know with these things.
Along with the COLA, I just applied for a smaller grant from Asylum-Arts, which is a foundation that creates a community for Jewish creatives. The grants are limited to their retreat alumni and each funding opportunity usually has some kind of theme or perimeters to it, which I didn’t realize I fit into until I started assessing and writing up my project. It then very quickly became apparent that I’d be a good candidate. So we’ll see if that pans out. A lot of luck is involved in these things you know.