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Let’s Break It Down: Project Grants

October 5, 2017

Since the beginning of project grants in the fall of 2013, we’ve been astounded by the quality of submissions we’ve received. The work we see each round reminds us of how hardworking, talented, and ambitious our field is. The 558 projects we have awarded thus far represent only a fraction of the artists we serve. There are hundreds more fabulous projects we see each round and we deeply wish we had the money to fund them all. We’re working hard every day to increase funding for project grants so more of these deserving projects can be awarded. Even if your project is not awarded, by applying you help demonstrate the great quality, depth, and breadth of projects to funders and communicate the imperative for more funding for the arts.

To date, we have awarded $2,866,978 to 558 projects. The 558 awarded projects illustrate only a portion of the awesome display of musical creativity embodied by the 9,630 requests we received from thousands of individuals and organizations creating in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. The combined requests totaled more than $69 million. These awardees were determined by 379 peer panelists from around the country working within an intensive review process. The panelists are active practitioners in a variety of disciplines, including composers, performers, choreographers, jazz artists, sound artists, and more.

At a glance, it’s easy to get a sense of how impressive these projects are from their media, project descriptions, photos, and artist profiles. But it’s not as easy to get a detailed breakdown of some interesting numbers and trends that this process has uncovered. Let’s take a look:

General Breakdown

  • 558 projects were awarded a total of $2,866,978
  • 41% (229) of the projects include awardees who have never received funding from us
  • 35% (193) of the projects prominently feature people of color as organizers or collaborators
  • 56% (317) of the projects prominently feature female or non-binary organizers or collaborators
  • 25% (123) of the projects were denied funding in a previous round, reapplied, and were funded

Breakdown of awards based on project type

  • 50% (279) of the projects include the commissioning of new works
  • 34% (192) of the projects include recording
  • 15% (81) of the projects are jazz projects
  • 26% (147) of the projects are for electronic music
  • 40% (222) of the projects are interdisciplinary projects
  • 15% (86) of the projects are theater projects
  • 25% (142) of the projects are dance projects featuring new music
  • 25% (141) of the projects are large ensemble projects
  • 48% (272) of the projects are small ensemble or solo projects

Breakdown of award amounts

  • The median award was $4,000
  • 42% (235) of the projects requested $3000 or less
  • $864,244 was awarded in total for the creation of new work
  • $849,473 was awarded in total for dance projects utilizing or commissioning new music
  • $182,159 was awarded in total for recording
  • $880,897 was awarded for other activity

Breakdown of awards based on location

  • 49% (272) of projects are in the Northeast
  • 10% (58) of projects are in the Mid-Atlantic (excluding New York)
  • 7% (40) of projects are in the South
  • 12% (67) of projects are in the Mid-West
  • 20% (112) of project are in the West and Pacific Northwest
  • 2% (9) of projects are for a US-based group’s performance abroad

Breakdown of panelists

  • 47 panelists reviewed the fall 2013 projects
  • 43 panelists reviewed the spring 2014 projects
  • 44 panelists reviewed the fall 2014 projects
  • 49 panelists reviewed the spring 2015 projects
  • 48 panelists reviewed the fall 2015 projects
  • 45 panelists reviewed the spring 2016 projects
  • 52 panelists reviewed the winter 2017 projects
  • 51 panelists reviewed the fall 2017 projects.

There are so many amazing projects that we were able to fund, and even more worthy projects that we were not able to fund – to those applicants, and to everyone in the new music community, we say keep applying, and above all, keep creating.