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New Grants Strategy Drives Online Curation

May 6, 2013

Our new program funds projects and promotes them through an online showcase, giving artists tools to connect with the world.

In fall 2013, we will open a new chapter in public advocacy for new music. New Music USA is reconfiguring five grantmaking programs into a unified channel of support for a wide range of new music projects. Awarded applications will be promoted on newmusicusa.org and offer a new way for the public to connect with artists.

Ed Harsh, president of New Music USA, explains: “We believe that the best advocates for new music are artists and their work. By reimagining our support for artists as an act of curation, New Music USA will create a powerful engine for advancing the public role of new music.”

Curation for the Public

As new music reaches into new spaces, styles, and media, New Music USA has a vital role to play as a uniquely positioned public curator and advocate.

Each project awarded funding through the new program will be featured on a dedicated, media-rich page on www.newmusicusa.org, allowing site visitors to experience the development of creative work firsthand. Throughout the term of the funded projects, artists will be able to add media and updates to their project’s pages, which will be immediately emailed to their newmusicusa.org followers. Exploring, listening to, and connecting with compelling music makers—and sharing those discoveries with friends—will be easier than ever.

Benefit for Artists

This new approach to grantmaking is driven by two core convictions. First, that the best way to serve new music is to ask practitioners what they need rather than tell them what they should want. Second, that the process for requesting financial support should be simple and should help artists connect with audiences, not just funders.

Applicants will be asked to present their projects using the same language and media they would use to build public support for their work. The goal is to make grantmaking less about grant writing, and focus instead on how artists present their work to the public. Lowering the barriers to application is a key feature of this program and will invite applications from an expanded range of creative musicians. We’re making it easier than ever for artists to apply for funding and secure the support they need to realize their visions.

New Music USA will be able to offer a meaningful adjunct benefit to the grants themselves: access to our public network. By promoting awarded projects through social media, email, and our deep connections within the field, New Music USA will build a community around its projects, while supporting awarded artists as they develop their work.

Program Details

Our endowments include an $11.25 million corpus for grantmaking, the revenue of which is supplemented by support from a number of generous annual funders. The spirit of New Music USA’s funder restrictions will be at the core of the new program, and will guide the wide range of awards made to all kinds of new music projects.

The program will offer an open call for applications from individual artists or organizations twice a year. Approximately 150 to 200 awards will be made annually, ranging in size from a minimum of $250 to a maximum of $20,000. The total projected award amount for the program’s first year is $650,000.

Applications will be evaluated through a peer process involving approximately 20 to 25 panelists per cycle, many of them working remotely online around the country. Criteria for judgment will be in three categories: artistry, impact, and capacity.

More Information

Answers to some of your questions can be found on our help site. But there are a lot of things we’re still ironing out. We’ll have more details to announce in July.