Our approach to project grants 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 are asked to present their projects using the same language and media they would use to build public interest in their work. Our goal is to make grantmaking less about grant writing, and focus instead on how artists naturally talk about their work.
Through our project grants, awardees gain more than a grant award; they gain access to our public network. By promoting awarded projects through social media, email, and our deep connections within the field, we work tirelessly to build a community around projects while supporting awarded artists as they develop their work.
Awards can range between $250 and $15,000. With a continued desire to impact the greatest possible breadth of artists and informed by valuable feedback we’ve received from the field, we will be placing continued emphasis on small grants requesting $3,000 or less.
Keep in mind that both full and partial awards will be made and we will work hard to provide grants that are meaningful to your efforts. You can be sure that we always want to support as many great projects with as much money as we can.
This year, we combined our fall and spring rounds into a single winter round. We are still figuring out whether we will return to two deadlines per year with one in the fall and one in the spring or keep a single winter deadline. The online system will open in either the fall of 2017 or winter of 2018. The deadline for submission is to-be-determined. Notification will be sent 16 to 18 weeks after the deadline. Wonder what happens during that timeframe? Check out this blog post.
We are open to a huge range of new music projects. A “project” to us means any activity that involves new music getting out into the world through a live performance or recording. Projects can take place up to two years past the deadline or retroactively up to the previous deadline (January 2017). Requests can come from individuals or organizations. We understand that creative people often undertake many projects simultaneously, which is why we allow individuals and organizations to take part on multiple projects per deadline, though keep in mind that in the interest of spreading our resources to as many deserving artists as possible, the likelihood of an individual or organization receiving multiple awards in a given round is lower.
We’re especially interested in having our funds go towards paying artists directly for their work; whether that’s creating, engaging, performing, or something else. We place special emphasis on funds towards:
The most competitive projects are those that include specified living composers and recent music.
We’re interested in making sure that we award a lot of smaller grants along with the larger ones, so we treat requests of $3,000 and below as a special category.
There are activities that we are unable to support. In particular: projects in which work is not in some way delivered or disseminated publicly through performance, recording, etc.; expenses that are not connected specifically to a project, including general administrative expenses; competitions or contests; tuition expenses; professional development; benefits or fundraisers; or funds for artists and organizations based outside of the USA.
To apply for a project grant you will first need to log in to your existing profile (or register for one), which can be updated at any time. Your profile can be as simple as a photo and a link to your own website, or can include your bio and general samples of your work. Each project page links to the profiles of the participating artists, and profiles can serve as opportunities to provide additional information or media samples that aren’t included on your project page.
Once you are logged in, you simply create a project page of your own. It will remain hidden to the public through the course of the review and decision process. If your project is awarded, we will publish your project among our other funded projects, and you’ll be able to post updates as your project unfolds.
Your project page breaks down in three sections:
Here is where you will provide your project title, some general ways of categorizing your project, a project narrative that uses the same approachable language that you would use to build public interest in your project, the date(s) of your project’s performance or recording, and a header image. You will be asked to tag the people and organizations you’re working with as collaborators, who will then be asked to confirm their role in the project via email – this important step takes the place of a “letter of commitment.”
Be sure to check out our published project pages as they may help you prepare for this section in particular.
Your project page needs to contain one to three work samples that reflect the best work of the artists involved (audio, video, or score samples). These are included on your project page as Vimeo, YouTube, or SoundCloud links, or are uploaded directly as MP3s or PDFs. Your media samples will be public if awarded, but we understand that artists can’t always share everything, which is why you can choose to have them remain private. Your project media is one of the most important parts of your project – your media represents the artistic merit of your work and the work of your collaborators. We urge you to choose media of the highest artistic quality.
Regardless of whether or not you are awarded, some information will always remain private. This section is where you will provide a breakdown of your project expenses, your grant request, and any tentative income or plans that you’d like to share only with our staff and panelists.
Projects are first screened by our staff for eligibility and completeness to make sure projects contain sufficient information, media samples that work, etc. Projects are then evaluated through a peer review process involving approximately 30 to 50 panelists per cycle.
All panelists work remotely online around the country. The review has two stages. First, projects will receive an artistic review based solely on the artistic merit of the submitted project media. Those that rate well in the artistic stage then move on to a more in-depth review of the project judged using the following three criteria:
You can read over the panelist criteria for project grants in this blog post.
One of our core values is to uphold and embrace principles of inclusivity and equitable treatment in all of our activity and across our nation’s broadly diverse constituency. We want to be aware of and responsive to the full range of people with whom we’re connected, and to be growing that community day by day and year by year. It’s not required for project grants, but you can help us by filling out this quick and easy survey: click here.