Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Notes From The Lakes #1

Grants for the Arts: Individual Creators & Organisations

Sunday 20 October 2013

For those who did not go to the excellent festival in Kendal or could not make the workshop, here are my notes from a very useful session on funding:
     "The Lakes International Comic Art Festival aims to support creators and the development of comic art in the UK. As part of this we are pleased to be able to present a special session at the festival about the support available to individual creators and organizations from Arts Council England which will be run by David Gaffney.

    David is Relationship Manager in Combined Arts for the Arts Council in the North.  He will talk about how individual artists, arts organisations, and others can apply for Grants for the Arts lottery funding, covering what you can apply for,  how to make your application stand out, how applications are scored and appraised, how decisions are made, what match funding is required, and loads of other issues, along with invaluable tips on how to achieve funding success."

    • The Arts Council offers grants for the arts of between £1,000 and £100,000 - although government cuts have impacted on the high-end of this Lottery funding has increased so grants are not actually becoming harder to obtain
    • Projects/events must take place in England (although products may be sent abroad) and must be of identifiable benefit to people - if there is not an audience to engage then the project will struggle to get funding
    • From 2013 The Arts Council has split funding into two strands: for grants under and over the £15,000 mark
    • Most comic-related bids have a better chance if applied for in the Literary Arts category rather than the Visual Arts. Look up Relationship Manager, Literature at your regional Arts Council
    • There is a bigger pot under £15k and 60% of applications for funding are successful
    • Feedback on failed applications is not offered. but it seems Development Chats are possible before bidding and in advance of re-submitting a previously unsuccessful bid if you describe it as ' assistance to develop my bid'
    • Grants are intended to grow and develop artistic practices or to take arts to an audience - not for educational or commercial purposes, so don't overdo the 'teaching kids etc' angle
    • There are four criterion a bid is judged against - artistic quality; how it will engage the public; how it will be managed; the budget for your activity
    • More weight is given to artistic merit and management
    • At least 10% additional funding needs to be in place - but that can be your own salary expectations, or payment in support from third parties with an appropriate cash value
    • To emphasise that your project is growing the arts, any benefit in artistic development should be stressed - for yourself and any others involved in the project (including as many of your suppliers, consultants and advisors as possible)
    • There are many aspects of a project that can/should be covered in a request for funding - not just the production but research, mentoring, promotion etc
    • Do not cut your budget for payment to artists - The Arts Council wants to fund the arts not the managers
    • Be realistic with costs - if a similar project has been approved recently, it may be used as a benchmark to see if parts of your bid are priced much higher or lower and either may count against you
    • There is approximately a six week turnaround time between application and decision
    It sounds like a slow process of form filling, but with more small projects being funded than before, now would be a good time to knuckle down to some paperwork as long as you approach it in a business like manner. Proper Arts Council guidance can be downloaded here

    Good Luck!

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