Welcome to the fourth installment of Inside the App, a five-part series designed to walk prospective applicants through the Artist Research and Development Grant application and outline some general principles of effective grant writing for artists.

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Over the course of five installments, Inside the App will guide you through the application, one section at a time. Along the way, we’ll provide insights from experts and past ARDG recipients. Follow along, draft your own application as you go, and by the end of this series you’ll be ready to submit a truly competitive application.

Timeline & Budget

Every artist has a different way of working, and what works for one may not work for another. The process of one is rigid and methodical, for the other it’s loose and organic. In truth, most probably land somewhere in the middle or bounce between the two poles.

Regardless of how timelines and budgets fit into your personal creative process, outlining a plan of action and accounting for expected expenses provides evidence that the artist knows what it will take to execute what they are proposing to accomplish.

When asked about how timelines fit into her process, 2015 ARDG recipient Alex! Jimenez admitted they aren’t really her thing:

“I’ve never been able to stick to a timeline. Grantors just want to know that you have an understanding of process.”

Timelines don’t come naturally for 2015 ARDG recipient Geneva Foster Gluck either, but they serve a valuable purpose nonetheless:

“If a boss gave me a timeline I would need to uphold it, so I would like to do the same for myself.  No, this is not a very creative approach but procrastination and last minute decisions are also not good for the quality of my work, so it’s a compromise I can work with.”

Lastly, Carla Keaton, a 2016 ARDG recipient, offers a simple but effective tip for drafting a timeline:

“I start with large blocks of time first and then narrow it down from there. Similar to that of an outline for a paper, where you start with an outline and then the details follow after.”

The degree of detail you provide in your timeline and budget is up to you, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with leaving yourself a little room to move, experiment, and refine your vision along the way. What’s important is that you present a plan that is clear and easy to follow, has a clear destination, and a convincing path to success.

A few practical tips related to your budget:

  • Request the full amount available. You’ll earn no extra points by asking for less.
  • As an artist, your time has value. Artist stipends for your are eligible expenses and should be included.
  • On the budget form, the heading “Income” has caused some confusion in the past. This is simply funds beyond the grant that will be applied to the realization of your proposal. In other words, the maximum grant award amount is $5,000.00. If your proposal will cost $5,005.00 to realize (your total expenses) then list in the “Income” section where the additional $5.00 will come from.

Your assignment this week:

Draft your responses to questions (a) and (b) under “Strategic Plan” in the “Grant Proposal” section of the grant guidelines.

Have a friend review the latest drafts of your Artist Statement and Artist Bio.

Take another look at your Proposal Narrative


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