4Culture is an organization that provides cultural funding and support in King County, WA. In recent years they have awarded NWSSA two Equipment Grants (which included upgrading our computer equipment), and we were awarded a Sustained Support grant for 2017 and 2018 for $2200 per year.
Grants can be a really wonderful resource for artists, particularly for our members since the startup costs for a stone sculpture studio are greater than for most mediums.As a student, I benefitted indirectly from at least 3 grants when other artists hired me to assist with their grant-funded projects, and as an artist, I have received two invaluable grants to support my own work. It takes time and effort and the risk of rejection, but regardless of the results, the process can help you clarify your goals and learn how to better communicate your ideas.
4Culture.org is a great resource for NWSSA both as an organization and for individuals based in King County, WA. One of my last acts in my thirty-three years as a King County resident was to create my sculpture “KnowTime,” previously highlighted in the July/August 2017 edition of Sculpture NorthWest. I had plenty of help getting that sculpture made, and a primary resource was a $1500 grant I received under the program, “Open 4Culture.” This grant is specifically designed to help those new to the grant process, and it has a rolling deadline so one can apply any time. If you are aKing County resident, I highly encourage you to take advantage of this program - they will help walk you through it if you have questions- they want you to succeed! Once you have successfully navigated this entry level grant program, it gives you an edge in applying to Project Grants. Both programs help you take on the upfront expenses of larger projects so that you can expand into new areas. For me, I wanted to have at least one large-scale portfolio piece for applying to public art projects. For you, it could be any number of possibilities.
Other invaluable (and accessible)grants to look for are Professional Development grants, which cover a range of activities from website building and having your artwork photographed, to traveling for a residency or studying with a master. One such professional development grant for $1500 allowed me to travel to Japan in 2017 to work with master sculptor Kazutaka Uchida in his studio in Toyota City.
If you are not a King County resident (many of us are not), there are other resources out there! In the Portland, Oregon, tri-county area, a similar resource is the Regional Arts and Culture Council (racc.org). Check your state, county, and city for funding opportunities of any kind - so far the county level seems to be the best bet.
Also, take advantage of our great NWSSA network and let your friends know what you are working on, and what you would like to work on. It really helps to have more people keeping an eye out for opportunities that might fit your next big idea.
~ Ben Mefford