Support for Individual Artists

GIA members have been working together to promote and improve funding for individual artists for over 20 years. This has been one of the most active and energetic groups of funders within GIA and the Support for Individual Artists preconferences have been the flagship program of this group.

The GIA Library features a number of recommended articles on Support for Individual Artists.

Posted on October 11, 2017 by Monica

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has announced its 2017 fellows, 24 “exceptionally creative people” who will each receive a $625,000 award over five years. Among this year’s fellows are opera director Yuval Sharon, writer Viet Thanh Nguyen, photographer Dawoud Bey, and journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones.

Learn about all 24 MacArthur fellows.
Read the article on The New York Times.

Posted on October 3, 2017 by Monica

The Ford Foundation has selected a new round of recipients for its Art of Change fellowship, including several who have supported and participated in Grantmakers in the Arts programming over the years:

[The fellowship enables] 13 distinguished artists and cultural leaders to conduct independent study and participate in the convenings, workshops, and other exchanges that will take place during the year. Drawn from around the world, the visiting fellows are all renowned in their field for their resolute focus on themes of arts and equity. Together they reflect the diverse and contemporary ways that creative expression and social justice are being twined.

Read more from Ford Foundation.

Posted on August 15, 2017 by Monica

From Arts Professional:

Arts Council England should only fund projects that pay performers at least the minimum wage, a major new report by the Labour Party has recommended.

Focusing on improving diversity in the performing arts and tackling a “chronic culture of low pay or no pay,” the report emphasizes the importance of reforming education in schools, opening up access to drama schools, and increasing representation in both artistic and non-artistic roles.

Read the full article on Arts Professional.

Posted on August 7, 2017 by Steve

GIA gratefully remembers the thoughtful contributions of Ebony McKinney, San Francisco Arts Commission, who served on the Individual Artists Support Committee until her untimely passing on July 29, 2017.

Posted on August 6, 2017 by Sustainable Arts Foundation

The Sustainable Arts Foundation is now accepting applications for their 2017 awards. Visual artists and writers who have at least one child under the age of 18 are eligible to apply.

They have increased their funding for 2017 and will make awards of $5,000 each to twenty artists and writers. At least half of their awards will go to applicants of color.

Updated guidelines and application details are available on their application portal: The deadline to apply is August 31st, 2017, 5pm PT.

Posted on August 3, 2017 by Monica

An article on Artsy highlights a recent initiative and report by Upstart Co-Lab advocating the value of artists’ innovation and problem-solving skills in business settings:

“While employers are seeking out more creative workers, they may be overlooking the more than 2 million working artists and 60,000 annual graduates of art schools in America today,” the report reads. “This large, skilled, and highly trained workforce represents a much needed, yet overlooked segment that can provide value to business, government, and the social sector.”

Read the full article on Artsy.

Posted on July 24, 2017 by Monica

From Artnet News:

As major publications from The New York Times to the Wall Street Journal cut back on arts coverage, one little-known foundation is stepping up to help fund it.

The Dorothea and Leo Rabkin Foundation made a splash in the world of art criticism and journalism this week, announcing a new annual prize that offers American art writers who write for general audiences (rather than academic readers) a $50,000 unrestricted grant in recognition of their work. The grant matches the highest awards given by the Creative Capital | Andy Warhol Foundation, which range from $15,000 to $50,000, and is five times the sum awarded to Pulitzer Prize winners.

Read the full article on Artnet News.

Posted on May 31, 2017 by Monica

From The New York Times:

Audible, the digital audiobook giant, announced Tuesday that it would create a $5 million fund to commission new works from emerging playwrights — not for the stage, but for people’s headphones and speakers.

As audio fiction seems to be having a moment, in the realm of podcasts, Audible plans to draw from the vast pool of young writers to create one- or two-person plays. They will be available beginning late this year, the company said.

Read the full article from The New York Times.

Posted on May 18, 2017 by Monica

A recent article in The New York Times discusses the modern-era revival of artist patronage, with individuals giving sustained support that funds an artist’s overall career rather than a specific project. The article discusses the impact of sustained funding as an artist develops, how this current trend differs from Renaissance-era patronage, and how online platforms like Patreon enable artists to garner sustained support from individuals across the world.

Read the article on The New York Times.

Posted on May 16, 2017 by Monica

Native American artist and poet Joy Harjo has been awarded the 2017 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, a $100,000 award from The Poetry Foundation. Harjo was a keynote presenter at the 2014 GIA Conference in Houston, Texas (watch the video). Presented annually to a living US poet whose lifetime accomplishments warrant singular recognition, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize is one of the most prestigious awards given to American poets. It is also one of the nation’s largest literary prizes.

Read the announcement from The Poetry Foundation.

Posted on March 30, 2017 by Monica

In 2017, The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Pew Fellowships in the Arts. Since 1992, the Fellowships program has invested annually in the Philadelphia region’s most talented artists working in all disciplines. Direct financial support through unrestricted grants affords fellows valuable time and substantial resources to focus on artistic exploration and professional development. In celebration of the anniversary, The Pew Center has launched a website and video showcasing past and present fellows.

Watch the video.

Posted on March 30, 2017 by Monica

Tony Grant, co-director of Sustainable Arts Foundation, has published a blog post highlighting the work GIA has done over the years to advance support for individual artists. This April, a new GIA webinar series will discuss (and dispel) the myths that surround individual artist support.

"For decades, GIA and its members have been at the forefront of providing support for individual artists. While all forms of arts grantmaking are vital, the direct support of individual artists is, to co-opt an expression, where the paint meets the canvas."

Read the full blog post from Tony Grant.

Posted on March 24, 2017 by Monica

An article on discusses the ongoing process for Cuyahoga Arts and Culture (CAC) as it reenvisions its grant programs for individual artists. CAC received criticism from Cleveland’s arts community after announcing plans to eliminate its Creative Workforce Fellowship grants and replace them with a new program, the Creative Community Fellowship. The article details the circumstances and strategies surrounding the program change, as well as CAC’s intentions in developing “a new, more equitable funding process.”

Read the article at

Posted on January 26, 2017 by Monica

A recent article in American Theatre reveals the financial realities of living and working as a theatre artist in the US. Author Diep Tran interviews five theatre artists around the country on how they make a living, what it’s like to work in the field, and “how they think the field could or should change to become a place that can sustain and retain talented people.”

Read the article.

Posted on January 19, 2017 by SuJ'n

Starting in 2017, Rasmuson Foundation based in Anchorage, Alaska offers enhancements to its individual artists award program. Enhancements include greater flexibility in its application process to more opportunities for professional development and promotion for artists. Changes were implemented in part based on artist feedback.

Read the full announcement.

Posted on December 14, 2016 by Monica

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced a new investment in documentary film with a four-year, $5 million grant to the International Documentary Association (IDA) to establish the IDA Documentary/Journalism Project. The IDA Documentary/Journalism Project will support production and development grants to nonfiction filmmakers taking on in-depth exploration of contemporary stories through a journalistic lens; and support, mentorship, training and access to resources for both grantees and the broader field.

Read the full announcement.

Posted on December 12, 2016 by Monica

From the Los Angeles Times:

Oakland’s artists are feeling the burden. In a city-sponsored survey last year, the majority of the 900 artists polled said workspace and housing costs presented the biggest challenges to being an artist in Oakland. Nearly half said they were on month-to-month leases in their houses and workspaces, putting them at risk of displacement, the survey found. ... Still, advocates say balancing safe living spaces with affordability is a problem no one in the city has figured out how to solve.

Read the full article.

Posted on December 8, 2016 by Sustainable Arts Foundation

We are delighted to announce our Fall 2016 Award winners.

Earlier this year, we were proud to make public our commitment to racial equity. Confirming a direction we had been heading for over a year, we promised to make at least half of our grants to writers and artists of color. The response to this announcement was tremendous: we received over 3,600 applications, more than three times our average response. Applications from people of color increased from 20% to 41%. We are so glad to have extended the foundation’s reach.

Tthe shock of our recent election has begun to fade, but the racial division that it laid bare looks ugly and deep. So we move forward with even greater resolve to fund the work of creative parents; we need all of you — our families and our children need you — more than ever, both to help us understand our world as it is, and to help us imagine what it can be. And we reaffirm our support for writers and artists of color, in the hope that art will help us make connections that will bridge our nation’s frightening divide.

Please join us in congratulating these outstanding artists and writers...

Posted on November 23, 2016 by Monica

The governor of Kentucky recently announced the restructuring of the Kentucky Arts Council in order to “focus on ensuring that Kentucky artisans have the skills and knowledge to develop and successfully sell their products.” As reported by WFPL, Louisville’s NPR news station, the council’s restructuring has sparked conversation and concern about the relationship between intrinsic and economic value of the arts.

Read the article.

Posted on November 4, 2016 by Monica

The 2016 annual report from the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP) reveals the results of a survey in 2015 of arts alumni of 53 higher education institutions across the US and into Canada. “SNAAP survey questions address (a) the extent to which alumni feel connected to their educational institution; (b) the resources current artists lack; and (c) which alumni work across multiple art forms/disciplines.”

Read the report.