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 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.

Posted on September 22, 2016 by Monica

John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has announced the names of the 2016 MacArthur Fellows. Among the awardees are author Claudia Rankine, who presented an inspiring keynote at the 2015 GIA Conference, and theatre artist and educator Anne Basting, who has worked with GIA to support arts and aging. Each of the 23 MacArthur Fellows will receive a stipend of $625,000.

View the announcement.

Posted on September 19, 2016 by Monica

National Endowment for the Arts and the Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI) have launched a new report examining the needs and values of artists. Creativity Connects: Trends and Conditions Affecting U.S. Artists examines artist funding and training, as well as the effect of other forces shaping the work environment for artists including technology, the gig economy, student debt, and the growth of cross-disciplinary work.

Read the report.

Posted on August 3, 2016 by Sustainable Arts Foundation

The Sustainable Arts Foundation has recently committed to increasing racial equity in the arts. Starting this fall, at least half of our awards will go to applicants of color. Visit their website to read more about this decision and the thinking behind it.

Posted on May 13, 2016 by Sustainable Arts Foundation

The Sustainable Arts Foundation supports artists and writers with children by offering unrestricted cash awards to parent artists whose work is of the highest caliber. We are pleased to announce the winners of our 2016 Spring Awards. The demand for these grants continues to be high: we received over 1,300 applications. Please join us in congratulating these outstanding artists and writers.

Spring 2016 Awards ($6,000 each)

Radhiyah Ayobami, Nonfiction
Lisa Myers Bulmash, Mixed Media
Carmen Lizardo, Photography
Abby Murray, Poetry
Joshua Rivkin, Nonfiction

Spring 2016 Promise Awards ($2,000 each)

Todd Anderson, Printmaking
Rebecca Grabill, Early and Middle Grade Fiction
Terence Hannum, Mixed Media
Tania James, Fiction
Kim Piotrowski, Painting
Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, Nonfiction
Maya Jewell Zeller, Poetry

Spring 2016 Finalists

Larissa Bates, Painting
Adriana Carranza, Printmaking
Madeline ffitch, Fiction
Carribean Fragoza, Fiction
Tytia Habing, Photography
Toni Jensen, Fiction
Rachelle Mozman, Photography
Cindy Pon, Young...

Posted on February 5, 2016 by SuJ'n

Jennifer Rivera, mezzo soprano and blogger, writes for HuffPost:

...I spend a lot of time trying to imagine solutions to a problem that feels like an impossible mathematical equation: How do we balance the amount of talent in the world of the arts in this country (specifically classical music and opera) with the seeming dearth of opportunities, the lack of funding for the arts, and the challenges all non-profit music organizations face in raising the funds to do their best work without either sacrificing their artistic integrity or going bankrupt? This ongoing problem is the reason I took a job at the Center for Contemporary Opera (I wanted to help make more operas happen), why I write these articles, and why I continue to sing and work with young singers. Well, the singing also pays my bills -- most of them anyway (more on that later).

Read the full post here.

Posted on December 11, 2015 by cstrokosch

Artists frequently tell us the thing they need most is access to decision-makers, to connect to opportunities outside their usual networks and get past some of the myths and mysteries of how artists receive support.

TransCultural Exchange’s 2016 International Conference on Opportunities in the Arts does just that. One of the few conferences specifically for artists and their career development, the event gives artists the chance to connect with international curators, presenters, residency directors, funders, and others and open the door to career opportunities around the world. 

More than one-third of past attendees received invitations to residencies and exhibitions and/or successful grant...

Posted on October 12, 2015 by SuJ'n

3Arts recently announced the ten recipients of its 8th annual 3Arts Awards. The awardees were women artists, artists of color, and artists with disabilities working in the performing, teaching, and visual arts and selected by national jury panels of their peers. For more information about the artists and the awards, find the full press release here. Video highlights of the Awards ceremony, including performances from by past awardees, can be found here.