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 23, 2014



At its March 3, 2014 meeting, the Foundation's Board of Directors approved substantial changes to Jerome's New York City and Minnesota Film and Video Programs. Effective June 15, 2014, the names of the programs will be changed to the Film, Video, and Digital Production Grant Program. Each program will continue to support emerging independent film and video artists who produce experimental, narrative, documentary, and animated work, but will be expanded to support artists who create work using non-traditional hardware such as mobile devices and computers. This provides artists who prefer not to work in traditional film and video formats an opportunity to receive support from the Foundation for their narrative, documentary, animated and experimental projects.

The New York City and Minnesota Film, Video, and Digital Production Grant Programs will consider projects created for exhibition in traditional venues such as theaters, television, or festivals, as well as non-traditional exhibition venues such as projections in public spaces; distribution through smartphones, electronic notebooks and other mobile devices; and virtual environments such as internet sites. It...

Posted on May 14, 2014 by cstrokosch

The Open Society Documentary Photography Project is soliciting calls for the 2014 Audience Engagement Grant Program. Since the program’s inception in 2004, Open Society Foundations has funded 54 photographers who have gone beyond documenting a human rights or social justice issue to enacting change.

As in the past, project grants are available to documentary photographers, photo-based artists, and socially engaged practitioners who use their work to move target audiences beyond the act of looking, to directly participate in activities or processes that lead to change around an issue. And while past funding has successfully supported a diverse range of projects from photographers highly skilled at developing meaningful partnerships and audience engagement, the Foundation recognized that many artists have less experience in this work but are interested in further developing these skills.

In response, beginning in 2014, artists are also able to apply for Project Development support, with grantees receiving funding to attend an Open Society-organized retreat in December of 2014. This event will be designed in collaboration with Creative Capital’s Professional...

Posted on March 7, 2014 by cstrokosch

Posted to Supporting Today’s Artists by Caitlin Strokosch, executive director, Alliance of Artists Communities

One of the reasons I love serving on Grantmakers in the Arts’ Individual Artists Support Committee is that every conversation centers on how we can do more to support artists. Again and again we ask: What else do artists need (besides more money)?

For the Alliance of Artists Communities—an international coalition of artist residency programs—our currency is time and space. Few artists have in their everyday lives the luxury of concentrated time to dive deep into their work with the focus it deserves, even when granted the funds to develop new work. As such, residencies form a critical part of the artist support ecosystem by offering an environment that combines nobody’s-looking-over-your-shoulder solitude with a community of other artists engaging in the challenging R&D work that occurs during a residency. And while time and space are extraordinary, time+space+money is even better!

That’s why in the past few years we’ve seen more funders and residencies team up to extend the support given to...

Posted on March 6, 2014 by Abigail

The Committee welcomed Paul Tyler, grants director of ArtsKC, a regional arts council in Kansas City, Missouri. Also new to the Committee is Ruby Lerner, executive director of Creative Capital, a nationally-focused support organization serving artists with funding, counseling, and career development services.

A subcommittee has been working on establishing a new blog, Supporting Today's Artists, which is now live on the GIA website and features content from GIA members and the broader field. All GIA members are invited to submit content; information may include new program initiatives, collaborations, program evaluations, research, press releases, and leadership transitions related to the artists support field. Suggested content for the new site may be directed to Tommer Peterson at GIA:

GIA deputy director Tommer Peterson provided an update on the Artist Support Benchmarking Initiative. The research team working on the project is beginning to develop a method for collecting data that illustrates the ecology of artist support throughout...

Posted on March 4, 2014 by cstrokosch

The Creative Interventions Tour, a new placemaking project led by artist Hunter Franks, will travel through Akron, Detroit, Macon, and Philadelphia, where Franks will lead workshops that bring people from diverse social and economic backgrounds together. He will craft the interactive activities with input from local organizations, taking into account specific community needs. Franks will document his experiences in each of the cities to share lessons and assess how small-scale, temporary interventions can create wide community impact.

For example, one activity, Vacant Love, will mobilize people to write love letters to their neighborhood; the letters will then be posted on a vacant building and a fundraising event will be held to help restore the building. Another activity, the Free Portrait Project, will provide locals with a personal Polaroid portrait in exchange for a story about their first love. A copy of their portrait will then be displayed in a public space along with the story for passersby to peruse, ultimately creating connections between neighbors.

More information on the Knight Blog,...

Posted on February 27, 2014 by Paul Tyler

Posted to Supporting Today’s Artists by Paul Tyler, Grants Director, ArtsKC

We’ve had limited financial resources to invest in direct support for artists over the past few years, but I have come to realize that our work supporting artists through professional development training may have substantially more impact than our grantmaking over the long run.

Artist INC is a professional development initiative for artists that began in Kansas City in 2009 as a collaborative partnership of ArtsKC – Regional Arts Council, Charlotte Street Foundation, and the University of Missouri-Kansas City Innovation Center. The Artist INC synergistic array of programming is designed to connect artists of all disciplines to the tools, resources, and opportunities necessary to develop their entrepreneurial skills and strengthen their artistic practice. The program menu offers an assortment of seminars, workshops, online options, community training, a university course, and direct individual support in order to reach a variety of artists at different...

Posted on February 26, 2014 by Abigail

Since 1998, the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation has supported contemporary art exhibitions through its biennial Emily Hall Tremaine Exhibition Award. This opportunity provides funding for thematic exhibitions that are fresh and experimental in nature, and for which other funding is not yet forthcoming. The award provides assistance at the beginning stage of the exhibition’s development and offers the curator the support needed to realize the concept.

This year is the first time the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation will support not only the curator of these winning exhibitions but also the artists that participate through the Living Artist Stipends. When the 2012 Exhibition Award winners, Choreography at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College and Covert Operations: Investigating the Known Unknowns at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, open this fall, each living artist, collaborative, or collective with a piece of existing work in the exhibits will receive a $1,000 stipend. The Foundation developed the Living Artist Stipend to provide financial recognition for work an artist has previously completed that contributed...

Posted on January 29, 2014 by Abigail

The Joyce Awards recognize artists of color who collaborate with nonprofit institutions by awarding them $50,000 to commission thought-provoking works of art, which aim to strengthen cross-cultural understanding by bringing diverse audiences together. The 2014 Joyce Award winners are Camille A. Brown, Jessie Montgomery, Lynn Nottage, and Tracey Scott Wilson. Read more about the winners and the award program here.

Posted on January 21, 2014 by Abigail

During our November call we recapped the 2013 GIA preconference, held on Sunday October 6 at the Asian Arts Initiative in Philadelphia. Heartfelt congratulations and thanks went out to preconference co-chairs Melissa Franklin (Pew Center for Arts & Heritage) and Esther Grimm (3Arts) for their planning and logistical work. Also acknowledged were the committee members who participated in sessions or otherwise contributed to making the day a success.

It was noted that the opening session, Starting Up: A Conversation among Artist Support Pioneers, was videotaped and is available on the GIA website. Using this documentation as a starting point, the committee agreed on the usefulness of the material in its current form and proposed ways to make specific content within the video more readily accessible. The committee also discussed the value of continuing to gather and document the history of the field and how historical resources might inform current and future decisions. The committee will continue to address this in the coming year.

As part of our ongoing effort to keep artists at the...

Posted on November 1, 2013 by Abigail

Toolkit: A Look Inside the Artist Selection Process is a new web resource developed by members of GIA's Individual Artists Support Committee. Responding to feedback received at the 2012 GIA Conference, the Committee undertook to design web resources, or Toolkits, to help inform and create dialogue around best practices in providing support to individual artists; this Toolkit is their first.

Selection processes, including open application and nomination-jury formats, are from four different kinds of funders: a nonprofit grantmaker, a public agency, a family foundation, and a private foundation. Each resource paper provides a snapshot of direct funding for individual artists within the context of each organization’s programs and includes a timeline, information about jury panels and applications, and reflections on the various approaches and challenges.

Posted on August 13, 2013 by Abigail

At this point in the year, our committee is engaged primarily in working with GIA staff to develop conference and preconference sessions that reflect the interests of our sector.


Our meeting began with an overview of the plans for the preconference, “Taking Stock,” co-chaired by Melissa Franklin and Esther Grimm. Melissa and Esther described the flow of the day, including the three main dialogues around which the day pivots: a conversation with funders who helped and still help to forge the field, a conversation with three funders who are breaking ground today, and a final conversation led by artists on the work that might shape our future. Intermixed with these sessions is a look at the national study on the support of individual artists that GIA launched this year and a lunch crafted by Conflict Kitchen. Presenters include Ted Berger, Frances Phillips, Cindy Gehrig, Holly Sidford, Ben Cameron, Carolyn Somers, Tony Grant, Ain Gordon, Anne Carlson, Dan Blacksberg—and more.

The preconference schedule will be updated on the GIA conference website as additional artists and presenters are identified.

We discussed the importance of...

Posted on May 30, 2013 by Abigail

During our May 2013 meeting the Committee welcomed new member Joe Smoke of the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.

Committee member Ben Cameron presented an overview of the Doris Duke Performing Artists Initiative, a ten-year $50 Million program. This innovative program, now in its second year, will provide awards to more than 200 artists, as well as a range of dance companies, theaters, and presenters.

Funders Resource Subcommittee:

During the Individual Artists Support Committee’s breakfast roundtable at the 2012 GIA Conference we heard from many participants the need for information on the basics of individual artists support. A subcommittee made up of Esther Grimm (3Arts), Rose Parisi (Illinois Arts Council Agency), Jayson Smart (Rasmuson Foundation), and Carolyn Somers (Joan Mitchell Foundation) was formed to develop resource toolkits. The first toolkit will include examples of artist award selection processes. This resource will sit on the interest area page on the GIA...

Posted on March 21, 2013 by Abigail

New Members:

We welcomed Tony Grant of the Sustainable Arts Foundation, Vincent (Vinnie) Murphy of the Tanne Foundation, Melissa Franklin of The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, and David Terry of the New York Foundation for the Arts to GIA’s Individual Artists Support Committee. The committee now comprises eighteen representatives of organizations that support individual artists nationally.

Our winter meeting focused on representing, sharing, and understanding our work to support artists.

Communicating our Cause:

At nearly every meeting, we review conference and panel proposal opportunities with the goal of proposing sessions that include artists and keep their concerns front and center. We discussed the inclusion of artists at the Americans for the Arts conference and learned about a panel for that conference organized by Heather Pontonio of the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, called “The One About Helping Artists to Succeed,” for an intended audience of local art agencies. We discussed our hope of having more panels related to artists and featuring artists...

Posted on January 8, 2013 by Abigail

Co-Chair Transitions:

After serving three years as the co-chair of our committee, Michael Royce of the New York Foundation for the Arts, stepped down at the end of 2012. We thanked Michael for his leadership and his unswerving commitment to supporting artists. We then welcomed Rose Parisi of the Illinois Arts Council as the new co-chair who will serve along with Esther Grimm from 3Arts. Later in 2013, several new members will be announced, along with a new name for the committee.

GIA’s Individual Artists Research Project:

After receiving a great deal of feedback from funders at the GIA 2012 Conference and the Support for Individual Artists Preconference, this project will be honed to reflect both the process of data collection and the desired results. The next steps in 2013 will be to draft a proposed standard taxonomy for individual artist support, as well as proposed demographic data fields, and to solicit input from a broad range of individual artist funders on these standards. Our committee will hear more about the final direction of the research project at our next...

Posted on November 13, 2012 by Abigail

The last two meetings of the GIA Individual Artists Group Steering Committee focused primarily on the preconference, sessions, and roundtable gathering in preparation for the Miami conference, in addition to the research study GIA is conducting on the support of individual artists nationwide.

With an overarching goal of creating a network of mutual support, the committee worked to strengthen communication with like-minded funders and increase efforts to connect the sector and reach new funders.

Nicole Chevalier of the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation attended her last meeting as a member of the committee and we welcomed new committee member Jayson Smart of the Rasmuson Foundation in Anchorage, Alaska. We also voted to the committee Heather Pontonio of Tremaine.

The committee voted on the guidelines for membership, as follows:

The steering committee is comprised of up to twenty GIA members in good standing, representing a spectrum of grantmakers who support individual artists.

Membership will include a diversity of:

  • Geographic representation, including...
Posted on October 3, 2012 by Tommer


   Artist Support Benchmarking Initiative, Preliminary Report, 28 Sept 2012 (2.7Mb)

Attached is the Field Scan Preliminary Report, marking the first phase of this work.  This has been an educational and fascinating process so far. This first report was designed to frame the issues around this research and advance the conversation, so we look forward to your responses.

We are seeking your comments and responses to this draft, and there are a couple of ways to respond. You can respond by email to If you plan to reply by email, please do so by October 26th.

We will also be presenting the report at two times at the GIA conference:

Sunday, October 14 at 11:00 AM
for those registered for the Support for Individual Artists Preconference

Monday, October 15 at 2:00 PM
for those attending the main conference.

This presentation will also be available by...

Posted on June 11, 2012 by Abigail

The Steering Committee co-chairs opened the May meeting by welcoming new members Denise Brown, Leeway Foundation; Ben Cameron, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; Julie Dalgleish, CERF+; Ruby Harper, Greater Columbus Arts Council; Jayson Smart, Rasmuson Foundation; and Sacha Yanow, Art Matters. The Committee then discussed the guidelines, put forward by the subcommittee formed during the February meeting, for ensuring a dynamic, involved membership, including the staggered, two-year terms of the co-chairs that ensure renewed and shared leadership of the committee. Responding to Committee feedback, the subcommittee will update the guidelines for final review and approval during the next Committee meeting.

Members of the Steering Committee also serving on the individual artists preconference committee—Ted Berger, Rose Parisi, and Caitlin Strokosch—reported on the planning for that gathering in Miami. The preconference committee, of which Adrianna Perez and Brandi Reddick of the Miami-Dade County Office of Cultural Affairs are also members, is designing a participatory program that focuses on grant and non-grant support for individual artists and includes topics that address the main conference themes of equity, livable...

Posted on March 5, 2012 by Abigail

The GIA Support for Individual Artists Group Steering Committee met in February to discuss four topics: Committee membership; the 2012 GIA conference and preconference in Miami; future activities surrounding the case statement developed by the committee in 2011 to advocate for the support of individual artists; and participation in other associations’ conferences.

Over the course of the past two years, several GIA members have expressed interest in joining the committee. In order to make way for new voices and visions, the committee agreed to examine terms of membership to ensure a healthy rotation of members. A sub-committee will make recommendations regarding length of service at the May meeting, when new members will be welcomed.

The committee discussed participating with colleagues in Miami to develop a preconference for grantmakers who support individual artists. A suggestion was made to consider an “open space” format that includes both philosophical and practical approaches and that would allow for more direct conversation and communication among funders than might a fully programmed day of panel presentations. Because of the wealth of residency programs in Florida, the committee also suggested that...

Posted on January 12, 2012

The GIA Support for Individual Artists Group Steering Committee completed its case statement advocating for support of individual artists, now posted on the GIA website. It forms the cornerstone of an article that will appear in the winter issue of the GIA Reader. The Steering Committee will use various strategies for disseminating this statement and advocating for its message.

The Steering Committee met in September and December. Cynthia Gehrig of the Jerome Foundation, Co-Chair with Michael Royce of the New York Foundation for the Arts, is rotating away from that position and will be replaced by Esther Grimm, 3Arts, Chicago, Illinois. Esther and Michael will chair the Committee in 2012.

The 2011 Grantmakers in the Arts Conference in San Francisco featured a number of sessions providing information and opportunities for networking on the topic of support for individual artists. The Steering Committee’s appreciation goes to all GIA members who attended those sessions.


Posted on October 6, 2011 by admin

A Case Statement from GIA’s Support for Individual

Artists Group Steering Committee, October 2011


   Support for Individual Artists Case Statement (89Kb)

Our commitment to supporting individual artists is a testament to our understanding of the importance of artists in our world. We support artists to allow them time to reveal the truths of our existence. We support artists to promote diverse, creative communities engaged in civil dialogue and public service. We support artists to ensure the freedom of their expression and the preservation of our own.

Though artists’ impressive impact on the economy is quantifiable and therefore commonly used in their defense against threats of budget cuts and the whims of prevailing tastes, it is their constructive influence on the social development of communities, states, and nations that represents their most valuable and lasting contribution. The generative power of art accosts our senses and demands our...