The Questions Artists Confront After Winning Grant Money

Suddenly, a cash grant changes everything. Through illustrative examples of artists who have received considerable cash grants and the experiences of foundations that give them, a recent New York Times article tackles how getting a substantial cash grant can alter most artists' lives and the questions that come after awards of this kind.

Once grant money is obtained, "what comes next? Should artists fund a current art project or pay down debt? Should they rent a studio or buy one? Should they sit on a beach and think of great ideas or get health insurance? In other words: More money, more problems," lays out the article.

This piece explains that while many arts organizations give grants for specific projects, rarer is the unrestricted grant. Due to its nature, the realm of unrestricted grant has brought financial counseling to the forefront, according to the Times. Many grantmakers are exploring different approaches to guide recipients through the exciting and potentially challenging moment.

Deana Haggag, president and chief executive of United States Artists (USA), stated the Chicago-based organization is studying how they can counsel artists to use the standard, unrestricted grant money USA awards. Haggag told the Times that they will pilot group sessions on managing money at their annual assembly, and in a year, she hopes this counseling will be a regular service.

The Joan Mitchell Foundation, according to Christa Blatchford, the foundation’s chief executive, started their counseling program after a recipient of one of their awards told them she needed financial advisement at this critical moment in her artistic career. Blatchford told the Times the counseling the foundation helped to arrange focused on “things that would make [the artists] feel successful.” However, Blatchford recognizes not all artists are ready or prepared for financial counseling. As Edward P. Henry, president of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, mentioned, "you can’t underestimate what artists – or anyone else – knows about finances."

Read The New York Times article here.

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