Cultivating Prosperity: Funding Art & Healing Projects, Part Two
(Read Part One here)
One of our primary goals, here at the Arts & Healing Network, is to offer support and encouragement to healing artists. Because one of the most frequently asked questions we receive is about raising money, we are dedicating this issue of AHN News to Cultivating Prosperity. This issue includes an article & interview with Ken Rosenthal on how to use the internet to generate funding. In addition, there are words of advice from the recipients of the first round of the 2012 AHN Awards - Caroline Lovell, Daniel McCormick, Drew Cameron, and Naomi Rifkin. Finally, you will find book reviews of Gigi Rosenbergís Artistís Guide to Grant Writing and Julia Cameronís The Prosperous Heart, as well as a list of additional resources about funding.
This issue of AHN News is the second part to an earlier issue on the same theme, which included an article on 11 Tips for Funding Healing Arts Projects. In addition, please donít miss the extensive list of art grants that can be found on our site.
I hope these resources will support you in generating artistic support, so that the world can experience more of the powerful healing catalyst that art can be.
~ Mary Daniel Hobson, Executive Director, Arts & Healing Network
Raising Funds Online with Kickstarter and More
In the past few years, an exciting new route for getting art & healing projects funded has emerged. In addition to the traditional route of applying for grants from big institutions, artists can now easily invite everyday people to support their projects through web resources like Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, Pledge Page, Donors Choose and more. The basic premise is that an artist (or anyone) could sign up with one of these web sites, craft a campaign (the story about what is needed and why), and then promote the campaign via his/her social network. The web site hosting the campaign usually collects the funds via contributors' credit cards, which are not charged until the project is funded in full. Once funding is complete, then the artist receives the money and can create the project.
In addition to receiving financial support, there is also something very satisfying about getting the collective support of so many people. Along with the money comes appreciation and an expanded sense of community. For example, writer Dutty Bookman used IndieGoGo to raise $2,750 to self-publish his memoir about promoting social justice. He describes how it was not just the money he received, but also a boost in confidence knowing that so many people valued what he was doing. And another IndieGogo user said, "I found supporters for my film from around the globe. People who have not only become new collaborators, but new friends."
Artist Ken Rosenthal recently used Kickstarter to raise over $14,000 from 161 backers to support the self-publication of a book of his lyrical photographs. I was so impressed by his campaign, that I asked to interview him, to learn some of his experience:
Mary Daniel Hobson: What inspired you to use Kickstarter?
Ken Rosenthal: I had been talking with creative consultant Mary Virginia Swanson about where to go next, career-wise, with my work. We talked about a show that was upcoming in Southern California, and without hesitation she told me I needed to produce a catalog. And as she was telling me this I knew she was right, but I just didnít have the funds to produce a catalog, even a relatively modest one. Late one night while lying in bed and stressing out about aforementioned lack of funds, I remembered having heard about Kickstarter, and went onto the site to take a look. There were a few photo projects on the site, including one by a friend, and it seemed like as feasible way as any I could think of to come up with the finances. After I extensively researched past and active campaigns, I believed I could craft a successful campaign.
Mary Daniel: What advice do you have for someone using Kickstarter for the first time?
Ken: Spend a good amount of time on the site before you put your campaign together. Research campaigns similar to the one you are proposing, and try to determine why campaigns that were funded succeeded, and why campaigns that were not funded failed. Definitely make a video. Clearly and concisely state in writing and in the video what you are raising funds for, why it is important, what the rewards are, and how the funds raised will be used.
Mary Daniel: What was the biggest challenge in using Kickstarter?
Ken: The time commitment. It was almost like a full-time job for a few weeks. I chose to send personalized e-mails to all of my friends, family, and colleagues rather than do one e-mail blast. But it is essential to engage your "social network," as that is where the majority of your funds will come from (unless you are funding a product with mass appeal or have an existing name/product recognition). Fulfilling the rewards was also very time consuming, but was incredibly satisfying.
Mary Daniel: What do you think helped make your project so successful on Kickstarter?
Ken: I did my research before I launched it; I offered rewards that had appeal to my target audience and were good values for their pledge levels; I have a large "social network," and many of my friends on Facebook and Twitter shared/tweeted information on my campaign.
Mary Daniel: Would you use Kickstarter again to raise funds for a project? If so, what would you do differently if anything?
Ken: Yes, I am planning on launching another campaign, possibly later this year, to publish a book of a new body of work. I will probably do a few e-mail blasts in addition to a more personal, initial e-mail, as a number of people told me after the campaign was over that they had intended to pledge money but forgot to before the campaign ended.
To find out more about Ken and his projects, visit his Kickstarter page, and to learn more about Kenís photography visit his web site at www.kenrosenthal.com.
ARTIST TO ARTIST:
Advice on Funding Healing Arts Projects from the 2012 AHN Awardees
We recently asked the recipients of the first round of the 2012 AHN Awards to share their wisdom and advice about fundraising for healing arts projects. Below you will find insight from Caroline Lovell, Daniel McCormick, Drew Cameron, and Naomi Rifkin. To learn more about each of their outstanding work and also about future award opportunities, please visit our AHN Award Page.
Each artist responded to the question: "What advice would you offer another healing artist who was seeking to fund creative work?"
Caroline Lovell (artist and founder of Traveling Postcards):
"My advice is multi-tiered... First I would get very clear on what you are offering and how it works. A business plan is a good idea. Be able to explain it to anyone, especially someone who has no experience in the art world! Secondly, do your homework. How much funding does your project need to be sustainable and why? Have very real numbers Ė it costs more than you think (your ideas are also worth more than you think!), and donít forget to include funding for yourself! Thirdly, get help. No one can work alone, and everyone has different expertise. Donít be afraid to ask for advice. Just make sure you partner with integrity. Lastly, be persistent, find organizations that share your vision and contact them. Donít be afraid of rejection and look everywhere you can Ė social media, community groups, corporations, private donors, fundraising events... try everything!" To find out more about Caroline and her work, visit her AHN Award page.
Daniel McCormick (environmental artist):
"Put your creative talents to good use when it comes to funding sources. I donít rely solely on art funding sources to get my projects completed. Some of my successful projects came together with a little bit of funding from a lot of different sources, including my own personal funds. Commit to your projects and others will come along." To find out more about Daniel and his work, visit his AHN Award page.
Drew Cameron (artist & founder of the Combat Paper Project):
"The way we approached developing [our project] was to first practice and engage the process without a real concern for funding sources. There have been so many people who have and continue to volunteer their talents towards this project, it would not have been realized any other way. We were quite wary at first of how it would be perceived so we wanted the artwork and growing base of participants to be the voice. Developing an approach for funding came through the ideas of the group. It was project based in that we would realize short-term goals, such as an edition or traveling tour and scrape together whatever we could to make it happen, then reinvest into the next project. If the funding didnít come through then we would change our course. Practicing the process, doing the work is the most important thing that I can stress. Through the work, a community may develop. A community that leverages ownership and a process they can teach others can really build momentum. I have found that if you believe in the process, and carry it always, the outcome will present itself." To find out more about Drew and his work, visit his AHN Award page.
Naomi Rifkin (artist & founder of Brush Fire Painting Workshops):
"Follow your passion. I really think we are hardwired to heal and to share our healing with others. Talk with everyone you know and everyone they know about what you want to do. Then donít be scared to try it. I did my first workshop with a bunch of kids at the local Boys & Girls Club. That blossomed into having our program at 14 schools, community centers, & locked facilities. If you are passionate, create a clear vision and make it real!" To find out more about Naomi and her work, visit her AHN Award page.
The Artistís Guide To Grant Writing: How to Find Funds & Write Foolproof Proposals for the Visual, Literary, and Performing Artist
By Gigi Rosenberg
Reviewed by Mary Daniel Hobson
ďThis book is the book I wish Iíd had when I didnít know whether I was an artist, and even when I did know and I wanted to have both the money and the validation that winning a grant provides. I hope that it will help you to realize all you already know about grant writing and help ensure that every hour you spend writing proposals boosts your career. Let grant writing push your art into the world.Ē ~ Gigi Rosenberg
In The Artistís Guide to Grant Writing, Gigi Rosenberg offers a no-nonsense, very readable book packed with great advice about how to approach the grant writing process. Amid all the advice about clarifying your vision, researching, crafting your application, and more, what stood out most for me were two things. First, the importance of having at least one other person read your application before you send it out, and second, understanding that you write a grant proposal not just because you might get funding, but also more importantly because the process helps you clarify your own vision and dreams.
Gigi openly shares her own experience as a film maker and writer applying for grants Ė from her very first grant as a teenager (from her parents) to her later failed attempts and what they taught her, and how she evolved and grew into taking charge of the grant writing process from an empowered place and teaching other artists how to do so too.
The introduction to this helpful book offers Eight Key Tips for Writing Grants, and it is a nice summation of the key points of her book:
- Apply for grants. You canít win if you donít apply.
- Donít be bitter or demanding in the application. Even if youíre feeling that way, edit it out in the revising process.
- Use the grant-writing process to clarify where you want to go, so that if even one grant application doesnít succeed, you gain something very valuable Ė your action plan.
- Ask for help. Donít write your applications and assemble work samples in isolation.
- Follow directions even when the rules seem like Kafka dreamed them up.
- Research the funder so that you match what you want with the needs and interests of the people who signed the checks.
- Ask questions. If anything is unclear, call the funder well ahead of the deadline or ask another artist who has won the grant before.
- Write and rewrite. Have conversations, let the application sit, edit, and edit again, until you wring out the words that describe the who, what, when, where, why, and how of your project. Donít give up until it is clear and concise without jargon, lingo, or attitude.
This book was published in 2010 by Watson Guptill (a division of Random House, Inc.). The paperback version of this book has 206 pages and can be purchased through a variety of sources here. You can also read an excerpt of the book via a free downloadable PDF, and you can learn more about Gigi Rosenberg at her website.
The Prosperous Heart: Creating A Life of Enough
By Julia Cameron
Reviewed by Mary Daniel Hobson
ďFor twenty-five years, I have taught a course in creative unblocking called The Artistís Way. Time and again, I have run up against the cultural belief that artists are broke. Fear of financial hardship keeps many people from exploring their creativity, imprisoning them in jobs they donít like, working for paychecks they tell themselves they are lucky to have. And yet, as people do the work of unblocking, they often find themselves more solvent, not less. Doing something they love can be financially rewarding, much to peopleís surprise.Ē ~ Julia Cameron
The Prosperous Heart is a refreshing resource for artists seeking financial abundance. Many excellent books have been written about how to run a better art business, apply for artist grants, etc Ė but leave it to Julia Cameron, celebrated author of The Artistís Way, to deliver a book that gets underneath the surface of the practicalities of how to succeed, and into the psychology and spirituality that can generate true wealth as an artist. As she writes, "Prosperity is a spiritual matter. It is the amount of faith we have, not the cash, that determines our feelings of abundance."
For a book so inspired by spirit, The Prosperous Heart is also very grounded in specifics. It opens with a discussion of the five tools Julia asks readers to practice regularly Ė Morning Pages (just as in The Artistís Way), Walking, Abstinence, Counting, and Time-outs. Each of the twelve chapters includes insights, anecdotes, and exercises that help explore themes like Having Enough, Cleaning House, Forgiveness, and Generosity. I really appreciate how she balances the message of having faith, with the practice of being very conscious about oneís financial habits and the tools to shape shift those in a healthier direction. Overall, what it is that makes all of her books so powerful is that they help shift perspective profoundly, allowing new possibilities to emerge
I was also deeply touched by the many anecdotes Julia shares in this book. An example is the story of Rodrigo, who took a summer office job out of financial necessity between high school and college. On the first day, he realized how much he hated it. He was able to turn this bad situation around by remembering an assignment from his comedy class to take a "plain experience and find humor in every corner of the situation." And so we used his terrible work experience for creative fodder, writing a one-man show Ė a comedy set in an office from the perspective of an intern. When he got to college, he performed it at an open-mike night to great response. A student producer offered to produce the show in a coffee house, and from there in a large theater. Today, Rodrigo has written and performed many of his own pieces, and his story aptly illustrates Juliaís point: "We always have the opportunity to move ahead."
This 224-page hardback book was published in 2011 by Jeremy P. Tarcher. It can be purchased through a variety of sources here. You might also enjoy the AHN Podcast interview with Julia Cameron in 2009. You can listen directly on your computer, or download it via iTunes.
Blue Earthís Free PDF booklet: Shooting from the Heart
This free pdf booklet offers very thorough and pragmatic advice about seeking funding for projects. Although it was created for photographers, artists of any media will benefit from the insights offered. The booklet details information about budgeting, grant forms, book publishing and more. It also clearly outlines the four main sources of funding (individuals, foundations, corporations, and government agencies) and emphasizes that no matter the source "people give to their friends." So their very prescient advice is to build human connections with potential funders by writing thank you notes, inviting funders to events, etc.
The New York Foundation for the Arts videos Finding Funds & Resources for Your Art and Essential Tools for Grantwriting
These videos offer great advice. Although both videos are geared towards "immigrant artists," the information is applicable to all artists seeking funding for their work.
The Arts & Healing Network's Artist Support section
Arts & Healing Network has a whole section dedicated to Artist Support, including books, links and more, as well as an extensive list of Grants for Artists. In addition, these past issues of AHN News, may be of interest to you as well:
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