Grants: Getting Started

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Writing A Grant

Grants are not only a great way to fund your career but they can give a serious boost to your résumé.  Think about it.  If someone is willing to give you money towards your art that’s a huge endorsement.  No matter how big or small the grant it’s definitely a good for your career.  Also remember research, following directions to the letter and good writing are the keys to success.

The first step is understanding the kinds of grants available to you.  There are two basic kinds.  Grants for individuals and grants for organizations.  Naturally the amount of money given to an organization is larger but you can have access to that through Fiscal Sponsorship.  A non-profit organization will allow you to use their credentials and information to apply for a grant.  I will go into this in a future post.  Until you have a Fiscal Sponsor you should apply for grants for individuals.

There are categories of grants.  That is grants given to the arts, social causes, minorities and women.  It is important to look for grants under the category that comes closed to your needs.

There are several kinds of grants to look for as well.

• Unrestricted Grants – a grant where they hand you a check and say “go do your art”.  There is no designated way this money can be spent.

• Project Grants – grants for a specific project that you will carry out – usually in a designated period of time.  I.E. a grant given for an exhibition in which the art is made and displayed within a year.

• Travel Grants – grants given to fund travel from one place to another.  I.E. You have a residency in France but don’t have the funds to get the plane ticket.  You can seek out this type of grant.

You will also want to look at the geographic reach of a grant.  Some funders will only look to seek artists in their local area or region.  Make sure you know what that is before you apply.

Remember that research is really the foundation of your success and besides looking online the Foundation Center is the best place to go.  They have libraries in New York, San Francisco, Washington DC, Atlanta and Cleveland and they are online.  Every foundation in the world has to give information to the Foundation Center.  Check it out: www.foundationcenter.org

In the next post we will talk about the types of funders out there and why they give to the arts.

Good writing is also the key to your success.  The Artists Objective has a proven track record helping artists achieve success in this area.  If you are feeling overwhelmed we can break it down for you step by step, edit and get that grant – customized exactly to your needs.  Please visit our website at: http://www.theartistobjective.com/coaching.html#grants   We’re here to help you find your solution to success.

Top Reasons Not To Use a Website Template

We have recently discovered new information about using a template for your website and want to share it.  Some of this information is quite alarming so if you’re thinking of going with a website template – like ArtSpan, Square Space or WIX – this will be of interest to you.

Your Website Will Not be Unique or Exclusive to You or Your Art.  No matter how much you customize and tweak it there will be a uniform look. Guaranteed that hundreds of other artists and businesses will be using this same template.

There Will be Limits to Design Elements.  You will only have so much control over typefaces, colors, backgrounds and even banners (your logo) that you can use.

No or Little Search Engine Optimization.  Some templates may allow you to enter keywords but that’s it.  You will not be able to enter formal Meta-tag Keywords or Descriptions at all.

Not Search Engine Friendly.  Some website templates won’t even be compatible with Search Engine Spiders and/or confuse them.  That means that your website will not be visible on Search Engines at all.  What’s the purpose of creating a website in the first place if it can’t be found?  If you can’t gain new contacts, viewers and buyers?

Not Being Able to Choose Image Size or Optimize Your Images for the Web.
Website Templates may require that you size your images according to their perimeters and that may be way too small or may even skew your images into an odd shape.  Your images should also be optimized for viewing on the internet and that takes skill – where a website designer can help you.  They can also be optimized for Search Engines.

Needing to Know Code such as .html or .css  What’s the point of using a template at all and if you have to use code?  If you knew how to use code you’d design a website yourself without a template, right?

Unwanted Advertising or Banners on Your Website.  This is why we say be careful what you wish for when it comes to free website templates because free isn’t always free.  You may see huge banners, flashing elements and some may even create noise.  The main focus of your website should always be your art.

Favicon will be the logo of the template/not yours. Remember that the favicon is the little symbol that appears to the left of the website address or page title on your browser.  It does nothing more than add a professional look to your website.  If that favicon belongs to someone else then it isn’t professional.

Too Much Design Code.  .html (Hypertext Markup Language) is what drives the internet.  Website templates can have pages and pages of code that will clog up your website, slow down the speed of opening the page and your images and confuse Search Engines when they are evaluating your website for categorization.

The following is where things can get especially alarming….

Some Website Templates Will Require You to Use Their Hosting and Domain Registration Services.  That can add up quickly and become expensive.  Some fees are monthly and some are yearly.  It’s better to register your domain and get hosting elsewhere because if you do lose the website unexpectedly or decide to upgrade you will have the assurance of more control.

You Could Unexpectedly Lose Your Website.  When you register with a template host you will undoubtedly sign or be subject to their Terms of Agreement.  Should they suddenly decide that your website violates their Terms they could take it down without prior notice or your agreeing to it.

You Won’t Own Your Website.  While you will own the images and text on your website you won’t own the website design itself.  This is a crazy quirk of the U.S. Copyright Laws (the person writing the code or the person that owns the template code owns the copyright).  This also means that should you decide to upgrade to a professionally designed website you and your new designer won’t have access to any design elements from the template.

No One to Call If You Need Help.  Should something go wrong with your website you may not be able to pick up the phone and get help with it. Should you actually be able to speak to someone they may speak in technical language that you won’t understand.  We’ve had this experience with some hosts. No matter how many times we’ve asked they refuse to get out of that geek mode.

Remember that these issues don’t apply to every template service but in most cases one or two will.  Don’t take that risk.

The reason we decided to make website design one of the primary services we offer artists was for fair and professional treatment.  There are many businesses out there just waiting to take advantage of an unsuspecting artist.  Most designers will also charge exorbitant fees.  We’ve seen websites start at $2000.00.   Depending on what you need we usually wind up charging $600 and not only will you get a website, you will get so much more. Including Full Ownership of Your Website, Meta-Tagging Every Page and Coaching for Internet Success.  We have a proven track record of success for artists so please Click Here to See What We Can Do for You: www.theartistobjective.com/websitedesign.html