The Artists Fund

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Apply for a grant or commission from The Artists Fund

The Artists Fund is a community interest company led by Artquest, DACS and a-n the Artists Information Company to provide small grants to visual artists based in the UK: in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Established as part of an Arts Council England Catalyst grant, The Artists Fund is now open for applications for a pilot grants and commissions programme. Five grants of £1,000 and three commissions of £2,000 are available by open application process, with a deadline of 11am on 16 May 2016.

As artist-centred organisations, we understand that a financial barrier is often all that stands in the way of an artist’s next critical step in their career. The Artists Fund will distribute small but transformative funds to artists, serving as a catalyst to further their work in any way required of, and suitable to, their practice.

The pilot programme will be closely evaluated to help shape the future of the programme, and awardees will be asked to contribute to this aim.

Grants

Five grants of £1,000 will be made to visual artists who have been practicing professionally for a minimum of 3 years and are over 18 years of age, either as graduates or as self-taught artists. Artists with any visual arts practice are eligible to apply.

Grants are intended to:

  • support an artist’s practice in its broadest sense – including and beyond studio practice – in a humble or ambitious way
  • support projects or interventions that embrace experimentation and focus on process, as well as essentials such as materials, development or fees
  • encourage new directions or experiments in practice

Grants may be used to:

  • finalise a piece of work that requires completion money
  • allow travel for research or networking
  • purchase necessary training, equipment or materials
  • support fees or other expenses
  • support the whole or partial cost of an activity

Grants will not be awarded to:

  • subsidise activity with institutions (e.g. travel funds to install exhibitions, exhibition fees, residency accommodation, private view invitations etc)
  • cover hospitality, catering or entertainment costs
  • provide match funding for other grants
  • provide emergency funds
  • organisations alone: artists who are collaborating with organisations that are not regularly supported by public funding are permitted
  • cover student fees at any level of education

All grants will be for £1,000 and will be paid directly into the artist’s bank account, with 90% paid up-front; the remaining 10% will be provided after an evaluation interview.

Commissions

Three commissions of £2,000 will be made to visual artists who have been practicing professionally for a minimum of 3 years and are over 18 years of age, either as graduates or as self-taught artists. Artists with any visual arts practice are eligible to apply.

The  explicit aim of the commissions is to test the assumptions made in the art world about how artists can raise money using their practice, beyond selling their work, and the viability of how artists might earn in the future. We are seeking radical ideas to compile into case studies for the development of The Artists Fund and as a challenge to traditional arts funding programmes.

Commissions are intended to:

  • support new work that will explore experimental and risk-taking ways to increase professional income
  • encourage new directions or experiments in practice
  • enable artists to double their money – to make at least an additional £2,000 during the life of the commission in any (legal) way possible – as outlined in the artist’s proposal

Commissions will not be awarded to:

  • subsidise activity with institutions (e.g. travel funds to install exhibitions, exhibition fees, residency accommodation, private view invitations etc)
  • provide match funding for other grants
  • provide emergency funds
  • projects that provide part or all of the commission budget to any formally constituted organisation
  • cover student fees at any level of education

Although the aim of the commission is to enable artists to double their money, awardees will not be asked for any commission money to be returned if they fail to make this sum despite their best efforts. Artists will keep any money raised during their activity to spend as they wish.

Commissions may take any form: we are seeking adventurous, risk-taking and possibly absurd projects that respond to the economic issues and sustainability that impact on current artistic practice in the UK.  The development of an artist’s practice is as much about experience as formal learning, and you should not apply simply for conventional training or mentoring to help you raise money.  Only projects that use the methodologies, aesthetics, rigour and playfulness of artistic practice will be selected.

All commissions will be for £2,000 and paid directly into the artist’s bank account, with 90% paid up-front; the remaining 10% will be provided after evaluation interview.

Please visit the website for further information, FAQs and an application form: www.artquest.org.uk

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