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Saturday, September 17, 2016

Travel Stipend Grants for Artists (ART IDEAS)

Art Ideas is a series of conceptual ideas for changing how we operate as artists and how the art world functions as a whole. All ideas are freely given and welcome to anyone who might be able to pursue them. The Revolution Begins With Beauty.

There are a lot of great opportunities out there for artists. But many of them come with the stipulation that you get yourself and your art to the place its being shown at your own cost. 

Art residencies are good about making sure the artists travel costs are taken into consideration. But say you want to enter a piece of art in a juried competition that is a thousand miles from where you live. Even if you are well suited to enter that competition, the cost may be past what you can afford.

Recently I saw an opportunity for creating a proposal for a complete show in Toronto. Toronto is 2,000 or so miles from where I reside. Even though the subject matter was perfect for me and I had a body of work that matched the criteria, I still hesitated to submit a proposal because the cost of shipping art and myself would have been more than difficult. 

In the end I did submit but I had to do some heavy duty thinking over how I could crowd source the costs in order to have the funds to do it, if in the event that I won the proposal. 

There are many grant systems out there for artists, but (at least to my knowledge) there are none that focus specifically on travel expenses for artists. 

That is where the concept of a travel grant originated. Wouldn't be interesting if some enterprising business person created a grant system where once you have been confirmed for a show, project or art related opportunity you could submit to the grant system to help cover your costs in exchange for a percentage of profit that may come from sales of that show? If the show brings in no revenue for the artist, the grant is absorbed by the organization. Repayment is totally based on sales which the gallery or venue affirms. 

Perhaps the grant organization sets up an additional fund to help the artist with advertising costs to promote the show. The more advertising the more money made the more both the grant organization and the gallery profit. 

Of course all of this works only if the grant organization "fast tracks" the proposal. In many cases artists only have a few months time to organize and be ready for a show. An grant system based on a year of being on a wait list would never work. This must be based on a grant that begins its process the moment the artist is confirmed into the venue.

If we are going to be successful in the 21st century as artists we MUST start thinking of new ways to operate. If we don't, we are doomed to an old model which will eventually become so outdated that art and all it represents will fade into the past. 

Please share this idea. Perhaps someone can run with it. Crazier things have happened. 

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