Our Artist Peer Circle (APC) program provides an opportunity for artists to gather, grow, build partnerships, and become leaders in their fields guided by a trained facilitator in 9-month program cycles. Artists and creative professionals meet in small groups monthly developing strong alliances and acting as resources to each other and becoming leaders in their individual field or discipline. The first of the 2018 Artist Peer Circles is comprised of visual and interdisciplinary artists including Erin Treacy (2017 ArtHotel Award winner, former APC artist, and the group's facilitator), Viviane Aquino, Paula Frisch, Fina Yeung, Damali Abrams, and Susan Varo.
There are just a few weeks left until the October 26th deadline for all Queens Arts Fund grants. We asked QAF panelists what they felt makes a competitive application!
Here are a few tips to help you before you hit submit!
1. Follow Instructions
The guidelines and eligibility requirements for each of the four grants are listed on the Queens Arts Fund website. With your project in mind, make sure that what you’re looking to have funded is eligible under the grants’ guidelines. You can use QAF grants to fund:
Art supplies and office supplies
Marketing and promotional costs
All projects must have a culminating event that is open and accessible to the general public in Queens, that must take place in the 2018 calendar year.
Make sure these elements are addressed in your narrative!
2. Write A Clear And Concise Narrative
Your project narrative is your opportunity to answer all of the questions panelists may have about your project proposal. Along with the describing what your project is and where and when it will happen, you’ll also be asked to tell the panel why your project should be funded – both to culturally enrich the borough of Queens, and in helping you grow as an artist or an organization.
…Use Simple, Understandable Language
The grant selection panel is made up of members of the Queens arts community – artists, art administrators and community members. While they have a lot of arts experience, don’t assume that they will always know what you’re talking about. Avoid flowery language and too many technical terms, and stick to concrete explanations that will be easy for the panel to understand, and make it easier for them to vouch for your project!
One Panelist said, “A fundable proposal is one that presents a clear and specific vision of what the project will be and demonstrates that the potential grantee has done some homework already. Proposals that are too general or provide too few details make me assume that the writer has not thought the project through and may not understand what it takes to plan and complete a project.”
3. Get A Second Set Of Eyes and Proofread
After you’ve finished your draft proposal narrative, have someone not connected with your project take a look. Whether it’s a friend, a colleague, or anyone else, ask them to see if they understand what you’re trying to say, and to make sure you’re not making any assumptions of your readers that will make your proposal confusing.
It’s easy to miss these things after working on your narrative for a long time, so use that second set of eyes to read and identify anything you might have missed.
4. Reach Out To Your Network And Community
QCA requires 25% of your project be funded from outside sources from private or individual contributions, or a crowd funding campaign, or funds earned from charging admission or sales of work. Another great source of outside funding are local businesses, your local legislator, or other foundation grants. Reach out to your network and the community you’re hoping to work with, and see if they will be able to contribute anything to your project.
And keep in mind – if they can’t donate any money, there are other ways they can help. Perhaps they can help you secure a venue, provide some in-kind donations, or help you spread the word and promote your culminating event!
5. Avoid Budget Mistakes
There is nothing that will hurt your application more than an incorrect budget. Make sure that all of your expenses are itemized and clear, and that the dollar amounts are correct. The panel is looking for a practical and feasible budget, to make sure that your project makes sense and has been well thought-out.
And remember that QAF requires 25% of your project’s budget come from outside sources. Be sure to double check your math when finalizing your budget, to make sure you meet that requirement!
6. Make Sure Your Support Materials Are In Order
QCA will ask that you provide some supplemental materials to support your application. Organizations will need to submit documentation proving your or your fiscal sponsor’s nonprofit status, along with board of director’s list, and resumes of key personnel and participating artist. Use the instructions on the supplemental section as a checklist on the application, to make sure that you have all of the materials required.
And a note about work samples –
Along with making sure to provide the proper file format, make sure work samples are recent enough to show the panel what your practice is. Your work samples should be of high quality and exemplify the work that you create. There is nothing worse than a work sample that has poor lighting that does not do your work justice!
#1 Grant Mistake
Missing The Deadline!
The deadline is Thursday, October 26th at 5 PM.
Don’t forget to hit submit!
Best of luck with your application!
If you have questions-
Do you have any other tips or tricks that you think may help your fellow applicants? Share them with us below!
On Friday, October 27, QCA hosted Creative Conversations in Elmhurst at the New York Tibetan Service Center. Artists and representatives from arts service organizations came from all over Queens to network, discuss challenges faced by artists, and to learn more about QCA's QAF and SU-CASA grant programs. Most of the attending artists were experiencing QCA programming for the first time and expressed the community's need for more opportunities to meet with local artists.
Last month, I asked choreographers to teach QCA about their discipline. Given that we just started a new program serving performing artists, we wanted to hear more about their documentation process: how they preserve their work for themselves, for future performances, and for posterity.
This preservation component is key for the Artist Commissioning Program (ACP), as part of its mission is to instigate works in Queens that fill gaps in American culture. Of course, this requires going far beyond one performance. We want this commission to instigate the works’ long and significant cultural life.
For the other two disciplines associated with ACP, documentation was clear: Playwrights will be expected to produce a script, and Composers will create a musical score. These objects—these cultural artifacts—will enable others to replicate the work in the future. Yet for choreographers, this process is not so simple, hence our question.
So we asked, and we received. The responses helped us conceptualize what this commission looks like for a choreographer. We’ll use them to help ensure that the choreographic works created will have a life well beyond their world premieres.
So how do choreographers document their work? Two Queens-based choreographers share their stories:
Gierre J. Godley—Artistic Director, Project 44 Dance
Gierre J. Godley, Artistic Director of Project 44 Dance, prefers video for documenting his choreography. Sure to record every rehearsal and performance, he says this process “not only helps me keep the initial intent of the work by also allows me to continue to investigate… I try to honor the fact that as an artist and a man, I am continuing to change while developing my artistic voice. The work should do the same.” Because he often works with the same dancers, Gierre also finds it valuable to capture their initial reactions to the choreography. During the restaging process, he can then play back their history with the movement. “Their memories of sight, sound, and touch adds an additional layer when reconstructing a work,” he says.
Dancers Zachary Denison and Collin Ranf rehearse a duet from the work in its original form and intent. Once the duet reached the stage, it was performed in two pairs. Gierre keeps the original duet video to understand the mechanics and direction, while the video from the final performance helps him “understand the staging, lighting, and other stage cues.”
Follow Gierre's dance company, Project44dance at project44dance.org or on social media at Project44dance and #project44dance.
Jacqueline Dugal—Choreographer, Dancer, Educator, Dugal Dance Projects
"The beautiful reality of live performance like dance is that it is never truly repeatable," says Jacqui.
Dugal Dance Projects / Jacqueline Dugal
“Dance notation is a funny thing,” says Jacqui Dugal. When asked about the relevance of this language—if it’s helpful, if anyone uses it—she explains that, while the language exists, “college dance programs usually make students aware of it without teaching [students] how to read or write it.” With dance notation no longer particularly useful, dance-makers select their own methods of preservation, which Jacqui says typically includes “some form of video documentation, note taking, and passing down in person from choreographer to company members.” Choreographers and/or established company members can also teach new company members from memory.
As far as recreation is concerned, Jacqui says the ideal scenario is to have: “the full video of the work, thorough notes from the original creation process, and the original choreographer and/or cast members to pass on a work.”
During the creation process, journals are her “best friend.” “I have dozens of notebooks where I reflect on concepts relating to a choreographic work, log rehearsal agendas, improvisational activities, the feelings associated with movement phrases that may not be clear on video, and details of the movement such as initiations and internal mechanisms that video cannot always capture effectively.” Yet even with this robust documentation process, her and her dancers end up reminding each other of “the essence of movements and the subtle details when working through the work in the studio.”
When the piece gets to the rehearsal stage, video becomes “a huge part” of her process. “I videotape rehearsals and review them to prepare for the following rehearsal.” Saving all her videos, she revisits the materials to re-learn previous choreography.
Yet despite all these valiant efforts to document, in a sense we are trying to preserve the unpreservable. “The beautiful reality of live performance like dance is that it is never truly repeatable,” says Jacqui. “Each live performance is unique in its own existence because conditions are different every time and humans are flawed beings. I think the beauty of live performance is that it does change and evolve with the next set of variables: the next cast, a new performance space, a change in costume, etc., and this keeps performance engaging for me. Documentation of movement work holds onto the idea and foundation of a work but it's up to the next performers and director to bring it back to life and fill in the gaps and color the details with their backgrounds, experiences, and energies.”
Follow Jacqui's dance company, Dugal Dance Projects, at dugaldance.com, on Facebook at Jacqui Dugal or on instagram at @jacquelinedugal.
Our September 20th LAB presentation featured Queens-based writer Tracy Sayre who shared her new screenplay, currently in development, and insight into her creative process. The campy horror script was brought to life by seven actors, most of whom had met for the first time. The audience was filled with diverse artists from across Queens (and other parts of NYC) as well as a significant number of writers who were thoroughly engaged in the reading of the work. Toward the end of the workshop there was a robust, critical conversation about Tracy's work and artists networked and made valuable connections with one another.