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Individual Grants for Artists

When An Artist Needs Help

Artists are brave souls. Being willing to sacrifice one's entire existence on the art they produce and to further gamble that they can make a living producing such work takes real courage. But what if something happens and the artist needs a little financial assistance to keep on producing? Outside of a little fundraising, where is an artist to turn?


There are many people who are interested in providing assistance to struggling artists. Now you won't get rich applying for the grants listed here as the amounts are limited...but it sure could tide you over a rough patch or help you get a project completed. You just need a little time and effort to fill out the applications. So let's get started!

Literature and Writing

The Academy of American Poets offers many awards for achievements in the field of American Poetry. Among the prizes offered:

  • The Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize offers $25,000 for the most outstanding poetry book of the year. Entry forms must be accompanied by a $25 entry fee. Submissions are accepted March to May, and no self-published works will be accepted.
  • The James Laughlin Award gives a prize of $5,000 plus the purchase of copies of the entering poet's second book to be given to Academy members. There is no cost to enter. Entry forms must accompany four copies of each manuscript.
  • The Walt Whitman Award allows a previously unpublished poet to publish their first book, along with a cash prize of $5,000 and a one-month residency at the Vermont Studio Center. Please submit with your entry form and manuscript an entry fee of $25.

The Arts Writers Grant Program, funded by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, awards grants to twenty six individual writers. Grants range from $5,000 to $50,000 and are awarded in five categories: articles, blogs, books, new and alternative media, or short-form writing. Applications are due in June. Writers must be legal U.S. residents, 25 years of age or older and be a published writer.

Women's Studio Workshop Ora Schneider Art Writer Residencyoffers a residency grant to a writer who focuses on contemporary art. Writers may stay at the Women's Studio Workshop or visit the workshop in order to have contact with the many female visual artists who are in residency. Applications are due in April. Residency time covers a six to eight week time period.

Writer's Digest has a yearly Writer's Competition, with the grand prize being $3,000 cash and trip for you and a guest to New York City, to be guests of the magazine. Entry deadline is in May. Several other cash prizes are offered. The categories accepted as entries include: Inspirational writing, personal essay, magazine features, short story, poetry (rhyming and non rhyming), stage play, television/movie script, children or young adult fiction. The application states that there are minimal entry fees based on the work submitted.

Failbetter offers authors a $500 prize for a novella. The novella must be 8,000 words or more. Entries are due in May. The work must be unpublished.

The Blue Mountain Center's Richard J. Margolis Award offers a $5,000 stipend and a month long stay for a writer whose work as a journalist or essayist reflects on social justice. Applications must be sent to the address listed on the website and are due in July.

The Elizabeth George Foundation provides grants to unpublished fiction writers, poets and playwrights. There is no formal application. Interested parties should write a letter to the Foundation describing your financial situation, your current projects and their marketability. Deadline is in July. Send the letter to: Elizabeth George, Director, PO Box 1429, Langley, WA 98260.


The Frank Huntington Beebe Fund for Musicians will award a $22,000 fellowship to a young musician (below the age of 25) who is starting their professional career and wish to work on a project of study or performance abroad. The fellowship is for a year in length. Costs allowed include travel, living and other expenses. Applications are due in December.

Musicians Foundation, Inc. provides emergency financial assistance to professional musicians. Assistance will cover medical or living expenses. To apply, you must have five years of documented work as a professional musician and be a legal resident of the United States.

Performing and Visual Arts

Artist Trust offers the Grants for Artist Projects (GAP) grants for artist's projects of any discipline who are above the age of 18 and live in the state of Washington. The maximum GAP award is $1,500. To receive an application, you must write the Artist Trust or join the Artist Trust as a member which will enable you to apply electronically. The Artist Trust also offers the Twining Humber Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement to a Washington State female visual artist over the age of 60 who has worked as an artist for 25 years. This grant is an unrestricted award of $10,000. The artist must be nominated, and nomination forms must be requested from the Artist Trust in writing. You may get the nomination form electronically if you are an Artist Trust member.

The Seattle Art Museum offers the Betty Bowen Award, which is an unrestricted cash prize of $15,000 to artists residing in Washington State, Oregon and Idaho. Only visual artists' work will be considered. Please contact the Seattle Art Museum for an application here.

The Aaron Siskind Foundation offers fellowship grants of up to $7,000 to individual artists who work with photo-based art or still photography. You must be over the age of 21, be a legal U.S. resident, and not currently attending or planning to attend a college or university in the year in which you intend to apply for the fellowship. There are no restrictions on subjects, however, film, video, Internet or interactive media works are ineligible. Please use the Foundation's online application to apply.

The Alexia Foundation offers individual professional photographers $15,000 grants to produce a picture story that promotes world peace. There is no formal application form, however, you will be required to submit your resume, portfolio, a written proposal, a summary of the proposal, references, and, if the photographer is currently working as a staff photographer, a signed leave of absence letter from their employer.

Visual Aid offers grants in the form of vouchers to visual artists facing life-threatening illnesses. Vouchers will pay for art materials twice a calendar year. The artist must be established and reside in the San Francisco Bay area. To apply, please follow the directions on the Application page.

Women's Studio Workshop offers female artists the opportunity to create a limited edition book through their Artist's Book Residency. Artists are awarded a stipend of $2,000 to $3,000 for a period of six to eight weeks, materials costs up to $750, plus housing and travel costs. Applications are due in November. The Studio also offers a Studio Residencygrant, for female artists working in printmaking, paper-making, ceramics, book making or photography. Artists are awarded a stipend of $2,000 to $3,000 for a period of six to eight weeks, with a materials provision of up to $700. Artists are also given housing and unlimited access to the studios and travel costs. Applications are due in April.

Leeway Foundation has the Art and Change Grant, an award of $2,500 to a female or transgendered artist who resides in the Delaware Valley area for a project that inspires social change. Applications are due in March and September. Please read the requirements for the grant carefully before application, as it is highly detailed. They also offer the Transformation Award, an unrestricted grant of $15,000 to a female or transgendered artist residing in the Delaware Valley area who has created art that inspires social change for a five year period or more, and has proven themselves to be an agent for social change. The application is due in May, although some artists may be invited to apply after May. Twelve Awards in total will be given per year.

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The Pollock-Krasner Foundation offers aid to artists who have or have had worked as a professional artist over a long time who find themselves in need of financial assistance. Artists may apply at any time, and the grant is restricted to visual artists who sculpt, paint or are printmakers. Size of the grant depends on need and are intended to cover a year of expenses. You must have an exhibition history which is documented and have your work currently in a gallery or museum to qualify. To begin your application, go to the informative website.


The Craft Emergency Relief Fund offers emergency grants to craft artists who have earned 50% of their personal income for the past three years prior to the current emergency. Depending on your situation, you may be offered a low-interest loan instead of or along with a grant, in addition to booth fee and material discounts. Please fill out the application and read the guidelines for eligibility carefully. The maximum emergency grant is $1,000. The maximum loan is $3,500. The maximum disaster grant is $5,000.

The Barrien Fragos Thorn Arts Scholarships for Migrant Farmworkers offer creative arts scholarships to individuals with a history of migrant work who are interested in pursuing an education in the creative arts, including Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Literary Arts, Media Arts or Craft Arts. Grant amounts can be from $500-$2,500. Application due dates depend on the amount of the grant selected. Eligible individuals must be 16 years or older, have a letter of recommendation and a documented history of migrant employment. School enrollment is not required.

Film and Video

The Women In Film Foundation offers the Film Finishing Fund grant, a $15,000 cash grant and in-kind services to a filmmaker who creates a film by, for or about women. The film submitted cannot be a student project or a film begun while a student at a higher education institution. Applications are due in May.

National Geographic provides 16 seed grants through their All Roads Film Project. Filmmakers creating films about minority or indigenous peoples, told by first-person storytelling can be awarded up to $10,000 in grant awards for their project. Filmmakers should be minorities, indigenous or authorized representatives of under-represented populations to qualify. Applications are due in March, June, September and December.

The Roy W. Dean Film and Studio grant program provides up to $500,000 to independent filmmakers who create documentaries, shorts and historical films. Student filmmakers in addition to independent filmmakers are welcome to apply. The application requests a small donation fee if submitted. You will have to travel to New York or Los Angeles as a part of the grant in order to use From the Heart Production Studios for your production. Grants are broken down in various products and services, in addition to discounts on services.

Latino Public Broadcasting is offering $5,000-$100,000 grants to filmmakers who are interested in creating a production (either series or program) that features Latino subjects or represent Latino Americans. This production will be shown on Public Broadcasting Stations, so it should appeal to a wide audience. To be eligible, you must be 18, a legal U.S. resident, and have previous television or film experience. Twelve copies of the application need to be submitted in English, along with a sample tape of your work.

The Solaris Entertainment Completion Partners Fundprovides grants to independent filmmakers who need completion funds or technical resources to finish their work. Three to five independent films will receive grant awards. Film subjects can be fiction or nonfiction. To submit your proposal, email Solaris.

The Austin Film Society has the Texas Filmmakers' Production Fund, which offers grants to resident independent filmmakers to who reside in the state of Texas. Applications are available for production, post-production or distribution stages of a film. Films can be from any genre. No episodic television or web series works will be accepted. The same film project can be eligible for up to two grant awards, one award per calendar year. Use the Austin Film Society's application form to apply.

The Gordon Parks Center for Culture and Diversity has an annual international photo competition. Photos must be inspired from the work of Gordon Parks and reflect aspects of family values, social injustice and suffering. The deadline for this contest in in June. You can submit up to four photos. No photo essays or digitally altered images that distort the original picture will be accepted. First prize is $500.

Books of Interest


The Actors Fund provides a special emergency financial fund called The Dancers' Resource for professional dancers who have emergency needs as the result of a physical injury or illness. An application, demonstration of need and an interview are required.

The Princess Grace Foundation's Dance Awards offer scholarships or fellowships for individual artists based on their emerging work and potential. Applications are due in April, and you must be nominated for the Award by your university or college.

Dance Advance, a branch of The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, offers project grants to individual dance and choreographer artists who reside in any of five counties within the state of Pennsylvania, including Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery or Philadelphia Counties. Dancers or choreographers must be U.S. citizens and have performed in five works, none of which were done as students. Please refer to the grant guidelines for more information, as the application process is lengthy.

The New England Foundation for the Arts National Dance Project awards four separate grants to either individual artists or companies attempting to produce a new work, support a tour of a production, or groups wishing to engage in a French-United States exchange in dance. Artists who present awards may also qualify for a grant award. Each award has different requirements and restrictions as to what entity qualifies for funding. Projects funded should be innovative and original using new technology or aesthetics that are new to audiences in the United States. Grants for this foundation may involve multiple partners or entities and may need extensive preparation prior to application.

Theatre and Drama

Fox Foundation provides actors with the Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellowship program. Awards are given to actors in two categories: Potential actors (actors who are in early or mid career, having completed their education within the past 15 years of application) and Distinguished Achievement (actors who demonstrate a large body of work in the theatre). There are four fellowships offered per year. Potential actors awarded with the Fellowship receive $15,000, with an additional $10,000 payable to student loan debts. Distinguished Achievement actors awarded with the Fellowship receive $25,000. During the residency, the host theatre of any awarded actor will receive a $7,500 award towards the costs associated with the actor's resident activities. Applications are due in June.

The Actors Fund provides financial assistance to actors who are struggling with rent, utility medical or burial costs. Actors applying for assistance must have five consecutive years in the industry, with three years of earnings above $6,500 to qualify. You must speak to an intake social worker, submit an application, and allow a personal interview for assistance. The Fund also offers reimbursements up to $40 for a pair of new shoes to an unemployed actor. Fill out an application for this special fund initiative.

The Princess Grace Foundation's Theatre Awards offer scholarships or fellowships for individual artists based on their emerging work and potential. Applications are due in March, and you must be nominated for the Award by your university or college.

Torch's Tips

All grant information is FREE. You should never have to pay to get an application or access to the information needed to apply.

Look at your local college or university for grants that may be offered to students. Don't underestimate your chances of getting a grant from them!

If you belong to an artist union or guild, see if they offer grant opportunities.

Please note that the grants listed here are only a small portion of grants that may be available to you.  I highly recommend GuideStar or The Foundation Center to search for grants.


nicomp really from Ohio, USA on April 18, 2012:

"Artists are brave souls. Being willing to sacrifice one's entire existence on the art they produce "

Hardly a sacrifice when someone else is paying the bills. ;)

Luis E Gonzalez from Miami, Florida on April 27, 2011:

Excellent hub. Shows you have done an extensive and thorough research.

Thanks for the information and for posting it.

Adele Cosgrove-Bray from Wirral, Cheshire, England. on July 09, 2010:

A well-researched mass of information! :)

Torch Harrison (author) from Michigan, USA on May 02, 2010:

Have a grant not listed here that would be helpful to your fellow artists? Tell me!

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