This material is current for the 2022-2023 grant cycle. It is reviewed prior to each round of funding.

Please bear in mind that all decisions about which projects receive funding will be made by a panel of independent artists and arts professionals, not by staff of the partner institutions. These FAQs are intended to help clarify the guidelines so that you will have the best chance of success, but ultimately the outcome will depend on the quality and inventiveness of your proposal and how the jury rates it relative to all the other applications.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Q: Should I apply for a grant for this year if my project will be starting during the application window?

A: No. Funding is not available until September of the year in which the Award is made, and the project should be completed by summer 2023.

Q: We are not a non-profit organization, but will be starting the process of trying to attain a 501(c)3 later in the year. Will this disqualify us?

A: Yes. This grant is funded by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and it carries a stipulation that the money cannot be used to benefit groups that have already achieved the structural level of not-for-profit, 501(c)3 organizations. Rocket Grants can, however, be used to help more informal, emerging groups like artists’ collectives to grow. The eligibility rules and funding priorities apply for the whole period of the award, so a collective could not become a not-for-profit during the grant.

Q:  I am not a 501(c)3 organization, but I want to work with an organization that is. I would be using the organization for production support of a series of on-the-street publications. The organization might also be able to provide a venue for some of the planned performances. Would their status mean our grant would not be approved?

A: Rocket Grants may not be used to provide or support programming for a non-profit organization. The guidelines do, however, allow support for a Rocket Grants project – either in-kind or financial – from 501(c)3 organizations, and this would include the use of their facilities for a performance or event. One key consideration would be whether the organization is an established/conventional arts venue, because projects that propose to use these will typically not be funded. Also, the intention is for funds to go directly into the hands of artists. Your application should demonstrate clearly that the entire project has been conceived and driven by the artist(s) concerned – and in particular that Rocket Grants funding would not be supplementing or supporting a program or package previously established by the 501(c)3 organization.

Q: Could I use Rocket Grants funding for a sculpture that already exists but is in need of repair for a gallery exhibition?

A: No. This grant will not be awarded to develop conventional, private studio work for a typical exhibition format. A full description of guidelines and funding priorities can be seen here: Application Guide 2022

Q: Can I apply for Rocket Grants funding to support a project that is already under way?

A: Rocket Grants are intended to enable individuals and groups of artists to take NEW risks with their work, push the scope and scale of their activities, develop and pursue collaborative projects, and/or engage with the public and public realm in inventive and meaningful ways. If you are already involved in a process that meets these criteria, you could consider applying for funding. You should however be clear about the ways in which a Rocket Grant could help you to grow your ongoing practice or project in some way, since this grant is intended to launch experimental and expansive work that would not happen without the Award.

Q: Would I be able to use my Rocket Grants award to conduct research in another state or country for a project that will unfold later in Kansas City?

A: This is not a travel fund. Funds are intended to be used to carry out your project. Travel for research might be eligible if it is persuasively linked to implementation of necessary elements of your project, if the final result will directly benefit artists or audiences in the Kansas City region, and if the costs of travel do not make up an unreasonable portion of your budget.

Q: Can we use our grant to purchase video equipment to finish up a documentary we have been making about the local music scene?

A: Rocket Grants funds will not be awarded to proposals whose sole or primary purpose is to purchase or rent equipment, to rent or reconfigure studio space, to meet travel expenses, or to pay for professional services. These expenses may be covered, however, if they are part of a larger, persuasive vision and do not make up an unreasonable portion of your budget.

Q: Could you explain what the difference is between a typical community-based arts project and a proposal that would qualify for Rocket Grants funding? And what does “accessible to the public” mean?

A: An ideal Rocket Grants project would bring unconventional and experimental art practices to a new audience. Often such practices occur in informal and non-institutional formats that insert themselves into a community rather than being financially supported by it, and that is one of the reasons Rocket Grants exist. We often use the term ‘under the radar’ to indicate that the kinds of projects we support may not find funding from more traditional sources. The requirement that the selected projects should be accessible to the public via “process, production, presentation or publication” does not imply the “general public”. Rocket Grants artists could and should define the community with which they wish to connect, and then design their projects to build relationships with this audience. This community could therefore be large and abstract (everyone using the 435 freeway) or small and defined (young, female poets of color in the Kansas City region). We do expect, however, that any project designed to be set in, or to engage neighborhood communities should be welcome, supported and carefully integrated by means of responsive communication with residents and leaders.

Q: We would like to repeat a performance we did in one venue, and stage it in a new one. Would this qualify for Rocket Grants funding?

A: Not if it is identical to previous work. You might look for a way to expand on the project through the grant, perhaps by developing another kind of audience. It is hard to imagine that any project that shifts its focus in that way would be identical to a former iteration. You could consider how different venues could develop different phases or aspects of the program. This would be quite a different thing from simply re-presenting a project in an additional venue, which would not be persuasive in terms of the funding priorities for this grant.

Q: Just wondering if music related projects can be submitted to the Rocket Grants program for consideration?

A: Yes. The Rocket Grants program welcomes a diversity of artistic expressions. Because this funding originates from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, there is a fundamental expectation that all selected projects will have a strong, integral visual component. Many performers and authors achieve this through collaboration. You are expected be able to pitch your project with visual aids alone in order to meet this requirement, though obviously your musical component will add enormous depth and richness to the proposal.


Q: Topeka is close to 75 miles from Kansas City Metro. Would any project in Topeka fall under the 80 miles radius for this grant.

A: Yes, as long as you reside within the eligibility zone and your project benefits an audience within the 80-mile radius. Please refer to the eligibility zone map below to determine whether you live close enough to apply for a Rocket Grant.

Kansas City 80 Mile Radius

Q: My idea involves the participation of an artist from New York. Can this be funded?

A: The eligibility criteria for the grant require that the principal (lead) artist and the majority of other key participants be resident in the 80-mile radius zone at the time of the application. The intention of this parameter is that the funding should benefit the artists and audiences in our region. This means that a collaborating artist could be brought in to the area to enhance the arts experience here (providing other eligibility criteria are met), but also that a final performance/event funded by the grant should not happen outside of the radius.

Q: Of the three collaborators in our project, one lives in Lawrence, one in Roeland Park and one in Abilene, KS, which is outside the 80-mile radius.  The local collaborators are both musicians, and the one from outside the area is a visual artist. Will this be a problem?

A: Yes. It is a good idea for musicians and performers to form a collaborative partnership with a visual artist to help achieve the goal of developing a strong visual component, but in this case the visual artist should be a primary participant and reside within the eligibility zone.

Q: One of our key collaborators will be graduating this May from an undergraduate degree program. If we receive the award, she will not be a full-time student when we carry out our project. Is this OK?

A: No. College graduates must have been out of school for at least a year before applying.

APPLICATION PROCESS

Q: I just realized the deadline was today for Rocket Grants. Is there any flexibility in the deadline?

A: No, all your application materials must be submitted by the published deadline. The online application system at Submittable will not accept any material after 11:59 PM on the date of the deadline. You are advised to prepare your materials well ahead of the deadline to avoid any surprises. Materials can be submitted EARLY, and we encourage you to do this!

 

Q: Will everyone who turned in a grant be notified of the jury’s decision, or just the winners? Will they be notified by phone or email?

A: Yes, everyone who submits an application will be notified by email.

Q:  The images section on the application asks for up to 5 images. Does that mean it all needs to be my own past work?  Even though I am applying as an individual artist, could I include reference images or sketches that are relevant to my proposal?

A: Yes. Your images should persuade the selection panel that you have the expertise, experience and vision necessary to carry out the proposal that you are submitting. Your own sketches could be helpful (as long as they are clear and professional), and inspirational materials made by others could even be appropriate if credited properly. It’s important, however, to demonstrate your skills as a maker – if this is what you do. In other words, you could show work that is not the same as the work you intend to make, but that has relevance and qualifies you as a good candidate.

BUDGET

Q: Does volunteer labor count as an in-kind donation?

A: A general guideline might be that if it is a task that you would ordinarily have to pay people for, then volunteer labor could be an in-kind donation. If the volunteers are collaborating artists, they should be covered in the artist’s fee. Often though, volunteers are considered in the same way as an “unpaid intern” would be, because they could be seen to be learning or benefiting from the opportunity in some other way.

Q: Can in-kind donations be given by anyone, including the person doing the project/applying for the grant? I’m not sure where to put some of my services and equipment I use, including a portion of studio costs, mileage to and from each site, computer + equipment, etc. What do you suggest?

A: Your own creative time should come under artist’s fees. For really labor-intensive work, you might be able to justify a higher proportion of the award money going to such fees. Items such as studio rental and equipment rental should be listed under production costs. If there were some kind of manufacturing process that you could shop out to someone else but you will be doing yourself, it is reasonable to budget a sum for what it would cost in a professional workshop. It could therefore be balanced in income as “service performed by artist”. You can also show dollar income as a “personal contribution” in order to balance your budget, though as a professional artist it is wise to consider either trimming your project or seeking other sources of income.

Q: Do we have to apply for the whole $6,000 to be considered for a grant?

A: Yes. Your budget should be carefully constructed to reflect your real needs. The selection panel will review budgets carefully, and if yours appears to be unconsidered, this will harm your prospects of receiving an award.

Q: Can the funds be split between all the artists in the project by writing multiple checks? If all the money goes to one person, won’t they have to pay taxes on this as income?

A: Award income is taxable, and we only make a single check out to the lead artist. We do offer an option to receive the award funds in January of 2023 rather than September 2022 if the majority of expenses for your project will be happening next year. We encourage you to consult a tax professional, and Kansas City Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts offer a free consultation service. As a professional artist you should consider filing a Schedule C to write off project expenses against taxable income. Long-term artist collaborations can also form an entity such as an LLC to split income and tax liability between all members.

VENUE

Q: I am planning a two-month long series of engagements with people in the park followed by a culminating exhibition in a gallery in the Crossroads. Will this meet funding priorities?

A: No. This grant will not fund gallery shows in traditional or established arts venues (unless there is a compelling reason for this choice – e.g. alternative docent tours, or a performance intended to ‘comment on’ traditional arts programming), but it could be used for the engagements you envision in the park.

Q: I am working on submitting a proposal for Charlotte Street’s Open Call. I thought I would also propose the same project for a Rocket Grant. Would the gallery at Charlotte Street Foundation be considered an “established institution”?

A: Venues of the partnering institutions (Spencer and CSF) are specifically NOT available for use for Rocket Grants projects, and ‘double-dipping’ with another partner opportunity would violate the eligibility guidelines connected with providing programming for a non-profit organization. There is, however, a possibility that spin-off material from a Rocket Grants event, performance, intervention etc. would find its way into these venues at a later date, once your project has been completed. The Spencer Museum venue does not include the grounds at KU, so projects could happen around the campus if this is relevant to the proposed project. Please note that we do not consider artist-run spaces to be “established institutions” when the community that the proposal is targeting is the artist community itself.

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