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 May of the year in which the Award is made, and the project should be completed in the calendar year following that. See clarification about ongoing projects below.
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 2019
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 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. You will see a question on the application form that will help you clarify this for the jury.
Q: Would I be able to use my Rocket Grants award to conduct research in Nigeria 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, if any, 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: I am planning on submitting two separate proposal ideas for consideration. Is this allowed?
A: Although the online application permits two submissions by any artist, you might want to consider how this could affect a selection panel that will be reviewing a lot of entries. The bottom line really is going to be how good the proposal is, and how much commitment to it you (and any collaborators) demonstrate. But, since you would only receive funding for one project maximum, submitting multiple entries could dilute the impact of your strongest project.
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.
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 etc. 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. This means that applicants for 2019 must have graduated before June 1, 2018.