grants for unconventional, public-facing artwork in surprising places
Rocket Grants Application Tips
Every grant has a target population or a specific purpose. Read all the grant materials available to determine whether your work and proposal match the priorities for this award. Check the Rocketblogprojects pages to see what kind of work has previously been selected. Even the highest quality work may not be in the particular genre that the grant seeks to fund.
Send all the materials asked for, and in the format requested. If you have questions then please ask. Missing materials or ones that require special effort to view (e.g. broken links) will hurt your chances. An application that does not follow guidelines or seems to lack effort gives the impression that you do not care about the outcome. Juries respond to this accordingly.
Make sure that your supplied materials are of the highest quality. These are among the most important components of your application. Images that are too small, hard to read, or difficult to connect to your proposal significantly reduce your chances of being selected. The same is true for video that is of poor resolution, unprofessionally presented, unedited, irrelevant, and so on.
Make sure that your writing is easy to read. Tell a story, be interesting! Try to imagine a juror reading your writing after having already read through twenty or thirty other piles of information. If it is not clear, direct and engaging, you will not do well. This includes formatting your text with good grammar, shorter sentences and spaces between paragraphs, so it’s easy on the eye,
Have someone who is not familiar with your work read through your writing to make sure they understand what you are trying to say. It can be easy for a selection panel (especially those from another part of the country) to misunderstand your intentions because they do not know the context of you, your life, your history etc. Whether through words, or images, or both, you need to help the members of the jury visualize what you want to do so that they can connect with your proposal.
#5 is particularly important for applications such as ours in which the jury only sees a part of your information in the first round. You have to make sure that you cover all the main points about why your project is interesting and innovative, who the target audience will be, what the venue will be, how you will use the money, how the project will happen and so on. You need to make all this clear within the space of your title and short project description, so spend a lot of time on this little part of the application. Get help! Remember that you can always tell part of your story with your images!
Research what other people have done that is similar to what you are proposing. Jurors are experts in their field and will be familiar with previous work. This is particularly true in grants such as this that are seeking innovative proposals. How is what you are proposing fresh and exciting? How will it surprise or provoke? Why is it an art project as opposed to a social service? How will it grow your own practice?
Know your audience. For an opportunity like Rocket Grants, it is really important that your idea should connect with the community in this region, and should be meaningful and relevant here. Think a lot about your audience and how they would interact, benefit or be inspired by the work you are proposing. Rocket Grants ask you to think about developing a new kind of audience among the general public (which can either be small or large), OR to consider how you might strengthen the existing arts community.
Think carefully about your venue, or the place in which your work will happen. It is a particular feature of this grant that the project should happen outside of traditional or established arts venues. Often, focusing on the perceived challenges of unconventional venues can yield truly wonderful solutions, usually when the work proposed for the place/space responds sensitively to the particular opportunities it presents.
Make your budget believable. Really think this through! If you are going to need more money, either say how you will obtain this (realistically) or make the project smaller!