Behind the Curtain: Artist Trust’s Applying for Grants Toolkit

Published: August 31, 2018

Categories: Grants & Fellowships | Literary | Media | Multidisciplinary | Performing | Resources | Visual

Through our preliminary and post-panel feedback services, we offer artists suggestions on writing their bio, project descriptions, impact statements, artist statement, etc. In response to the positive feedback from artists who’ve received these services, Artist Trust will roll out new, online toolkits to help in the professional development of artists’ creative practice(s) over the next year. Our first installment is our APPLYING FOR GRANTS TOOLKIT, which contains the following six one-pagers:

1. Planning & Tracking Your Grant Applications
2. Writing Your Artist Biography
3. Writing Your Artist Statement
4. Writing Your Impact Statement
5. Writing Your Project Description
6. Creating Your Project Budget

Using this Toolkit

The Applying for Grants toolkit covers the essentials that artists of all disciplines need to know when applying for funding. With a focus on Artist Trust’s grants and selection criteria, the worksheets, prompts, and best practices in the toolkit can help an artist with:
• Gaining a better understanding of Artist Trust’s application processes;
• Preparing strong grant application materials;
• Developing language to effectively describe their work to selection panelists.

The toolkit is intended for artists to pick and choose worksheets that best fit their current needs, whether it’s just one worksheet or the whole suite. The exercises allow artists to explore the different layers of their artist bio, impact statement, project description, etc.

For example, in our “Writing Your Project Description” worksheet, you are asked to answer the 5 W’s, which will lead to writing a strong project description.

After completing exercises such as the 5 W’s, artists will have working drafts for the main components of their grant application and be better prepared to pursue support for their work. These worksheets are also great resources when collaborating with peers and/or feedback groups.

Our Values in this Toolkit

Our values are to be open, responsive, transparent, and forward-thinking as outlined here. Here’s how the toolkits fits into them.
Open: Artist Trust is committed to having open and accessible programs for ALL artists across Washington. Grantwriting is a developed skill and the more practice you have with toolkits like this, the stronger your chances are to receive an award. Flexible web-based learning is one way we’re able to reach more artists regardless of their geographic location.
Responsive: After reviewing the results from our Annual Artist Survey, it’s clear that our online resources and grant-related advice continue to be in high demand. We currently offer one-on-one grantwriting support through Office Hours and workshops, and present our How to Apply for an Artist Grant workshops across the state through the year. In addition to those services, this toolkit allows us to provide a free, web-based opportunity for artists to sharpen their grantwriting skills.
Transparent: Artist Trust makes an intentional effort to make our application and panel process as transparent as possible. Through our preliminary feedback services, artists are able to have their application materials reviewed by the Programs team before officially submitting their application. This review is based on remarks often made in selection panels. To make the selection process more transparent, we outlined these comments and details into worksheets so that what the panelists are looking for in a successful grant application is not a mystery.
Forward-thinking: Artist Trust strives to remain a leader in our field. By building this toolkit, we’ve combined our strengths in professional development and grantmaking programs so that we can continue to support artists in enriching their careers and practice.

Additional Support

Artist Trust offers free and low-cost programs on applying to grants. Partial need-based, Filipinx, and Latinx scholarships are available by request.

Some of our upcoming events are:
9/5 – Office Hours / By Phone
9/19 – Artist Résumes / Webinar
10/5 – Office Hours / Seattle
10/17 – Office Hours / Seattle
11/7 – Work Sample Dos & Don’ts / Webinar

All upcoming workshops and events are viewable on our Facebook page. For questions regarding workshops, toolkits, and other resources for artists, contact Zach at