Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Today was the deadline for a local grant program (the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities' "Small Projects" program). It's one of the few funding opportunities in our region that accepts applications from individual artists (as opposed to nonprofit organizations).

There's one catch: to be eligible, you have to be a D.C. resident. Fortunately, both projects I proposed involve residents, so the applications came from them (technically).

First, I wrote one asking for money for studio time to record a demo for the Low End String Quartet. Fortunately, our violinist lives in D.C. Unfortunately, she is out of the country at the moment, so getting her signature on the forms was a little tricky. Fortunately, she had access to email and a scanner, so we worked it out. I sure hope this one gets funded... I feel like this group has great potential, and if we can get some good recordings, we'll have good work samples to use for other grant programs and then we'll be well positioned for suckling at the teat of institutional arts funders. Oh right, as the economy tanks (which is imminent) arts funding will be the first slice of the nonprofit sector to dry up. Fantastic. Anyway, maybe the recordings will help us get some gigs... part of the idea behind this group is that we're designed to play in "alternative" venues (that's highbrow-speak for bars and clubs, you know, like the places I'm usually playing in).

Back in '06, DCIC put in a similar proposal, and that paid for 2/3 of our studio time used in making our forthcoming CD. Since we're self-releasing the album, I wrote a proposal this round for help with marketing. Our drummer lives in D.C., so this one is in his name. I sent out a barrage of emails last week searching for marketing help. I got several good referrals and lots of good ideas. Eventually, I was referred to Riot Act Media, and David really seemed to "get it" in terms of what we're doing and what would make sense given our limited resources. This doesn't seem like as much fun as a trip to the recording studio, but I've never had help with publicity before, so that actually is kind of exciting.

In other grantseeking news, I found out recently that my proposal to the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County was rejected. I don't live in Montgomery County, but Dan (bass player for the Low End Quartet and sometimes DCIC) does... I was able to "observe" the review panel as they discussed our proposal. That was surreal, and I get a little taste of vomit in the back of my throat every time I tell the story - so I'm not going to type it all up here, but anyway, it was frustrating - and also hilarious, in a dark-comedy kind of way. I wasn't surprised we got rejected having observed the proceedings, but that still sucks. We submitted a really solid proposal for that one (for Dan and I to collaborate on new material for the Low End Quartet, rehearse it, do two "in progress" performances at small venues in Montgomery County, and then do a recording session). I haven't seen the list of who got funded yet, but from what I saw of the panel, I'm pretty sure our local chapter of Sweet Adelines got the money they asked for.

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