Rauschenberg Foundation

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Artist as Activist

Webinar Notes

Overall gist / spirit of program, but also mechanics.

Goals for call:

  • Help us understand opportunity and matching to projects
  • How to put forward best proposal

Can answer questions and update the FAQ on website.


  • Intended audience is "individual artists" and "artist collectives", targeted primarily at those groups, not 501(c)3 organizations. If this is you, call may not be very useful. No organizational applications at this time. [See http://www.rauschenbergfoundation.org/grants/how-apply for example]
  • Date clarifications will be provided.


  • What will make your project compelling?
  • Tips to make your work be shown in its best light.
  • Clarification of instructions.
  • Recording and making available after the call.

Components of program:

  • 2-year fellowship ($25,000 - $100,000 over period)
    • Need to have a project in mind that would be the core of your activity over the fellowship period, but what distinguishes this from a general project grant is the complementary support for the cohort of fellows over the 2 years.
      • How to make your work visible in the field and work is supported over the term.
      • Not artist assitants
      • Not a staff position, an independent artist fellowship.
  • Travel / Research Grant ($2,500 - $10,000)
    • More nimble opportunity
    • Can be 6 months old, up to 2 years old before
    • Attending a conference to speak about project
    • Travel somewhere remotely to bring rigor to project
    • Seeking a political framework for work
    • More flexible than other grant.
    • While conference may be one-time thing or w/e, need to spend grant within 1 year.


  • Fellowship
    • Letter of Interest for 2 year fellowship, Monday October 13 at 5pm EST
  • Travel and Research Grant
    • Sunday March 15 2015 to submit an application, but reviewed as they are received.
    • Plan for a 60-day turnaround.

A word about artist collectives. We understand that work in the public sphere is broad and collectives take many forms. This program is designed to try to eliminate some of those barriers for artist collectives. Seeking to support those groups that do not have 501(c)3 status, especially groups that have not incorporated.

Similarly, need to focus on US at the moment, seeking to become international, not there yet:

  • Internationals who are working in the US should direct a message to info@rauschenbergfoundation.org to get in touch with staff about eligibility.
  • Your work is at the intersection of activism, seeking to intervene or impact in public life, make differences in peoples' lives.

What is it that you are tryign to resolve / address / put forward? What is it that you are trying to improve?

This grant is about trying to be of service, applying your work to a social problem, a global problem. But it's also about you. How does what you do provide social benefit?

Help them understand how we are thinking about our project living beyond the funding and its deployment. How specifically do you hope to push an issue or somehow make progress against a challenge?

Also tied to this is 'risk-taking' and 'courage' as values of the Rauschenberg Foundation. Need to have a bold vision and a courage to try some things that others have not, to step out of your comfort zone, to really bring a thoughtful methodology (not only technical aspect, but the way you analyze the problem and approaches to the improving things).

If you have been active for many years you'll certainly have a track record. If you are early in your career, what can you provide to demonstrate comparable experience and preparation. Demonstrate that this is well-prepared, knowing what you need to make this project work, beyond just dollars. Help us understand that this is not just a nice idea you have, but you have the chops to carry forward and bring your vision to life.

Asking for applicants to bring deep investment in the beauty, technique, level of craft that you are applying, and simultaneously, that you have thought through the way your work in whatever form it will take is relevant in the context in which you are working. That it can be an effective strategy or vehicle for the change you are proposing.

If you can show that you come with a package as a collaboration or collective, that is great. If you can show you are bringing in subject-matter expertise, and how you organize your collective should be driven by the work.

How developed does the project have to be to be a competitive application?

  • The two-year fellowship is about pushing something forward. It's not the place for a germ of an idea or an abstract idea that needs play. This is the kind of opportunity support something that has an early form and you have not had the space to advance and take action with something that has grounding. The program is about action.
  • Is the idea that I have formed enough that if I had to implement it and put it into the world (with resources), that I will be able to talk about it clearly, know that it has context, identified the stakeholderships? If not, my idea is premature for the 2-year fellowship.

Basic Tips for Solid Application

Ask you to reference materials on website (need to be updated soon)

Expect this to be a very competitive process because of sheer volume alone, but also because quality of applications will be very strong. Seeking a full picture of who you are, what you are trying to do, why, how, etc.

Please be clear, please be concrete.

When it comes to our project, ask:

  • Who are you engaging?
  • Who has a stake in this?
  • Who/what/where/when/why/how
  • More you leave reviewers to fill-in-the-blank, the lesser justice you have served for your project
  • The more compelling, the more successful your app will be

Let's do some math:

  • Letter of Interest for the Fellowship does nto require a budget, but it's a good idea to start to do that now.
  • Tempting to apply for full amount available, but if the full amount does not match the scale of work you are doing, or if it would be difficult to point an example of managing those sorts of resources, it would be a disservice to your application.
  • Think about what it will take to get the work you're proposing done, how much that will cost, and ask for that amount.
  • Two-year process, so make a two-year budget.

Ask people who don't know anything about our project for feedback. Try to understand what resonantes about the project, find out what is missing and what could be clarified. Need reviewers for your application so it conveys what you would like to convey, especially for proof-reading purposes.

Navigate Online Application

Can only submit here: https://rauschenbergfoundation.submittable.com/submit

Prepare materials in advance.

Cannot update application information after submission.

Work Samples

Need to submit at least one work sample in order to consider your application, but there is an opportunity to review up to three work samples.

Do not upload videos, provide links to videos hosted online.

You could upload a lot of information for each work sample, try not to do that, only submit as much information is necessary to describe that one work for each work sample submitted. E.g. if you make sculptures, uploading a few photos of a sculpture is good, but putting photos from various works together under a single "sample work" is unnecessary.

More Q&A

How are you bringing your self into this work in order to bring the work into the world, make the application's narrative demonstrate this personal side.