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Have you considered Grants for the arts?

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Francesca Tortora | 13:01 UK time, Thursday, 9 August 2012

Whatever the outcome of your application to our music schemes this year, there are lots of other funding opportunities out there to help your music projects and ambitions get off the ground. Rachel Nelken, Relationship Manager – Music for Arts Council England, tells us about what’s available through their scheme Grants for the arts.

“It’s been a privilege to be an assessor for the BBC Performing Arts Fund this year; seeing such an amazing array of talented performance groups across the country, many having designed really ambitious and exciting projects. These artistic adventures offer real opportunities to groups to develop their own practice and bring it to a wider audience to enjoy.

Applicants and potential applicants to BBC Performing Arts Fund’s schemes in England this year may not be aware of an ongoing opportunity for funding which would, in many cases, be equally suitable for their projects. Arts Council England’s Grants for the arts is an open access scheme to which anyone – individuals, groups or organisations – can make an application. The grant opportunity is there broadly to support work which will achieve Arts Council’s mission of ‘Great Art for Everyone’.

Applicants need to demonstrate that their projects will fulfil four main criteria:

Artistic Quality
How can you demonstrate that your project is going to be high quality artistically?

Public engagement
What opportunities are there for the public to participate in or experience your work?

How can you show you’ve got a good team/personnel in place to manage the project? What systems do you have in place to ensure the project will be well managed?

What other funding or sources of income are there for the project? How will you manage the finances of the project?

As you can see the criteria are not dissimilar to the BBC Performing Arts Fund’s Community Music scheme and projects such as commissioning, festivals or events of any kind (if they involve the public as participants or audiences) would be eligible.

You can apply for Grants for the arts at any time – it has a rolling deadline. There are two levels of funding – up to £10,000, and above £10,000. The first scheme is the one to which I normally suggest most people come for their first try. If you’re successful you can develop bigger, more ambitious projects for the bigger pot later! The under £10,000 scheme has a 6 week turnaround – pretty fast for a funding body! Be aware that Arts Council almost never fully funds a project and will be looking in most cases for a fair amount of ‘match-funding’ – cash and ‘in-kind’.


Abimaro singing

Abimaro and the Free received funding through Grants for the arts

Abimaro is a singer/songwriter who earlier this year was awarded a grant for a mini-tour of East London coffee shops. You can find out more about her experience in this video.

Don’t be daunted by the amount of information about the scheme as it’s fairly digestible, and definitely worth reading before you put in an application. I would also strongly suggest running your ideas past the very helpful and knowledgeable Grants for the arts Enquiry Team on 0845 300 6200. While you’re at it, see if you can find out the name of your nearest regional Relationship Manager.

Arts Council Relationship Managers are based across England in the Regional offices and we can help advise and support you as you make your application to Arts Council. These are eventually assessed by our central office in Manchester but Relationship Managers are given the opportunity to make additional comments and recommendations as part of the assessment process. So it’s well worth getting to know your local Relationship Manager. The best thing you can do to ensure success for your application is to get as much advice and support as possible from us as you write it. I am always amazed when I see applicants who haven’t taken that opportunity.

We’ll look forward to hearing from you soon!”

Check out all the information on the Arts Council’s website.


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