Thoughts About Arts Education

Show Me the Money??? Musings At The Start of Another Grant Proposal

Grant writing time again.  I am now working on my third grant and hoping to improve my current score of: 1 successful grant, 1 unsuccessful grant. 

At least I have a tie score. 

So, what did I learn today working on the draft document of this current grant?  Four important things: 

  1. I love Google Docs.  All of today's writing was done online using Google Docs and collaborating with another writer across the city.   
  2. Organize Rough Work.  Bookmarks, links and indexing on Google Docs creates a Table of Contents at the top of the document makes accessing rough work accessible (and less overwhelming!!!)
  3. Collaborate! For the previous grants, I have gathered all of the research, answered the questions, and then reached out into my community for suggestions, edits, improvements, etc. etc.  This time around, a colleague and I met and talked about objectives before even starting.  We went away, did some research, connected about our findings, and then scheduled some writing time online.  Online, we worked together on the questions, talking online through the Google Doc chat about the objectives, intentions, language as we went along.   When one person was writing, the other person was reviewing the criteria and priority outcomes of the granting body.  Not only did the time go by quickly, but the conversation was rich and inspiring.  As a result, the first draft paragraphs are much tighter this time around.  
  4. Clarity and Time.   How do you articulate the impact that your art has on the greater community to someone who hasn’t experienced what you do? Especially in a world where someone might only has Facebook photos and YouTube promo videos as source material and hasn't TRULY experienced your art in realtime?  It takes time, patience, an objective view of language, and a willingness to be truthful with your impact and how you are presenting yourself.  Essentially - you got it get real, but honest, and not let any emotion get in the way.  You know what you do.  And because it is you that does the art, you have a different relationship compared to the person reading the grant.  How do you make others feel the same passion that you live and breathe in 250 words or less?  I really don't have the easy answer.  But, I can tell you that it takes lots of the following: edits, drafts, brainstorming, keeping all of the rough work, going back and reworking stuff.  Having the time well ahead of the deadline means a truthful exploration and giving yourself a chance to fully express your artistic brand.  

I must admit, I did channel my grade 9 do-I-have-to-do-this-written-reflection self and had to be mindful of my purpose/investment of time/embracing of the process of writing the grant.  How easy it is to fall into the mindset of "but Miss!."  I followed my own advice that I end up giving in my classroom all the time:  

  • teachers don’t give you reflections to be mean because that's a waste of everyone's time. Reflecting is an important, necessary part of the creative process
  • creativity, writing, and thinking takes time - DON'T rush it but be prepared for it. 

And now the draft paragraphs are off the proofreaders and I play the waiting game...