The Grit Fund supports unincorporated and collaborative artist-organized activity that contributes significantly to Baltimore’s arts landscape but seldom qualifies for traditional funding. Established with generous support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Grit Fund expands Warhol’s Regional Regranting Program to the Mid-Atlantic, encouraging projects that generate opportunities and create platforms for artists to engage with each other and with the public. Funded activities can include but are not limited to: exhibitions, publications, public events, public art, film screenings, the ongoing work of an existing arts venue or collective, and the founding of a new arts venue or collective.
The Grit Fund, administered by The Contemporary, provides 8-12 grants in amounts between $1,000–$6,000, totaling $50,000 annually. The Grit Fund accepts proposals from non-incorporated, artist-organized initiatives that work collaboratively and reside in Baltimore City or Baltimore County. Projects must take place in either Baltimore City or Baltimore County and be accessible to the general public. The Contemporary’s mission is inspired by three guiding principles: artists matter, collaboration is key, and audience is everywhere. In keeping with this mission, the Grit Fund values risk-taking, encourages collaboration, and seeks to expand points of access to contemporary art.
Since its inception, the Grit Fund has supported 23 projects, awarding $117,000 in project funding with supplemental support from the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.
The Grit Fund will award 8–12 grants between $1,000 and $6,000.
The Grit Fund strongly prioritizes projects that present the work of multiple artists.
Preference is given to projects that are unlikely to be funded through traditional frameworks of support.
Only proposals submitted by non-incorporated, artist-organized entities will be considered.
Projects must be accessible to or engage the public via process, presentation, production, or publication.
- Projects must be collaborative i.e., present the creative contributions of more than one author or artist.
- Projects must be rooted in or strongly related to visual art. Performance or media-based projects are only eligible if visual art is a core component.
- Lead organizer must be a resident of Baltimore City or Baltimore County. The lead organizer is the primary contact during the application and granting process.
- The majority of collaborators must be residents of Baltimore City or Baltimore County.
- Lead organizer cannot be a student during time of application. Students may be listed as collaborators on projects.
- Applicants may be a lead organizer on only one application but may be listed as a collaborator on multiple applications.
- Resulting project activities must be accessible to Baltimore’s public and be presented in Baltimore City or Baltimore County.
- Applications from 501c3 non-profit organizations will NOT be considered.
- LLC’s are eligible if their primary purpose is not commercial and they are not a for-profit enterprise.
How to apply
Applications must be completed online. Paper applications will not be accepted. Access the online application at thecontemporary.submittable.com
The online application will prompt you to provide the following:
Basic Contact Information
Name, address, and email of lead applicant and up to five additional collaborators.
Project Summary (100 words max.)
Brief summary of your proposed project.
Full Project Description (700 words max.)
Detailed description of your project that addresses: the form the project will take, where the project will take place (location/venue), what motivates the project, and any opportunities the project offers for local artist support. Describe your anticipated audience or participants. Describe the public component of your project and how your project will be made accessible to Baltimore audiences.
Biography (200 words max.)
Narrative biography for the lead organizer or group and key collaborators.
Project timeline including: project phases and key dates during project implementation (April 2017 - March 2018).
Download the budget form at gritfund.org. Complete the budget form and upload it to your online application as a PDF.
Visual Support Material
Provide documentation of past work and/or sketches for your proposed project. If your group is newly formed and unable to provide examples of existing collaborations, choose support materials that will give the jury a sense of collaborators’ individual practices or past work. You will be prompted to upload the following support materials:
- Up to 5 digital images formatted as either JPG, GIF, or PNG. Images should not exceed 800 x 600 pixels, 180 dpi.
- Up to 2 URLs to videos. Submit links to videos that you have already uploaded to an online platform such as YouTube or Vimeo. You cannot submit the videos directly. If there is a password to view the video, include it in the Support Materials Description List. Up to 5 minutes total of video may be submitted for review.
- Up to 2 URLs to web-based projects. Please enter the specific URL to be viewed; the jury will not spend time browsing a website in its entirety.
Support Materials Description List
Provide an annotated List that corresponds with each image provided in your Visual Support Materials. Include: lead organizer / group’s name, title, year, medium, and brief description.
Promotional Image and Blurb
Image such as an artwork, documentation, or graphic identity and 2 sentences which The Contemporary can use to promote the public component of your project.
- Submissions open via Submittable
- Information Session #1 + Project Proposal Workshop
- Information Session #2 + Budget Workshop
- Information Session #3 + Grantee Panel
- Submissions close online at 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time.
- Grant Recipients announced
- Funds distributed
- Grant Recipient reception
- All projects must be complete
Review Process and Selection Criteria
The Contemporary’s review process will take approximately 8 weeks. To be considered for funding, completed applications must be submitted on time and meet all eligibility requirements. All proposals are evaluated based on criteria including:
- Artistic Strength
- overall vision
- innovative, creative, and conceptual strength of project
- capacity to carry out and complete the project
- Public interface
- accessibility to the public
- commitment to serving a local constituency
Proposals will be reviewed by a five person panel comprised of local and national artists and arts professionals currently working in the field of visual arts. The Contemporary staff members do not serve on the jury.
Grant recipients are expected to maintain communication with The Contemporary. Awardees are asked to complete a short report after completion of the project in addition to checking in periodically with The Contemporary throughout the grant period.
For more information please attend an info session. If you are unable to attend any of the sessions or if you have any additional questions, please email us at [email protected].
The Contemporary will lead three free information sessions and three free workshops. Each of the three info sessions will cover the same information and provide details on the Grit Fund application process, guidelines, eligibility, funding priorities, and more. Each of the three workshops focuses on a different topic outlined below. You are welcome to attend just the info session or workshop portion of each event, or both. While attending an info session and/or workshop is encouraged, attendance is not required to apply for funding. No RSVP necessary.
Information Session #1 + Project Proposal Workshop
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Info session 6:00 - 7:00 PM
Project Proposal Workshop 7:00 - 8:30
Maryland Art Place
218 West Saratoga Street
The Project Proposal Workshop provides strategies for writing a compelling and competitive project description.
Information Session #2 + Budget Workshop
Saturday, January 14, 2017
Info session 1:00 - 2:00 PM
Budget Workshop 2:00 - 3:30 PM
3134 Eastern Avenue
The Budget Workshop offers a detailed look at the Grit Fund Budget Form and tips on preparing a realistic budget that is consistent with your project proposal.
Information Session #3 + Grantee Panel
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Info Session 6:00 - 7:00 PM
Grantee Panel 7:00 - 8:30
405 East Oliver Street
The Grantee Panel features Grit Fund Grantees from previous rounds to speak about their experience and answer questions.