Project Narrative

The project's relationship to the applicant's career advancement must be clearly defined in the Project Narrative. Describe in detail your proposed project and clearly address the following:

  1. Proposed project

  2. Long-term artistic plans/goals

  3. How this project will help you achieve your stated goals and take your career to the next level.

    The Narrative can be no longer than 1500 words and must be pasted into the application. We recommend you first compose it in a text document.  



  • describe your project

  • explain how the accomplishment of this project will further your development and/or career goals as an artist.

In order to be persuasive your project needs to be:

  • Feasible
    Don't propose a project that seems beyond your capacity either in terms of cost, access, or other factors. For instance, as compelling an idea as it is to do an intimate documentary of North Korean leader Kim Jong-II, there may be logistical obstacles. Unless you have credible answers to reasonable questions about the scale or ambition of your project, it's best not to shoot for the moon.

  • A logical step for you
    If your work samples and history are focused on modern dance choreography but you ask for money to build a kiln, there's a "disconnect." You never want a panelist to furrow his brow. It should make sense why the workshop tuition, computer, brochure, or new studio you want would be relevant and helpful to you at this point in your career. If the project doesn't pass the intuitive test, you have a lot of explaining to do.

However, do not rely on panelists' powers of intuition. It may seem obvious to you why a web site would be beneficial, but connect the dots for your readers. The more specific you can be the better. Saying "everybody else has a web site" may be your impression and it might even strike a chord with some of your panelists, but it's even better to explain how a web site will improve your situation or address a problem you have as an artist. Something like: 
I'm somewhat isolated and don't have gallery representation, so I'm limited in how people can find out about my work. A web site would allow me to 1) expose my work to people who would probably not see it in person; 2) capture email addresses of those interested in my work; 3) potentially sell my work online.

General rules of thumb:

  • Use simple, declarative sentences, active voice—and get to the point. Even if you are a writer, the application is not an appropriate place to trot out the bells and whistles. The panelists aren't reading your proposal to be challenged. And observe the space or page limits. Panelists are typically asked to read a number of applications, so say what you need to say as efficiently as possible.

  • Who, what, when, where, why, and how. You are asking strangers for money. If a stranger asked you for money, what would you want to know? If you find, after you've answered the application queries, that you haven't addressed one or more of the "w" questions, you might want to revisit your responses.

  • It's not an artist statement. As fascinating as it would be to know why you make your art, what it expresses about you and the world around you, and the intimate joys and challenges of your process, there are other, more appropriate venues for such expression. Keep your answers focused on the practical needs and outcomes of your project.

  • Get a non-arts friend or acquaintance to read your application. If she doesn't understand or is not persuaded by your request, find out why and try again.