Tuesday, April 08, 2008

the grant application algorithm rev. 1.0.0

For FS.

A very simple algorithm:

1. Choose ‘edgy,’ trendy words and phrases that the arts organizations currently love (e.g. ‘collaborative’, ‘sustainability’, ‘interdisciplinary’, ‘defamiliarize’, ‘hybrids’).

2. Lay those words down as if on a scrabble table.

2.5. Optional: get intoxicated / stoned.

3. Try linking those words to make sentences (actual resemblance to grammar is purely coincidental).

4. Make sure targets and goals are not measurable (how exactly can you compute ‘artistic practice’?).

5. Voila! A completed grant application for the arts.

…Yeah, I was talking to a theater stage manager who hit the nail on the head: “arts funding is turning artists into liars.” Too true.


Joe said...

I like that quote at the end. Too true indeed.

My friend and I are both applying to schools again and were just chatting about the agony of convincing other people how great you are. Giant pain in the ass.

Stanley Jason Zappa said...

This is very helpful. I was going to go to the library to look for a book on grant writing, but this seems like all anyone needs to know. Easy to follow too!

I'll let you know how it goes!

the improvising guitarist said...


I sympathize with your academic application processes, but at least with those, there are some well understood, and, in comparison, internally consistent (even if I refrain from using that word ‘honest’) criteria (i.e. what you will gain from the schooling, and what you bring to the school).

Thanks for the comment!


the improvising guitarist said...


I’ll be glad if these simple steps are of use to you, and let me know if you come up with any extra steps / tips.
As for this algorithm, all I can say is that, prior to its adoption, I had a 100% failure rate with grant applications; after its adoption, I’ve managed two successes out of three. (Yay for playing the bureaucrats’ game!)
Thanks, as ever, for reading + comments.


mrG said...

Liars?!! You say that like its a bad thing.

"Ludwig, have you met the Baroness?"
"I didn't catch your name, sir"
"Why, er, yes m'lady, Ludwig, Ludwig (HARUMPHH) vn Beethoven"
"Oh, VON Beethoven? Well! You seem fallen on hard times; I have some friends you simply must meet ..."

and by the time she discovered he was in fact only a common VAN Beethoven, it was too late, he'd spent his commission money and found another young and beautiful baroness. True story.

Has it ever been otherwise for us?