ANATOMIES OF SUCCESSFUL GRANT APPLICATIONS
The annual grants help Minnesota fine-art photographers advance their
careers, but the application and review process is instructive for those
applying for just about any photography grant. By David Walker
Public funding for the arts is sParse, esPecially
when legislatures are under pressure to cut budgets.
but the Minnesota state arts board (Msab) continues
to give generous grants through its artist initiative
grant program. for fiscal year 2013, 25 Minnesota
photographers won a total of $238,172 in grants. Most
grants were for the $10,000 maximum.
“if you have a good idea, can articulate it and have
good work samples, these grants are not hard to get.
your odds are quite good,” says photographer timothy
g. Piotrowski, a 2011 grant winner.
Minnesota awards artist initiative grants to help
artists advance their careers and contribute to the arts
in Minnesota. for the 2013 fiscal year, Msab funded 171
of 571 artists who applied, or 30 percent. eighty-three of
the applicants were photographers, who were judged
on three criteria: artistic quality of their work, merit
and feasibility of their project proposals, and impact or
benefit to the state and/or creative community.
the grants may be used for a wide range of activi-
ties related to the pursuit of projects. that includes
travel, equipment, research, and attendance at confer-
ences, workshops and even portfolio reviews.
among winners this year were colleen Mullins, who
won a $10,000 grant to develop her multimedia skills by
taking final cut Pro courses, and to attend portfolio re-
views to promote her ongoing project about places her
family used to travel. Keith taylor also won a $10,000
grant this year to complete a project about the search
for dark matter at a physics lab located in a former mine
in northern Minnesota. he’ll use some of the grant
money to travel to fotofest in houston, with hopes of
finding a publisher to turn the project into a book.
the Msab convenes two jury panels to judge the
photography applications. the juries, which include
photographers and curators, meet to discuss the pro-
posals and review applicants’ portfolios in a public fo-
rum. applicants often attend, but are not permitted to
© 2010 COLLEEN MULLINS
7642 WOOD WIND DR. HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA 92647 800-421-1141
Featured photo by Chris Garrison,
renowned extreme sports photographer.
“Carr’s Drive-In” from Colleen Mullins’s “Cultivar” project. Mullins won a $10,000 grant to attend
portfolio reviews and study Final Cut Pro.