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Unemployed? Why Not Apply for a Grant

January 16, 2009

By Tim McKeough

With work drying up and layoffs sweeping the architecture profession, now may be an ideal time to pursue long-delayed personal projects. To help architects and designers take stock of available funding, the Architectural League of New York recently hosted a public forum where arts and cultural organizations presented various grant and fellowship opportunities to a standing-room-only crowd. Below is a summary of the programs that were discussed.

The New York State Council on the Arts [nysca.org] offers grants of up to $10,000 to architects, landscape architects, planners, designers, preservationists and academics for a wide variety of projects that “advance the field and contribute to the public’s understanding of the designed environment.” The program, which falls under the council’s Architecture, Planning and Design Program: Independent Projects Category, is only open to New York State residents, and applications must be submitted through a nonprofit sponsoring agency (such as the Architectural League). The next application deadline is March 2.

The Center for Architecture Foundation’s Arnold W. Brunner Grant [www.cfafoundation.org] provides up to $30,000 for projects that will “effectively contribute to the knowledge, teaching or practice of the art and science of architecture.” The foundation’s Stewardson Keefe LeBrun Travel Grant provides multiple awards up to $20,000 to support professional development through travel. The application deadline for both the Brunner and LeBrun grants is March 13. The foundation also offers a variety of other grants for architecture students.

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The MacDowell Colony [macdowellcolony.org] offers residencies of two weeks to two months at its retreat in Peterborough, New Hampshire, for all kinds of artists—and the organization is “strongly encouraging” architects to apply, according to executive director Cheryl Young. The colony provides three meals a day and offers an opportunity to get away from day-to-day distractions to focus on creative work. Stipends and travel grants are also available, based on financial need. Upcoming application deadlines are April 15 and September 15.

The Van Alen Institute’s New York Prize Fellowship [www.vanalen.org] supports advanced research and experimental projects. Working from the institute’s offices for three-month terms, fellows receive up to $10,000 in project support, as well as a stipend for living expenses ($1,500 for New York City residents, $6,500 for non-residents). The next application deadline is March 6.

The Architectural League’s Deborah J. Norden Fund [www.archleague.org/] offers a total of $5,000 per year in travel-study grants to students and recent graduates in architecture, architectural history, and urban studies. Two awards are typically given out each year. The application deadline is March 30.

The Rome Prize, from the American Academy in Rome [www.aarome.org], offers six-month and 11-month residencies to artists and scholars involved in architecture, design, landscape architecture, and historic preservation, to pursue specific projects. In addition to studio space and room and board in Rome, six-month fellows receive a stipend of $12,500 and 11-month fellows receive $25,000. Applications for the 2010 program will be accepted beginning in August; the deadline is November 1.

The New York Foundation for the Arts [www.nyfa.org] offers Artists’ Fellowships of $7,000 to people in New York State. Architecture/Environmental Structures is one of the award categories. The grants are unrestricted and may be used however the recipient sees fit. No project proposal is required; rather, a panel evaluates existing work. The application for the next round of grants will be available in July, and the deadline will be in October.

The Design Trust for Public Space [www.designtrust.org] sponsors new projects every 18 months. Each request for proposals is open only to community groups and city agencies; however, once a project is selected, the institute awards fellowships, with $5,000 to $15,000 stipends, to professionals with expertise required for the project. The next request for proposals will be released in February, and fellows will be selected in the spring.

Editor’s Note: If you know of other grant and fellowship opportunities, please post the information below or mail it to: ar_news_editor@mcgraw-hill.com.

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