Apply to Idea Capital
Idea Capital makes grants ranging from $500 to $2000 to metropolitan Atlanta artists to encourage experimental and investigative art projects, including the awarding of one travel grant. We seek to foster a new tone of experimentation and support in the Atlanta art world, as well as encourage a larger framework of support.
- The grant application process for 2018 will open in August. Join our mailing list for grant announcements and other important updates.
- Grant announcements for 2017 were made early in January 2018.
Applicants must meet the following criteria:
- Working artists and cultural producers must be a minimum of 20 years old.
- Grants are strictly limited to residents of metropolitan Atlanta area.
- Students may apply but must show an ongoing commitment to the Atlanta area arts community.
- We do not fund graduate thesis exhibitions or other school-related shows.
- Artists at all levels of their careers, from emerging to established, are welcomed to apply
Idea Capital encourages new ideas and experimentation in art production across all genres of the arts:
• Digital media
• Critical writing
• Curatorial projects
• Emerging forms
We have supported traditional art forms such as painting and dance performance, as well as site-specific installation, street art, self-published books and cultural gatherings. We want your good ideas!
The Margaret Kargbo Artist As Activist Grant
To honor the spirit of Margaret Kargbo, Idea Capital steering committee member who tragically died in May 2015, Idea Capital awards an annual grant in Margaret’s name when the committee determines that a project embodies her commitment to social justice. Margaret was an art activist who believed in the power of art as a change agent. The award is given at the discretion of the Idea Capital Steering Committee.
Idea Capital Travel Grant
Idea Capital offers a research and development travel grant up to $2000 for an Atlanta-based artist to further develop his or her artistic practice. The grant supports artist travel within the United States or internationally. Artists must submit the travel grant application for consideration.
Why Idea Capital Created This Grant
Idea Capital believes that the opportunity for research and development—whether through travel or other strategies-- not only benefits the individual artist, but also creates connections that benefit the Atlanta community. Like other Idea Capital funded projects this grant is designed to support the cultivation of new ideas, not to facilitate pre-existing presentations in other locations.
• Research and development toward creation of a new work
• Study of particular skills that further an artist's project (e.g., studying with a master watchmaker in Switzerland; study of a traditional craft practice in Mexico to be redeployed in a new way)
• Study of a new technology with an expert in the field
• Archival or oral research related to a particular aspect of a project in progress
• Artists’ residencies for which the place of the residency is immediately relevant and integral to the project
Counterexamples (proposals that will not receive funding)
• General artists’ residencies
• Final presentation of work in another location
• Study unrelated to a specific project idea
• General cultural tourism or exposure
Frequently Asked Questions
What types of projects are funded?
All creative projects will be considered, including but not limited to: visual art, performing arts, installations, literature, digital media, independent curatorial projects, films and festivals.
What expenses are eligible for funding?
Because grants are for research and development of new ideas, Idea Capital funds should be used to pay for expenses related to new works, such as materials, equipment, shipping, fabrication costs, artist fees and professional fees. Idea Capital funds cannot be used for completed work, such as framing or reimbursement for expenses already incurred.
How much can I request?
Idea Capital awards range from $500 to $2000.
How precise does my budget need to be?
A more complete and exact budget demonstrates to the panel that your project has been well thought through. The budget does not need to be exact to the penny, but a budget asking for $500 for "general materials" will be less competitive than one that shows careful consideration and research.
Who is eligible to apply?
All working artists 20 years and older living in metro Atlanta can apply. Students may apply for endeavors that are outside of the academic process and must show an ongoing commitment to the Atlanta arts community. Student applications should be for an endeavor that is outside of the academic process. Awards may not be used to support thesis projects or exhibitions. Beginning in 2012, awards are designated exclusively for projects that are completed or have been substantially developed by an individual artist or an artist collaborative, not by an institution or an established organization.
How are the applications evaluated?
Idea Capital applications are reviewed by the Idea Capital Steering Committee. In addition, a guest panelist drawn from our pool of investors serves on the panel. Applications are judged based on several criteria, including the quality of the idea and its relevance to Idea Capital's goal to support new and innovative work; project feasibility, including a realistic budget; and overall quality of the application. Panelists determine the final dollar award. All decisions are final and cannot be appealed.
Will I get all the funding I ask for?
While we try to fund as many qualified applications as we can, each year the number of requests of merit outstrip the funds available. Many of those funded will be only partially funded. Although we do not require matching funds, proposals that reflect other sources of income are more competitive, and also demonstrate commitment to the project.
How is Idea Capital funded?
Idea Capital is a grassroots initiative, entirely funded by people who want to build our community. We award grants each year based on the success of our annual fundraising campaign.
Can artists who make a donation to Idea Capital also apply for a grant?
Yes. We pool our money together--sort of like a community bank--so we encourage artists to both invest and to apply. Contributions will not affect your chances of winning positively or negatively.
What if my application is late?
Applications received after the deadline will not be considered for funding.
I already received an Idea Capital grant. When can I apply again?
Artists must wait three years after receiving an award to apply again. For example, if you applied in 2015 and received a grant, you may reapply in 2018.
Is there a workshop or an Idea Capital Steering Committee liaison to help with applications?
At this time, we are all volunteers and do not have the ability to assist in all the ways that we might like to. There are, however, some resources on this site that may help you. Read through the FAQs on this page, download and review successful applications from previous funding cycles, and research previous grant winners to get a better idea of the kind of work we're likely to fund. There are also many ways to research "how to write grant proposals" online--NYFA.org, Chicago Artist Resource.org are just a few. You could also contact local and regional art commissions for additional support. Jackie Battenfield's The Artist's Guide: How to Make a Living Doing What You Love (Da Capo Press) is another great resource.
What if my grant-funded project can't make it to realization?
If the project does not reach fruition, we do not ask that the funds be returned. However, Idea Capital encourages cultural producers to be serious about ideas and commitments.
I produce theater events and Equity rules forbid recording of performances. Are still photos and playbills acceptable as work samples?
Yes. Plus any other supporting material you think helps your case such as a script excerpt or set design drawing.
Is there any way to exceed the word limit to explain my idea?
No. We prefer concise explanations, and more verbose writing will not help your application.
What do you mean by "How do you want to be held accountable?" Is this a question about the budget?
Not necessarily. This question is intentionally open ended. We realize that art projects sometimes go in unintended directions. Therefore, we want to know what your idea of success is. How will you know you've succeeded?
If I win an Idea Capital grant, what does Idea Capital expect from me?
We ask that grantees acknowledge their Idea Capital funding in printed and electronic materials wherever sources of support are listed. Logos can be made available to you for that purpose. We also ask for an informal update on the progress of your project after 6 to 9 months. Finally, we ask that you become part of the Idea Capital community, including investing whatever you can in future rounds of funding for other artists and participating in our annual campaign party.
To help you better prepare your application, Idea Capital grant recipients from previous years have generously agreed to share their winning submissions, which may be viewed from the list below.
Please note: These applications are provided as a rough guide only. Application requirements change slightly from year to year and these samples may not reflect the exact requirements for the current application cycle.
Step 1. At the start of each funding cycle, one Idea Capital investor is selected at random from the pool of all investors to join the Idea Capital Steering Committee to review submissions and recommend grant funding.
Step 2. Each application is reviewed by at least two committee members who take responsibility for becoming thoroughly familiar with the application. Applications are assigned at random.
Step 3. The entire committee, including the investor guest member, convenes to review all applications and to award grants. During discussion, committee members disclose to the full group any pre-existing personal or professional relationship with any applicant, recusing themselves from final voting in cases of deep conflict.
- Quality of the idea as demonstrated by the project description and work samples; projects should also reflect a strong level of innovation, risk, and experimentation within the context of the artist's practice and/or discipline
- Feasibility of the project, including realistic budgets
- Demonstration of commitment to the Atlanta community
- Completed application with required attachments
- Meeting of eligibility requirements, including place of residence and age
- Additional issue to consider: would the work be otherwise difficult to fund?
Step 4. A final group of grant recipients is selected and notified.