Western States Arts Federation heartily supports performing arts, specifically bringing performance groups from all over the world to perform for and engage with audiences in western states. Notably, it includes literary artists in this bunch.
Before we go any further, a geography refresher: The Western region consists of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
Also before we go any further, if you're a creative writer you probably also have a sense that this grant involves a certain breed of writer. You can't just write creatively; you also must be able to share that writing in a compelling, and perhaps theatrical, way. It probably comes as little surprise that many of the creative writers who partner with these presenting organizations might best be described as not only "literary artists," but also "performance artists," using the words they've written as their performance templates.
But there are other avenues here too. For instance, American Place Theatre: Literature to Life is an organization dedicated to theatricalizing creative writing. The performance piece they created out of Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Ann Jacobs was recently presented across three western venues supported by TourWest grants.
The funds writers receive for their literary arts pieces and performances flow through the organizations that will be presenting them, and they are earmarked for paying artist fees. It's the presenting organizations that apply for these grants, and they will typically receive 50 percent of their total expenses related to your performance (up to $2,500).
This financial arrangement requires you to publicly perform at least once, as well as participate in community engagement. Both of these elements should also tap into "“underserved and/or culturally diverse” audiences.
All genres and manifestations of literary artistry are supported, and literary artists can be based anywhere in the world. In fact, that diversity is encouraged. But Western States Arts Federation is also looking for presenting organizations to partner with artists and present pieces that have "relevance and potential impact" on their communities; it's another factor to think about when you reach out to potential presenters.
As long as the presenting organization is a nonprofit entity within those 13 states, and has a successful history of presenting artists, the world is your oyster. Western States Arts Federation gives grants to performance halls, community centers, museums, parks, college campuses, high schools, government organizations, and more.
The deadline for presenting organizations to apply for TourWest grants is the beginning of April, so be sure to reach out and pitch your project with that calendar in mind.