We here at IP, as you can imagine, love words. We especially like parsing philanthropy lingo, especially across the arts space. Not only is it an inherently fun exercise, it also keeps us mentally sharp, like doing the Thursday Times crossword or playing Sudoku.
Why? Simple. Meaning is relative. Certain words only mean that the funder in question says they mean. We'll give you two quick examples.
First, the classic "emerging" artist. As we pithily noted here, where is the artist emerging from? Where is the artist emerging to? Those questions can only be answered by the folks in charge of the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship Fund for the Performing and Visual Arts.
Example number two is the "mid-career" artist. We can ascribe a bit more detail here, but nonetheless, the definition still varies depending on what foundation you're talking to. (Click here for the Theatre Communication Group's definition.)
Which brings us to the "mature" artist, defined in the this case by the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation as an artist who has dedicated their lives to "developing their art, regardless of their level of commercial success." To that end, the New York City-based foundation is now accepting applications for its $25,000 Individual Support Grants, a program conceived in order to recognize and support the "serious, fully-committed artist."
Twelve grants are awarded each year to artists who have been in a "mature phase" of their art practice for at least twenty years. Only artists working in the disciplines of painting, sculpture, or printmaking are eligible to apply. The foundation does not fund organizations, projects, educational institutions, students, graphic artists, or those working in crafts. In addition, The photography, film, video, or related forms are not eligible unless the work directly involves, or can be interpreted as, painting or sculpture.
Which brings us back to the relative meaning of certain words. In the case of the the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation's Individual Support Grants, it's "maturity." According to the foundation, maturity is based on the "level of intellectual, technical, and creative development maintained over that time period." Artists must also show that their "primary involvement has been with their artistic goals, regardless of other personal or financial responsibilities."
The deadline for complete application materials is December 15th. Click here to apply online.
And when you do, also check out the foundation's Emergency Grants. Much like a similiar program courtesy of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Emergency Grant program provides interim financial assistance to qualified artists whose needs are the result of an unforeseen, catastrophic incident, and who lack the resources to meet that situation.