Writing about one’s art work falls into the nonurgent crucial category on our To Do List. Meaning, it’s an incredibly important but difficult task, so it’s often put off until the last minute. We advocate for adding writing to your daily or weekly practice so that it can illuminate your practice but not weigh you down.

How to write project proposals/statements for residencies and other opportunities is a difficult task – especially if you haven’t experienced the opportunity in person or it could be months or years away We’ve all been there. It’s a tough one, but we are going to run down some productive ways to think about this conundrum below.

First, make sure that the opportunity you are applying to is a good fit for your work and your practice. If you don’t fit the criteria, then applying will be a big waste of time.

Do you know anyone who has gotten this opportunity in the past? Ask them about it.

Next, get into the mindset of what the reviewers are looking for. Yes, you want this opportunity and everything it has to offer but what can you offer them? Every opportunity has it’s specific story and requirements so be sure to pay attention and tailor your application to it. They are looking for artists who will make the best of their opportunity and need it.

You’ll need an artist statement and beautifully documented work. A lot weighs on these documents, so don’t put off writing your statement to the last minute! Sometimes we want to apply to a residency, for instance, to further work-in-progress. Despite the work being in progress, you can still formulate a cohesive statement, knowing that it will most likely change someday.

Your project statement or proposal is different from your artist statement. For a project statement, the jurors want to know how you would make the most of the opportunity and what it has to offer. You should write about what you would work on and how you would spend your time. This is something only you know. Are you interested in taking advantage of their specific location, resources, or technology? Is there an educational or community component that would benefit your work? Is there a private, isolated experience you are needing to get some work done? Set some goals and let them know what you want to get done in the context of what you are applying for. A proposal is just that: an idea; a way to share your process, practice and why one specific opportunity is calling your name.

Good luck!

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