Portfolio Development for Artists
Susan Myers I NYFA
Other Written Materials
Artists also use their portfolio to apply for specific projects, funding programs, residencies, or other competitive opportunities. In these circumstances, you may be asked to submit a project description, statement, proposal, or cover letter.
These written materials should be focused and relate to the requirements of the particular opportunity. Be passionate and sincere in the presentation of your work, and always conclude with thanking the panel, juror, and/or organization for their time and consideration.
As a starting point, request previous recipients’ proposals from the organization to which you are applying. Oftentimes a description or the actual proposal are posted on organizations’ websites or included in previous years’ press release information. Don’t be afraid to ask for examples. The big benefit in applying to lots of various opportunities is that you will get better and more efficient at preparing your statements and proposals.
General questions to address in these types of written materials include:
- Why are you the ideal candidate?
- What will you bring to the program or project?
- What technical qualifications, abilities, or personal assets can you contribute?
- How will you benefit from the opportunity?
- How will the opportunity advance your career as an artist?
- What will you do with the money? How will funding be used?
As I stated at the beginning of this essay, your portfolio is often the first opportunity you have to impress and influence those in charge of making the decisions and choices that affect you and your work, so remember that presentation matters. Spelling, obvious grammatical mistakes, and a sloppy presentation will make you appear unprofessional.