Artist Grants – From Urgent Funds to Creative Projects, A Guide to Applying

By Jasmine Castillo


In the year 2019 – 57 million people worked as freelancers which equates to 35% of the U.S. workforce. Over the past few weeks as COVID-19 has been unfolding and more cases appear, everyone in every industry is beginning to feel the impact. For those who rely on gigs and creative work, who don’t have vacation, or sick days built up to fall back on, this can bring a whole new set of challenges filled with angst and uncertainty.


Especially the financial heaviness weighing on the creative industry which accounts for Film/Commercial/T. V., entertainment, marketing/advertisement, fashion, retail, food & beverage (which includes nightlife and bars) and more. For the first time in my 10+ years of freelancing I’m experiencing this very grey unfamiliar space. Am I concerned? Hell yea! Am I going to let it take over and feed into my anxiety on what’s going to happen over the next month, two or few (well maybe just a bit…)? Instead of feeding into the fear, I’m taking action by talking with as many fellow freelance creatives to discuss what we can do, together, to make ish happen and pulling together resources currently out there that we can utilize to help us get through this challenging time.


I’m with you, as all my event projects are cancelling until further notice over the next two months. So, how can we continue to keep ourselves afloat? I’ve been doing digging and gathering resources that can provide support to my fellow creatives 💪🏾



But first…

Let’s take a moment to breathe, allow ourselves to feel. Take a few minutes, take 15 if needed, but a moment to disconnect and allow yourself to be. Allowing yourself to embrace and process, whether negative or positive. It’s ok to feel all the things. Reaching out to your family, friends, work colleagues, can be a HUGE help in processing what you’re going through.


Another HUGE outlet that helps me get through challenging times is problem solving. I’ve been doing research and gathering of sources so I can be proactive for my community of freelance creatives and myself to get through this greyish period. While there’s still a lot of variables and structures for resolutions being put in place, for the time being let’s work together on lockin’ in that work.



Grants for Creatives

So below is a list I’ve compiled from several sources. While the process of grant writing can be tedious and a tiny bit annoying (I know myself as I have submitted for grants!) Give yourself time and you may want to partner up with someone to help in the areas you may not feel competent in. A skill like writing you may want to reach out to friends, work colleagues or put it out into the social media world that you’re looking for a writer to assist you with grants.  Or, if you need help with organizing information + documentation needed for the grant, reach out to your network or those you know who can point you into the right directions. The Foundation Center provides free workshops for you to learn how to write out and complete a budget for grants. This platform is a great resource to tap into.

Posting your questions and needs on social group pages such as Grants for Artists can help with questions you may have on the grant writing process. Also you can use the search bar in Facebook or Google for Keywords: such as “Artists and Grants” or “Media and Production”  relating to what you need to know.

Different grants require different pieces of information. Generally, grants want you to share an upcoming project with specs, others may provide a residency studio or housing, and with the current circumstances, there are emergency funds such as the majority listed below.

When applying for grants make sure you:

  1. Give yourself time to fill out the application, paying attention to details are important to get approved.
  2. Write simple and clear your needs, wants and goals.
  3. Knowing your expenses, financial situation and how much your income has declined.
  4. Gathering all necessary documentation to submit (in many cases you’ll have to submit digital copies of bank statements, medical bills, testimonials, references) that may be requested. Different grants request different information.


Links for Grants you can apply to (hover and click below:




Final Thoughts

No job position or project is ever 100% guaranteed, whether as an employee or freelancer.  During trying times if you don’t hear back from one grant, don’t give up. LOTS of people are applying. Continue to search and apply, share with people from your professional circle to take a look at what you’ve written so as to get their feedback. This can be discouraging to know but at the same time be the fire under your ass to learn your unique qualities that make you stand out among other applicators.


Once again, if you’re uncertain, reach out to your network (social media being a great place to share your questions) so you can get support in areas you don’t know. Artists groups on Facebook such as Hue You Know provides info on artists opportunities, creative flow and inspo. Joining artists groups on Facebook provides loads of resouces and support.


With these ongoing changes I will continue to update this post and share socially on our artist platform @Esc_Artistsand under my Producer account @ProducerJazz on any newfound info + ways to continue finding our creativity.


We’ll get through this by supporting and building with each other. Our community is a tight and loving one. So, let’s continue sharing within our networks, checking in, video chatting and having building sessions.




There’s a petition going around for our Government to create an aid package for freelancers. Feel free to sign and share so we can get our needs heard!


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