If you have a vision for your dance studio but are lacking the funds to see it realized, you might be looking at grants for dance programs. There are plenty of funding opportunities available for dance studios if you know where to look, but they’re not easy to lock down. If you’re serious about making your dream into a reality, brace yourself for months of preparation and piles of paperwork and get ready to compose some killer rhetoric.
Finding the Right Grant
The first thing you’ll need to consider when you’re applying for grants for dance programs is what makes your studio stand out. Right off the bat, know that nonprofit organizations generally have more funding opportunities. However, there are some grants available to profitable organizations, assuming they are special or exemplary. If your studio works with underprivileged youth, contributes to the community or provides artistic development for children who would otherwise go without, you’re a prime candidate for funding.
When you start searching for a grant or funding program, there are a few places you can look. Large domestic organizations like the National Endowment for the Arts generally have a few funding opportunities at any given time. The NEA give grants to organizations who run special projects that make a difference in their community or field.
You can also look on the websites of national dance organizations, such as Dance USA. They will often compile lists of funding opportunities specifically for studios. Finally, check out any regional dance and arts groups, whether you’re a member or not. Websites like the New England Foundation for the Arts have a variety of funding programs for different performing artists and organizations.
The Application Process
Applying for a grant is pretty similar to the college application process: lots of forms, lots of writing and lots of painting yourself in the best light possible. Every application will be a little different, but there are a couple aspects that will be pretty uniform.
First of all, there will be strict deadlines, especially for national grants. Many times there will be staggered due dates for various parts of the application, so get a calendar and write them down! If you miss one, you’re done. It’s likely that you’ll be required to fill out some sort of federal reporting form, like an SF-424 (Application for Federal Domestic Assistance) to ensure that you really do need the money.
Finally, once you’ve finished the initial paperwork and essays, you’ll need to provide samples of your work, biographies of important individuals and statements from your customers and community members. This will probably be one of the most time-consuming aspects of your application and doing a good job is crucial to attaining funding.