Monday, October 31, 2011

Something useful...

From the GPL Book Arts Project:

Summer went by quickly.  We are always extraordinarily busy at the library during the summer, what with our Summer Reading Programs for children, teens and adults.  This year was no exception.  Days were filled with face painting, rock ‘n roll history lessons, and poetry slams.  In a blink of an eye, we found ourselves at the end of August, visiting kindergarten classrooms in our yearly effort to bring awareness to September’s Library Card Sign-up Month.  I had hardly stopped to breathe, much less think about the grant that I had written months before.

Then it came.  It was an envelope with a return address to the Alabama State Council on the Arts.  It looked thin, thin like some of the rejection letters I had received in the past.  As I tore open the envelope, I was already imagining the letter inside beginning with the words, “It is with our sincerest regret that we inform you…” Instead, the letter began with, “I am pleased to inform you that the Alabama State Council on the Arts has approved a grant for your organization…”  It went on to state the amount that we had been granted (half of what I wrote the grant for, no doubt because of all the budgetcuts the state has been experiencing), and encouraged us to contact all of our legislators to thank them for their support and let them know how the funds were going to be used. A contract/agreement would arrive soon.  One must sign the contract and return it within thirty days so as to make the grant effective…

The agreement arrived about nine days later.  I have since read the agreement, made more notes about obligations to the ASCA over the course of the project, and mailed it back.  I have created a new budget based upon our grant amount, altered our schedule of events to fit the time constraints of the contract, and have begun emailing artists/lecturers to line them up for the spring.  I am wildly excited about this project, and cannot wait to get started.  We will begin in January.

In the meantime, I will be finalizing our schedule and hopefully be taking a trip to Gordo soon to meet up with Glenn House, Sr.  Glenn, or someone from his artists’ colony who will train me on the tabletop letterpress that we will be purchasing from him.  I very much look forward to the lesson.  No doubt there will be something to blog about after it is all over.

So, between now and our January start time, I will be using this blog to keep everyone posted on project progress and share some of the grant writing process that got me to this point.  I think it might be a useful thing for someone who is curious about writing a grant to the Alabama State Council on the Arts to see the way I addressed certain sections of the application.  I know that when I first began grant writing five years ago, it was difficult to find resources to help me navigate my way through the writing process.  Books about grant writing did not help much.  I learned far more about grant writing by looking at already-written grants and studying them for their secrets than by reading Grantwriting For Dummies.  Maybe someone out there will find what I share useful.

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