What is a grant and what will it cover?

Grant funding is traditionally the best-known type of funding for artists. Consequently, it is a highly competitive field with many more people applying for grants than can be supported.

A grant is a form of subsidy – it provides funding for an activity that could not be expected to generate income in other ways, or in some cases to cover up-front or start-up costs to creative businesses that otherwise wouldn’t get off the ground.

Grants are awarded by application, and cover specified project costs.  If you are awarded a grant you can only use it for what you applied for.

They are ideal for kick-starting activity that might otherwise not be able to happen, like producing a new work, developing new skills or undertaking research and development.

However, there are limits to when grants are useful:

  1. Grants are short-term and awarded for specific projects.  It is not a solution to ongoing costs.
  2. Funders will only offer grants according to their priorities, which might not be the same as yours.
  3. Grant funding is in high demand and applying is time-consuming.
  4. You can waste a lot of time making unsuccessful applications.
  5. Grants are often targeted at organisations rather then individuals so you should check eligibility guidelines carefully.
  6. Grants applications are usually only accepted at specific times and you may need money before the funder’s next deadline.

It is also worth noting that grants may also still be eligible to be taxed, depending on the funder and purpose of the grant.  Consult an accountant or tax adviser.

You can also learn how to make better applications and check our tips for when to apply for grants.

This article is from the Artlaw Archive of Henry Lydiate's columns published in Art Monthly since 1976, and may contain out of date material.
The article is for information only, and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.
Readers should consult a solicitor for legal advice on specific matters. Artists can get free online legal information from Artquest.