My First Scholarship

The following post was written by our director, Monika Proffitt.

When I was first starting out as an artist, I’d see postings for opportunities like grants and scholarships and think that I would ever get them. I had no idea what was supposed to be included in a good application, so I just didn’t apply. I realize that sounds really self defeating and crazy, but I really didn’t think that I could compete against all of the really talented artists that I saw in my city. God forbid the call for artists was national because, I thought, I’d never stand a chance.

It wasn’t until someone I personally knew brought me to a prestigious glass art school for a tour and told me about the scholarship that they offered that I started to consider that I could branch out and apply for something that felt was, otherwise, way out of my league.

I was in my twenties and I didn’t even have a studio outside of my tiny apartment.  Deciding that I didn’t really cook anyway, I dedicated my kitchen to be my painting studio. So you can imagine that when the idea of working with such an expensive material as glass came up, that it was simply out of my realm of imagination.  (I know, creatives are supposed to be imaginative, right? Well, sometimes confidence gets in the way of that.)

But my friend invited me up to have dinner on the Pilchuck Glass School campus as her guest one evening, and that was when the whole “I could never do that/ go there/ get that” thing started to unravel. Thankfully.

Having someone walk you through new territory the first time makes is so much easier to do it for yourself later. What is that saying, again? Something about teaching a man to fish?

Long story short, I applied for and I was awarded a scholarship to attend Pilchuck, and it not only opened many doors for me later (that’s a story for another day) but it made the summer of 2005 one of the most memorable ones of my life. I made great friends, I made better work than I thought I was capable of, I learned to blow glass (well, sort of), and I was encouraged to dream bigger than I had ever thought to before.

Most importantly, I was shown how to apply for opportunities. I was shown what made some applications compelling and interesting, and I was able to use that information to write better applications for other opportunities in the future.  In the end, I wasn’t alone anymore as I tried to make my way as an artist, and that was the best part of it.

But the thing is, that supportive environment shouldn’t just be for the few who find the time (and in most cases, the money) to go to a summer intensive program like Pilchuck. And needless to say, without that scholarship, I could have never experienced it myself.  But now that I have, I have a bit of a soap box to stand on about it.

Fast forward ten years and three arts programs – that I’ve made, not attended.  One of those programs, the residency program, has its own summer intensives, and I love the connections that are made during those small, intimate sessions.  But what about all of the other folks who still need to gain that insight and learn the specifics of a good application like I did?

This is exactly why I’ve created the ART School Scholarship.

It is for artists for an online professional practices training program. The program is called Artist Resources & Tools and it is for artists who want to learn how to apply for grants, professionally put on an exhibition, sell their work online, have a stunning web presence, set up shop legally, and keep all of their records straight.

It’s a video based program with a built in online community, to and help artists get the confidence and skills they need so they can apply for big opportunities and grant money, and ultimately, start making a living doing what they love.

In ART School, there is the same kind of supportive environment full of helpful, knowledgeable folks from all over the world. The program is comprehensive and the community is fantastic. The 8 week program is designed to develop the professional practices that artists need, and do it in an active environment of supportive community.

Artists can start the program whenever they want, and we have guided sessions in case they want more group support along the way.

The curriculum is based on six main components of becoming a professional, full time artist. The course includes trainings and content with specialists in curating, social media, PR, tech, legal, accounting, as well as many “soft skills” that you just don’t learn in school.

To learn more, click here.

To apply to the scholarship program, click here.

Want to join the conversation? Join the Starry Night Artists group.

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Dedicated to nurturing the careers of emerging artists, Starry Night’s programs are designed to lower the traditional barriers that artists face when trying to establish themselves, and help them to start making a living doing what they love.  To learn more about our comprehensive online training program, Artist Resources & Tools, click here.


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