Gail Marlene Schwartz of Gail Writes

The following post was written by former Artist In Residence, Gail Marlene Schwartz.

Most artists I know struggle with money. I think it’s safe to say most of us have worked outside of our profession to pay the bills. In my case jobs included cleaning houses, waiting tables, babysitting, petsitting and, yes, during one especially dry spell, even telemarketing. Grants are one of the few sources of income that exist to simply allow us to do our work. Unfortunately, many artists are intimidated by grants. But although there are certain skills involved, I firmly believe almost any serious working artist is capable of learning those skills, and even learning how to do them well.
My own path led me to writing grants at an early point in my career. In the 1990s, I “inherited” a traveling children’s theatre company which had, prior to my being hired, existed in large part through grant funding. Although I hadn’t any experience grantwriting, I had earned a B.A. in English and then a law degree (shhhh!). Believe it or not, it was legal writing that best prepared me for successful grant writing, and the theatre continued to thrive for many years. I’ve been living at least partially on grant money ever since.
My most recent success story with grants happened at Concordia University, which hosted the International Playback Theatre Network’s World Conference 2015, an event that took place in Montreal in early July; I was working with the Steering Committee as a Communications Consultant. One of my colleagues, a theatre professor, qualified for university funding used to pay students assisting with both research and conferences. We designed a project in which students would spend half their time helping out with the enormous workload on site and the other half attending conference workshops, performances and presentations of their choice. I wrote grants for two pots of money, one in the Theatre department and one in the Public Affairs department and we received both. This not only enhanced administrative services for the conference, but gave those eight students the chance to enrich their artistic practices in a way they could never have afforded to do otherwise.

I am grateful to Monika for inviting me to share my experiences with other Starry Night Artists. I had a wonderful residency at Starry Night in 2013 and have happily stayed connected to Monika ever since. Because you are in the Starry Night network, I’m happy to offer you a special rate for my writing and editing services. If you have a proposal you’d like me to help you with or any other type of writing (web copy, press releases, Facebook postings, blogs, newsletters) please get in touch.

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Gail Marlene Schwartz is the owner of Gail Writes, a copywriting business with a special interest in helping artists with grant writing ( Gail is also a creative writer; her short story, “Inside, Crying,” was a finalist for the 2014 Malahat Review Open Season Award for fiction. Her essay, “Loving Benjamin,” was published in the anthology, How To Expect What You’re Not Expecting, TouchWood Editions, 2013; the piece was also awarded Honourable Mention from Room Magazine, creative nonfiction category, 2012. Her play, Crazy: One Woman’s Search for Sanity, was published in the anthology, Hidden Lives, Brindle and Glass, 2012. Gail’s writing has also appeared in Parents Canada, Wilde Magazine, Sundays@6, Vine Leaves Literary Journal, Poetica Magazine, Quiet Mike, Community Arts Network, GO Magazine, Gay Parent, and Ms. Guided. Gail lives in St-Armand, Quebec with her family and is happy to offer a special Starry Night discount to artists in the community looking for help with grant writing.

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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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