Funding for photography exhibition in London or New York?
January 8, 2013 1:24 AM   Subscribe

I'm an established photographer with a large body of work in travel and performance/event, with a niche in circus arts. I've exhibited in the past, and I'm looking for resources on funding/grants to put on an exhibition in either New York or London.

Slightly more details:

I'm on the west coast of Canada, and have exhibited at shows in the past. I'm trying to boost my gallery CV with a either a full show in London or New York, or to have one or two pieces exhibited at a well known gallery in either of the two cities. With travel, printing and framing costs such as they are, I'm looking for some way of mitigating the expense of putting on a show. I don't need it profitable per se, I'm just looking for some sort of resource so that the whole endeavor isn't so expensive.

Thanks in advance to any suggestions/resources you can point me to.
posted by felspar to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Granting funders will want to see a signed exhibition contract before they pony up. In other words, you're going to need to secure your exhibition venue and show timing before you ask for financial help mounting it.

That said, once you do have a contract and start asking, you'll get answers quite quickly as the funding orgs do understand timeliness when it comes to exhibitions. Note that depending on the program, you may not be able to ask for money for printing your photos.

I can't give you specific suggestions of funding orgs for London or NY; my input is based solely on having received exhibition grants myself for shows in Canada (through the OAC). However, you might find the Canada Council as well as your provincial arts council have programs specifically for traveling exhibitions -- check into their granting calendars, or just call them (that's what they are there for).
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:38 AM on January 8, 2013

Have you considered Kickstarter?
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 5:48 AM on January 8, 2013

Best answer: The granting bodies aren't really in place to support commercial art ventures, which is what your practice sounds like from your description. Still, there's no harm in looking at the project and professional development awards offered through the BC Arts Council. Your profile says you're in Victoria, in which case it doesn't look like your municipal arts council offers grants.

I'm not sure if they run things the same way where you are, but generally professional development and travel grants ("Hi! I have a show! I'd like to be able to attend the opening!") are pretty easy to come by. For a project grant (what you'd need to get assistance for printing, framing, shipping, etc., generally), you'd need to develop the work as you know, a project—something a bit more than "I want to show my travel and circus pictures in New York or London to boost my CV."

Indiegogo (Kickstarter doesn't work in Canada unless you also have a US bank account) is an option if you have an established web presence/"fan base" that you can mobilize. Other than that, it's sell prints, license images, look for gallery representation that'll help offset framing/transport (and maybe printing) costs, the usual.
posted by wreckingball at 9:38 AM on January 8, 2013

(And seanmpuckett is correct: you'll need to have the show arranged before you start asking anybody for money, so your first step is to look at galleries.)
posted by wreckingball at 9:40 AM on January 8, 2013

Response by poster: @Seanmpuckett: Thanks!! I've had a cursory look at Canada Council and have it pegged to review again. Your point about having an existing show booked first is good, thanks.

@Wreckingball: I'll definitely check out the BC Arts Council. I am in, but split my time in the GVRD, so I have a few municipal options to research.

Many thanks for the assistance, this definitely helps getting started.
posted by felspar at 12:45 PM on January 8, 2013

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