Dance CA$H Grant Deadline – May 9

Bay Area Choreographers:

The Spring deadline for Theatre Bay Area’s CA$H Grant is rapidly approaching!

Postmarked: May 9, 2011

Application guidelines and materials can be found at:

CA$H is a grants program designed to support professionally oriented dance artists and small companies with budgets under $100,000.  (There is also a separate sister grant for theater companies.) Its purpose is to spark a creative surge throughout Northern California’s theatre and dance community by providing grants to artists ($2,000) and small-sized organizations ($4,000).  These grants are funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund/Grants for the Arts.

Funding decisions are made by a rotating five-member panel.  I have served as a member on this panel and highly recommend it to anyone that has applied or is thinking about applying for this grant.  All you have to do is attend a CA$H Grant workshop and panelist training with Theatre Bay Area and sign up.  Your name will be added to a pool of panelist that are chosen a few months before each deadline.

Call Theatre Bay Area for more information: 

CA$H Information Line: (415) 430-1140, ext. 14

I’m Attending Boot Camp for Artists at CounterPULSE

The spring session has already started, but I highly recommend taking a future session of this course. It is great!  More to come about what I’m soaking up.

Thanks to Creative Capacity Fund for funding my attendance.

CounterPULSE Presents Boot Camp for Artists

with Jessica Robinson Love

Intensive skills for raising money and attention

Whether you’re a choreographer who’s self-producing for the first time, a director who’s ready to expand your company, an experienced artist looking to brush up on skills, or a performer looking to get a part-time job in arts administration, this crash course will give you the skills you need to kick-start your career.

The bootcamp includes 18 hours of instruction, plus in-person presentations by local editors and funders. Your art deserves the investment!

Session I– Getting the Money– April 11th & 18th

(Grantwriting & Fundraising)

  • How to talk about your own work so that you can raise money for
  • How to talk to funders and find grants that are appropriate for
  • Step-by-step guidance on grantwriting, including creating a budget,
    getting letters of recommendation, and selecting work samples.
  • Overcoming your fear of the Individual Donor Letter.
  • How to throw a successful fundraising event.
  • Finish this session with a completed Zellerbach proposal and samples
    of successful grant proposals.

Session II—Getting Attention (Marketing & Publicity)– April 25th & May 2nd

  • Secrets to a great press release.
  • When to send out your press release and who to send it to.
  • Who to call, when to call them, and when to leave them alone.
  • Creating inexpensive and beautiful posters and postcards.
  • Effective word-of-mouth publicity and creative marketing.
  • Putting together a press kit and a press file.
  • Finish this session with a completed press release and samples of
    successful press releases.

Session III—The Show (Production)– May 9th & 16th

  • How to find a venue, read a contract, and get a good deal.
  • Building a dream production team and a realistic budget.
  • How to talk to technicians and understand basic lighting design.
  • How to invite presenters and other “important people”
    to your show.
  • Options for effectively handling tickets, reservations and house
  • Overall career planning strategies for artists.
  • Finish this session with a working understanding of a theater and
    sample contracts, timelines, light plots, and more.

Cost: $250 for the series ($200 for CounterPULSE, Intersection & Dancers’ Group Fiscal Sponsees)


Triptych: A Night of Dance by Kelly Bowker, Gretchen Garnett, and Ishika Seth

Tickets are now on sale for Triptych: new work by Kelly Bowker, Gretchen Garnett and Ishika Seth

This evening of exciting new modern dance delves into the diverse themes of death, dreams, anxieties about art making and parallel universes.  This performance includes new music by composers Brendan Berry (New York City) and Brooke Bowker (Michigan) and performances by Bay Area dancers Jennifer Bennett, Kelly Bowker, Leah Curran, Chad Dawson, Gretchen Garnett, Jackie Goneconti, Shannon Hanly, Julie Potter, Whitney Rickards, LizAnne Roman and Lindsay Shapiro.

April 8-9, 2011 (Fri-Sat)


Counter/PULSE – 1310 Mission St. @ 9th St., San Francisco, CA

$10-$20 (sliding scale)

Click here to buy  your tickets now!

Dos and Don’ts – Work Sample Submissions


1) Submit a work sample that is not from this decade.

  • Funders are interested in supporting artists that have been creating art in the present and on a consistent basis.  If you really don’t have anything else to submit, toy with the idea of holding a very formal rehearsal – spend the money to rent a professional space, costume your dancers in something more formal than rehearsal clothes, try to work with some lighting if possible.

2) Submit a rehearsal video.

  • Rehearsals are for creation and polishing and lets face it, no one wants to watch a video of dancers floundering through movement that they just learned.  As I mention above, if you do not have another work sample to submit – hold a formal rehearsal – professional space, costumes, lights, music.

3) Submit a video that is not appropriate for the specific funder.

  • If you are applying for a grant from a foundation with a very family friendly history it is not appropriate to submit a work sample with foul language and nudity.  Due diligence is necessary – research the funder very thoroughly before you submit your application.


1) Dedicate a chunk of time to thinking about the work sample section of the application.  Give yourself at least 30 minutes to review the submission.  This does not include time spent editing and creating the media.

2) Write about your work sample – try to relate it as much as you can to the written application.  Even if this is not something you actually submit with your application, it will help you to clarify why you are applying for this particular grant (beyond the simple “because I need money, duh!”)

3) Review the grant application criteria, the funders history and mission statement and your company’s history and mission statement.  Ask yourself, does this work sample support what I have written so far.

Zellerbach Family Foundation Grant Deadline – March 22

 The deadline to apply for a grant from Zellerbach Family Foundation is fast approaching – March 22, 2011.


If you are an emerging artist in the Bay Area, the Community Arts Grant through the Zellerbach Family Foundation is a great way to get funding! This foundation has a long history of encouraging new artists.

Examples of Grants by the Community Arts Panel include:

• Dance: Gretchen Garnett & Dancers, Intermediate Levels of Disturbance
• Theater: Z Space Studio, The Companion Piece
• Festivals: Arab Cultural and Community Center, The Arab Cultural Festival
• Poetry: Poetry Flash newspaper
• Music: Circuit Network, Pamela Z’s Room


Non-profit community arts organizations doing their work in San Francisco, Contra Costa, and Alameda counties, representing the fields of dance, theater, visual arts, music, festivals, poetry, literature, and publications are eligible to apply. Films and videos are not eligible. Youth-performed or youth-oriented programs are not eligible.

The Community Arts program supports mainly performance-oriented requests that represent contemporary, cutting-edge new work. Traditional work such as the performance of Mozart’s music, a production of a Broadway play/musical, the performed reading of the works of a traditional poet like Carl Sandburg would not be eligible.

This is a fairly involved application so get started today!

Getting a Grant – Submitting Effective Work Samples

I recently had the pleasure of viewing a video of a close friend’s MFA Thesis Dance Concert.   I was left with one very prominent thought: “This is a great example of a work sample submission for a grant!”

In October 2010 I served as a panelist for Theater Bay Area’s CA$H Grant for Dance.  We viewed every possible kind of work sample that one could imagine.  The videos that were successful were clearly considered an important part of the application.   This seems like common sense, but many applicants focused only on the written application and threw in a DVD of their most current performance without taking time to consider if using this as a work sample will add value to the grant proposal.

The videos that stuck out had the following elements:

Attention grabbing beginnings: If the panel is not engaged within 10 seconds they will not continue to watch.  Out of the 75 work samples we choose to view, only about 10 were fully watched.  It’s no coincidence that the dance companies that were funded submitted high quality videos that we watched in their entirity.

– Details matter.  A video that was thrown together, looks thrown together.  Funders want assurance that their investment will result in quality art.  Show them that you make quality art.

– Context matters. For example, if you are applying for a grant for a project that involves a large group of dancers, submit a work sample that demonstrates you are able to create a well-crafted dance with more than one dancer.

Things to consider when you are choosing and editing your work sample:

– The beginning: The work sample does not have to start at the beginning of the dance:  Que the video to a part of the dance that is attention grabbing, yet still relevant to your proposal.

– Context, Context, Context: Almost every application you will ever apply for is going to ask for a written project description and a history/bio of the choreographer or company.  Please make sure that the video you submit visually supports the writing.

  • Example 1: If your history/bio states that your movement is influenced by Merce Cunningham make sure that your work sample clearly reflects this.
  • Example 2: If your project proposal is to create a work collaborating with a German choreographer, show an example of a collaboration you have engaged in during past work.

This is all easier said than done. As a young artist, it is not the norm to have a large array of high-quality videos to choose from.  Maybe you are applying for a grant and you only have one or two videos to choose from – this is where the “work sample description” section come in!

Most grant applications allow you to include a description of your work sample. Use this!

– The Work Sample Description: The name of the piece, when and where it was performed is fine, but it does not say anything about why you chose to use this particular work sample to support your application.  This section of the grant is often short (1-2 sentences), but try to find a way to use it to your advantage. If this is your only video that you have, be honest and say that, however, it is really important to also find a way to verbally relate what the viewer is watching to what you are proposing; how this is an accurate representation of your specific style as an artist.

Always refer back to your artist history/bio and project description.  Pick out the strongest language that you find – try to relate as much of this language as you can to your work sample.

Have fun and good luck!