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!