Student Activities Center

Focus: Artist Grant Program

Artists, writers, performers and musicians! Apply for funding for your creative ideas through Focus, a campus organization supporting students in the arts since 1972. Individuals or groups of students of all majors may apply for up to $600 for artistic projects done outside of the classroom. Grants support creation and presentation of new work in visual art, apparel design, writing, theater, dance and musical performances. Funding for Focus Grants is made possible through Student Government; awards are determined by a committee of students, faculty, and staff representing a broad range of the arts. Proposals that most often receive funding show imagination and motivation, have a clear timeline of production, a detailed budget, and a dedicated advisor.


Grant applications are accepted twice a year: April 1 (First Round) and October 1 (Second Round). Performances must take place by mid-March. Visual projects will be exhibited at the Memorial Union in late March for about a month, and a reception will be held to honor the artists and see excerpts from performing and literary projects.

Funded projects may not to be used to receive course credit or as part of a graduate thesis.

Funded projects must be completed according to the schedule provided by the Focus Committee. The committee may ask for a refund of the money expended toward any project not completed on time.

Focus Grant recipients will receive a Purchasing Card from Campus Organizations Accounting (COA) for all grant-related expenditures. A separate agreement must be signed with COA to receive your card. 

Please read the Focus Grant Application Guidelines for all eligibility requirements and rules for submission.  

Role of Project Advisors

Advisors must be a faculty member with expertise in the project area, and need to provide a written recommendation. (Specific information can be found on the Focus Applications Page.) If your project crosses disciplines, consider having more than one. 

Advisors agree to meet regularly with students to assess progress and troubleshoot. It is the student's responsibility to set up meetings with their advisor.

Advisors will need to submit 1-2 (very short) progress reports during the course of the project that will accompany the student's visual review meetings with the Focus Committee. (Specific information can be found on the Focus Post Award Page.)

Evaluation of Proposals

The Focus Committee will evaluate proposals based on the following points:

  • Extent to which the applicant presents a convincing rationale for funding the project. The proposal should demonstrate discipline, imagination, and creativity.

  • Extent to which funding the project will contribute to the artistic development of the applicant.

  • Extent to which the methodology proposed will result in the successful completion of the project. The project should be realistic, given time and budget constraints.


Hearings with each applicant are scheduled to allow the committee time to ask questions about the proposal and see examples of the individual's (or group's) work. The hearings last 5 - 10 minutes, and artists will need to bring examples and/or images of previous work to share with the committee. Hearings will be scheduled after the grant proposal is received.

2020-2021 Grants
September 10, 2020           Written Progress Reports Due for First Round Students & Advisors
September TBD                  Visual Progress Reviews for First Round Students
October 1, 2020                  Applications for Second Round Grants Due 
October 15, 2020                Grant Hearings & Award Announcements for Second Round Grants
January 25, 2021                Written Progress Reports Due for First and Second Round Students & Advisors
February TBD                     Final Visual Progress Reviews for First and Second Round Students
March 1, 2021                     Project Summaries Due for Inclusion in Brochure
March 14, 2021                   Artwork Drop-off for Visual Projects in the MU Art Gallery, 1st Floor
March 21-April 25, 2021      Focus Exhibit on Display
April TBD                             Focus Reception 
April 25 & 26, 2021              Focus Artwork Pick Up from Exhibit

2021-2022 Grants

April 1, 2021                        Applications for First Round Grants Due
April TBD                             Grant Hearings & Award Announcements for First Round Grants

Focus: Artist Grant Program Committee Members

Letitia Kenemer, Committee Chair, Memorial Union Art Programs
Jia Lan Chow, Student Representative
Archana Edmond, Former Grant Recipient
Kristin Erdman, Memorial Union Marketing
Barbara Haas, English Department Representative
Raluca Iancu, College of Design Representative

Brenda Jones, College of Design Representative
Sidney Kiersch, Student Representative
Sara Merritt, Reiman Gardens Educational Specialist 
Sidney Kiersch, Student Representative
Dan Neubauer, College of Design Representative

Robert Sunderman, Music and Theater Representative
Olivia Valentine, College of Design Representative

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