Student Activities Center

Focus Application Guidelines

General Information

Students -- undergraduate and graduate in any major -- are eligible to apply for up to $600 in funding for projects to be displayed, performed, projected, or read. 

Funded projects may not to be used to receive credits in a course; all work for the project must be done outside of the classroom.

Each proposal requires recommendation of a faculty member(s) as project advisor(s). Applicants must identify an advisor that will agree to:
•    Ensure, to the best of his or her knowledge, that a funded project is not done as part of any academic coursework for which the student is receiving credit.  
•    Monitor the progress of the funded project.
•    Insist that a funded project be completed according to the timeline approved by the Focus Committee. 
•    Be on campus during the year the project is to be completed.

Focus Grant proposals must be uploaded as a PDF and include a cover sheet, project narrative, budget, and advisor recommendation letter. Instructions on how to upload proposals will be provided via e-mail after the online application form is received (form can be found under "Submission" heading below).

Cover Sheet

Must include the following:
E-mail (s)
Title of Project
Amount Requested
Project Advisor’s Name & E-mail 

Project Narrative

Must include the following:


Include a short summary of the proposed project.


Give a brief statement outlining the theme(s) and ideas to be explored.


Convince the committee that the work is truly worth doing and not merely a rehash of already well-developed themes. References to the work of others in the field and/or to personal, preliminary investigation is important.

Expected Outcomes

Describe anticipated results or outcomes of the project in the sense of furthering knowledge in a field, and evaluate the contribution of the project to the applicant’s artistic development. 
For visual art proposals be specific about what will be exhibited – how many pieces, approximate size, etc.  Explain how you envision the piece being displayed.
For performing artists – explain where the performance will be and why people will attend this event. 


Briefly outline the steps you will take to complete this project, including preliminary work, test pieces, and other preparatory exercises.  At a minimum, include a list of goals for each month.
If you have a performance proposal, incorporate advertising and publicity in your timeline. Include dates for things like posters, a press release, paid advertising, mass e-mails, etc.
The more specific you are, the easier it will be for the committee to understand your process.  It will also help you manage your time if your project is funded.

Applicant's Background

State your department, major, and any coursework that qualifies you for this project as well as special experiences relevant to the proposed project, such as past Focus grants, exhibitions/ publications/performances. Examples of and/or images of your previous work should be included if possible. Please summarize and don't include a full resume.


The first step is to fill out the application form found HERE. You will receive a confirmation e-mail right away. A separate e-mail with a link to a drop box folder will be sent soon after with specific instructions outlining how to upload your application as a PDF.
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. After your proposal is uploaded, you will receive an e-mail invitation to sign up for a 10 minute review time. You will need to bring examples and/or images of your previous work to the hearing.

Budget Guidelines

There is a $600 limit on each proposed budget.
A clear, complete budget breakdown is required for funding. Include the price of each item, source of your price estimate, (e.g., Dick Blick, University Book Store, etc.), and a brief justification for each item. Do not include a "miscellaneous" category. 
Focus grants may not be used to purchase supplies or equipment not consumed in the proposed work.  For example, you may request funding for wood, but not a hammer.  
Focus cannot be used to fund labor costs or travel expenses. 
Remember to include costs for things like framing or other special display needs for visual artists.  
If you are proposing an event, be sure to include costs for advertising, venue, etc.
All events must have at least one performance that is free. 

Project Advisor Letter

All applicants must have a project advisor that is willing to play an active part in the grant process. Project advisors must write a short letter attesting to the student's capabilities as well as providing an assessment of the validity of the project and minimum budget requirements. The letter can be uploaded as part of the grant application PDF, or as a separate document in the drop box. The following questions should be addressed in the letter: 
How long and in what capacity have you known the applicant?
Evaluate the applicant’s capabilities as they relate to the proposed project.
Evaluate the proposed project, including the student’s timeline and plans for presentation.
Evaluate the budget for the proposed project. Are the documented expenses reasonable and accurate?


Contact Letitia Kenemer, Memorial Union Fine Arts Coordinator

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