So you just won an award as an artist? Congratulations! First of all, winning any award as an artist is huge and can be validating. I know that when I won my first award it was hugely validating as I never considered myself to be an artist previously, but the fact that my work was chosen by art professionals and judged by them, made it feel incredibly validating. BUT, there are ‘hidden’ extras that you can capitalize on as an awardee which can be smart moves in the future.
1. Establish a Connection with the Program Director or Program Assistant
Typically the program directors at non-profits tend to be young professionals who may or may not stay in the position very long. I know that the current program director at the time I won the VSA Award of Excellence she was moving on, and then the person who filled the position after her just moved on as well. But you want to establish a professional connection with them through linkedin or another social media outlet. Since these people move on, they may wind up in another really good position at another company and you’ll already have a connection there!
2. Utilize their mission and social media presence to promote your work
Sometimes these organizations would be open to promoting your own artwork since you’re the awardee. So don’t hesitate to send your links over, the least they can say is ‘no’ and that’s fine. Sometimes they only promote content that comes through their organization not necessarily others but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
3. Request Fiscal Sponsorship
This is probably the single most important thing you can do to capitalize your award as an artist. Many grant organizations don’t offer grants to individuals, so sometimes you have to find an organization that will basically stand up for you as an artist and offer fiscal sponsorship. All you need to do is get the W-9 form from the organization proving their non-profit status, and sometimes something in writing. Some websites suggest this so that both the artist and the organization are on the same page about what is expected and accepted. Though it depends on the organization, if it’s open-ended just be smart about it and make sure your project is inline with the organization’s mission.
So there you have it! You have this wonderful opportunity presented to you as an awardee at a prestigious competition, you want to make the most out of it and establish a relationship with them. They will be thrilled too to see what becomes of their awardees. It may be your 15 minutes of fame, but whose to say you can’t stretch and milk it afterwards? It helps you build a structure for more future successes.