During my eleven years of running CIC projects I have done a huge range of creative arts projects. It is the easiest way to get more funding because the Arts Council grants are easy to get, they are big and you can do small projects and run them more often.
Now you do not need to be an artist yourself. Your CIC does not need to have an artistic mission. You could simply design and manage the project and hire professional artists in.
I loved creative arts projects as they are an easy way to engage hard to reach people. People of all ages are keen to sign up to free arts workshops. So it's a great way to get your engagement numbers up. You can combine it with other non arts outcomes and achieve some great results.
Creative arts activities have loads of benefits;
Art can be a therapy
Brings people together
Teaches new skills
Can create new income streams
Can be a positive new hobby
So what's getting funded?
When filling in the rather large Arts Council England form remember that the project needs to be community led and not just all about the artist. So similar to your lottery community fund application, you will need to demonstrate community consultation and demonstrate a strong foundation with good partners, track record of work and community numbers.
One tip is to partner with a few other Arts Council Funded artists or Arts organisations/venues etc. they love this. It makes your project applicational a lot stronger.
Bring your project to life with a page on your website or a word document showing them your ambition in photos and video of your partner artists work or any previous work achieved. They want to get a sense of what your project will look like.
I have loved my ACE projects. I've done all kinds. Have ADHD I am abit of an artistic octopus, I try a new art form and then move to another. I love that though. This next year I want to do lino cut, zine making, street art murals, ceramics. These all make great workshops and my own projects in them make for good sellable items on Esty.
Having a CIC launched my art career. Before that I was a probation officer, learning photography in my spare time. Picking up that camera changed my life direction. Instantly I wanted out of my job and I just wanted to be creative.
Art hobbies can be life changing and life saving. I know others who survived crime and drugs because they changed paths and focused on a creative passion.
They say 'art is life' and it can give people a new lease of life. It can also give voice. With many art forms offering ways for a person to express themselves. You can give marginalised people a voice. These themes make for great community art projects.
Here is my tips for ACE project outcome that are popular right now (you can combine a few of these in one project application;
1.) Guided art workshops. Get a lead artist to run a session teaching a group of participants.
2.) Exhibition of free community made art work in a public space
3.) Meet the artist, artist guest speaker or Q&A events live or live streamed.
4.) Performances, free to public and broadcast online (video on YouTube)
5.) Art therapy sessions can be 1 to 1 or group with pro artists. With extra sessions with therapists or mentors.
6.) Anthology collection of writing could be poems etc. Or a book with photography or other visual art or illustration. ACE will fund the making of a community collaboration book but not the publishing, you can do that after yourself.
7. Insulation, could be a sculpture or an insulation can have video or audio with headphones in an exhibition.
8. Street art, murals, paste ups, yarn bombing etc. some kind of street art exhibition.
9. Music studios are popular with funders. Producing recorded song and teaching skills.
10. Music videos not films. They don't like films but shorter music videos and some documentaries get funded.
Arts council offer small grants up to £30k for projects 6 months to 3 years! This is a great opportunity.
So get thinking about what you could do. Make it on a unique topic or add something really exciting in they don't normally see. Make sure it's not too big and risky. Must look achievable.
Write any ideas or questions in the comments.