MASS MoCA’s Assets for Artists program and the Studios at MASS MoCA give artists a range of support services, including residencies on the MASS MoCA campus, financial and business workshops, one-on-one coaching, and other professional development tools to help them achieve greater career success and financial independence.

Assets for Artists is also a major collaborator on the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts's ValleyCreates Artist Fund initiative.

Below are our current calls for applications. If you are looking for the Studios at MASS MoCA residency, that program accepts applications twice a year, and the application typically opens 2 months before that deadline (if the application is not listed below, then we are not currently accepting applications). See our department's Studios page for details.


MASS MoCA’s Assets for Artists program seeks experienced New England- or New York-based artists to lead workshops on areas of professional development for artists (addressing the non-art parts of sustaining an artistic practice and career). 

For over more than a decade, Assets for Artists has hosted hundreds of artist-led professional development workshops for more than 1,800 participating artists (primarily located in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut). Our workshops are free (thanks to grant funding), and we serve artists working in virtually all creative disciplines (visual art, performance, social practice, design, fabrication, writing, etc). The target audience should be early- and mid-career artists of any discipline, including those participating in A4A’s grant programs to help them make career plans, build capacity, and increase their financial sustainability. The workshops are intended to help participants identify strategies to increase their professional standing, make their creative practice more sustainable, and develop a planning roadmap for ongoing success. We are eager to hear from a diverse range of voices covering a variety of professional development topic areas, but particularly addressing the specific challenges that artists are facing as we continue to grapple with the effects of the pandemic. We welcome proposals from experienced artists with any type of creative practice/background.

Workshops may be designed for online or in-person format and take the form of either a lecture-style presentation with questions and discussion, or (especially for longer sessions) use more interactive formats with small group exercises and discussion. Applicants may propose more than one workshop (of varying lengths) that they feel qualified to teach. But please note that we ONLY focus on professional development workshops; we do not provide workshops focused on improving artistic technique.

Selected artist-presenters/trainers/facilitators will work with MASS MoCA staff to finalize workshop/presentation design. Meeting logistics will be coordinated by MASS MoCA staff. We expect anywhere from 10-30 participants at our in-person workshops and can hold up to 100 artists in our online workshops (although we can also cap the workshop at whatever smaller number fits your preferred workshop format). Length of proposed in-person workshops may range from half-day (3-4 hours) to a full day (7-8 hours), or even multi-day in-person sessions.  Length of online workshops should limit to 2-4 hours a session, but can cover multiple sessions for more in-depth content. If proposing in-person workshops, you must be able to travel to all parts of MA, CT or RI (we will reimburse travel costs).

Selected workshops may cover any combination of topics listed below. This list is not intended to be exhaustive, nor to dictate which range of topics should be effectively addressed in a single workshop. We invite workshop proposals that reflect what a presenter is best prepared to teach other artists, so the list below is simply to provide some examples. We are interested in seeing proposals that specialize in the knowledge of a specific discipline (e.g. Performing Arts or Public Arts or Creative Writing or artists who create work not traditionally marketable) as well as proposals that can speak to a cross-disciplinary audience of artists.

To see what workshops A4A already offers, visit: https://www.assetsforartists.org/workshops 


We are especially looking for trainers of color who are excited to deliver workshops that will help artists make career/business plans (whether for success in a particular artistic discipline, or for artist business planning across disciplines).


Anticipated Timeline

Request for Proposals Open:              July 5, 2021
Proposal Deadline:                              August 5, 2021
Estimated Presenter Selection Date:  August 31, 2021 (for workshops to be scheduled in late 2021)
Workshop Dates:                                  TBD (2021 - 2022)


Sample Workshop Topics

1. Goal-Setting: How should artists go about setting short-term and long-term goals, and what strategies do they use to implement and track those goals? Provide examples, as well as resources or inspirations for goal-setting.

2. Pricing & Negotiation: How do artists set prices for their creative work (works for sale, installations, community-engaged practices, performances, commissions, etc.), and what strategies do they use to negotiate for what they should be paid? Provide examples.

3. Outreach & Fundraising: How do artists succeed at identifying and connecting with prospective funders and “clients” for their work? What are the key elements of their outreach & fundraising plans? What concrete marketing strategies and tools do they feel have been most effective?

4. Finance, Administration, & Time Management: How do artists effectively manage the finances and overall administration for their creative practice? How have they decided between being a sole proprietor, a for-profit entity, fiscally-sponsored project, independent nonprofit, or some combination? What technology tools do artists use for finance and administration? What time management strategies help artists efficiently do administrative work and protect time for creative production?

5. Individual Sponsorship: How have artists successfully cultivated individual support for their creative projects and their practice overall? Provide examples of how they have identified prospects, and when and how they have made successful asks.

6. Collaboration: Share best practices on how to manage collaborations, and what should artists look for in a collaborator? When does collaboration add value? What are risks and downsides in collaborating?

7. Website & Documentation: How do artists make the best use of their website as an artist? How do they obtain strong documentation of their work, and how do they make the best use of that documentation?

8. Translating for an Audience: How do successful artists explain their work in marketing, project proposals, artist statements and documentation? How do they translate the nonverbal into the colloquial? How do they write for different audiences and different project needs?

9. Solidarity Models for Financial Success: What alternative or less-common financial or business models can lead artists to succeeding in the present marketplace? What tools and resources should artists employ when seeking to operate in a solidarity economy?

10. Social Media for Performing Arts or Writers: How do artists who work in time-based, performance-based or other non-visual mediums optimize their reach over social media?


Deliverables

Selected trainers will be expected to:

1. Provide a clear plan for the proposed workshop(s), and incorporate feedback from MASS MoCA staff to finalize the plan.

2. Prepare workshop agenda, plus any slides, printed handouts, etc. (if relevant).

3. Conduct a presentation/workshop for approximately 10-30 in person, or up to 100 online, targeting professional artists working across all disciplines (or in a specific sector, if your proposal is for more specialized focus).


Presenter Skills

1. Deep understanding of equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility.

2. Significant direct experience in making and presenting art in the field/topic on which you are presenting.

3. Experience in teaching/facilitating workshops is preferred (particularly in teaching professional development strategies and skills to other artists), but is not required. Applicants must be able to show evidence of their skills in the professional development areas they wish to teach/facilitate, and evidence of their overall presentation skills.

4. People of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, women-identifying or nonbinary individuals, individuals with disabilities, and people from under-resourced communities (including economically struggling neighborhoods, and rural areas) are strongly encouraged to apply.


Compensation

Presenters will be reimbursed for travel expenses (when applicable), and will also be compensated based on the length of the workshop to be offered, and the qualifications of the presenter, as follows (fees listed below include prep time, and assume 1 instructor -- although we are happy to consider proposals involving multiple instructors, and we will compensate accordingly, when the content and format warrants multiple instructors):

Online Workshop: $400 - $500 per 2-hour block

3 to 5 Hour In-Person Workshop (including questions and discussion time): $500 - $1,000

Full Day In-Person (7- to 8-Hour Workshop, including questions and discussion): $1,000 - $2,000


MASS MoCA's Assets for Artists Program