GENERAL QUESTIONS ABOUT THE FOUNDATION
WHO STARTED THE FOUNDATION AND HOW LONG HAS IT EXISTED?
In 2006, artist Edward Levine established the foundation as an artist-endowed non-profit to support visual artists who are under-recognized by the field.
WHERE DOES THE NAME HARPO FOUNDATION COME FROM?
There is no familial connection to Harpo Marx but this Marx brother inspired our foundation’s name because he managed to communicate without words, which seemed appropriate for a foundation that supports visual artists.
IS HARPO FOUNDATION AFFILIATED WITH HARPO PRODUCTIONS?
No, the foundation is not affiliated with Oprah Winfrey or her company, Harpo Productions.
GENERAL GRANT QUESTIONS
DOES THE FOUNDATION SUPPORT ALL ART FORMS?
Though we have been known to make exceptions, Harpo focuses on supporting the development of visual artists. Creative writing, dance, theatre and film all fall outside our purview. However, a proposal with an interdisciplinary approach may be considered as long as it has a strong visual art component.
HOW MANY GRANTS ARE MADE EACH YEAR?
We typically make 7-10 grants each year. The average grant is $6,000 and grant amounts do not exceed $10,000.
WHEN IS THE DEADLINE TO APPLY?
Deadlines vary depending on the program.
WHEN ARE APPLICANTS NOTIFIED?
Applicants for direct grants to artists and organizations are usually notified no later than December 1 each year. Residency applicants are notified according to the host organization’s calendar. See their websites for specifics.
WHAT ARE THE REPORTING REQUIREMENTS?”
Artist’s who receive funding are required to provide a description of how funding contributed to the development of their work and images or video documentation of any recently completed work. Organizations that receive funding are required to provide a description of the completed project, image or video documentation, and a close-out budget indicating how funding was spent.
In either case, 90% of the funds are released once a grantee signs and returns a ‘Terms and Conditions’ agreement letter issued by the foundation. 10% is withheld until the grantee sends a report detailing how funds were used.
WHEN MUST GRANT OBLIGATIONS BE FULFILLED?
Grantees have 10 months to report back once funds are received. Extensions must be requested in writing and a progress report must be submitted.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO APPLY FOR A GRANT?
As of March 2013, self-defined under-recognized visual artists who are not students but are U.S. citizens may submit proposals on their own behalf. Non-U.S. citizens, even permanent residents of the U.S., are not eligible. Artists who are students at the time of the application deadline are not eligible.
Tax exempt 501(c)3 organizations are eligible.
Institutions in countries outside of the United States are eligible but if awarded must be prepared to supply the foundation with a legal affidavit written in English qualifying its tax exempt activities and structure.
Fiscal sponsors are eligible.
HOW DO YOU DEFINE ‘UNDER-RECOGNIZED’?
To determine whether an artist is ‘under-recognized’ we look at an artist’s resume and overall presence in the field. If we see that the artist has already achieved a certain amount of prominence and recognition because they have (1) presented their work at venues such as major museums, art centers, international biennales, (2) received multiple notable awards and grants, (3) enjoy the representation of a prominent commercial gallery, we would likely not consider them to be ‘under recognized’ by the field.
As a general rule, we prefer our funding to go toward providing opportunities and encouragement to artists who have yet to receive this level of support.
GENERAL RESIDENCY FELLOWSHIP QUESTIONS
HOW DO I APPLY FOR A RESIDENCY FELLOWSHIP AT THE VERMONT STUDIO CENTER OR SANTA FE ART INSTITUTE?
Our partners at Vermont Studio Center and Santa Fe Art Institute administer these funding opportunities and artists apply directly to them using their respective online applications.
WHEN IS THE DEADLINE TO APPLY FOR THE NATIVE AMERICAN RESIDENCY FELLOWSHIPS AT VERMONT STUDIO CENTER?
The annual deadline is February 15.
WHEN IS THE DEADLINE TO APPLY FOR THE EMERGING ARTIST FELLOWSHIP AT SANTA FE ART INSTITUTE?
The annual deadline is October 1.
FUNDING QUESTIONS FOR ARTISTS
HOW DOES AN ARTIST APPLY FOR DIRECT SUPPORT?
If you are a U.S. citizen, you may apply for direct support using the foundation’s online application form.
IS MY DIRECT GRANT SUBJECT TO INCOME TAXES?
Please consult with your accountant to discuss the tax implications.
MAY I SUBMIT MORE THAN ONE PROPOSAL A YEAR?”
No. Artists may submit only one application. Artists who are working with an organization to submit a ‘New Work Project Grant’ may not also submit a proposal for a ‘Grant for Visual Artists.’
IF I HAVE ALREADY RECEIVED SUPPORT FROM THE FOUNDATION, MAY I APPLY AGAIN?”
If you are an artist who has received a direct grant from the foundation, you are not eligible to receive another such grant. If you have been supported through an organizational project grant or one of our residency fellowship partnerships, you are eligible to receive a direct grant, and vice versa.
WHAT IS THE ACCEPTED FORMAT FOR WORK SAMPLES AND HOW ARE WORK SAMPLES REVIEWED?”
Accepted file types are .jpg, .mp3, .mp4, .mov. Work samples are viewed on computer screens. For video samples, applicants may use a link option to direct us to a video on vimeo or youtube or artist’s website. If it is password-protected, be sure and include the password.
WHAT IS A FISCAL SPONSOR?
A fiscal sponsor is a registered non-profit organization that is set up to serve artists in a variety of ways, including accepting grant funds on behalf of artists such as New York Foundation for the Arts and Fractured Atlas. However, any non-profit that agrees to manage grant funds for an artist, including fulfillment of reporting requirements, may serve as a fiscal sponsor.
FUNDING QUESTIONS FOR NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS
MAY WE SUBMIT MORE THAN ONE PROPOSAL A YEAR?
• Presenting venues and hosting organizations may only submit one application a year.
• Fiscal sponsors may submit proposals on behalf of more than one artist a year.
IS A CURATED EXHIBITION WITH MULTIPLE ARTISTS ELIGIBLE?
Harpo funds must be directed to a specific artist or collective as opposed to an overall program or exhibition. We know there are many worthy programs and exhibitions being developed and run by organizations but our funds are limited so we need to stay focused on supporting the development of individual artists and their potential.
MAY WE SUBMIT A PROPOSAL WITHOUT AN ARTIST IN PLACE?
Submitting without an artist in place will not serve your application well. The board looks at the proposed artist’s work samples very carefully and this is the primary way that decisions are made.
HOW DO FOREIGN ORGANIZATIONS APPLY FOR A GRANT?
Foreign organizations may apply for a grant using the same process as US-based organizations. However, if awarded and prior to receiving funds, foreign organizations must provide several documents (all translated into English) to qualify their activities as the equivalent of a U.S. non-profit organization, i.e. bylaws, incorporation papers, description of programs and activities. Harpo’s staff and legal team work with the foreign organization to create a legal affidavit that must then be stamped and signed by the nearest U.S. consulate’s office to the foreign grantee.
WHAT IS A NON-PROFIT DETERMINATION LETTER?
We request this letter during the Letter-of-Inquiry phase of our application process. For U.S. organizations, the IRS sends this letter to non-profits to confirm their status as a registered non-profit. For foreign organizations, the letter issued by your government to confirm your organization’s legal structure will work at the time of application. However, if awarded, foreign organizations must provide additional documentation before funds are released. (See above question for more details)
I AM AN ARTIST WHO ALSO WORKS FOR OR IS INVOLVED WITH THE APPLYING ORGANIZATION. MAY I APPLY FOR THIS GRANT IN SUPPORT OF MY OWN WORK?
We do not make grants to organizations when the proposed artist is a self-interested party or employee of the organization. We consider this to be a conflict of interest.