Over the years, the Firefly Arts Collective (FAC) has been proud to provide grant support to Firefly artists to enable them to express and fulfill their varied creative visions. These grants are intended to support and promote radically-expressive, community-based, interactive and/or collaborative projects that help define and shape the creative core of the event.
The Creativity Grant is our primary grant, and is designed to fund creative new projects to be shared with our community during the Firefly event.
What are we looking for?
We are looking for cool stuff, inspiring stuff, stuff that’s fun to look at, play with, experience, or think about. This doesn’t need to be a “traditional” art form like sculpture or painting (although it could be!), nor does it need to be the kind of Big Impressive Art that you might remember from Burning Man (although it could be!). It could be an immersive space, a roving performance experience, or a big silly game.
You can think about it like this: what would you be excited to discover in the woods? These grants are here to support expression, community, and playfulness, so anything that fits under that umbrella can be considered. Don’t feel hemmed in!
We are especially interested in proposals from people who aren’t sure they are artists, are *very* sure they aren’t artists, are worried they aren’t good enough, or have never tried to do anything artistic before. Sharing your weird niche hobby with the rest of Firefly is still an act of Art, and we want to see it!
What we don’t give grants for
Please do not include transportation costs (to and from Firefly) as part of your budget. As long as you can get to a few common “Art Hubs” in the Camberville/Boston area, FAC will be arranging for free transportation for your art. Your budget can include anything you need to make the project happen (e.g.: art-specific, materials, fuel, etc.).
Time and effort is how we all participate and contribute to the Firefly Community, so please don’t include labor costs or wages in your budget. We do not fund general-purpose durable goods like DJ / VJ gear or a generator, and we won’t fund your tickets, your food or camping gear, or pay for your labor.
A Note About Deadlines
Because Creativity Grants are in high demand, we handle the applications in two rounds. The application process is exactly the same, but some people need a little more time to complete their proposals, and if you apply early, you get a response early! That’s literally the only difference 🙂
Proposals will be evaluated based on the following factors:
- Thoughtfulness: how well thought out is the project’s relationship with participants?
- Creativity: how original and awe-inspiring is your project?
- Feasibility: how feasible is this project?
Advice for Prospective Artists
After many years of reviewing Grants and seeing what succeeds in the woods, the Art Grant Committees have collated the following tips:
- We do not fund art intended primarily to be enjoyed by the camp showing the art. Make sure to explain how your project can be experienced by everyone at firefly, not just your camp.
- We are not inclined to fund ball pits unless the design is significantly creative, impressive, and different from what has been done before.
- Please note that electronic and mechanical projects have a high rate of failure in the woods. If your project involves soldering, software, or moving parts, please put extra effort into convincing us the project will succeed.
Grants are currently available at the following tiers:
- $1500 (early round submissions only)
- $2000 (early round submissions only)
Please indicate which tier you are applying for in your grant application (you may apply for multiple tiers!). Unlike previous years, there is no partial funding model this year.
Summary of Deadlines
- TBA: Applications open
- Mar 5: Applications due
- Apr 2: Grants awarded
- July 4-9: Firefly Event
- TBA: Grant Documentation Deadline
- TBA: Applications open
- Apr 2: Applications due
- Apr 30: Grants awarded
- July 4-9: Firefly Event
- TBA: Grant Documentation Deadline
Grant Submission Application Deadline
These are a strict deadlines. Proposals submitted after the deadline will NOT be considered. If the committee has questions about your proposal, there will be time to respond.
Notification of Receipt of Grant
All applicants will be notified via email. If your project is funded, we will send you a contract to ensure that you are willing to commit to using the funds as proposed and that you agree to follow through on your project, or at least make a good-faith effort. If you fail to send in the contract by the contract deadline, your art grant funds will be distributed to the next grant in the waiting list.
Grant Disbursement Schedule
- 75% –once the signed contract is received. Even if your project doesn’t turn out as proposed, this money would not need to be returned. It is for you to try to make your vision a reality, but it’s not a conditional loan.
- 25% – after Firefly, confirmed site clean-up, and documentation received
Once the signed contract is received, you will receive 75% of your awarded amount; the remaining 25% will be distributed once the project is completed and documentation is received, (see question #13 of the Application). Your project will be considered to be complete once proof and documentation have been delivered to, and reviewed by, the Art Grant Review Committee.
If selected, your project must be set up no later than Friday, July TBA at 6 pm.
- What do I need to know about Firefly? Check out the Survival Guide for everything you need to know about Firefly Arts Festival.
- Will Firefly provide assistance transporting art to the event? Firefly has an Art Truck and will make an effort to assist in transporting all grant recipient projects to and from Firefly.
- When do projects need to be installed by? All projects must be completed by Thursday of the event. Failure to complete your project by this time may result in a withholding of the grant deposit.
- What do you mean by Leave No Trace? Firefly is a Leave No Trace event, meaning that we seek to minimally impact our environment. Don’t use materials like sequins, feathers, or styrofoam that break apart into pieces that are difficult to clean up. Make sure that every single part of your project comes back with you at the end of the event! In addition to the material you bring with you, please remember to leave the environment as you found it! This means treating the trees well (don’t cut them down or drill things into them!), filling up any holes that you create, and generally taking good care of the land. For more on Leave No Trace, read Burning Man’s LNT Guide.
Submitting Your Application
Please submit your application as a PDF file via our grant application web portal.
There’s no standard format as long as you answer all of the required questions below! Please do NOT include any identifying information about the artist — our committee process is screened so that all applicants are anonymized. Your account provides all of the information we need.
Please specify on your applications that you’re applying for a Creativity Grant. Remember the three criteria, and convince us that your project meets all three! Make sure that the Review Committee can understand why your project is so awesome (and feasible!).
Crafting Your Proposal
Art Grant proposals are PDF documents created by the artists that are uploaded to our custom grant review portal. There are no strict size or page requirements, but your proposal should address all of the items mentioned below. If you need help creating a PDF file please contact email@example.com -- we do not want lack of computer expertise to be a barrier to the creation of art.
When creating your document, be as visual as possible, through images as well as language. Sometimes it’s difficult to envision exactly what the awesome thing is being described in the text, and pictures go a long way towards making your vision clear. Scanned pencil drawings, photographs, or CAD models are all helpful in conveying what you envision.
While beautiful document layout helps with readability, some of our best art installations had grant proposals which consisted of a few concise paragraphs of text and literal MSPaint doodles. The review committee understands that a great carpenter may be a horrible draftsperson.
- Short Art Description (under 150 words): Start with a short paragraph description of your project, similar to what you'd find on a small card next to a work in a museum. This will be included in a Firefly guide and made available to Firefly participants and Art Tour guides.
- Experience Design: Tell the Art Grant Committee about your project. Please include the concept, the scale, how people are to interact with it (is it visual? aural? tactile? experiential?), and anything else relevant to the experience. How is this new or different from other projects participants may have seen? Please include any relevant drawings, sketches, images, or inspirations.
- Technical Design: How will you actually create this? What sort of materials, hardware, tools, personnel, etc. will you need? How will it be constructed? How much are you making yourself vs buying pre-made from the internet? Please include relevant sketches and diagrams. The more detailed, the better. If you are creating art that is electrical, electronic, or mechanical, due to historically high failure rates, it helps to have made a prototype or proof-of-concept, though this is not strictly required.
- Installation Plan: How will you get your project to its placed site? How will you weatherproof it? How will you make sure you complete it before Burn Night Eve? If this is an experience, when and how often will it be scheduled? Convince us that you can make this project happen in the middle of the Vermont woods in July.
- Risk Analysis: Please perform a risk analysis. What might prevent the project from being completed? What safeguards do you have in place? How do you plan to protect the project or participants during the day or night and from the project’s correct function or error? What are the potential health hazards or danger to the environment? How will you protect your art from wind and rain? Please include a detailed safety plan if the project requires structural, combustible, or other qualities of risk. Some large-scale art, or projects utilizing fire, for example, may be subject to greater scrutiny/further questions from the Art Grant Review Committee. ANY Art that incorporates fire or lithium batteries MUST be reviewed by the Fire Core. For further ideas about safety of public art, please see the Burning Man website.
- Project Timeline: Attach a timeline for your project. We want to know that you’ve thought through how long this will take to build. Include the required dates included in the Summary of Deadlines.
- Project Budget: Attach a separate table with an itemized budget that lists all of your expected expenses (including material costs, equipment rentals, consumables, etc.) Please also list a separate table showing how you plan to cover these costs — what portion of the expenses will be covered by the grant? How much from other funding sources (fundraising, personal funds, etc.)? You may provide several proposed funding models, one for each grant tier you apply for. Remember — you can apply for multiple funding tiers, but there is no partial funding. If you have major equipment expenses (including but not limited to computers, generators, or sound equipment), we ask for a three year outline of how your art will be presented. We do not buy expensive durable items for a one-time installation.
- Project Placement: Where would you like your project to be placed? Priority will be given to returning projects, though final placement will not determined until Placement Weekend in June. Note that the terrain at Firefly is uneven and often muddy. If you have never been to Firefly we can help you with this.
- List of Future Appearances: Will your project live on after Firefly? Please list any and all other events that your project will be installed. The more money you are asking for the more we will want a plan for a long life.
- Leave No Trace Plan: Please describe your LNT Plan.
- Fire Plan: If your project incorporates fire in any way or uses lithium batteries, please describe what safety measures you are taking. You will also have to get approval from Fire Safety (FAST). In general, we do not allow artists to burn projects as a way of dismantling their project.
A note about tickets
In addition to the donation of your time and efforts, all attendees and their helpers must apply for their own tickets to the event. If an artist or a mission-critical team-member is put on the waitlist, one (1) ticket will be allotted to the art project to guarantee that it can be realized at Firefly.
- Am I required to register for a ticket? Yes! All participants in the Firefly Arts Festival must register for a ticket.
- If my grant proposal is accepted will I still have to pay for my ticket? Yes! All participants are expected to pay for their ticket.
- What if my project needs more than one person to execute it? Will my entire group be guaranteed tickets to the event? If the grant recipient or a critical team member is put on the wait list, each grant recipient can request one (1) discretionary ticket. The ticket may be allocated to any individual on the grant team (not just the contact). Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for discretionary tickets.
Art Grant review committee
In order to create an impartial review, applications will be blinded before they are submitted to the Art Grant Review Committee. The committee members will score each proposal based on the criteria listed above.
Feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com if you have any questions!