Student Engagement

Focus: Artist Grant Program

Artists, writers, performers and musicians! Apply for funding for your creative ideas through Focus, a campus organization supporting students in the arts since 1972. Individuals or groups of students of all majors may apply for up to $600 for artistic projects done outside of the classroom. Grants support creation and presentation of new work in visual art, apparel design, writing, theater, dance and musical performances. Funding for Focus Grants is made possible through Student Government; awards are determined by a committee of students, faculty, and staff representing a broad range of the arts. Proposals that most often receive funding show imagination and motivation, have a clear timeline of production, a detailed budget, and a dedicated advisor.


Grant applications are accepted twice a year: April 1 (First Round) and October 1 (Second Round). Performances must take place by mid-March. Visual projects will be exhibited at the Memorial Union in late March for about a month, and a reception will be held to honor the artists and see excerpts from performing and literary projects.

Funded projects may not to be used to receive course credit or as part of a graduate thesis.

Funded projects must be completed according to the schedule provided by the Focus Committee. The committee may ask for a refund of the money expended toward any project not completed on time or not turned in by the deadline.

Focus Grant recipients will receive a Purchasing Card from Campus Organizations Accounting (COA) for all grant-related expenditures. A separate agreement must be signed with COA to receive your card. 

Please read the Focus Grant Application Guidelines for all eligibility requirements and rules for submission.  

Role of Project Advisors

Advisors must be a faculty member with expertise in the project area, and need to provide a written recommendation. (Specific information can be found on the Focus Applications Page.) If your project crosses disciplines, consider having more than one. 

Advisors agree to meet regularly with students to assess progress and troubleshoot. It is the student's responsibility to set up meetings with their advisor.

Advisors will need to submit 1-2 (very brief) progress reports during the course of the project that will accompany the student's visual review meetings with the Focus Committee. (Specific information can be found on the Focus Post Award Page.)

Evaluation of Proposals

The Focus Committee will evaluate proposals based on the following points:

  • Extent to which the applicant presents a convincing rationale for funding the project. The proposal should demonstrate discipline, imagination, and creativity.

  • Extent to which funding the project will contribute to the artistic development of the applicant.

  • Extent to which the methodology proposed will result in the successful completion of the project. The project should be realistic, given time and budget constraints.


Hearings with each applicant are scheduled to allow the committee time to ask questions about the proposal and see examples of the individual's (or group's) work. The hearings last 5 - 10 minutes, and students can bring examples and/or images of previous work to share with the committee. Hearings will be scheduled after the grant proposal is received.

2023-2024 Grants
April 1, 2023                        Applications for first round grants due
Early April 2023                   Grant hearings and award announcements for first round grants
May/June 2023                    Preliminary work may begin and students will receive Purchasing Cards for buying supplies
July 1, 2023                         Students may begin purchasing supplies       
September 10, 2023           Written Progress Reports due for first round students and advisors
September TBA, 2023        Visual Progress In-Person Reviews for first round students
October 1, 2023                  Applications for Second round grants due 
Early October 2023             Grant hearings and award announcements for second round grants
November 2023                  Students will recieve Purchasing Cards and begin buying supplies
January 25, 2024                Written Progress Reports due for first and second round students and advisors
February TBD, 2024           Final Visual In-Person Progress Reviews for first and second round students
March 1, 2024                     Project summaries due for inclusion in brochure
March 18, 2024                   Focus project dropoff at the MU Art Gallery (Specific time TBA)
March - April TBA, 2024     Focus Exhibit on Display
April 1, 2024                        Applications for first round grants for 2024-2025 due
April TBD 2024                    Focus Exhibit Reception at the MU Art Gallery

Focus: Artist Grant Program Committee Members

Letitia Kenemer, Committee Chair, Memorial Union Art Programs
Johnny Diblasi, College of Design Representative
Kristine Heflin, Associate Director, Memorial Union
Raluca Iancu, College of Design Representative

Brenda Jones, College of Design Representative
Emily Thilges, Focus Treasurer

Dan Neubauer, College of Design Representative
Robert Sunderman, Music and Theater Representative
Olivia Valentine, College of Design Representative
Rochelle Zuck, English Department Representative

© 2023 Student Engagement. All rights reserved.