Supporting visual artists is akin to grants provided to scientists and others who explore and innovate. These are not gifts, rather they are investments so that Oregon visual artists can get better at their work by doing their work.
The Foundation spent two years consulting with more than forty visual arts leaders from across Oregon, as well as researching regional and national programs that invest in the visual arts. Through this work we determined the program goals and how best to help mid-career artists who have the greatest potential to make significant strides in the conceptualization and creation of new work.
We found, for visual artists, the greatest need was funding uninterrupted time and resources to learn, to explore and to produce new work as well as mentoring or connections. A nucleus of these thought leaders provided ongoing advice on difficult choices about how to make the highest and best uses of resources and helped identify transformational opportunities to escalate quality in the creation of visual art. The Foundation Board and staff considered recommendations of program elements in light of what it thought Hallie Ford would have appreciated according to her interest in the visual arts.
Organizations Researched for Artists Residencies & Fellowships
The Visual Arts Program will provide funding in seven areas:
Hallie Ford Fellowships in the Visual Arts: up to three annual fellowships, each in the amount of $25,000, to Oregon visual artists who have demonstrated a depth of sophisticated practice and potential for significant future accomplishment. The application will be available through the CaFE application website, www.callforentry.org. This application will open on February 1, 2014.
Artists-in-Residences: two-year grant awards of $40,000 each to three "Golden Spot" residency programs in Oregon that provide opportunities for artists to explore and conceptualize new work. Golden Spots are defined by their distinctive environment that artists repeatedly find particularly compelling and stimulating. Fifty percent of the funding will support the residency program and the remaining fifty percent will provide stipends to the selected artists to help offset life and work expenses. In program year 3, an RFP will be reissued for additional multi-year support. In program years three, four and five, the Foundation will underwrite one or more opportunities for Oregon visual artists to experience a nationally acclaimed residency program. Requests for proposals will be announced in mid-2014 for the next round of funding.
Exhibition & Documentation: funding for the curation, preparation and traveling of exhibitions of works by Oregon visual artists and the production of catalogues and other appropriate materials. Funding for this component is offered once per year. This application will open February 3, 2014.
Capital Projects: awards of "up to" $50,000 for improvements to and expansion of studio, and exhibition and appropriate storage space and equipment at key Oregon visual arts institutions. Funding under this component is offered once per year. This application will open February 3, 2014.
Curator/Critic Tour: support underwrites visitations to Oregon by national curators and critics to consult with visual artists and to participate in community forums on the topic of visual arts. Tours are scheduled in the fall of 2013, as well as the spring and fall of 2014.
Unanticipated Opportunity Funding: resources are provided to artists facing unforeseen prospects for accelerated creation, production or exhibition of their work in association with the Oregon Arts Commission's Career Opportunity Grants process, awards are in the range of $1,500 to $7,500. For more information visit www.oregonartscommission.org.
Art Acquisition Funding: resources to Oregon visual art institutions and public collections are provided for the purpose of acquiring seminal works by Oregon artists to preserve public access to them, in association with the Oregon Arts Commission. For more information visit www.oregonartscommission.org.
Q. What is The Ford Family Foundation Visual Arts Program?
The Ford Family Foundation Board established a 5-year, multi-million dollar Visual Arts Program in 2010 to support the exploration, conceptualization, creation, exhibition and documentation of new work by Oregon visual artists.
Q. Why did the Foundation create this new Program?
The Foundation’s Board wanted to recognize the late Hallie Ford's enduring commitment to Oregon and to honor her longstanding interest and legacy in the visual arts. During her lifetime she grew to know and respect the work of Oregon's visual artists. Mrs. Ford believed strongly that others should have the opportunity to realize and fulfill their talents. Over the past several decades, local and national resources to support their exploration and creation of new work have steadily diminished, making it exceedingly difficult for artists to sustain their practice of art without resorting to work outside their field. As with other professions, artists only get better at what they do by actually practicing their work, and they need additional resources to support the time and materials it requires.
Q. What is the intent of the Program?
The goal of the program is two-fold: to accelerate an enhanced quality of artistic endeavor and bodies of work by Oregon's mid-career visual artists and to improve Oregon's visual arts ecology. It intends to accomplish this by providing resources to Oregon's most promising practicing visual artists to support their exploration, conceptualization and production of new work through enhancing or expanding creative work time and space, and, by making strategic investments in Oregon visual arts institutions that further the progress and exhibit the work of these artists.
Q. What specific activities will the Foundation support?
The Foundation will award funding to qualifying Oregon visual artists and institutions for the following:
Q. How did the Foundation determine which types of activities to support?
The Foundation researched regional and national programs and relevant studies on the visual arts in America and interviewed over 40 Oregon visual arts leaders and visual artists to structure the program. It found, for visual artists, the greatest need was funding uninterrupted time and resources to learn, to explore and to produce new work as well as mentoring or connections. A nucleus of these thought leaders provided ongoing advice on difficult choices about how to make the highest and best uses of resources and helped identify transformational opportunities to escalate quality in the creation of visual art. The Foundation Board considered recommendations in light of what it thought one of its founders, Hallie Ford would have considered appropriate according to her interest in the visual arts. The Foundation is indebted to everyone who gave unselfishly of their time and expertise.
Q. Who is this program intended to benefit?
This program will benefit all of Oregon, not just rural residents and institutions that are the traditional focus of the Foundation's work, by enriching centers of excellence and in so doing to enhance the overall visual arts ecology of the State. It will focus on helping Oregon's most promising mid-career visual artists actively pursue their life work, those who are at a critical crossroads in their practice of art; and by making strategic investments in Oregon visual arts institutions, whose purpose is to advance and exhibit their work.
Q. How is the Foundation going to select recipients?
Recipients are chosen based on the evolution of their work, the quality of their existing work, and the promise of future potential. They are selected by a variety of methods because the Foundation will grant directly to individuals as well as partner with existing organizations that have established selection processes. As the Foundation rolled out the various program elements over the course of its first year, those selection processes and criteria have been communicated to interested audiences.
Q. What is the qualifying criteria for Fellowship funding?
Individual applicants must:
Q. Do all visual arts disciplines qualify for Fellowships?
Application is open to any Oregon mid-career visual artist meeting the above eligibility requirements and actively producing new work in the fields of fine art and contemporary craft. The Foundation recognizes that advancement is being made in a broad array of mediums and, therefore, does not want to be unnecessarily restrictive. The Foundation accepts applications from any visual art medium except film, video and animation. However, it will emphasize the more classic disciplines in the early years of this program, in keeping with Mrs. Ford's interests and experiences.
Q. Has the launch of this new program resulted in decreasing support for other needs?
The Visual Arts Program is a distinctly separate program from the Foundation's traditional Initiatives and grant operations. Please refer to the Foundation's website www.tfff.org for more detailed information on the Foundation's established programs, which include Scholarship Programs, the Ford Institute for Community Building and Grant Programs.
Q. Is this permanent or seed funding for a limited period of time?
The Foundation evaluates the effectiveness of the Visual Arts Program activities and refine program components on an ongoing basis. Near the conclusion of Year Five it will conduct a formal assessment following which Visual Arts Program activities will be considered along with other Foundation programs for future funding.
Q. What is the process for submitting an application or proposal?
The individual program elements have varying procedures. The Foundation utilizes CaFE through WESTAF to manage the Hallie Ford Fellowship application and selection process, a Web-based system especially designed for many types of "calls for entry" such as artist fellowships and juried visual arts competitions. For Artists-in-Residence programs, capital improvements funding, and exhibition and documentation funding, the Foundation will issue requests for proposals to qualifying organizations. The Foundation will select a partner to help implement the annual critic/curator tour and will work in collaboration with the Oregon Arts Commission to provide funding to artists for unanticipated opportunities for exploration and exhibition of their work and to organizations to acquire seminal works by Oregon's leading visual artists. More program details will be released as each element is introduced and refined over time.
Q. When will support for the program be released?
The seven distinct components of the program have built on one another, each with varying start dates over the first 12 months. The Foundation first introduced the Hallie Ford Fellowships in 2010 on Mrs. Ford's birth date: March 17. The qualifying and selection process concluded in June with a public announcement of the three 2010 Hallie Ford Fellows in early July. Other program elements were introduced as follows: Exhibitions & Documentation grants (Spring, 2010 - RFPs); Opportunity grants (Fall/Winter, 2010 - w/OAC); Artist in Residences (Fall, 2010 - RFPs); Critic & Curator Tour (Winter, 2010); Capital Improvement Projects (Winter, 2010 - RFPs); Art Acquisition Fund (Winter, 2010 w/OAC).
Q. What does the Foundation mean by Oregon's visual arts "ecology" and "Golden Spots"?
"Visual Arts Ecology": visual artists do not exist in a vacuum; nor do the institutions that support and exhibit their work. Rather, multiple components -- the artists, the institutions, programs, and other resources -- converge, build on and nurture one another, which ultimately forms the State's "ecology" or visual arts’ eco-system. By investing in both, the Foundation hopes to nourish the encompassing environment that will make increasingly stellar work by Oregon visual artists more sustainable.
"Golden Spots": Oregon is blessed with a multitude of natural settings, the beauty of which inspires artists to conceptualize their work in new ways. Many artists find residency programs to be among the most productive times in their careers, an opportunity to get away from their home environment and concentrate on their work. The result is often new bodies of work, elevated to new heights. Some of these settings have been built out as artists’ communities to provide creative people (artists, writers, performers, etc.) dedicated time and space for creative endeavors. Inherent in these "Golden Spots" is a distinctive environment that artists repeatedly find particularly compelling and stimulating.
Q. How often can an individual or organization apply for visual arts funding?
Generally, the Foundation will not consider additional requests from artists or organizations currently receiving funding, until the current grant is closed. Artists who apply, but are not selected for a Hallie Ford Fellowship, may reapply annually. Organizations seeking funding for exhibitions and documentation, capital improvements, or support for artist in residence programs may apply in response to Requests for Proposals (RFPs) the Foundation initiates. Artists pursuing unanticipated opportunity grants and organizations desiring help with funding acquisition of special works by Oregon visual artists will apply through a process the Foundation has established through the Oregon Arts Commission, www.oregonartscommission.org.
Q. Is the Foundation sponsoring this program alone?
The Foundation is the sole funder of this Visual Arts Program. However, it has actively sought and expects to partner with Oregon's leading visual arts educators, gallerists, museum and other arts professionals to help implement program elements. It also strongly desires to leverage its funding with that of other state and national resources if goals are compatible and mutually beneficial. An example of such was the ability to match funding provided by WESTAF to the Pacific Northwest College of Art with the Museum of Contemporary Craft for the origination and traveling of a major exhibition by an Oregon visual artist.
Q. How and where may I learn more about the Visual Arts Program?
The Foundation's website www.tfff.orghas basic program information is updated on an ongoing basis as new elements are introduced. If you would like to receive regular updates, please forward your email contact information to the following: firstname.lastname@example.org. The Foundation's staff will also do its best to answer questions. Limited staffing prohibits being able to respond to telephone inquiries.
Applicant organizations must have current 501(c)(3) public charity status from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), or be a governmental entity, or be an IRS-recognized tribe with proposed projects in Oregon that fulfill specific program elements: exhibition, documentation and preservation of works by Oregon visual artists.
For questions about the Visual Arts Program contact email@example.com