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Crafting a Winning Proposal

FIELD/WORK Core Curriculum
Tuesday, October 30, 2018 - 6:00pm to 8:30pm

Artist and arts consultant Meg Leary will lead an in-depth discussion designed to help artists better understand the funding landscape and successfully complete applications for a variety of opportunities.

Proposals for grants, residencies, and exhibition/performance calls are a critical component of most artists’ careers. Yet, administrators for these opportunities report that only 30-50% of applicants are eligible for consideration due to incomplete or improperly formatted proposals.

This workshop aims to ameliorate this statistic to ensure that Chicago artists have the tools needed to apply for opportunities to further their careers. We will explore the field of philanthropy, discuss considerations for evaluating if a program or funding opportunity is a good fit for your practice, and examine the elements that comprise the majority of proposals.

This workshop is part of the FIELD/WORK Core Curriculum, a series of FIELD/WORK Residency sessions that are open to the public. CAC welcomes you to join us at 5:30pm for social time with refreshments, with the program beginning promptly at 6:00pm

Learning Objectives
  • Develop an awareness of the field of philanthropy and research strategies for finding funding and programs for your career
  • Tips for identifying which opportunities to pursue
  • Examine the common elements of proposals and how to prepare competitive proposals
  • Communication strategies for contacting administration before and after application decision
Guest Speaker

Meg Leary is the founder and principal of Meg Leary & Associates, a Chicago-based arts consulting practice providing strategic thinking and creative action plans for artists, arts organizations, and philanthropists. Before beginning her consulting practice, Leary was the Director of Programs for United States Artists (USA), where she led the largest grantmaking initiative for individual artists in the country. At USA she created and managed a rigorous annual nomination, application and panel selection process involving over 1500 artists, curators, producers, historians and experts from diverse backgrounds.

Prior to her role at USA, Leary was the Communications and Program Officer at the Irving Harris Foundation, a Chicago-based family foundation that grants over $15 million annually. She managed a portfolio of grants to support arts and cultural organizations, progressive media, documentary film projects, and social justice, anti-racism, and interfaith efforts in the US and Israel. Previous positions include Director of Development and Operations for the Reeling LGBT Film Festival and roles at the Hemispheric Institute for Performance and Politics and East Coast Artists.

Ms. Leary has a master in fine arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, a master of arts in performance studies from New York University's, Tisch School of the Arts, and a bachelor of arts degree from Smith College. She previously served on the Board of Directors of Links Hall,  ACRE (Artist's Cooperative Residency and Exhibitions), Beyondmedia Education and the Fire This Time Fund. Ms. Leary also has a thriving practice as a visual, sound and performance artist.


Chicago Artists Coalition
2130 W. Fulton Street (look for our dedicated entrance at 2132 W. Fulton Street!)
Chicago, IL


$20 General Public | $10 CAC Artist Members | FREE for BOLT, FIELD/WORK, HATCH, and LAUNCH Residents

This event is SOLD OUT. Registration is closed. We apologize for any inconvenience.