Eligibility and What Is Funded

  • All Brandeis undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and staff are eligible for funding. 
  • This year, we are looking for projects that make significant connections to the theme of LIGHT.
  • A jury of faculty, staff, and students evaluates applications and recommends funding.  
  • Grants average $50 to $500, with occasional exceptions. See descriptions of previous awards.
  • Grants are distributed on a reimbursement basis, although Brandeis can pay some vendors directly.

What Is Not Funded

  • Festival grants may not be used to purchase major pieces of equipment (cameras, computers, etc.). You may use your grant to rent equipment, however.
  • The Office of the Arts does not fund senior thesis projects, but we will support your project in other ways (publicity, planning, logistics).
  • The grants are not intended to replace department or F-board funding. We do not fund senior thesis projects or recitals. Chartered clubs are expected to use their own funds first, with Festival grants used as a supplement. 

How to Apply for a Grant

It’s always a good idea to drop by the Office of the Arts (in the Bernstein-Marcus building) and “pitch” your proposal before you turn in your application. An informal conversation can lead to all kinds of refinements in proposal writing and budget preparation.

1. Review Criteria and Guiding Questions

Reviewers will consider the following questions in their evaluations. You may use them to guide your project statement.

Artistic merit: What are the applicant’s motivations for proposing this project? Does the project have aesthetic qualities? Does the project have the potential to rank among the best of the year? Will it belong in the tradition of Leonard Bernstein’s “moment when civilization looks at itself appraisingly, seeking a key to the future”?

Originality and innovation: Does the proposal demonstrate original ideas and insights? Does the project offer an opportunity to further develop and clarify these ideas using diverse sources?

Engagement: Does the project provide the student an opportunity to involve and engage the Brandeis community? Might this engagement lead to self-reflection, understanding of diverse societies or points of view, the creation of a just society, or the opportunity to advocate for cultures other than their own?

Ability of the applicant to produce the work: Does the applicant have relevant experience and support? Can the applicant realistically produce the work in a semester? Does the applicant demonstrate intellectual and creative flexibility and problem-solving ability?

2. Online Application Instructions

Project brief. Write a one-paragraph description of your project. 

Project goals. State three concrete goals for your project. For example, but not limited to: What do you hope to accomplish professionally? What does your project communicate? What will make it personally satisfying? Why does this project belong in the Festival of the Arts? 

Budget. We want a ballpark estimate of your expenses and resources. Give us an estimate of the cost of each material, but you don’t need to itemize each nail and bolt. You will upload your budget via the online application. Download sample budgets for performance and visual arts.

Because we may not be able to give you the full amount requested, we want to know what other sources of funding you have, including department funding, other grants, your own money, and in-kind goods and services (those for which you don’t need to pay, such as rehearsal space, donated supplies, volunteer labor). Please be clear whether the income or resources are confirmed or unconfirmed.

If your proposal is accepted, you will then develop a more detailed budget.

Project statement. Write an in-depth, organized description of your project, which you will upload to the application form. Your proposal should be approximately 800 words (about two pages) long. You may describe historical precedents, academic connections, or a community desire for this kind of work. Be sure to explain how the project will be carried out. For example: Where will you rehearse or build? How will you recruit participants or players? How will you promote the project?

Anticipate questions and concerns. Is your subject matter potentially sensitive or provocative? Explain who your audience is. Don’t propose an adult-themed performance for Family and Community Day. Are there possible safety concerns – weight bearing, hazardous materials? Address them in your proposal.

Faculty or staff reference. Students only: Give us the name of a Brandeis faculty or staff person who can speak about your ability to complete the project. Be sure to tell your reference about your plans and that the Office of the Arts will follow up with a request for brief comments (not a written recommendation). 

Supporting materials / work samples. Your supporting materials can be photographs of visual works; recordings of musical compositions; performance videos or photographs for those involved in dance, acting, directing, musical performances, etc. 

You will upload the files via the online application form. Follow the instructions there. You may provide a link to your website in place of uploading files. 

If you are not sure what to submit, talk with a professor or grad student. Submitting work samples is standard practice in the arts, and they will have good advice for you.