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 ideas or between disciplines.
  • 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? Who would you like to reach? What does your project communicate? What will make your project personally satisfying?

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. 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. We recommend that you write the project statement offline, in a Word document, and copy and paste it into your online application. The statement should be two pages or less.  

You may want to include historical precedents, relevant expertise or training, or a evidence of a community desire for this kind of work.

Please explain how the project will be carried out, for example, where you will rehearse or build; how you will recruit participants or players; promotional plans.

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. Give us the name of a faculty or staff person, preferably from Brandeis, 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. The grant jury will be better able to review your proposal if you send supporting materials: Photographs of visual works; recordings of musical compositions; performance clips for those involved in dance, acting, directing, musical performances, etc. 

Please submit the samples as follows:

  • Youtube link(s) to videos of work samples (no more than 15 minutes total)
  • Direct link(s) to a website featuring work samples. This can be a Flickr page, blog, Brandeis webspace, your own website, etc. 
  • Please caption each image or video so that we know what we're looking at, for example: Oil painting, 50" x 50", 2011. Sketch of installation plan. Original dance performance produced by Adagio, Shapiro Campus Center Theater, 2011.

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.