Artist residencies and artist grants are great opportunities for creative growth. Grants help by giving you the economic power to accomplish projects that might be impossible for you to complete on your own because of cost and scale. Residencies are wonderful opportunities to create art and interact with other artists in a creative community. Residencies also offer refuge from daily distractions so you can generate new ideas and develop your craft in a dedicated space.

1. Hone Your Writing Skills

It’s tough out there, and the competition has only grown in recent years because of the economic downturn. When applying for grants or residencies, you aren’t going to be judged on your artwork alone; you need to be able to communicate well in writing. If you live in a major city, it’s possible to find free writing workshops available through arts councils and other nonprofit organizations that help artists. For example, in the Washington DC area, the arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, Maryland (http://www.creativemoco.com) offers a variety of free workshops for working artists. Organizations like this often keep track of opportunities and calls for entry on their websites. Se...

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