Sunday, June 24, 2007

Funding Application for an arts project

I've been working on an arts project for teenagers and recently made a government funding application for it. I thought I'd post it here in case it can be of use to anyone else organising a similar project.

1. An arts project for young members of the Nova Scotia Down Syndrome Society: application to the Nova Scotia Government for funding.

2. Provide a short description of the project (1 or 2 sentences)
A group of between 8 and 12 young people (aged 14 to 28) who have Down syndrome, will be
working together with two artists to create artworks about their lives, hopes and dreams for the future.

3. Provide a full project description
Over nine weeks, a group of young people who have Down syndrome will work together to create photographic artworks, primarily at Chocolate Lake Recreation Centre.
The project will be user-led, and during the first session the group will decide upon a name for their club. They will explore and share their hopes and dreams of the future, and create artworks based on these ideas. Participants will have final say about which images are shown, and they will be actively involved in staging and taking the photographs.
The main medium used will be photography as this has immediate results and can look very professional, even if the artist's drawing skills are limited. The group will start with photograms (there is a darkroom attached to the project space), and will then create group tableaus that depict their hopes and dreams. Costume, props, framing devices, overhead projections, slide projections and movement will all be used. The group will then photograph and film these tableaus. Themes such as 'friendship', 'home', 'work' and 'fun' will be explored. The sessions will be paced so that participants are not under pressure to achieve results whilst retaining enthusiasm and momentum throughout.

The finished works will be displayed at an exhibition (possibly at Spring Garden or Sackville Library), and online. The Minister for Community Services, and her staff will be invited to attend the opening and talk with NSDSS members about the ways that Government plans for the future tie in with the plans of our younger members. There will also be a little party to celebrate our members achievements. Copies of the images will be given to participants in a presentation box. This might be awarded at the final show.
A volunteer will also document the project and this information will be added to a blog so that the story of the project and the participants ideas can be shared. Participants who live outside the Halifax area will be able to take part in the project, via two additional arts sessions, in which they will take photographs and interview each other. This work will also be added to the project blog.

This is a pilot project. We hope that the group will continue to make work as a club in the future and that the project will have a legacy above and beyond the exhibition. However, it will be clear from the start that this is a nine week project that will come to an end, so that members are prepared and don't feel let down when it finishes.

The project will be evaluated by informal monitoring and feedback sessions throughout. We will consult with users and parents throughout the project and will look for 'soft signs' that the project is not meeting participant needs such as people missing sessions. We will talk about what members hope to get from the project, and when it finishes, talk to them about what they like and dislike. We may use feedback forms with pictures if appropriate.

4. How does this activity support the Culture Division’s goals for Community Development and Artistic Development?
There is currently very little on offer in terms of cultural and artistic provision for young people who have Down syndrome in Nova Scotia. While the Special Olympics provides activities with a sports focus, there are few projects that teach artistic and creative skills outside school.
This new project will bring together people who may be new to the arts, with professional artists. Its primary aim is to help people develop new relationships whilst engaging in cultural activities.
People who have Down syndrome have certain things in common. It can be fun and reassuring to meet and work together. This project will celebrate the identity and culture that participants share, both as young people, and as people who are sometimes subject to discrimination and have additional challenges in their lives.
The project will encourage more participation in cultural activities by providing high quality arts workshops for people who rarely have the opportunity to experience professional arts practice.
By sharing the outcomes of this project, the participants will be helping to develop the province's cultural diversity. We hope that the finished artworks will be inspiring and thought provoking, and will maybe challenge the general public's perceptions of Down syndrome.
This is a pilot project. If successful, we hope to set up an on-going arts club, that will bring together young people to participate in a series of arts projects. We hope to get more ambitious in the future - maybe designing a billboard, making an online magazine, or creating a short film. It is important that this is an opportunity for participants to experience excellence in terms of artistic provision - we are not trying to mirror activities that could take place at school or home - and the outcomes will reflect this. We want to create high quality artwork with professional materials that will help to show that adults who have Down syndrome should not be treated as children.
The artworks created during this project will be displayed in places that are used by non-art
audiences, thus developing new audiences for the arts.

5. How does this activity help fulfil your organization’s mandate?
"Our mission is to improve lives for persons with Down syndrome and their families through advocacy, education and support."
Specifically, this project will:
- provide support for our younger members
- educate members by teaching artistic and life skills
- improve quality of life for our members
- help to break down barriers and combat stereotypes associated with Down syndrome
- inform decision makers about the needs and aspirations of our members, and we hope, help to influence policy so that independence and integration into the wider community are seen as

6. What knowledge and experience do members of your organization have that will be required to carry out your proposed activity? (Organizations conducting workshops must provide a résumé or pertinent background of the instructor or resource person.)
Two professional artists will be leading this project:
Renée Forestall is a forensic artist who has taught at NSCAD. Her 16 year old daughter, Marie, has Down syndrome (and has helped to shape this project).
Before moving to Halifax last year, Alice Evans worked as an arts educator at the Serpentine Gallery (, for the Arts Council of England, and for the past eight years was Director of Westminster Arts (, responsible for the distribution of community arts funding on behalf of local government in Westminster, London, UK. She trained as an artist and volunteered as an arts facilitator for an adult who had intellectual disabilities from 1994 to 2004. Her youngest son, Alfie, has Down syndrome.
Additional support:
Kerri-Ann Ryan is a professional dancer who has taught people who have Down syndrome.
Other volunteers on this project will be family members and friends who have a personal interest in being involved.

7. If your activity is successful, what outcomes or benefits will it achieve?
The main aims of the project are to:
- combat isolation for young people who have Down syndrome
- provide a creative outlet for young people
- develop artistic skills and knowledge
- develop communication through art and conversation
- communicate to the decision makers who influence participants' lives
- provide a model of working that can be developed in the future
- build self confidence for participants
- develop life skills and improve quality of life
- raise awareness about Down syndrome in the wider community
- create a high quality art exhibition.

8. What relationships will your organization develop or strengthen within your community, or within your cultural sector, in carrying out this activity?
We will develop relationships between:
- the young people who participate in the project
- the NSDSS and its members
- the participants and the professionals who lead the workshops
- people who have Down syndrome and the general public
- the NSDSS and local government policy makers.

1 comment:

L. Noelle said...

FANTASTIC Alice! I love your program! It is a win/win for everyone! Good for you for doing this!