FAQs

Q: I am not a 501c3 organization, but I want to work with an organization that is as part of my Propeller Fund project. The organization is mid-sized and does not have enough funds to pay artist fees or otherwise provide monetary support. Can I apply for the Propeller Fund to cover costs? Does working with a 501c3 at all preclude grant approval?

A: Funded projects can be presented at a variety of venues and organizations throughout the county who may be providing some additional support, such as the use of their facilities for a performance or event. However, the fund is not provided to cover production costs that should be covered by another host organization who made an explicit invitation to the applicant(s) to present work at their venue or as part of the host organization’s regular program. The key distinction is that the project is artist-initiated and independently managed and not part of a regularly scheduled program.

Q: I want to present my independent project at an established institution, such as a university or museum, does this preclude grant approval?

A: The same rules apply as for a smaller 501c3 organization, which can act as the hosting venue. However, the proposed project cannot be initiated by the the institution as part of their regular programming and must be an independently initiated and managed project by the artists.

Q: What if the 501c3 I want to work with doesn’t have the funding to contribute to my project, because they are community-based or artist-run?

A: While Propeller Fund recognizes the range of 501c3 organizations and their sometimes limited program budgets, this fund only can go towards costs associated with an independent artist project that operates autonomously from the hosting organization. For example, a publication that results from an artist project that occurred at a host organization can be eligible but artist fees, installation and shipping costs cannot.

Q: Can I put artist fees in my budget to compensate participants and/or myself?

A: Yes.

Q: Can previous Propeller Fund grantees re-apply for funding?

A: Previously funded Propeller Fund grantees are eligible to re-apply. Meaning, new projects or new programs of ongoing projects are eligible for consideration. Please, briefly describe the need for further funding as it relates to growth and/or the extension of the project at the beginning of your project description, before going into further detail.

Q: Could you explain what the difference is, if any, between a community-based arts project and a proposal that would qualify for Propeller funding? For instance, does an educational after-school that includes art classes qualify?

A: Propeller Fund funds unconventional and experimental art practices that take many forms from publications to public art projects to artist-initiated after-school programs. Our emphasis is on the inventiveness and thoughtfulness of the conceptual framework with particular attention given to informal and non-institutional projects which cannot be funded by other granting organizations.

Q: If the proposed project has already commenced, can images from the project in progress be submitted in the application?

A: Yes, but bear in mind that The Propeller Fund does not provide grants to “finished” projects, such as creating documentation or finalizing outstanding invoices.

Q: 
What is the deadline to execute funded projects?

A
: When making your application to The Propeller Fund use the timeline to illustrate your long-term planning for execution of your project – from planning, production to presentation. The project itself must commence development within the year the grant is awarded (and may continue beyond that). Public presentation should occur within a reasonable time frame and should be indicated on the timeline.

Q: When submitting work as an independent curator should I submit images of my own artwork, images of past curatorial projects or images of artwork by the artists I’m interested in working with? Should I include all the artists as collaborators?

A
: When submitting proposals as a curator showing evidence of past curatorial work is an asset. Images of the work to be presented are also helpful, or, if unavailable, images that represent the style or type of work under consideration for the project will help illustrate the proposal. Images of your own artwork are not recommended unless those images relate directly to the project proposed. You do not need to include CVs of all the artists in the prospective exhibition, only the true collaborators in organizing the project.

Q: 
I see that students are not eligible for The Propeller Fund, can there be students involved in the project at any level – as collaborators or participants?

A
: Projects cannot be in progress when the lead applicant or more than 33% of the project’s collaborators are enrolled as students at the undergraduate or graduate level. Students at the K-12 level are an exception to the student rule. For instance, if an artist is collaborating with a classroom of K-12 students, those students may all be named as collaborators, which would exceed the 33% rule.

Q
: Our collective incorporated in order to get a bank account, are we no longer eligible?

A
: The Propeller Fund does not fund officially licensed, commercial businesses. If as a group or collective you have made steps towards incorporation for banking or administrative purposes but are NOT a commercial or 501c3 entity, you are still eligible.

Q: 
Do you have to have a special bank account to receive this grant?

A
: No. Money will be disbursed to lead applicant, with the check made out to their name. That applicant will be responsible for any taxes on the award.

Q
: What if our proposed project eventually makes money, through ticket sales or the sale of merchandise? Are we no longer eligible?

A
: The Propeller Fund is seed money for a variety of artistic endeavors, many of which we’d like to see outlive the grant we provide. If those endeavors eventually “make” money or generate revenue, they are not disqualified from eligibility.

Q
: Can collaborators or participants in the proposed project live outside of Cook County?

A
: Yes. As long as the lead applicant and the project itself lives/occurs within Cook County, the project is eligible.

Q
: What kind of travel can be supported by The Propeller Fund?

A: 
The Propeller Fund does not support travel for research but can be used to cover expenses for presenter travel necessary to the project.

Q

: Is there a minimum number of participants that must be included in a
project for eligibility?

A
: Two. A project may have only one applicant, with no listed collaborators,
but at least two individuals must provide content, as either subject of or presenters in, the final public presentation.

Q: 
Do you have to be a U.S. citizen to apply?

A
: The lead applicant must have a social security number to receive payment of the award. Additional collaborators and/or participants may be foreign nationals.

Q: 
How should applicants approach their proposed budget? Should all applicants apply for $6000.00?

A
: Proposals are assessed based on past work, ambition and feasibility. Be honest about your budget in order to meet that criteria.

Q
: Are applicants expected to request only a portion of their total budget or can all of the funds required be requested from the Fund?

A:  
Applicants can apply for all or part of their total project budget.

Q: 
What are the reporting requirements?

A: 
Our reporting is based on archiving and documenting. While we do not require itemized financial reports for the disbursement of funds, we do want to see updates on the progress of the proposed project.

Q
: Can web-based projects have scope beyond the Cook County region?

A: 
Web-based projects should both have home in and primarily serve the Cook County region.

Q
: When listing proposed venues in the application, do they have to be confirmed?

A
: Although confirmed venues illustrate a more feasible project, The Propeller Fund understands that circumstances change. List proposed venues that you have had some communication with, however we understand that presentation at these locations may be subject to change.

Q: 
Define single author?

A
:  Here some examples that may help clarify:

(1) Mr. Art is a painter who wants to organize a public exhibition of his work, is he eligible? 
No, he is not. Mr. Art is the single author of both the artwork and the subject of the presentation itself.

(2) Mr. Art is a painter who wants to organize a public exhibition of artwork by other painters, is he eligible?
 Yes, he is. Although Mr. Art is the only curator of this event, multiple authors are being represented in the final public presentation.

(3) The Art Group is a collective who does intervention work together under the name “The Art Group.” They want to do a new intervention, as The Art Group, in Chicago, are they eligible?
 No. The Art Group’s interventions are their artwork of which they are sole author. Like Mr. Art, they would be the author of both the work and the subject of the presentation.

(4) The Art Group is a collective who does intervention work together under the name “The Art Group” but are interested in editing and publishing a book about Chicago interventions by various authors, are they eligible?
 Yes, they are. Although The Art Group would be the editor or author of this book, the subject is multiple artists or authors.