“Get A Leg Up” Award

About the RCS Project Grant
RCS Project Grants are project-based awards open to alumni of Rat City Studios. The mission of these awards is to offer continued support and to give alumni a leg up in their endeavors as artists. These awards are also intended to be a way of keeping in touch with the goals of alumni, as well as to honor the legacy of mentors who have fostered artists through offering opportunities, kind words, or through leading as a role-models.

There are three awards available, which will be awarded to three proposed projects. One at $1000, and two at $500. These awards are available to provide support for RCS Alumni projects, including the development, completion, or presentation of new work. Funding may also be used for artist fees, materials, equipment, space rental, travel for research/ education, documentation, professional development opportunities, marketing & promotion, and other project needs. These are open ended grants given with the intent of supporting you on your journey as artists.

A Note From Deb
I am growing support for RCS Alumni who are making their way as artists in the field of ceramics. Emerging artists come to RCS to join in a 1-2 year work-trade exchange.  Everyone gets something different out of their time at RCS, and leaves with an experience that will inform their professional development and studio practice. Many are forging a path as artists by furthering their knowledge, participating in a residencies, and/ or setting up their own studios. They are succeeding! Yet, as we all know, this path is a long journey and a well placed “Leg Up” goes a long way. I see a need for continued support and encouragement, and therefore I am working to establish yearly project grants for RCS Alumni.

This Application is meant to be a supportive and connective process. Although I am not selecting the recipients of the award, I want to keep in touch with RCS Alumni and I want to know what all of their hopes and dreams are. I hope that this little carrot will foster their continued professional growth as they add content to websites, polish grant proposals, and complete their proposed projects.

If you would like to support as a donor, consider matching or starting another award for RCS Alumni.

Award Snapshot
Type of Award: Project-based
Number of Awards: 3
Amount Awarded: $1000, $500, $ 500
Frequency: Annually
Application Deadline January 15th
Dispersal: February 15th

Who is Eligible:
·      Applicants must be actively working full or part-time as artists at the time of the application and payment
·      Applicants must be a past studio assistant with Deb Schwartzkopf  at Rat City Studios
(Between the years of 2010 and the present).
·      Applicants must offer projects made predominantly in clay or related to a practice working in clay.
·      If the applicant is a previous award winner, the 100-200 word outcome report must have been submitted.

Juror & Award Information: Jen Allen & Sandra Graf

Jen Allen is a studio potter living in West Virginia and teaching at WVU as well as workshops nationally. She is dedicated to supporting the next generation of artists and building the clay community. 

Sandra Graf is a retired Boeing HR Specialist living in Washington and is exploring new paths in creativity and travel. She is eager to further the growth of artists forging their own way forward.

Living the Dream – $1000
Earning a living as an artist is not always that dreamy. In fact it is down right challenging. The bills add up, tools are expensive, time is precious. This grant is given by an Anonymous Donor. They want to help one of you keep, keeping on in your path. They especially want to encourage those earning a living from their work. In your application, show how you are putting your work into the world!

The Kris Bliss Grant Memorial Award: Follow Your Bliss – $500
(1950-2016) Kris Bliss was a wholesale potter from Anchorage, Alaska for many years. She changed the path of many young potters as they came to work with her as studio assistants. She offered them the chance to see the ins and outs of maintaining a career as a production potter. Kris nurtured the dreams and skills of those who came to work for her with supportive attention and her own passion for making. Her role model gave them skills and a  network to grow and begin to develop their own studio practice. To learn more about Kris, visit the linked article by Jen Allen.

The Ella Graf Memorial Award: Live Your Dream – $500
Ella Graf was a hard working dreamer. She immigrated to the US shortly after WWII with her family. Academic education was not available to her and much of what she learned, she figured out by observing others, and through trial and error. She raised her family, using creativity to solve problems. She was an avid supporter of learning and constant individual growth. She was always in movement – gardening, cooking and creating handiwork for family and friends.

About Rat City Studios

The mission of Rat City Studios is to engage and build community through clay – one person, one neighborhood, and one experience at a time. Rat City Studios is a place for innovative experiential learning, quality community classes, emerging artist opportunities, and working with clay. It is a place where people come together to learn and grow.

Rat City Studios began as Deb Schwartzkopf’s drive to have a personal studio where she could make work and hold workshops.  As she mentored assistants it became clear that they needed a space to invest time in their individual artistic practice. In 2013, Deb purchased her home and studio in West Seattle. Rat City Studios has now evolved into a communal clay establishment. It is home to Deb’s production pottery studio, communal pottery education classroom, several semiprivate artist assistant studios, and kiln yard. Through these endeavors, people are brought together to connect with each other and feed their creativity.

Join the Rat Race!

How to Apply
The Award form is available on the RCS Website. Read the description above and instructions below carefully. Not following these guidelines may result in your application being withdrawn. We are unable to accept applications after the deadline for any reason, including technical issues.

Submission Materials
Artist Statement - 100 words;
Artist biography - 100 words;
Project description - 350 words;
Project budget
Artist résumé
Work samples/ Images

Artist Statement: 100 words max
·      Cut and paste your Artist Statement into the Award form field online.
·      Share your vision of your work and where you are going.  What are you communicating?  What group are you reaching? What are you investigating? Try not to duplicate information you give in the bio or project description.

Bio: 100 words max
·      Cut and paste your Biography into the Award form field.
·      The artist biography provides information that might not be found elsewhere in the application, such as where the applicant was born, details about your training or work process, career development, etc.

 Project Description: 350 words or max
·      Cut and paste your Project Description into the Award form field.
·      The project description tells the story of your project in a straightforward and persuasive tone. A good project description explains the who, what, when, where, and why of your project. It gives specific details about the project, its timeline, and your intentions and goals, and shows why you need funding right now and how the project will impact your career.

·      Submit a direct Link from your website to the Award from field.
·      The artist résumé includes dates and locations of exhibitions or presentations of work; dates and titles of publications that have included your work; recognition or awards received; bibliography; education. Assume that the juror is unfamiliar with you and your past work.

Project Budget
·      Follow the provided link to complete the Project Budget. (LINK)
·      Follow the instructions on the Google Drive Budget Form.
·      Add URL to your completed Budget to the Award Form.
Below is a very informative link about making a budget for your grant…

·      Submit a direct link to the gallery of captioned images on your website
·      The first ten images on the gallery page link you supply will be considered representational of your current body of work. The juror will look for a correlation between your current work and how this project will support your artistic development.
·      Jurors will be looking for image captions with information on materials, technique, and dates of artwork.

Judging Criteria
The Jurors will review all eligible applications submitted through the RCS Website AWARD FORM.
The jurors will select the recipients based on: Artistic excellence, Project clarity, & Likelihood that the project will be completed based on the project description, professional background, and budget

Announcement and Payment 
Award Applications are due via the RCS Award form on or before January 15th.
Notification will be made on or before February 5th.
Awards will be disbursed/ mailed on February 15th.

Outcome Reporting
Award recipients are expected to complete a short statement (between 100-200 words) before January 1st of the following year describing the outcome of the project and its impact on the recipient. These will be highlighted in the RCS Newsletter reaching nearly 3000 readers.

Works created with award funds belong to the artist. RCS keeps the recipients’ applications and submitted work samples and application information for promotional, archival, and educational purposes.

RCS is not responsible for loss or damage of the submitted application or support materials due to technological failure or unforeseen circumstances.