If you’re a local artist trying to get paid to practice your art, applying for a grant might not be your first thought. The application process can be insular, political and complicated. But a new grant for musicians from Ace Hotel, Martin Guitars and The Good Peoples Group (which deals in “creative and cultural problem-solving”) aims to change that.
Up and Comin’ will award $10,000 in mini-grants to an undecided number of recipients to help with the business side of music. But this money isn’t to buy 808s or even Martin guitars: Up and Comin’ is for services that can be sourced locally, whether that’s flyers, legal counseling or website design.
“It’s so hard to support yourself in a city that says they love art so much, but most of the artists here are suffering,” says Liana Maneese of The Good Peoples Group. “They’re not able to make a living at their art.”
Up and Comin’ is atypical in a few ways. For starters, the grant stipulates that the money must be spent on local businesses to keep the money in Pittsburgh. Secondly, there are very few restrictions on who can apply. An applicant must live in Pittsburgh, be a musician and be at least 15 years old — but that’s about it.
Justin Strong — who joined Maneese and The Good Peoples Group in partnering with Ace Hotel and Martin Guitars to organize Up and Comin’ — says there’s significance in accepting musicians that young. After years working in the scene at his former venues Shadow Lounge and AVA Lounge, Strong says he knows when it’s time to invest in the next generation of artists.
“Right now, there’s some 15-, 16-year-olds that are weirdos, sitting at the lunchroom table that nobody wants to sit at,” he says. “They’re gonna define the scene in five years.”
As of July 29, Maneese and Strong say they’ve received about 20 submissions but are optimistic about who they’re hearing from so far. The application deadline is Aug. 15.
“There’s a lot of privilege involved in being able to get a grant,” says Maneese. “[Up and Comin’] really opens it up.”
For more details and to apply, email firstname.lastname@example.org.