“By this time, you should have received a letter from the Houston Arts Alliance regarding your Individual Artist Grant Application, and the process for following up regarding reconsideration and/or review of specific panel comments. Whereas, it is always our policy here at the Houston Arts Alliance to engage our grant applicants and grantees, we are here to support and encourage your growth and development as an artist. Thus, we are offering you a unique opportunity to meet with the Grants Department and discuss your application and the specific panelist comments you received in the review. If you do have time in your schedule and wish to meet with our staff, this will only strengthen and empower your next endeavor to apply for Houston Art Alliance Grant funding.”
For several years, Houston Arts Alliance has included written comments with individual artist grant rejections. These explanations, while sometimes helpful, are often silly, and usually humiliating, especially given the fact that the primary reason for most grant rejections is unspoken: there simply isn’t enough money for everyone, and someone else got it. If I’m reading this aright, losing artists now have the opportunity to be humiliated in person, if they, in HAA’s words “choose to take advantage of an opportunity to empower yourselves.”
Last year, Culturemap‘s Joel Luks reported on his experience as an HAA panelist, reporting on the caring but clueless process of selecting artists for support based, for fairness, primarily on the quality of their grant applications, rather than the quality of their works.