Jewelry art grants

I’ve been searching for grants online for the past few weeks and I
feel like i’m running in circles. I can’t seem to find that $20000 i
was looking for in order to finish school and start a creative
business in jewelry making. I already sell my jewelry word of mouth
and I’m finishing my website. I was looking on sites for female
grants to start a business or go to school, but I don’t seem to
qualify for any of them. Now I know what my dog feels like when he’s
chasing his tail and isn’t fast enough to catch it. I just would
love to find artists or businesses that would love to help me out.
Because rammen noodles and expensive san francisco rents can only go
on for a few more months before something has to change, i was hoping
that someone out there might have heard of someone else in a similar

Any ideas?

online for the past few weeks and I feel like i'm running in
circles. I can't seem to find that $20000 i was looking for in order
to finish school and start a creative 

Well, those are two different things.

For scholarships for school, look into women’s organizations, such

Business and Professional Women
Women’s Jewelry Association

It may take a lot of small scholarships and grants to get what you
need, and it will take organization and a lot of work.

Have you considered student loans?

What kind of school are you attending? That would be helpful to

I was looking on sites for female grants to start a business or go
to school, but I don't seem to 

There aren’t usually grants to help you start a business.

If you are young and mobile, I would suggest doing a number of long
residencies, you won’t make much money, but neither will you have
any food or housing expenses, for as long as a year.

Research all of them and apply. You would have the tremendous luxury
of time to create some great work to enter into contests. (and if you
win, get prizes and extremely helpful publicity.)

Since you are already selling, you should already have a business,
so that part is done. Take advantage of all the help from the Small
Business Administration and free counseling from SCORE.

If you would like to make getting grants a part of your artist-
business plan, then you’ll need to work in a way that supports that,
such as:

  • doing community work

  • doing public art

  • doing representational painting, there seem to be quite a number
    of grants for that

  • not making jewelry, but making art that happens to be made out of

And, get really good at grant writing. Take a workshop, if possible.
My current favorite book on grant writing is here:

Guide to Getting Arts Grants (Paperback)
by Ellen Liberatori (Author)

Price: $13.57

Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay

I am in Canada and there are grants and low cost loans that you can
get but they are few and far between. Check out your downtown
business association. Here in our little city they have a small
grant that you can get through City Hall and the Downtown Business
Association if you open up in a revitilizing area. But outside of
that at least here in Canada I have the government book for grants
and loans and the only thing that I have found is first of all you
need a comprehensive Business Plan, then you need to jump through
many many hoops and then you may get something (especially if you
are disabled or a few other items) At least that is how it is here in
Rainy Abbotsford B.C.


Altana - yes, I’ve heard of others in similar situations. Go to any
art school in the country - any country! - and you will find plenty.
I was once one of them. What do you do? You go find a job. Very
simple. If you are lucky, it will have something to do with what you
want to do, in some small way. Otherwise, it will pay the bills that
allow you to do what you love in your spare time, until you can
build up a nest egg that allows you to do what you love full time. Or
until your mastery of your art grows until you are in sufficient
demand for it to pay for itself.

Making it as an artist of any sort is not easy.

Take some business courses; work in some galleries or jewelry stores
or craft stores - see what it is like. Learn the business.

Don’t look for handouts. There aren’t any. Look at the economy -
folks are loosing their houses and jobs right and left - you think
there will be money to pay you for finishing school and opening a
business??? Think again.

There ARE student loans, if you qualify. There are business loans;
again - if you qualify. You should have enough cash to not break even
for several years when starting a business…I can’t remember how
many they say, but I know it takes most businesses several years to
establish themselves. There are a number of business groups that
will help you create business plans and get prepared to start a
business. Check with your local chamber of commerce or better
business bureau for ideas. Many have mentors.

Quite wasting time looking for grants that don’t exist…if this is
what you really want, go to work to make it happen. It can, and for
some it does, but it takes a lot of hard work, and a good bit of old
fashioned luck doesn’t hurt!

That said, once you are somewhat established, your state arts
commission may have some emerging artist grants, or annual artist
grants, that you might apply for. Not in the price range you were
stating! I have gotten several small grants through the years to
allow me to get additional training, or to travel for my work. They
all then required me to exhibit work in the state as part of the “pay
back” of the grant.

Some states also have artist residency programs. SC has one that
provides artists for the schools for a week at a time. It has
changed radically over my career, and you now set your own pay scale
with the schools. If they like you and what you plan to do with their
students, and have the money, they will hire you. If not, they won’t.
When I started I got paid $500 a week. Now I get $1500 a week plus
housing. On the other hand, when I started it cost $35 for a good
motel room, and gas was well under a $1 a gallon. Now a decent motel
room will run at least $75 and lucky to get it that cheap, and gas is
between $2.60 and over $3 a gallon. And supplies have gone up

I hate to rain on your parade, but get out there and work and your
dreams may come true. Spend your time hunting for nonexistent
grants, and they never will. Sorry. Reality can be painful.

Good luck though!
Beth in SC

PS - if anyone actually knows of any money out there to be given,
I’m sure plenty of us would be delighted to apply for it!

Hello Altana,

You sound like I did 25 years ago! While I was in school art
students, especially the better ones, were coached and encouraged to
get grants. I spent a lot of time filling out papers and working on
the kinds of resume builders that were supposed to make that happen.
I did get a few very small grants but after a while it occured to me
that it just was not worth the effort. A grant is usually a one time
thing. I made a lot more progress by concentrating on work and sales.
The hoops you have to jump through to qualify for grants can take you
a very different direction than you might otherwise want to go. That
direction is probably not going to help much when it comes to
establishing your business. The type of work that gets grants is
generally not the kind of thing that is viable in the marketplace.
My opinion is that the effort it takes to get grants would be better
spent working towards a body of work that you can sell.

Stephen Walker

Quite wasting time looking for grants that don't exist....

…there are grants for everything. When I was in college in the
90’s, I was a single mom with no child support and no money at all.
Desperation breeds determination in some of us. It did in me. I found
a book of grants at UCLA pre-computerization. I spent weeks pouring
through through that book looking for money. I got it. There is in
fact money just sitting there to be given away. I got a grant for
being a single mother. One for being in school at over 30 years old
with a 4.0 gpa. One for having irish heritage and being a single
female, with a child, in school with a high gpa. My favorite grant
though…and unfortunately, I was unable to apply for it, was if you
were male, a non-smoker, of russian heritage, under 6’ tall and
wanted to go into the aerospace field. That scholarship was for
$50,000. No one claimed it the year I was looking through these.

I saw scholarships and grants for people with a specific last name,
and for women of a certain height. People had started funds for just
about everything. Most of it sits there, because it is a pain to go
through all of those looking for just the thing that would fit you.
I ended up not paying a dime for school, I took out no loans either.
I did it on grants and scholarships, but it was a lot of work to get
the dough. Some of the grants were for $500 or less. When you have
nothing, that is a lot. Every college and university has grants and
scholarships. You just need to ask. I would think it might be easier
with computerization, maybe not. I loved looking through all of the
things that people had left money for.

Best of luck with your quest. I am sure if you are dedicated, you
will find your grant or scholarship. In Canada, they have great arts
grants. Ditto Holland. America lags sadly behind with easy access to
money for artists. Its a shame.

Lisa, (Went to see my old pals Lowen and Navarro in concert last
night. Although he is slugging through ALS, Eric is still amazing,
Dan is still a card. They sounded great. We met thirty years ago,
when we were all singing waiters in a restaurant here in L.A.)
Topanga, CA USA

My opinion is that the effort it takes to get grants would be
better spent working towards a body of work that you can sell. 

An artist friend once asked me if I had ever applied for grants. I
replied, somewhat * tongue in cheek, that jewelers do not usually
apply for grants, because they make things that people actually want
to buy. He said,“Ouch!”

*But not really all that tongue in cheek.



I’m a bit surprised that you hadn’t found any funds for starting
business. There are a lot of places (usually by state) that offer
funds for starting local businesses. They tend to be shops with a
store-front. Again, this depends on location. Here in Wisconsin
there are a lot of low- to no-interest loans, but not many grants. A
few to those building businesses with a charitable connection, but
otherwise no. And there are no grants to start an internet business
in the arts, though some in areas like electronics, communications
and such pop up now and again.

In my searching I find periodic monies available for other states
but don’t look at them because time is value and the information
takes too much time for me to seek it out when it’s also liable to
distract me from my own searches. :slight_smile:

And there are some good words of advice here and from others…if
you want to make jewelry for a living, learn about business…or even
just make some jewelry and sell it. There are a few people here, and
on other lists, who have some good for you. But they,
like you, are making a living at this. But realize that not too many
people get to just create what they want and get paid for it. We, as
jewelry designers and jewelers, also need to make jewelry that people
want to wear. This can be a bit of a pain, as my creativity is much
more diverse than some areas are. Yes, make beautiful things. But
then…make beautiful things that people living near you will buy.
Make a lot of them. And sell them. I’m doing both. I am attending a
business class for entrepreneurs one morning a week with some great
And then I make jewelry for sale. I’m limited by my
knowledge, as my creative side finds ways to create very sale-able
pieces that people will buy but that I have no experience in. And
learning involves a learning curve unless you get some good training.

Good luck!

I am touring colleges in Wisconsin with my daughter who is a high
school senior, and over the weekend we have been sightseeing our way
through part of Wisconsin. We ran across a business today with a
really different business plan. “Diggins Cage and Fine Rocks and
Fossils”. You walk inside, and you are in one big room with a cafe
counter, tables, game tables, jewelry displays, fossils, items made
out of rock, beads, and more. Really a quite incredible place. Oh -
they also deliver pizza!

With the recent threads about how to keep customers, I thought this
was a pretty unique approach!

One of the jewelry artists he carries is putting herself through
college with her wire wrapped jewelry. It was very individual, not
incredibly well made but adequate, and nothing over $20. And he says
she is actually putting herself through college by selling her
jewelry around the state. Pretty amazing.

On the Wisconsin thing, my daughter and I have fallen in love with
the state. Never been before, and we love it! If you have never been,
and like gorgeous scenery, friendly people, easy scenic drives, and
water vistas, I highly recommend the “thumb” of Wisconsin. The light
is quite incredible, the grass has a blue tint, trees are in full
fall splendor at the moment…really amazing. We have had a blast
just driving around. Door county, the “thumb” apparently has a huge
artists community, with major art festivals and is a big tourist
attraction in the summer. I hate that we missed that, and only saw
one jeweler listed in the very nice printed piece they have showing
where all the artists are. Other than the Diggins place, I have only
seen one jeweler that we have passed…hmmm…maybe an opening

Beth in SC (except I’m actually in Wisconsin right now, but this
keeps you from confusing me with the other Beth’s on the list :wink:

I can't seem to find that $20,000. I was looking for in order to
finish school and start a creative business in jewelry making. 

Yeah I’m going to have to agree - Just do it the old fashioned way -
find a F/T job with a jewelry company. Save every extra penny & start
making jewelry when You get home from work & on weekends. In a few
years You will have accumulated enough money & experience to strike
out on Your own. We always want everything immediately but the world
doesn’t work that way. I put in 18 hour days Monday thru Sunday for 3
years. Not a single day off in 3 years. It was very empowering! At
the end of that time I felt I could do anything.

Mary R.

On the Wisconsin thing, my daughter and I have fallen in love with
the state. Never been before, and we love it! 

Just one friendly note of caution: it’s October now. Your daughter
may wish to visit Wisconsin in February before committing to living
there for 4 years of college.

On the upside, it’s not as cold as Minnesota.

Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay

Door county, the "thumb" apparently has a huge artists community,
with major art festivals and is a big tourist attraction in the

All true…

I taught a workshop last summer at the Peninsula Art School up
there. I visited a very attractive art gallery near Egg Harbor. It
seemed to have the work of quite a number of jewelers, and I was
thinking they might be interested in my work, but I asked, “Why are
the jewelry artists names not shown with their work?” The owner
looked around vaguely and said, “Oh, there are so many…”

I cannot imagine anyone ever reacting that way about painters. Even
the glass work had the artists names displayed. I turned around and
walked out.



I started out working as a sales person and then managing a retail
jewelry store. The owner specialized in handmade and custom jewelry,
taught classes, and everyone there made some sort of jewelry be it
wire-work, fabrication, wax-carving, etc… we had the gambit

As part of my manager’s salary, he sold my jewelry on consignment,
gave me a very generous portion of the sales (more than the
customary 50%) and taught me loads about the business. I still had
time to pursue a few wholesale shows on the side, building my
wholesale business while learning about the retail side. An
invaluable experience.

I worked there for about 5 years, started out full-time and then
worked my way down to part-time until my wholesale business picked
up. Eventually, I couldn’t juggle both the job and my business and I
phased out my working at the store. I still go back and help around
holidays if I have the time.

I consider myself very lucky to have had such a positive working
experience which allowed me the time to pursue my wholesale business
on the side.

I don’t know of many people (that aren’t independently wealthy) that
can work on their business full time right out of the gate without
having another source of income. It takes time and money to build a
following and to find the right avenues to sell your work, be it
wholesale or retail. Your work also goes through a change as you
learn what will sell and to whom.

But, this is the BEST! job I’ve ever had! Good luck finding your

Amery Carriere Designs
Romantic Jewelry with an Edge

Hi Beth in SC :slight_smile:

And everyone else.

I’m in Green Bay, kindof in the ‘pit’ of Wisconsin. Before you get
to the fingerlet. Door County is a great place for selling during the
summer, but the prices are very high up there because it’s a tourist
area. Many of the jewelers/artists/artisans who supply Door County
with their many wonders live in Green Bay. I think per capita it has
to be the highest for ‘density of jewelers’ I’ve ever encountered,
and the number of jewelry stores is pretty high as well…a
phenomenon discussed at length by the jewelry fab and repair
instructor at the tech college.

Glad to know you were enjoying the state. I’ve lived other places,
but returned because no place could match this one. I know the land
and it knows me. (There are many awe-inspiring places in this country
alone…but they aren’t home. :))


I know - I did graduate work at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan

  • cross country skiied out the dorm door! She is looking at a number
    of cold state schools - it is an adjustment, but is manageable. I
    know now that she shouldn’t buy any clothes until she gets there - my
    "winter" coat purchased in SC made it to mid November in Michigan

Beth in SC (still in Wisconsin for one more night)

Hi Elaine, thanks for such a detailed response. I definitely
appreciate your help. I’ll look into SCORE. And I will definitely
brush up on grant writting. I attend revere academy and im looking
into a school in pforzheim germany. Im not sure if you will remember
me, but i took a pmc course with you at Lill Street before I moved
to california.


also if a student at Revere you are eligible for NEA grants,and
apprenticeships through the Dept. of Labour( there are thousands of
journeyman and apprenticeships available in a vast range of
trades)…If connected with or Revere will act as a n Umbrella,and you
have a project in mind- another entire world of Granting
possibilities exists for you- write me off list if necessary for
some pertinent arts specific details ( I used to and still, consult
in,teach and write grants and am involved in grantmaking on many
levels for many organizations and foundations) if you like…it may
take a few days to get back to you though…moving back to New
Orleans at present…


I am also very interested in trying to get a grant to further my
education in silver smithing and design. I could not find your email
address. Please, when you get the time, email me so I can tell you
what I am trying to do and see if I might be eligible for any grants.

Thank you,
Pat Everett, President