For Schools and Organizations

Artists in Schools & Communities

Sponsor Guidelines part 1


  1. Application
  2. Examples of Residency Narrative Questions 1-3
  3. MAC Strategic Blueprint Eduation Goal
  4. Deadlines
  5. Program Description
  6. Who Can Apply
  7. Artist Residency Program Descriptions
  8. How to Choose an Artist, Company, Folklorist or Arts Organization
  9. Residency Pre-planning Required
  10. Sample Week-Long Residency Schedule
  11. Required for All Applications
  12. Recommended for Applications
  13. How To Build Your Residency Budget
  14. What the Arts Council Can Fund
  15. What We Do Not Fund
  16. Application Procedure
  17. Tips For Preparing Your Application
  18. Application Checklist

You can download a print copy of the Sponsor Guidelines here:


Download Examples of Residency Application
Narrative Questions 1-3

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MAC Strategic Blueprint 2008 — 2013 Education Goal

To provide access to high quality arts education in order to develop the full creative potential of all Montanans.


The deadline for MACís Arts Learning Partners ONLY is 5:00 pm, Friday, May 16, 2014 for projects occurring between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015.

All other Artists in Schools and Communities grant deadlines are ongoing. The Montana Arts Council is currently taking application for projects occurring between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015.

You must apply at least six weeks in advance of the start date of your project for requests under $2,000.

You must apply at least three months in advance of the start date of your project for a residency or for requests of $2,000 or more (an exception will be made for projects with a start date between July 1 and August 31. Please contact Emily Kohring immediately if this is your situation at (406) 444-6522).

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Program Description

The Montana Arts Council, an agency of state government, develops the creative potential of all Montanans, advances education, spurs economic vibrancy and revitalizes communities through involvement in the arts. 

The Montana Arts Council strives to provide access to quality arts learning to develop the creative potential of Montanans of all ages.  

Towards that end, the Artists in Schools and Communities program provides matching funds that support a wide range of arts learning experiences and artist residencies for participants of all ages with professional working artists, as well as other special projects that support arts learning in schools and community settings. 

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Who Can Apply

The Montana Arts Council awards grants to Montana organizations that are not-for-profit and exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(a), which include the 501(c)(3) designation of the Internal Revenue code, or are units of government, public educational institutions, or local chapters of tax-exempt national organizations.

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Artist Residency Program Descriptions

Residencies and Artist Visits are offered in the following discipline areas:

Visual Arts: A wide variety of visual arts residencies are available including painting, printmaking, ceramics, fabric arts, sculpture, architecture, design and photography. Typically, a visual artist sets up a studio in a classroom or other appropriate space and teaches from there. Please consult with the artist to determine space, supply, and equipment needs. Note: Mural projects require two weeks or more to complete.

Media Arts: Film/video, audio, and computer animation residencies generally require access to equipment. Video productions require residencies of two weeks or more.

Traditional/Folk Arts: Folk artists teach and celebrate traditional artistic expressions in order to pass on a particular culture's shared sense of beauty, identity and values. Folk Arts may include traditional beading, quilting, woodcarving, fiddling, gospel singing, or various forms of dance and storytelling.

Folklorist Residency: This is a more specialized residency coordinated by a folklorist (or someone with comparable knowledge) who is trained to do fieldwork and specializes in the folk heritage, traditions and arts of a particular place or people. It may involve some or all of the traditional arts and crafts listed above and may be structured as follows:

  1. The folklorist does fieldwork in order to identify local traditional artists with the help of students, teachers and/or community members. From this work, folk arts and folklife are defined
  2. Residency activities are then planned, and assessment tools designed
  3. Local or visiting traditional artists are invited to perform, demonstrate and/or conduct workshops

Performing Arts: Available in dance, theatre, opera/music theatre, and music. Activities can take place in the classroom, but access to other spaces like a stage, gym, band room or (for dance) any space with a wooden floor might be helpful.

Literary Arts: Poets, playwrights and fiction writers are available for residencies. While the scheduling requirements listed under Residency Planning below generally apply, Sponsors must be particularly careful not to over-schedule the writer. Writers must spend a good deal of time reading and critiquing student work outside of class which may mean cutting back on the number of classes the writer conducts during the day.

Multi-disciplinary Projects: These residencies involve two or more artists in different disciplines and include collaborative projects where all artists are involved in its design and execution. Applicants interested in developing such a project must consult with MAC staff before submitting an application.

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How to Choose an Artist, Company, Folklorist or Arts Organization

The Montana Arts Council maintains an Artist Registry on our website for your use in this program. Sponsors are welcome to contact the artist or arts organization on the registry for more information — for example, to request a written sample of a playwright's work, or a DVD of a performing artist's work.

Artists that are not on the registry may also be considered for residencies in schools and communities. A resume or biography and appropriate work samples which provides evidence they are working professional artists must accompany your application.


  • Artistic excellence
  • Experience as a practicing artist, folklorist or performing company on a professional level
  • Effective communication and teaching skills necessary to:
    • Share ideas clearly and concisely
    • Actively engage participants in the creative process
    • Provide creative ideas for residency plans and be able to implement them
  • Arts education experience, field work or prior residency activity
  • Strength and diversity of artist's references (It is the responsibility of the Sponsor to check artist's references, including those artists on the MAC Artist Registry)

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Residency Pre-planning Required

A residency site coordinator and a planning committee (typically representing the host organization) should be designated to handle details and oversee the residency. This might include scheduling, artist hospitality, publicity, documentation and making sure there are no barriers that prohibit active participation for all.

At least one planning meeting between the artist and Sponsor is necessary before the grant is submitted to determine: overall goals of the residency, expectations of the participants, and a detailed schedule of activities. The answers to the first three narrative questions must be developed with the artist. Artists need to receive a completed application and read it over before they sign Section D of the application.

The most creative, rewarding, and successful residencies are planned cooperatively between the artist, folklorist or arts organization and the Sponsor — this is the key to a good residency. Also, no residency is the same as another and is the unique result of the collaboration between the Sponsor and the artist. Naturally, longer residencies require more extensive preplanning than do short encounters. Think about how to help prepare the student and adult participants for the residency, and how they can make the most of their experience after the project has ended.

Additional Planning for School Residencies

Professional development for teachers is an important part of school-based residencies lasting one week or longer. This can happen in any format agreed upon by the resident artist and the Sponsor — either formal in-service or informal mentoring by the artist while working in the classroom. Also, if the residency is meant to integrate the arts into an effective interdisciplinary curriculum, discuss these objectives with the resident artist. (Note: Teachers must be in the classroom by law, and for liability reasons, at all times.)

It's important to understand that it may be impossible in many schools to provide equal contact for every student and still maintain quality in the residency experience. Consider including an assembly and/or using a multi-year plan for residencies in order to serve all students.

Set aside some time the first day for all staff to meet the artist. This might be only 15 minutes, but it gives the artist a chance to introduce her or himself and give a short description of what will be accomplished during the residency. Remember to include staff like custodians and school secretaries — schools that have done this say it makes a big difference in the success of the residency.

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Sample Week-Long Residency Schedule

  • Residency dates are hypothetically October 4-8
  • Core group is Mr. Smith's 8th Grade Class
Planning meeting September 27, 4:30-6:30 PM
with host coordinator, artist, teachers, and
representatives from the senior center and the Boys & Girls Club


9-10 AM
Mr. Smith's 8th Grade
Mrs. Brown's
Lunch Break 1-2 PM
Senior Center group
3-4 PM
teacher workshop
8-9 AM
Mr. Grey's 10th grade
9:10-10:00 Mr. Smith's
8th Grade
Break 11:30-12:30
Moose Club Luncheon / presentation
Boys & Girl's Club
9-10 AM
Mr. Smith's 8th Grade
Miss Green's 3rd grade
Lunch with the History Club Break 7-8 PM
PTA meeting
Mrs. Brown's Kindergarten
9-10 AM
Mr. Smith's
8th Grade
Mr. Grey's 10th Grade
Break 2:00-3:00
Miss Green's 3rd grade
9-10 AM
Mr. Smith's 8th Grade
Break Break 3-4 PM
8th graders rehearsal / exhibit hanging
performance/ exhibit

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