|2016 Granting Cycle, Calendar|
||March 16, 2015:
||Letter of intent postmark deadline
||June 1, 2015:
||Notification of application status
||September 7, 2015:
||Full proposal postmark deadline
||December 7, 2015:
|2015 Granting Cycle, Calendar - Presenter's Grants|
||November 10, 2014:
||Deadline to submit Presenter's Grant Applications, Fall
||May 1, 2015:
||Deadline to submit Presenter's Grant Applications, Spring
Funding Priorities & Restrictions
Anatomy of Melancholy
by Pamella O'Connor
The Jim Henson Foundation awards grants each year for the creation and development of innovative works of puppet theater. Project Grants of $5,000 are awarded for the continued development and production of new works ready to be presented in the coming year. Seed Grants of $2,000 are for the development and workshopping of pieces in earlier stages of creation. Seed Grants and Project Grants can be combined over a two year period for the greatest benefit to the piece; keep in mind, however, that a Project Grant does not need to be proceeded by a Seed grant and a Seed Grant in no way ensures a future Project Grant.
Family Grants of $3,000 fund the development of new and innovative work specifically for children, families, and teenagers. Please keep in mind that Family Grants will be evaluated by the same high artistic standards as works for adults.
Since we began awarding grants in 1982, there has been astonishing growth in both the quantity and quality of puppet theater in this country. This has made it increasingly difficult to narrow the applicant pool, so we have instituted a policy that we hope will more evenly distribute our funds among the many artists worthy of support. Artists who received a grant in the previous year are not eligible to submit a proposal in the current year. Artists who received a Seed Grant in the previous year are eligible to apply in the current year, but only for a Project Grant to further develop the previously funded piece.
Grants are made only for the development of new works of live puppet theater. The Foundation does not award funds for the presentation or remounting of existing work. Grants cannot be applied retroactively; substantial portions of a proposed project must take place after the funds are awarded. We do not fund publications, parades, pageants, exhibitions, spectacle, festivals, film or television projects, projects for school credit, workshops, or any other types of education or outreach activities.
We would like to emphasize that live puppet performance needs to be an integral element of any proposed project. While we will consider productions that utilize other media and genres, a substantial portion of the piece must feature puppetry that is well-executed in both design and performance.
Awards can be made only to IRS tax-exempt organizations. We welcome applications from individual artists, but those without 501(c)(3) status must apply through a fiscal sponsor. Applications for international collaborations are accepted, but the primary artist and fiscal sponsor must be American. Projects that will only take place outside of the Unites States are not eligible for funding.
Letters of Intent
If you would like to be considered for a grant, the first step is to submit a letter of intent postmarked on or before March 16, 2015.
The letter of intent must not exceed one page and should include your complete contact information and a clear description of the planned project. Please include information on any upcoming performances as well. The letter must be accompanied by a one-page visual. This can be a working sketch, photograph (no slides), or combination of images that are directly relevant to the puppetry in the proposed project and must be one sided and no larger than 8 1/2 x 11. Puppetry is a visual medium, the image which you submit is essential to the letter of intent phase of the process. Please note: the submitted visual will be color-copied, and reviewed by the foundation board with your letter - if you have any notes regarding the visual please be sure to include them either in your letter, or on the same side of the visual that will be photocopied. We will only copy one side of of your visual.
Please indicate which category of grant you intend to apply for - Seed, Project or Family Grant. Please do not submit a cover letter or any other additional materials. Letters of intent are accepted only via postal mail or in-person drop off.
Approximately half of the applicants submitting letters of intent will be asked to submit full proposals. Letters of intent will be reviewed at the Spring board meeting, and applicants will be notified of the board's decision by June 1, 2015.
If you are invited to submit a full proposal, your application must be postmarked on or before September 7, 2015 . Late applications are not accepted, and materials are not accepted by fax or email. Applications will be reviewed at the Fall board meeting, and applicants will be notified of the board's decision by December 7, 2015.
Please read the application instructions carefully. All materials, including photographs and other visuals, must be submitted on 8 1/2 x 11 paper. Please do not staple or bind applications. Materials that exceed page limits will not be reviewed. Applications must include the following information:
- application cover sheet
- a one-page project description
Describe the technique you will use and the concept of the piece, including content, execution, and use of puppetry.
- a one-page project budget, including both income and expense
Submit a budget for the entire project - not just a budget for how Foundation funds would be spent.
- a one-page artist bio
If more than one artist is included in the application, all bios should be combined on one page.
- a one-page company or organization description (only if needed)
Include only if substantially different from the artist bio.
- a copy of IRS 501(c)3 determination letter
If you are using a fiscal sponsor, you must also include a letter from the organization stating that they agree to serve as your fiscal sponsor for the project.
- Photographs, sketches or other visuals relevant to the proposed project
Each grant application is required to submit no more than one page of color images in the form of a print or color copy; slides are not accepted. Visuals should be 8 1/2 x 11, one-sided, and will be scanned. Applicants are advised to caption the visual with a brief description on the same side as the image. Descriptions and captions included on the back of the image will not be viewed by the board. We strongly prefer visuals that pertain to the proposed project, rather than examples of past work. It is not helpful to submit work samples that we have seen in past applications. If we are not yet familiar with your work and you do not have samples from the proposed piece, then it can be helpful to send samples from past works.
- Video Footage
Video Footage is a requirement for all applicants. If you are applying for a Project or Family Grant the video needs to be of the project for which you are applying. Seed Grant applicants may submit video of a past performance if they do not have video of the piece for which they are applying.
- All video submissions should be high quality .mov, .m4v, or .mp4 files.
- File should be no larger than 2GB
- File should be 3-4 minutes, but no longer than 4 minutes.
When submitting your file:
- under "Full Name" write the name of the artist or company that is submitting the grant application
- under "Subject" write the name of the project for which you are submitting, followed by video submission. Example: Goldilocks in Love, Video Submission
- under "Message" write the name of the artist or company that is submitting the grant application, which category you have been invited to submit under (Project, Seed or Family), and any other notes that may be necessary.
Please send letters of intent and applications by postal mail to:
The Jim Henson Foundation
37-18 Northern Blvd., Suite 400
Long Island City, NY 11101
Please do not send materials by Federal Express, certified mail, or any other means requiring a signature. An email will be sent to you acknowledging the receipt of your letter of intent or full application within one week of its arrival.
If you wish to deliver your letter of intent or application to our office by hand, it must be received no later than 5:00pm on the day of the postmark deadline. Materials left at our office after 5:00pm will not be accepted.
Presenter's Grants - invitation only
The Jim Henson Foundation Presenter's Grants were created in 2004 to help to continue the work started by the Henson International Festivals of Puppet Theater
in the 1990s. These grants were established to promote the presentation of excellence in contemporary puppet theater in New York City
. Please note, there are very limited funds for Presenter's Grants and they are at this time invitation only. There are two levels of funding for Presenter's Grants: $5,000 and $10,000.
NOTE: It is important that a majority of the grant is used towards performance fees and services that directly benefit the artists.
$5,000 - The presenting of one piece of puppet theater in a high-profile theater. This piece needs to be either a Project Grant recipient of The Jim Henson Foundation, an international piece of puppet theater, or a work that is of exceptionally high caliber. We fund excellence in new contemporary puppet theater. The work needs to be fully supported by the theater in a proper run of a minimum of four performances, more if possible. The Foundation encourages the venue to offer a master class made available to the professional puppetry community, led by the puppet artist.
$10,000 - The presenting of three or more works of puppet theater within a season or a festival. This must be a minimum of three different puppet artists (or companies) performing three different pieces of puppet theater. The pieces need to be either Project Grant recipients of The Jim Henson Foundation, international pieces of puppet theater, or works that are of exceptionally high caliber. We fund excellence in new contemporary puppet theater. Each work needs to have an a minimum of two performances and we encourage a longer run of at least 4 performances, and more if possible. The Foundation encourages the venue to offer a master class made available to the professional puppetry community, led by the puppet artist.
If your theater is invited to apply for a $5,000, or $10,000 Presenter's Grant please submit a letter detailing the puppet theater programming you are planning for 2015, a budget outlining how this funding will be used to help support this programming, dates and times of when events will take place, a description of how your venue has supported new contemporary works of puppet theater in the past, and 2-3 pages of visuals (8.5 x 11, preferably color) that support your application. Up to 4 minutes of video for each puppet theater piece is encouraged, but is not a requirement.
If you have a question about our guidelines, you may be able to find the answer on our list of Frequently Asked Questions. You can also reach us at 212.439.7504 or
. It is best to contact us with any questions well in advance of the application deadlines.