Grant writing workshop invigorates Topeka residents

Open for business: ArtsConnect is offering grant writing workshops and more at its location at 909 N. Kansas Ave. They recently opened this new location which is neighbors with other colorful locations in NOTO. 

Matthew L. Self

ArtsConnect is offering grant writing workshops to Topeka residents to help them become more familiarized with and answer questions about the process of writing grants. So far, two workshops have been scheduled, with the first having occurred Jan. 15, while the next is set for Jan. 25.

The grant writing workshop will be taking place at ArtsConnect’s new office in NOTO at 909 N. Kansas Avenue.  

The workshop was divided in two this year due to an overwhelming amount of attendees in the Topeka area who have at least a mild curiosity for the process of writing grants. The practice of writing grants refers to the completion of an application process for funding by an institution such as a government department, corporation, foundation or trust.

“Attendees can learn more about top arts programs and general tips in writing grant applications,” said Sarah Fizell, the executive director at ArtsConnect. “People take this workshop so they will write better grants and have more confidence while they do it. The more dollars we can bring to Topeka through grant writing the better.”

Successful grant writers in Topeka have, through the program funded by the city and administered by ArtsConnect, made a large impact in the community. In last year’s program alone there were 23 projects that received grant funding and affected different portions of the local community.

One of the successful grant projects from last year was the Topeka Metropolitan Transit Authority bus wrap mural which was themed on Brown v. Board of Education. This project is similar to a previous project that was featured in years past, the “Remember Rosa” bus wrap. The new bus wrap will feature special activities on board and will highlight the important role that art and public transportation play in issues of social justice.

Many students and staff at Washburn have probably noticed some of the projects undertaken by ArtsConnect in Topeka or some of the other programs it is associated with. Utility box murals, the Topeka Mural Project and the First Friday Artwalk all have ties to the organization. They have also created many guides that show unique art locations around the city, including several locations central to Washburn such as the Rita Blitt Art Gallery and the Mulvane Art Museum.

“We’ve seen 85 people respond to the two workshops we’ve set up this year,” said Board President Mary Thomas with ArtsConnect. “Grant writing is like interviewing, the more you do it the better you’ll get at it. Your education improves each time and you become a better scribe of your story.”

The grant writing program receives funding from both the city of Topeka and multiple, changing private donors from the local area. It is reported that the program receives around $30,000 from the city with smaller donations of around $1,000 from private sources.

Washburn students are free to partake in the workshops as well. However, this year’s session is currently filled to capacity. If you are curious about the grant writing program or any of the other programs handled by ArtsConnect, please contact Sarah Fizell at [email protected] Many students already take part in the grant writing workshop and there are several reported to be taking part in it this year.

While the workshop is currently full, interested persons can sign up next year. To sign up for the workshop in the future, contact Fizell or RSVP at ArtsConnect’s site on www.eventbrite.com.

Edited by Adam White, Jada Johnson, Jason Morrison