Artsy Fartsy Newsletters By C. Hope Clark

Do you get newsletters from your state arts or humanities councils? I get fifteen of them, and they come packed with knowledge, jobs, and calls for submission, contests as well as grants. They have no need for scams and do not advertise, so the content in those pages is legitimate and genuine. Since they live to serve artists and writers, they have no need to pull the wool over your eyes. In other words, reliable.

I have found grants I never knew existed, contests for specific regions, jobs advertised on a short deadline, and publications I craved to read. I learned how much money a state had to offer writers and which states loved writers more than others. The best retreats in the world appear in these newsletters.

I have read about authors who won grants and studied how much they won, for what purpose, with what credentials. Sometimes the competition is keen, and at other times I wonder why more writers did not apply. Sometimes Vermont lists things in New York, and New York covers North Carolina opportunities. That’s why I can’t read just one! They work together, work for each other, strive to publish information for no other purpose that to promote the arts. A cozy world.

I learned that some grants go to writers based on publishing credits and to others on just a proposal. Some states welcome new writers and others don’t. Some want your work affiliated with the humanities, public events, elementary education or history. But I never would have known any of this without reading these state newsletters.

They don’t hurt. They aren’t bureaucratic and dry to read. You get excited reading about how real writers have won awards and collected funds to make their careers work. They can educate you better than 90% of the writer newsletters you already get.

For instance, Vermont offers a free directory listing for all artists in the state, a free screensaver featuring their artists, and a newsletter called ARTMAIL. I’ve listed my annual contest in their publication.

Wyoming has a Lit Quiz in each issue of WYOLITMAIL with the prizes of autographed copies of Wyoming author books. I won one two years ago so you don’t have to be from Wyoming. I received the email version of the newsletter.

Alabama has an Arts Radio Series that might be an opportunity for Alabama writers. Radio broadcasts can be costly, but these are free. You can also listen to real life grant winners talk about their work and experiences in landing a grant.

Texas has a large council but also smaller entities in the state that operate off the state’s art funds. One of these is the Writer’s League of Texas – a very active, large and enterprising group with contests, events, and occasional grants. They have classes and readings to die for!”

Also, sign up for the Texas Commission on the Arts newsletter. You can read about jobs, calls and deadlines online as well.

Washington has Humanities Washington e-news. Readings, projects, grants, etc.

Montana has a newsletter called State of the Arts. It is bimonthly and available online and via email at

Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC) has an email update at

South Carolina Arts Commission offers ArtsDaily via email.

New Hampshire State Council on the Arts provides great information on events, grants, and opportunities for artists not only in NH but the Northeastern region.

Arizona Commission on the Arts has an online newsletter at

Kansas has a newsletter but only available via PDF online but the commission’s best information is online.

Tennessee Arts Commission has a reliable email newsletter available.

The New York Foundation for the Arts published NYFA Current online and via email. Sign up at

I could go on and on, but you need to go to your own state’s arts and humanities commission’s websites and ask about newsletters, emails and updates. Knowing what’s going on in your state’s art world is important to learn about grant and other financial opportunities. These people know the arts and what is coming down the pike.

While learning how the writing grant world functions in your region, you also find vacancies and chances to sell, promote and compete. Most states have artist registries, and the program is frequently mention in the newsletters including when you can add your name to the list that schools and government bodies use to solicit visiting writers