Photographing your Work

Photographing your art doesn’t have to be difficult, costly, or time consuming. Charley Freiberg, commercial photographer, shared many helpful tips with us last year for our Artist to Artist program. Check them out, and keep your eyes peeled for more workshops with Charley!

General Tips:

Handy Things to have around: You can use anything available to you to assist you in capturing the perfect image, much of which is available at your local craft store. Recommended items include a Styrofoam board, clothespins, Ripstop nylon, dulling spray, Pionite (color: Bankers Grey), tape, paper, and lights.

Light bulbs used: Overdrive Energy Saving Lamps 105W Full light spectrum spiral CFL

Camera settings: Always set your camera to Manual mode and avoid using any pre-programmed settings. These settings make photos look unrealistic. Always shoot at the maximum resolution and minimum ISO that your camera is capable of. That means you'll need to use a tripod. 


  • Do not trust your camera screen in regards to color! Camera screens are generally only good for judging how light or dark the image is.
  • Be consistent with your set-up. Do it exactly the same way every time and make markers to avoid wasting time during your next photo-shoot.
  • Shooting a piece of art vertically or horizontally does not matter. You can rotate the image in a photo-editing program or on your camera at a later time.
  • Try to view your artwork with the perspective of a consumer (if that is your goal of photographing your work). What may be the ‘best side’ to the artist might be the ‘worst side’ to the consumer.

Photographing 2D Art:

Location: Place your art against a wall, or hang it, so that it is flush with the wall's surface.

Lighting: Place two lights at a 45 degree angle from either side of the artwork. If the shadows are the same size on each side of the artwork, your lights are even. Generally, you want all of the area surrounding the artwork to be lighted evenly.

Tips: The closer the lights are to the artwork at a 45 degree angle, the more exposed oils, wet paints, or glitters will be. The closer the lights are to the artwork at a larger angle (90 degrees), the less exposed oils, wet paints or glitters will be.

Photographing 3D Art:

Lighting - Top light: One light fixture above the piece is ideal. The human brain likes softer shadows. This can be accomplished by placing the edge of the light fixture directly in front of the object below it.

Location: Place the item on a table top or surface away from a wall. To set a plain back ground hang a sheet or large piece of paper 18-24" behind the item.

Tips: Use Dulling Spray ($10-$15 at any art supply store) to reduce the shine of an object.

About Artist to Artist

Artist to Artist meetings began as a collaborative project between Arts Alive and the Hannah Grimes Center in the spring of 2014 to address the needs of local artists to receive training and share knowledge about the business of art. Past meetings have included workshops on licensing, marketing, and copywriting work. 

Navigating the world of social media & copyright

Posting or sharing your work on social media seems like a great marketing avenue for many artists. However, many social media sites have "terms of service," or a contract, that you agree to when you sign up to use the site. That contract can often include things like allowing the site to use your images for free and for whatever purpose they like. Yikes!

So, how do you protect yourself and your work?

Read More

Navigating Copyright Law for Art

Let Everyone Know Its Yours

Have you created, painted, sculpted, written something recently? It is copyrighted the moment it is created. That means you own your art - the idea, the materials, the creation. So, mark the things you make, the hard copies AND the digital/online ones, and let the world know they're yours!

Registering a Copyright

So, anything you make, BOOM, its automatically copyrighted to you. No one can copy your creation. BUT what happens if someone does? If they do you can tell them, Hey, cut it out. If they don't, you'll have to prove you made the original and that you made it before they made theirs. If they have profited from using your creation, and you want any money from a settlement, you'll need a registered copyright. That would be why you would want to REGISTER a copyright on a creation, or a series of work. You do that with the US Government, online or with a paper form. More Information Here.

How to Share what you've made

If you sell a piece of work, you still own the copyright. The new owners can't copy it or display it for profit unless you give them permission!

If someone wants to use your work, image, creation what can you do? Write a contract with them to License it - that means they get to use it, but you still own it. The contract can include:

  •    Length of time they can use it (temporarily, or forever)
  •    How they can use it
  •    If they now own it (if you are transferring your copyright or if you are only loaning or licensing your work)
  •    If they are allowed to change it
  •    If you need to be credited for the work
  •    What they will pay (nothing? something?)

Creative Commons offers some fantastic resources, like template contracts and more!


How to ask someone to stop

If someone has used your work without your permission you'll want to ask them to make it right. First, make sure their use of your work infringes your rights as copyright owner. If someone is making money, profiting from your work, or stealing your work instead of paying for work, that is infringement. What do you do?

  1. Determine the individual who is responsible
  2. Send them a letter asking them to remove your work (or offer to initiate a contract with them to license the use of it - for free or for a fee)
  3. Follow up with a phone call, if you can find a number

The National Press Photographer's Association website offers a good template letter you could use.

Check out our blog on Social Media & Copyright

About Artist to Artist

Artist to Artist meetings began as a collaborative project between Arts Alive and the Hannah Grimes Center in the spring of 2014 to address the needs of local artists to receive training and share knowledge about the business of art. Past meetings have included workshops on licensing, marketing, and copywriting work. 

Disclaimer: This factsheet is offered as a general guide to the issues surrounding copyright in this area. It does not represent an exhaustive account. It is not intended to offer legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. We strongly recommend you seek specialist advice for any specific circumstances.

Where to show art? - local galleries and more!

There are many opportunities to show work in the Monadnock Region. These galleries support local and New England artists to sell their work.

If you don't find what you're looking for here, try thinking out of the box! How could a partnership with your doctor or dentists' office work? Does your local coffee shop have some wall space? Is there a Bank in town that would consider sharing your work in a conference room? Does a hotel's lobby space need some spicing up? Any of these venues could be a place to hang and reach a new audience. If  you're set up for online sales, or if you provide a price sheet and contact information, this could be an alternative to your standard gallery route.

Monadnock Area Artists Association Gallery in Syd’s Furniture, Keene



Local artists display and sell original art work at Syd's Carpet and Snooze Room. There is a gallery fee and a percentage of the proceeds will be donated to area nonprofits. There are quarterly receptions held to promote and celebrate artists and their work.

Creative Encounters, Keene
Step inside the door of Creative Encounters and find yourself inspired by beautifully framed pieces of local artwork, photography and more. Paintings, prints, photography, mirrors, art clocks and much more grace the walls.
Knowing the tremendous value in regional art, you’ll also find paintings by the exceptional local artists, historical pieces like maps, images, tiles and more. Each work of art communicates the true beauty and elegance of the Monadnock Region and the city of Keene, New Hampshire. There is truly something for everyone inside this extraordinary place.

Sharon Arts Center Gallery, Peterborough
The Sharon Arts Downtown Galleries in Depot Square, Peterborough include a Fine Craft Gallery and Store, an Artists' Resource Center (selling art supplies), a Juried Artist Gallery, and an Exhibition Gallery. The Gallery is currently undergoing renovations and will have a grand opening in early May, 2016.

New England Art Exchange, Peterborough
Since 1989, New England Art Exchange has sold period paintings and fine prints. Located in Peterborough New Hampshire, we focus on works of American, European and Asian artists from the 18th century to the 1950’s. We buy and sell original works and represent consignors from around the world.

Jaffrey Civic Center, Jaffrey
For over forty years, the Jaffrey Civic Center has provided a community center for educational and artistic purposes. The building and grounds of the Civic Center for a wide variety of programs, activities, and events throughout the year.
The first floor of the Jaffrey Civic Center houses an Auditorium Gallery, which seats a hundred people and is used for both meetings and as an artistic gallery space. The first floor also includes office space, a conference room, and a library containing an excellent collection of books specializing in Americana, art, gardening, and natural history. The library is open to the public for in-house browsing and research.

Walpole Artisans Cooperative, Walpole
This is an unique locally made gifts, original artwork handcrafted by juried members. The shop is run as a cooperative, by the artisans themselves.

The Frame Depot, Milford
We are a framing store and gallery, conveniently located in the heart of the bustling Milford Oval. Our Gallery provides exposure on a daily basis for our local talent.

Gallery Walk, Brattleboro
Many businesses in Brattleboro participate in “Gallery Walk” and serve as small scale galleries of one to two artists’ work for one or several months throughout the year. Most times businesses will sell artists work and take a commission, or offer other means for artists to sell their work to business patrons.

Mitchell Giddings Fine Arts, Brattleboro
Mitchell • Giddings Fine Arts features innovative works by midcareer and established artists in a variety of media. Co-founders Petria Mitchell and Jim Giddings have been successful professional artists for 35 years.  During that time they have been intimately involved in several nonprofit arts organizations including the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, The River Gallery School of Art,  Windham Art Gallery, and Brattleboro West Arts.

Gallery in the Woods, Brattleboro
Gallery in the Woods is both a virtual gallery and a three dimensional place. We welcome you to visit us on  Main Street in Brattleboro, Vermont. The works here  express the qualities of the human experience which are Visionary, Surreal, Fantastic, and Sacred.   The living artists in this group come from a variety of places and cultures on the globe, responding to the present time on Earth with their visions  of the human psyche.

Vermont Artisan Designs, Brattleboro
We are a fine art and contemporary American craft gallery celebrating a wide variety of artists and artisans -- primarily from Vermont and other parts of New England -- for the past 40 years. You'll find both functional and decorative work from well-established and emerging artisans: paintings, ranging from landscapes to still life to abstract; sculpture in bronze, wood, paper, wire, mixed media, stone, steel; colorful and clear blown glass; a great selection of pottery; beautiful hand-painted silk, as well as woven chenille and velvet, scarves; carefully turned salad bowls; exquisitely finished furniture including a rocker that you will swear was made just for you; a great selection of Judaica featuring a wonderful collection of menorahs; entrancing kaleidoscopes; subtle sounding chimes; photographs that capture the essence of Vermont; lamps to accent your home or office; and other wonderful items for you to discover.

Vermont Center for Photography, Brattleboro
Now celebrating our 17th year of hosting some of the regions finest photographers in our gallery in downtown Brattleboro, VCP continues to flourish as one of the most popular gallery destinations in the region.
In addition to hosting a new feature exhibit each month, VCP offers ongoing workshops, public B/W darkroom rental, professional printing & scanning services, exhibiting artist talks, as well as monthly portfolio critiques, among other regularly scheduled events.

Thinking about selling your work online? Artshark provides some interesting options on this exhaustive list of resources on the web. 


Ewing Arts Awards 2015 Arts Alive! Speech

Arts Alive! and the Keene Sentinel are collecting nominations for the 2016 Ewing Arts Awards.

Apply or Nominate an artist

These awards celebrate excellence in the arts. From expression to skill to community participation to youth empowerment there are many ways artists and arts organizations excel in our region. In celebration, we thought we'd share a link to 2015's winners and the speech we gave at the awards ceremony!

Videos of 2015 winners

The 2015 Ewing Arts Awards artist stories

Ewing Arts Awards 2015 Speech


by Jessica Gelter

Thank you Terry, it’s been a pleasure working with you, the Sentinel, and the arts community to make this event a reality. We are saturated with art here. This is a special place. And I want to acknowledge the Hoffman and Putnam foundations who made Arts Alive’s sponsorship of this event possible by supporting Arts and Culture across this region. 

Those magical stops for coffee can really bring up some interesting conversations.

Yesterday I was having coffee with my friend. I'm an artist, he's an artist, and we are very opinionated, so we were talking kind of heatedly. He said an artist makes art to transfigure an experience he or she has, to understand oneself better, to transcend many realities in the process of making, to connect with that something else that guides your hand. I said art is a means to communicate and share the human experience. We gift our art to our audiences, and therefore the making is not an individual endeavor, but it is a dialogue with all of humanity. I called his idea isolating and a practice in self-satisfaction. He called my idea pandering, and told me a real artist could make work alone or in company. It was all friendly banter, but where am I going with this?

We make art for different reasons. It has the power to change us as makers, and change us as audiences. Art can open our eyes and connect us with each other. It can inspire us with its beauty, it can build empathy, it can teach us that the world is so much bigger than what we alone can see or experience, and it can help us understand ourselves in a transcendent way. 

Beauty. Empathy. Openness to change. Doesn’t that make the world a better place? 

In 1963, recognizing the important role arts could play in American society, JFK gave a speech celebrating the recently deceased poet, Robert Frost. In it he put forth a vision for our country. He said:

“I look forward to an America which will reward achievement in the arts as we reward achievement in business or statecraft. I look forward to an America which will steadily raise the standards of artistic accomplishment and which will steadily enlarge cultural opportunities for all of our citizens. And I look forward to an America which commands respect throughout the world not only for its strength, but for its civilization as well.”

Two years later the National Endowment for the Arts was created, under Lyndon Johnson. 

Local and Federal funding has helped communities bring talented artists in on tours, and create organizations, like the Colonial here in Keene, that are hubs for downtowns. That funding has helped build programming and activities that engage community members, students, folks in care facilities. So much more.

Culture. Transformation. Building our civilization.

We’ve done well over the decades, recognizing the importance of the arts, but since the late 90’s there have been some dramatic cuts in government investments in the arts. Individuals, businesses, foundations have had to fill that gap in a more significant way than ever before. Particularly recently. Did you know that in 2008, the New Hampshire state government gave the State Council on the Arts over $800,000 in funding – funding that the Council used to match federal dollars, and invest across our state, building arts education and arts in healthcare programs, connecting communities, studying economic impact, and more. 2014’s budget gave just about $370,000. And we’re still looking at cuts.
But arts. Artists. We are a resourceful bunch. I’ve seen an artist transform sticks into a sculpture, scraps into a collage, grass into a toy. A wall into a beautiful community centerpiece. A dirt lot into an interactive zen sand garden.

Shaun Donovan, who was the head of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, said in 2010: “The arts are a natural component to creating more livable, walkable, environmentally sustainable communities. They can play a key role as a partner that is able to enhance the unique characteristics of communities and increase our economic competitiveness through supporting creativity and innovation.” 

Exceptional leaders and world-changers - Nobel Prize winners, National Academy of Science members, Royal Society members - are much more likely than the average person, to have artistic hobbies – music, painting, writing.

Empathy. Transformation. Culture. Civilization. Perhaps arts also inspire creativity, innovation? Perhaps we will need the arts even more, as world markets become competitive and the fast pace of technological developments requires new ideas and solutions. 

Art is important for many reasons. We make art for many reasons. We support art for many reasons.

Arts Alive’s Mission is to enhance quality of life by advancing arts and culture in the Monadnock Region. 

That is why we’re here tonight. To celebrate those groups and individuals who are making art and engaging our community. To celebrate those artists of whom every person in this region can be proud to call neighbor. This is Monadnock and it inspires those artists that stand alone like the mountain. And this is Monadnock and it inspires a community that looks up together in awe.

So, I want to encourage you all:
Have more coffee. Talk to new people. Make more art. And take it all in.

Writing an Artist Statement

In the era of Modern Art it was presumed that Art could and should speak for itself, or critics would speak for it and for the artists. Artists did not need to get involved or explain their work. But time, art, and audiences change. In the post-modernist era, we see audiences wanting to understand the work, wanting to connect with the maker, craving the stories and motivations that brought the art into being.

An artist statement is a alternative way to communicate about your art to people who are not visual, or trained makers themselves. It is a way to translate the visual into the verbal. And it is a way to talk about yourself.

The Basics

An artist statement is a 500-or-so word statement that introduces the artist and his or her work. Artist statements can be used in applications for exhibits, grants, residencies, advanced degrees, and also on websites, at exhibits, and for publicity.

Know your audience

It is important to craft your language to your reader. A statement for a local exhibit might use less technical wording, and fewer references to artists and work that is less than popular. A statement for an application should be tailored to an educated, and aware audience. Language about theory and philosophy of contemporary makers and movements will be more appropriate for this audience.

Tell your story

From technique to motivation to message, the reader wants to know how your art came into being. How did you make it? Who inspires you? What life experiences feed your art? Why did you make it? What do you hope to share through its existence? 

Use your own words

The most important advice is to write it in your own words and make it personal. That doesn’t mean you have to reach into your bag of arts metaphor cliches and get “touchy-feely,” but you do have to find words for that bit of yourself that you put into your art. 
It is a challenge to go from visual or kinesthetic expression to verbal. Here’s a bit of advice from Rosemarie, she calls the Interview Technique:

A great and easy way to vein an artist’s statement is to be interviewed by a friend and tape the interview. Even to talk over coffee or a beer will help you to talk in our own words with honesty and directness You can tape it and transcribe the conversation, or have your friend take notes, and pick out the good stuff, all in your own words, all honest, all direct!

Don’ts - What not to put into your statement:

The first is, don’t say what the viewer will feel or think. You can say what change you want it to or hope it will inspire. You can say what you would like the viewer to feel. But an artist cannot control what people think or feel. It may seem obvious, but it is a trap many fall into. 
The second is, don’t brag about your resume or experience. Acknowledge the good as part of your story, but saying you’ve won 50 awards or exhibited at 100 galleries, or had residencies every year of your artistic life does nothing for your story, unless you put it in context. 

Submit your artist profile to the New England Foundation for the Arts database here:

And to the Arts Alive! Monadnock Arts Database here:

This program was presented by Rosemarie Bernardi during The Artist to Artist program organized by The Hannah Grimes Center and Arts Alive! to foster a strong creative economy in the Monadnock Region. The event was sponsored by C & S Wholesale Grocers.

Tools for Building your Marketing Network

Marketing is about personal relationships, and expanding them to sell your work. But, there are some basics to invest your time in to find success in networked marketing.


It can be utilitarian or a way to express yourself and your vision. Consider including the following content:
1. Your gallery or portfolio
2. Your artist statement or "About the Art"
3. Your bio or "About the Artist" / Your resume or CV. 
4. Your contact information
5. Additional Written Content
6. Social media links
Additional: Prices and ordering information for potential buyers, Links to your artist community’s websites

Helpful Hints: Easy websites can be made on Wix, SquareSpace, Weebly, GoDaddy, Moonfruit. Costs range from $1-20 per month. Choose a plan that does not include outside advertising for others to place ads on your site, and that the site can be used on mobile devices. When you design it, think of it as a gallery experience for the visitor. Cultivate it like a show, not a yard sale. Visitors are there to see your work, learn about you, and get in touch. Inspire them!


Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Blog, LinkedIn, YouTube, Vimeo
Make sure your accounts connect back to your website.

Helpful Hint: Social media is not a venue to post exclusively about events you are doing. Post on your social media pages what you think your social circle would like to hear - would you like a friend who only talked about his/her upcoming shows? No! Compliment and share friends’ work, share feel-good memes, share videos that inspire you, and share stories about your process.


Receptions, Open studios, Festivals, Farmer’s Markets, Volunteer events connected to your art, Offering workshops in your areas of expertise

Helpful Hints: Bring a giveaway - from a businesscard or postcard to a pen to a cheesy stress ball. Let them have something to remember you by, and a way to get in touch. Also find a way to capture information from people you engage with, or who attend your event. That way you can stay in touch with them. Add them to your mailing list or invite them to come see you again!


Press release - Any news, but just the facts (and quotes) please
Photo release - A photo with a short accompanying news paragraph
Media advisory - An alert to the press that they should attend a certain event, must include day, time, place, and media contact

Helpful Hint: Meet a reporter, or call them to establish a relationship before you just start sending press releases. Calling someone out of the blue freaks you out? Make sure you read a few of their stories, know what they have written about, and how they've written about it. Then, call them to pitch a story about you or your business. You could even ask a friend, mentor, or advisor to do so on your behalf. Begin your relationship with the media in a personal way.

Monadnock Makerspaces

Rachelle Beaudoin, a local professional artist and founding member of a community Makerspace in Peterborough, Monadnock ArtXTech, presented to an Arts Alive! Artist to Artist event, facilitated by Arts Alive! and The Hannah Grimes Center. Also present at the event was Johnny Bolster, director of Make It So, downtown Keene’s Makerspace.

What is a Makerspace?

Makers are artists, inventors, entrepreneurs, crafts folk, techies, etc. - basically anyone who innovates and then creates. The Maker movement is growing throughout the country and encourages creative thinking, collaboration and the use of shared resources to access new technologies.  

Makerspaces allow Makers to access tools and equipment that they might not otherwise be able to get their hands on. 

Why do we need Makerspaces?

“These sorts of spaces allow for experimentation without the financial investment - and provide a great opportunity for alternative education,” says Johnny.

Rachelle adds, “Cost is prohibitive to own your own high tech equipment. You might invest in something if it is in your long term business plan, but this allows you to try it out before making that big commitment.”

Rachelle discussed her recent project  Positive Affirmation Underwear which was created in collaboration with Miss Baltazar’s Laboratory, a feminist hackerspace in Vienna Austria. For the Positive Affirmation Underwear project, Rachelle required computer parts, conductive thread, speakers, and underwear. And she needed a place to put it all together. Miss Baltazar’s Laboratory is a women-only Makerspace that provided her the space, tools, and most importantly, the peer support that she needed to make her art. 

A key element to the Maker movement is collaboration and interaction with peers. “I think people are feeling isolated, especially behind all the technology in this world. Even though Makerspaces acts as a home to technology they are really about building a community.” says Rachelle.

Both Johnny and Rachelle have emphasized their spaces make use of welcoming common areas and perks like providing coffee to bring people who are using the space together to share ideas and commune on projects.

Also, both spaces provide training and supervision on any and all hardware and software available at the spaces. The Peterborough space is  more focused on Art & Technology, the Keene space will focus on innovating products & manufacturing - particularly woodwork, metalwork, and ceramics. Johnny and Rachelle see this as an opportunity to not only connect with individual artists and entrepreneurs, but also as a way to potentially provide a service to the larger manufacturers by offering professional development trainings in new technologies to the local workforce.

Rachelle affirms that arts are an important element in education and innovation. “What we’re doing with the Makerspaces - we want to turn the S.T.E.M. education initiative into S.T.E.A.M., to incorporate arts into the acronym that typically stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. The arts are just as important.”

About Artist to Artist

Artist to Artist meetings began as a collaborative project between Arts Alive and the Hannah Grimes Center in the spring of 2014 to address the needs of local artists to receive training and share knowledge about the business of art. Past meetings have included workshops on licensing, marketing, and copywriting work. 

Enhancing Art Tours

Artists and art tour organizers from the Monadnock region and Windham County gathered to discuss tour participation, audiences, marketing, and “pizzaz factor” of the dozens of art tours around the southeastern vermont and southwestern new hampshire regions.

Recently, studio attendance and sales have been down. How can they turn it around?

A rundown of the local art tours in 2015:

First Fridays of every month - Gallery Walk Brattleboro, VT

May - Vermont Crafts Council Open Studio Tour, VT (statewide)

June - ArtWalk in downtown Keene, NH

July - Rock River tour Newfane, VT


  • Keene Art Tour (typically in November), Keene, NH
  • Brattleboro West Arts (typically in September), West Brattleboro, VT
  • Vermont Crafts Council Open Studio Tour, VT (statewide)
  • Fall Foliage Art Studio Tour, Keene, Spofford, Stoddard, Munsonville, Antrim, Nelson, Rindge, New Ipswich, NH
  • Monadnock Art Tour, Harrisville, Hancock, Dublin, Peterborough, Jaffrey, Marlborough, NH
  • River Valley Art Tour, Westmoreland, Chesterfield, Spofford, NH


  • NH Open Doors Studio Tour, NH (statewide)
  • Walpole Artisans Cooperative Tour, Walpole, NH
  • Putney Craft Tour, Putney, Westminster, Saxtons River, VT

A brainstorm of ideas that could help promote and differentiate the tours:

Ideas for Artists:

  • host brochures for other art tours, share info with visitors
  • invite a “buddy,” an artist from another location or with a different type of art that will draw a different crowd of visitors to your open studio. The relationship can be reciprocal.
  • have a variety of products with a range of prices so all tour participants can purchase your work. Originals, prints, calendars, cards, what else?
  • have payment plans to make your work more affordable
  • do a demo of how you make your work
    • post pisctures of the process
    • lay out tools for visitors to look at and even touch

Ideas for Organizers:

  • change the dates so that they don’t overlap so intensely
  • have a central location to display samples of artists’ work so visitors can decide where to go
  • fundraise to invest in marketing / a pr coordinator
    • find business/corporate sponsorships, trades, and support
      increase artist fees
    • look for a grant (Arts Alive! may be able to provide fiscal sponsorship)
    • perhaps a cooperative of tours could hire 1 person and share their time?



  • think about branding - what makes your tour  or different and how do you communicate that through your ads, signs, maps, and brochures. How do your artists engage in your brand, whatever it may be.
  • host a “town hall tour” or “inn to inn tour” rather than a studio tour, where artists in towns across the region display their work in central locations
  • partner with the state or utilize state marketing resources to increase out of state visitors
  • partner with a transportation organizer, like a bike tour grou






An intriguing parting thought:



“To what extent can studio tours help us be better citizens, define the community in which we live, and help us build stronger relationships with our neighbors?” - Doug Cox, violin-maker - Brattleboro, VT

Fiscal Sponsorship 101

Fiscal sponsorship is a formal arrangement in which a 501(c)(3) public charity sponsors a project that may lack exempt status. This alternative to starting your own nonprofit allows you to seek grants and solicit tax-deductible donations under your sponsor's exempt status.

Why would you want to do this?

  • Grants

  • Sponsorships

  • Donations

  • Fiscal Oversight/Responsibility

  • You want to establish a new 501(c)3, but you want to get to work right away

  • Alternatives will not work for you: Loans, Crowdsourced Funding


Finding the Right Fit in a Fiscal Sponsor


  • Know yourself, your project, your purpose in creating your project, and the outcomes

  • Is there a nonprofit that aligns with your vision?

  • What is the cost of fiscal sponsorship through that organization, and what do you get for the cost?

  • How accessible is the money you raise?

  • What requirements does your fiscal sponsor have for you?




Helpful Links:

Fractured Atlas for independent artists who do not want to start a nonprofit

Arts Alive! Arts Incubation / Fiscal Sponsorship Program for groups looking to become nonprofits

How to start a Nonprofit

Checklist for becoming a nonprofit


Hannah Grimes Center Resources:

Visit the calendar for details

FREE Fundraising Coaching with Katie Gardella 30 minute sessions

FREE Financing Coaching with Edward Kunttu

FREE Business Strategy Coaching with Wink Faulkner

FREE Marketing & Design Coaching with Peter Harris

Financial Fundementals @ Hannah Grimes beginning 3/7 - $600 (50% scholarships available)

Startup Lab @ Hannah Grimes 4/29 - $600 (50% scholarships available)




How we make an Organizational Action Plan: The Plenary

Arts Alive hosted a Plenary Session at the Thorne Sagendorph Gallery on the Keene State College campus on December 10th. The program included a panel discussion on the Arts & Economic Prosperity Study and how different participants have used the data, from planning to development work.

John Hoffman, an incorporator of Arts Alive!; Beth Brown of MoCo Arts, Tara Kessler of the City of Keene; and Terry Williams of the Keene Sentinel all spoke on the impact of the data in their work, and the importance of a strong Creative Economy in the Monadnock region.

After the panel, the group of 35 attendees, primarily from the nonprofit arts & culture sector, broke out into small groups to discuss three questions:

  • What does a flourishing cultural community look like?
  • What support do arts organizations need to enhance success?
  • What actions can Arts Alive! take to make a difference?

The groups brought back some great ideas, including asking for more networking; having a dedicated planning calendar, separate from the Discover Monadnock regional events calendar; promoting arts events more; expanding the audience and volunteer demographics to include younger populations; and helping find other sources of funding.

Arts Alive!’s marketing committee, Discover Monadnock committee, and Artist to Artist program are all looking at strategies to address the needs communicated at the Plenary. We will be responding to these ideas in active ways. Please continue to read the Arts Alive! newsletters, forward them to friends, and share our posts on social media so the arts community can fully take advantage of the exciting developments we’re planning.

To learn more and sign up to participate in the Arts & Economic Prosperity Study, visit our website:

What does a flourishing cultural community look like?


  • Accessible to various audiences
  • Active advocacy
  • Integration with other sectors
  • Cooperative Advertising


  • Programming calendar
  • Community statement on WHY arts are important


  • More community participation in arts funding
  • More resources to help organizations access grants & foundations
  • More Sources - outside of the box ideas on and connections to funding


What support do arts need to enhance success?


  • Business building skills
  • Different nonprofit arts business models
  • How to implement integration practices with different community sectors


  • Reframe the community’s idea on what a nonprofit is / does
  • The importance and value of arts integration


  • Finding new funders AND partners
  • Build new audiences

What actions can Arts Alive! take to make a difference?


  • Provide opportunities to network w/in the sector
  • Provide opportunities to network w/ other sectors
  • Connect arts organizations with state leadership programs
  • Connect arts organizations with younger audiences/volunteers
  • Offer / communicate opportunities to connect with funders
  • Connect Arts Alive! to other organizations around the state and country doing similar work

Training and education

  • Board trainings on identified topics
  • How to use available resources, like Discover Monadnock


  • Connect arts organizations with younger audiences
  • Publish an annual directory of regional arts organizations
  • Enhance Discover Monadnock’s work to promote arts-specific events


  • Share access to available grant and other funding opportunities
  • Reinstate a dedicated programming Calendar