Happily, in these very hard times, more creative people are stepping outside the system and developing many new ways of getting money.
A Cleveland Artist and blogger has a great post on the subject (you may have seen her work at Boxheart)
Let’s face it, many people who sit of boards or head up foundations are living in a bubble going for the same kinds of projects time after time. In fact, how many artists or writers get grants or funding consistently? Quite a few! It’s almost as if they’ve proven they got funding from one reputable source, then it’s okay to give the green light because it looks good for the foundation to be in the know, not to mention an opportunity for press. Again, most board members and judges don’t go out of their comfort zone (ask any of them if they know about new art movements, and they don’t), and many really don’t care but are partaking for social cache. Then there are the ones who grant to former colleagues (cough*cough* NEA grants cough*), former students, or as in the case of a Rome Prize juror — their girlfriend. It really is like winning the lottery sometimes and not just based on reputation or quality of what you do. This isn’t to say everyone who gets awarded isn’t deserving, but it can be very spotty at best.
Now here’s the funny part: everyone I know who has been denied grant or bank loans went to the internet and got funding. In fact, many got over-funded! Thanks to websites like Kickstarter, funding isn’t based on a small group of old ladies who don’t like nudes in art or a guy in a bad suit looking at your credit score.