Monday, February 12, 2018

6 Lessons I Learned Searching for Grants

I am an animator/media producer and educator. I am developing Anim8Nature to promote environmental stewardship by exploring science with art and careful observation of the natural world. I have received a seed grant but I am seeking additional funding.  InMotion: Squirrel
Are you also running around looking for money and trying to find that golden stash of acorns? This is what I have learned as a newbie after almost two years researching and applying for grants.

Grant writing is universally acknowledged as being a pain in the neck.However, I am finding that it really can be "fun" and transformative. Here's why.

1. Foundations Need You as Much as You Need Them

Charitable organizations are tasked with giving away 5% of their net investment assets each year. That's good news for those of us looking for a small piece of that money. 

2. Lots of Help Out There: Databases and Webinars

There are many resources/databases online. Google searches have introduced me to the Foundation Center as well as FoundantGrantWatch and more. 

After over a year of taking advantage of the Foundation Center's online database, I finally made it to their offices in Washington, DC. When I queried them on the phone why onsite visits are preferable, I was informed it was their knowledgable staff. That is an understatement. I was so grateful for the assistance I got at the Foundation Center, at least 30 minutes of one-on-one when I first arrived and then answers to many questions during my visit. I am working to get my local library here in Lynchburg, VA to join their network.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

InMotion: Snippets of Nature

8 Seconds of Animation

I spent 4 days this week working on 8 seconds of animation. Why?


InMotion is a series of very short animations documenting movement in a variety of organisms or natural objects for Anim8Nature, a resource to explore science with art. Many are creatures I see regularly but others are new discoveries for me, like the seadragon.

I strongly believe that we all benefit from carefully observering the natural world. Part of my natural world are piliated woodpeckers. I hear them sometimes on my walks in the woods and see them when I'm lucky.

I want to inspire others, especially children to be careful observers of their immediate environment and beyond by creating these shorts and suggesting ways to explore the science facts with art and animation. We do this on our websiteYoutube and in workshops for kids and families.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Anim8Nature: Making A Better World

InMotion: Oak Leaves

My efforts to find funding for my series of animated short science documentaries, Anim8Nature has included viewing various webinars. New to this process of convincing funders to support my work, I am appreciative of expert advice.

The last webinar I watched was presented by GrantHub with Jana Hexter of What I got out of this hour was to take the widest possible view of my work and focus on what it's "about" and how it makes the world a better, more beautiful place.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Animating the 4th Grade: Part 2

On Monday, I had the pleasure of working with approximately 90 students at Greenbriar East Elementary School in Fairfax County, Virginia. I was invited to help every student in the 4th grade explore science with art and animation. I met with two classes in November and these were the remaining three classrooms of 4th graders. 

Art teacher Christie Miller in her classroom with students getting ready to start working on their animations. Greenbriar East staff assistance during the workshops played a major role in our success.

As I mentioned in this post, teaching 30 students at a time with these tools (PC laptop and a web-based application) was not what I considered ideal. My workshops are generally with iPads and less than 10 students per session. The staff convinced me how important it is to give their students instruction with tools they can access 24/7.

I am so pleased to have found an appropriate animation tool and developed a curriculum that I tested during these five workshops. I determined that this kind of learning environment can be very successful.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Animating Greenbriar East Elementary: Part One

Next week I am visiting Greenbriar East Elementary School in Fairfax County, VA to teach 4th graders how to use animation to explore science. I am very excited. This is a wonderful opportunity for me to spend time in a classroom and conduct important research for my educational project I have been working with kids and technology for 4 years (college level students for 15 years) and been conducting art workshops for kids for over 40 years. Many of these workshops have been in schools, generally after school programs, art centers or museums outside a typical elementary school classroom.

How will this experience be different?

My most recent workshop was teaching kids animation in a week long iPad Camp at the Academy Center of the Arts in Lynchburg, VA. I had 6 students. We met for 3 hours a day for 5 days. At GreenbriarEast, I will have 28 students for one hour. Yikes.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Animating Fall

I love fall. Cooler weather is invigorating.  The changing colors of the leaves can be spectacular but it is the way the leaves fall that most intrigues me. I am fascinated by their apparent surrender as they travel to the ground with so much variation and grace.

My mother loved these lines from Cyrano de Bergerac: 
CYRANO: The autumn leaves! Ay, see how brave they fall, In their last journey downward from the bough, To rot within the clay; yet, lovely still, Hiding the horror of the last decay, With all the wayward grace of careless flight!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Mission Accomplished: The Big Draw 2017 Living LInes

Saturday afternoon, October 14, the Academy Center of the Arts in Lynchburg, VA hosted a Big Draw17 Living Lines event. I knew I was going to have a good time and was thrilled when we had a full house with kids and adults making art and animation and loving it. I am most indebted to the Academy Center of the Arts for sponsoring this program.

As a family event, it was very exciting to have so many adults actively participating. I had not realized we were one of only three Big Draw happenings in the US this year. Time is running out, but it's not too late for you to register for a Big Draw event at your school, museum, art space, park during the month of October.

Why was this such a memorable event for me? 
I learned a lot and have a whole new set of art and animation activities to add my workshop tool box. I feel much less dependent on iPads (still love them of course) as a vehicle into the world of animation.  iMotion (see below) will play a prominent role I suspect. Using it allows kids to draw with familiar tools but still make animated video files while learning the basics.
Read on to see the flow of our Big Draw afternoon at the Academy.

6 Lessons I Learned Searching for Grants

I am an animator/media producer and educator. I am developing Anim8Nature to promote environmental stewardship by exploring science with a...