Young Space Grant (YNGSPC): Awesome Range of Opportunities for Emerging Artists

Young Space (stylized YNGSPC), is a strong, exciting new curatorial voice making major waves in the critical, international discourse. Founded by independent curator Kate Mothes as a way to connect with artists and exhibitions during a postgraduate stint at the University of Edinburgh Scotland, yngspc began its life as a blog, but has since evolved into a full online platform offering a range of opportunities for artists, from exhibitions in physical gallery spaces to online feature, and more recently, unrestricted artist grants.

Matthew Cheyne, featured on Young Space
Matthew Cheyne, featured on Young Space

The mission at Young Space YNGSPC is refreshingly concise:

To promote, support, and collaborate with emerging contemporary artists, encourage transparency, and to engage artists, students, and the community in meaningful dialogue through unique content and projects.

yngspc has certainly delivered on that mission. To get a sense of the range of curatorial projects Mothes has undertaken, visit the exhibition archive. Some standout projects include Memory Place at Hastings College, the online exhibition Salad Days, and Conveyor a two day pop-up exhibition at the Morgan Fine Arts Building in Brooklyn.

And what about the grants?

Young Space Grant Overview

Young Space Grants are made available on a rolling basis as funds become available. Unfortunately, they are nomination only, but the process is totally transparent, unlike other nomination based awards like the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grants.

Here’s how it works: at set times when applications are open, you may nominate up to three individual artists who you know demonstrate a need for financial assistance. Application are then reviewed by Mothes and awards are made based on the strength of the work, not on the length of your CV. More institutions should fund artists this way!

Social Media Check

When you’re assessing which grants to apply for, it’s important to think about the fringe benefits that come with the award, such as publication opportunities, online interviews and features, and social media shoutouts-the types of added support that will help you get your work in front of a larger audience, grow your network, and ultimately lead to new opportunities. In many cases, these extra benefits bring as much or more value than the actual cash amount of the grant.

This is an area where Young Space absolutely thrives.

First, and most impressive, is @yngspc which currently reaches over 85K viewers. Any artist who maintains their own Instagram account (who doesn’t have Instagram at this point?) knows how difficult it is to build an engaged audience of this size.

It is worth applying to one of Young Space’s many opportunities simply to be considered for a feature on their Instagram channel. To be clear, when it comes to reach, Mothes is absolutely crushing old-guard institutions like The Guggenheim and Creative Capital when it comes to leveraging social media to provide massive exposure for the artists she supports. Her success is particularly impressive when you consider the Young Space platform is self funded by a staff of one.

To put it in perspective, The Guggenheim Fellowship doesn’t have an Instagram and their Twitter following is a measly 2,900. Creative Capital (@creative_capital), with their deep pockets and abundance of venture funding, has barely exceeded 10K Instagram followers. Artadia (@artadia), after 20 years of giving grants, can only reach 4,700 viewers on Instagram. Of course, those institutions claim to offer exposure for the artists they support, but their meager social followings tell reveal the reality of their reach, which is, in most cases, quite limited. This begs the question: exactly what are all these old school institutions, with their huge staff lists and rich board members spending their time doing?

Notable Artist Supported by Young Space

While the Young Space grant page doesn’t list past winners, you can get a sense of the type of work the platform supports by viewing the often updated artist section where you will find features, online studio visits, and interviews. Some notable participants include:

As always, take a deep dive on on the YNGSPC database to familiarize yourself with the types of projects they tend to support. This will increase your chances of putting together a winning proposal if you can find ways to implement similar presentation strategies as past winners.

Pros

  • Massive social media following equals huge exposure for artists
  • Anyone can nominate up to 3 artists to receive need based grants
  • Active online presence creates additional avenues for artists to share their work
  • Simple application procedures
  • Diverse range of past winners

Cons

  • Modest grant amounts compared to old guard institutions

Connect with Young Space

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