​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

​​​Ploughing the Field: A Conversation about Grant Funding for Artists in Phoenix​

Saturday, June 4, 2022 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Phoenix MST ​​​

  • Mode: Hybrid
  • Location: The Sagrado Galleria, 6437 S Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85042
  • Audiences: Artists, Board Members, Creatives, ​Culture Workers, Organizers, Anybody
  • Tags: Development, Grants, Fundraising
  • Cost: Free​​
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​About this Event

Making a living as an artist is hard. While many individuals often support themselves through multiple streams—picking up gigs, teaching classes, part-time jobs, selling their work—grants, fellowships, and other honors and awards can provide major sources of income and critical opportunities for advancing careers. If you're new to the process, grants can be opaque or daunting. Where do you find opportunities to apply for? What makes for a successful application? What are grant reviewers really looking for? Where do you even begin?

Bringing together a diverse group of local artists and administrators, this conversation will take an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at grant funding opportunities for artists and creatives in Phoenix, Arizona. Centering values of equity, access, and transparency, panelists will discuss what artists can do to write successful applications, why grant processes are designed the way they are, and how artists and institutions can work together to increase opportunities and serve the community (with plenty of time for audience Q&A). Each attendee will also be provided with comprehensive lists of local and national grant opportunities across multiple disciplines. 


  • Ruby Morales, ​dance artist, NALAC Leadership fellow, and grant recipient
  • Nik Ridley, visual artist and artist programs manager of the Thunderbird Campus of Phoenix Center for the Arts
  • Kesha Bruce, visual artist and Artist Programs Manager for the Arizona Commission on the Arts
  • Maja Aurora, Community Arts Manager for the City of Tempe Arts and Culture​
  • Anel E. Arriola, mixed-media artist and Grants and Programs Manager for the City of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture​

Intended primarily for individual artists, creatives, culture workers, and organizers, anyone who's interested in learning more about applying for, designing, or managing grants is welcome to attend.

Ploughing the Field: Grant Funding for Artists in Phoenix with Ruby Morales, Nik Ridley, Kesha Bruce, Maja Aurora, and Anel E. Arriola is Saturday, June 4, 2022 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at The Sagrado (6437 S Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85042). Please note: while this event is in-person, a virtual option will be provided as well. Registrations are encouraged but not required. Feel free to drop in. This event is open to the public and free. ​

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About the Presenters

Anel E. Arriola

Anel E. Arriola is a self-taught mixed-media visual artist, storyteller, and writer. She is the Grants and Programs Manager at the City of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture where she focuses on the planning, design, and oversight of grantmaking for arts and culture organizations and artists. Additionally, Arriola has nine years of experience working in community-based health related research both as research assistant and research project manager. Arriola served as a cultural broker with community organizations, research participants, and researchers during her time at Arizona State University and Barrow Neurological Institute. She has a Master of Arts in Creative Enterprise and Cultural Leadership from ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. Her master’s project focused on co-creating/co-envisioning a “storytelling bank” with a local organization that is nationally recognized. She is also an alumna of Valle del Sol’s Hispanic Leadership Institute and is one of Phoenix’s 40 Hispanic Leaders Under 40. ​

​​Maja Aurora

Maja Aurora holds a Master of Public Administration and a Bachelor of Art with an emphasis in Ceramics. Maja has been working for the City of Tempe for over twenty years and is currently the Community Arts Manager in the Arts & Culture Division. The community arts team serves schools, artists, arts organizations and residents of all ages through the Arts Grants program, Arts in the Parks, Edna Vihel Arts Center’s classes and other community arts programing. As a resident of Tempe, Maja grew up participating in the City’s diverse arts and culture programs and later as an adult, she had the opportunity to work for those same programs. She recently completed a six year term on the Tempe Leadership Council, a program of the Tempe Chamber of Commerce.

​​Kesha Bruce

Kesha Bruce'​s work explores the complex connections between history, personal mythology, and magical-spiritual belief in the African diaspora. Born and raised in Iowa, she completed a BFA from the University of Iowa before earning an MFA in painting from Hunter College in New York City. Kesha Bruce has been awarded fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), The Vermont Studio Center, The CAMAC Foundation, and received a Puffin Foundation Grant for her work with Artist’s Books. Her work is included in the collections of The Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture,The Amistad Center for Art and Culture, The University of Iowa Women's Center, The En Foco Photography Collection, and MOMA's Franklin Furnace Artist Book Collection. In addition to her studio work, Kesha Bruce is an independent curator and founding Director of Baang + Burne Contemporary Art in New York City. She lives and works in the US and France.

Ruby Morales

Ruby Morales is committed to equity, facilitating life-affirming spaces, and cultivating community relationships rooted in reciprocity, trust, and love through life and her artmaking. She is a dance artivist investigating culturally informed teaching methods and her relationship with movement as a bgirl and Mexican influenced cumbia Sonidera. After receiving a BFA from Arizona State University she completed Urban Bush Women's Summer Leadership Institute, The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond's Undoing Racism Training, and is continuously training in breaking and learning about hip hop philosophy/theory. She is currently working with internationally renowned creative Liz Lerman, CONTRA-TIEMPO Activist Dance Theater, and Tucson, AZ based choreographer Yvonne Montoya. She recently premiered her grant funded evening length show, Breaking Pachanga in Phoenix, Arizona. Additionally, she is a 2021 National Association of Latino Arts and Culture Advocacy Leadership Fellow, and a 2021 Intercultural Leadership Institute Fellow. 

Nik Ridley

Nik Ridley has more than 20 years in the arts industry and his enthusiasm for fine art is contagious! Nik provides fine art for both residential and business interiors, exhibits, in addition to providing art instruction for K-5 youth. He served as the Thunderbird Arts Center Youth Department Head from 2018 to 2022. His Artist in Residencies include elementary student instruction throughout Phoenix and the Valley, with Phoenix Center for the Arts, University of Arizona, and ASU Gammage. Nik is also the owner of Art By Nik Ridley and WeAuction.Art, an online art auction platform.​

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