Mary Virginia Swanson: Securing Support for Your Long-Term Project

Saturday, September 12, and Saturday September 19, 2015 Aperture Foundation
547 West 27th Street, 4th Floor
New York, N.Y.


During this two-part workshop, artist advisor and educator Mary Virginia Swanson taught participants how to fund their photographic projects. She presented an extensive illustrated lecture, which provided an overview of public, private, and corporate support; the role of a fiscal agent; and how to navigate funding data. In addition, participants learned about the importance of broadening awareness for their projects via public presentations, websites, and print and social-media marketing. Aperture’s executive director, Chris Boot, stopped by for an impromptu conversation on how photography projects and photobooks are perceived by established foundations and organizations, and how artists can use various tools to add leverage to their projects.

At the end of the first session, participants were assigned the task of producing a short yet specific project statement, a budget, and a short list of potential funding sources. During the second session, one week later, the group discussed each participant’s project documents, and Swanson gave feedback and suggestions for developing their project. Participants walked away from the workshop with knowledge about how to concisely articulate the concepts behind their projects to funders; a better handle on how to take their project to the next level; and Swanson’s insight on gaining financial support.


Mary gives her undivided attention when helping you where you need it most, which is what made it such a good experience. She is a great teacher.”

Mary is a patient, enthusiastic instructor who treats her students as equals. There is no ego in her method and she wants you to succeed.”


—Workshop Participants


Mary Virginia Swanson is an author, educator, and consultant who helps artists find the strengths in their work, identify appreciative audiences, and present their work in an informed, professional manner. Her seminars and lectures on marketing opportunities aid photographers in moving their careers to the next level.
Swanson is the recipient of the 2013 Focus Lifetime Achievement Award from the Griffin Museum of Photography, and the 2014 Susan Carr Award for Education from the American Society of Media Photographers. The Society for Photographic Education named her the 2015 Honored Educator. Swanson coauthored Publish Your Photography Book (revised edition, 2014) with Darius Himes. Her latest publication, Finding Your Audience: An Introduction to Marketing Your Photographs, will be released in 2015.



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