Passim’s Iguana Music Fund Calls for 2015 Grant Applicants

Iguana Music Fund

Calling all area musicians: The Iguana Music Fund is now accepting applications for its 2015 grant season.

Since 2008, when an anonymous donor first established the program, the Passim Iguana Music Fund has been providing artists throughout New England with financial backing that can further their careers. Over the last seven years, the fund has given more than $145,000 to local performers, and now shells out about $40,000 annually to musicians who are having trouble scraping together money to pursue their craft.

According to Jon Dorn, who oversees the Iguana program, these project-based grants tend to go to artists who are ready to take a “big next step” in their careers. “Maybe they have a full time job and they can’t quite pull the funding together to record their album, but they have a whole collection of really great songs that need to be recorded and put out into the world,” says Dorn. “This will get them to the next place they need to be as a musician.”

“The next place” can mean a lot of things—in previous years, grant money has gone to musicians who need to purchase new equipment, rent studio time or simply bring a broken instrument into the shop for repairs. The Iguana Music Fund has also provided financing for community groups and events. Last year, one of grantees was Annie Mironchik, a singer and Boston University graduate student who founded the BU Aphasia Community Chorus, which gives people who have suffered brain injuries and may have trouble speaking a chance to express themselves through song. The grants generally range from $500 to about $2,000, and the money isn’t only available to artists in the Greater Boston area—anyone throughout New England is eligible to apply.

Does Dorn have any tricks and tips for would-be applicants? Of course:

“I’d say they should be as specific as they can be about the project and what the potential grant money would go towards … rather than something that has broad use outside the project, since this is a project-based grant,” he says.

In addition, Dorn wants to encourage artists of all stripes—whether they’ve attempted to win a grant every year and haven’t been successful or are just hearing about the program for the first time—to apply. “We get almost 300 applications every year and give out 20 or 30 grants,” he says. “Just by sheer math, that leaves a whole ton of very qualified projects that didn’t wind up getting a grant.”

Interested area artists can apply online through the Club Passim site now through October 15. (Update, 10/16: Passim has extended the deadline through October 22.) And if you’re more a patron than a performer, you can contribute to the fund via phone, check or online donation.