ICG Marty Gear FundThe Marty Gear Costuming Arts & Sciences Fund is an International Costumers’ Guild program to provide grants in support of projects by ICG members that advance the art and science of costuming and benefit costumers in general or in specific groups. These are grants, not loans, and do not require repayment. The Fund was established in 2013. For 2024, it has $2,000 available to fund projects. Any ICG member may apply for a grant, using the application form on the ICG web site.

Marty Gear was one of the founders of the ICG and its executive director during its formative years. In 1991, he became the second costumer to be awarded the ICG’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

How Much Money Does the Fund Have? The Fund receives an annual appropriation in the ICG’s budget. Through 2023, it received $1,500 a year for each year. At the end of each year any unexpended funds expire. For 2024 the ICG increased the appropriation to $2,000. The Fund also may accept donations.

If I apply for funds for my Project, How Likely is it I will Receive an Award? Very likely. We have never turned an application down.

Over the ten years since our first award year, 2014, six ICG members have applied for grants:

  • 2014: Lisa Ashton (Sick Pups), for Miss Lizzy’s Traveling Historical Fashion Show (an ICG Special Interest Group),
  • 2015-2016: Photographer Richard Man (Silicon Web), for the Transformations: Cosplay/Portraiture Project (two successive grants),
  • 2022: Betsy Marks (Silicon Web) and Karen Schnaubelt (Sick Pups) on behalf of Costume-Con to purchase software for its Visual Archive. This was our first grant directly supporting Costume-Con.
  • 2022: Philip Gust (Silicon Web) in support of a new Silicon Web series of costume-related webinars, and
  • 2023: Henry Osier (Armed Costumers’ Guild) in partial support of start-up costs for Costume-Con 43 (Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 2025). This was our first grant directly supporting a Costume-Con committee.

In other years, the Fund had received no grant requests. As of the spring of 2024, it has received no grant applications.

How is My Application Reviewed? Pursuant to ICG Standing Rule 31, when we receive an application, the Administration Committee reads it to assure it is complete. then sends it to two members of its panel of reviewers to evaluate its content, proposed timetable, and requested funding. The panel consists of highly experienced costumers appointed by the ICG president — truly masters of our art. They may request additional information in order to complete their review.

The panelists recommend approval or disapproval of the application (including approval with conditions) and the amount to award. The applicant is notified and payment is arranged. For applications that will take an extended period to fulfill, payment may be spread over several tranches.

Now What? Now you should consider funding for that idea you have floating around in the back of your mind, one that may be beneficial to all costumers or some of us, but that seemed too costly and/or complex to implement. Write it down and put it on our application and send it to the Marty Gear Fund. You will reach the Fund directly at https://www.costume.org/wp/marty-gear-costuming-arts-and-sciences-fund.

Byron P. Connell, New Jersey-New York Costumers’ Guild, Inc
Chair, Administration Committee, Marty Gear Fund