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Fellowships to California Professional Artists in Eligible Locations to Recognize and Support the Creation of Outstanding Artistic Works

Santa Monica Artist Fellowship Program


GrantWatch ID#

Funding Source
Santa Monica Cultural Affairs
Array ( )

Geographic Focus
USA: California: City of Santa Monica

Important Dates
Deadline: 03/13/23 11:59 PM Save

Grant Description
Fellowships to California professional artists in eligible locations to recognize and support the creation of outstanding artistic works. The fellowships are intended to support the creation of new works through study, professional development, and other opportunities. Project fellowships, including a digital arts fellowship, are available. Artist fellowships are available by nomination. Eligible applicants and nominees either reside in the City of Santa Monica or maintain a professional studio in the City.

The purpose of the Santa Monica Artist Fellowship program is to nourish and stimulate the creation of new work by Santa Monica artists, recognize excellence, and reinforce the community’s high regard for creativity and innovation. 

The Fellowships are expected to:

  • Promote high-quality artistic and creative activity in Santa Monica
  • Have an impact on world-class art production
  • Highlight the City as an international creative center
  • Underscore the significant contribution artists of excellence make to the community
  • Invest grant support in diverse components of the community
  • Provide opportunities to Santa Monica artists
  • Open avenues of discourse to broad topics of human creativity and learning among artists and the general public

Description of Awards:

  • Project Fellowships: Artists may apply for a Project Fellowship to pursue study, individual exploration, in-depth exchange, or creative opportunities related to the development, completion, exhibition, or performance of new work. Applications are reviewed by a panel that then makes recommendations to the Santa Monica Arts Commission. The Commission then makes the final award decisions.
  • Kate Johnson Digital Arts Fellowship: Each year one Project Fellowship, the Kate Johnson Digital Arts Fellowship, is reserved for a qualifying Santa Monica-based artist working in digital media. The application process is identical to that of the Project Fellowships. Applicants who wish to be considered for the Kate Johnson Fellowship may indicate that by checking the appropriate box in the application. Checking the box does not, however, preclude the applicant from being considered for a regular Project Fellowship.
  • Artist Fellowships by Nomination: Nominators are arts professionals from inside and outside the city who are invited to nominate qualified artists. Nominees’ artwork is reviewed by a panel made up of distinguished artists and arts professionals from outside Santa Monica chosen for their expertise and aesthetic breadth. The panel submits recommendations to the Santa Monica Arts Commission based on artistic excellence, productivity, body of work, and the community impact of both the artists’ work and the award.
    • Discipline categories for the nominated Artist Fellowships rotate annually. The 2023-24 disciplines are the performing arts and the literary arts, which include creative literature, writing/performance, choreography, musical composition, and sound composition. Project Fellowships are open to all eligible disciplines every year, including visual arts, digital media, creative literature, writing/performance, choreography, musical composition, and sound composition. 

Artist Fellows (who receive the larger award) may use their award stipend at their discretion, limited to the purpose of the grant, which is the creation of new work. Project Fellows must spend grant funds according to their project plan as it was approved by in the application process.


Additional Eligibility Criteria
Professional artists who create (rather than interpret) original work, and who either reside in the City of Santa Monica or who maintain professional studios in the City, are eligible to apply for, or be nominated for, a fellowship. Applicants for the Project Fellowship must have met this residency requirement for a minimum of one year. Nominated Artists Fellows must have met this residency requirement for five years (cumulatively, over the course of their careers).

An eligible professional artist is defined in this case as one who is recognized by critics and peers, has verifiable training and/or a reputation and credentials, makes all or a portion of their living in the arts field, and creates new work in one or more of the following areas: visual arts, including new media and performance art, creative literature, writing/performance, choreography, musical composition and/or sound composition.

Project Fellows from previous years must wait two years after the end of their grant period before being eligible to apply again.

Recipients of the $16,000 Artist Fellowships are not eligible to receive any additional awards under this program. Neither City of Santa Monica boards or commission members, nor current employees or contractors of the City of Santa Monica, are eligible to receive a Fellowship.

Pre-Application Information
The deadline for submission of applications is 11:59 p.m., Monday, March 13, 2023. Applications received after that time will not be eligible.

Disbursement of Funds
Fellowship funds will be issued in installments. For Project Fellowships, half the grant will be distributed at the beginning of the fellowship period, with the remainder upon submission of a final report. Artist Fellows receive half of the grant disbursement at the start of their fellowship period, ninety percent of the remainder at the midway point after a progress meeting with City staff, and the remainder at the end of the period and upon completion of a final report.

Rollover of Nominations (for Nominated Artists)
Nominated artists who are not awarded an Artist Fellowship the year they are nominated will have their nomination automatically rolled over into the next round of fellowship grants for that discipline. All nominees thus have two consecutive opportunities within their discipline to be reviewed for the $16,000 award.

Number of Grants
The City awards five fellowships annually to Santa Monica-based artists. Three Project Fellowships are awarded by means of an application and review process. Each year one Project Fellowship, the Kate Johnson Digital Arts Fellowship, is reserved for a qualifying Santa Monica-based artist working in digital media. Two Artist Fellowships are awarded via a nomination process.

Estimated Size of Grant
- Project fellowships are $4,200 each.
- Artist fellowships are $16,000 each.
- Artists selected as finalists will be offered an honorarium of $300 to submit supplementary materials to the panel.

Term of Contract
Funding Term: July 1, 2023 - June 30, 2024

Contact Information
Apply Online:

Nathan Birnbaum
Santa Monica Cultural Affairs
1685 Main St. MS #44
Santa Monica, CA 90401

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