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Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship

Fellowship to a Kentucky Professional Songwriter to
Recognize Excellence and Promote Career Development

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Kentucky Arts Council (KAC)

Deadline Date:

03/15/19 11:59 PM: Songwriting


Request a Grant Writer

Fellowship of $7,500 to a Kentucky individual artist to recognize and support artistic creativity and excellence. Applications are currently being accepted for songwriting. The goal of this Fellowship program is to support the advancement and continuation of the career and creative work of an outstanding Kentucky songwriter.

The songwriting fellowship application is open to individual songwriters of music and/or lyrics in the following categories: Americana/folk, bluegrass, blues, country, inspirational, rhythm and blues/soul, rock and world. The Fellowship is unrestricted and may be used in any way to enhance the artist's career.

Fellowships are based primarily upon the quality of the work samples submitted by the artist. Artistic excellence includes:
- Technical proficiency
- Creativity
- Authentic songwriting voice

Program Benefits:
-Press releases and public information will be distributed announcing the new recipients of the fellowship.
-Fellowship recipients may be eligible to apply to the Kentucky Peer Advisory Network (KPAN) program for consultations about art business issues.
-Fellowship recipients are invited to participate in other special initiatives as available.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 177300

Number of Grants:


Estimated Size of Grant:

$7,500 unrestricted cash award

Term of Contract:

All funds must be disbursed by the arts council by June 30, 2020

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible applicants are professional Kentucky songwriters, responsible for creating their own work, not interpreting the work of others or creating under the guidance of an instructor or mentor.

The Kentucky Arts Council recognizes as professional artists those who receive payment for their art work, keep appropriate business records and meet at least two of the following criteria:
-Devote a significant amount of their time to practicing and/or performing one or more arts disciplines
-Actively seek to enhance their artistic skills and business professional development
-Actively promote themselves to target audiences

Evidence of current professional status will include at least four of the following:
-Income tax records
-Recent arts sales or performance contracts
-Artistic resumes or curricula vitae
-Performance and/or exhibition histories
-Well developed marketing materials
-Sample CDs, DVDs and/or digital images of art work or publicity photos
-Copies of press coverage, reviews, etc.

Individuals not considered professional artists include:
-Avocational or occasional artists
-Artists under the age of 18 years
-Open-membership arts groups or ensembles
-Art instructors who are not practicing artists

Children’s music, comedy/novelty music and music for holiday markets are ineligible.

-No individual may receive more than two Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowships in their lifetime.
-Fellowship recipients may not apply for an Emerging Artist Award.
-Artists may apply only with work samples over which they had complete creative control.
-Work created solely for commercial or instructional purposes is ineligible.
-Multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary or multi-category applications are not eligible.
-Translations are not eligible.
-Collaborations and teams are not eligible.
-Artists may apply in one discipline and one subdiscipline only per application year. All work samples submitted must be representative of the selected discipline and subdiscipline.

Applicants must be United States citizens, lawfully admitted to the U.S. for permanent residence or have permission from the Department of Homeland Security to work permanently in the U.S.

Applicants must have been legal Kentucky residents for a period of at least one year immediately before the application deadline (e.g., legal residency must have begun no later than March 15, 2018, for applications due March 15, 2019).

For proof of residency, applicants must submit a copy of two of the following at the time of application:
- Kentucky driver’s license, which includes the date issued and expiration date OR State of Kentucky identification card, which includes the date issued and expiration date (note: The arts council will not accept both a Kentucky driver’s license and a State of Kentucky identification card as the required two proofs of residency.)
- Kentucky voter registration verification.
- Kentucky state income tax form (740 series for full-year residents) filed within the previous two years.

The arts council requires that all applicants have a DUNS number. To apply for your free DUNS number, call Dun & Bradstreet at 1-866-705-5711 or access the Dun & Bradstreet website at

Pre-Application Information:

Program Timeline:
-Application deadline: March 15, 2019, 11: 59 PM ET
-Review of applications by panel: May 2019
-Arts council board reviews panel recommendations: June 2019
-Applicant notification: As soon as possible after board meeting
-Press release announcement issued: No later than July 30, 2019
-Grant agreement form due: Within 30 days of receipt of grant agreement form

Note: The application can take several minutes to upload. As a result, the arts council strongly advises that applicants do not wait until 11:59 p.m. to submit.

All work samples must demonstrate the discipline and subdiscipline indicated on the application. All work samples must have been completed within the past three calendar years. (For the songwriting application deadline of March 15, 2019, all work samples must have been completed between Jan. 1, 2016, and March 15, 2019.)

Songwriting applicants must submit three audio work samples as three separate web links. The samples may not be located on the applicant’s website or other page that might include identifying information. It is suggested that applicants upload each work sample to a private YouTube or Sound Cloud channel that can be easily accessed. Password protected work samples will not be reviewed. Remember that any identifying information must be excluded from the web page and work sample. Any application that includes the applicant’s name or other identifying information will be ruled ineligible.

In addition, songwriting applicants must upload a PDF or Word file of the lyrics and instrumentation for each work sample. Instrumentation may be in the form of a score, a lead sheet or sheet with chord progressions. Songs without lyrics will not be reviewed in this category.

Core Values of the Kenucky Arts Council:


Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply online:

Tamara Coffey, Organization Support and Individual Artist Director
502-892-3121 / 888-833-2787 (toll free)

Mailing Address:
1025 Capital Center Drive, Third Floor
Frankfort, KY 40601

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Kentucky