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Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship

Fellowships to Kentucky Professional Artists to
Recognize Excellence and Promote Career Development

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Kentucky Arts Council (KAC)

Deadline Date:

02/18/18 - Literary Arts


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Fellowships of $7,500 to Kentucky individual artists to recognize and support creativity and excellence in the literary, visual, and media arts, as well as composing, choreography and songwriting. Applications are currently being accepted for the literary arts. These unrestricted funds are intended to support activities that will enhance the recipient’s career.

Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowships are given to professional Kentucky artists who have achieved a high level of excellence and creativity in their work and who have demonstrated significant achievement in their fields. Fellowships are based primarily upon the quality of the work samples submitted by the artist.

Program Purpose:

The purpose of the Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship program is to support Kentucky artists engaged in creating artwork of high quality and to recognize creative excellence in practicing, professional Kentucky artists.


The primary goal of the Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship program is to directly support the advancement and continuation of Kentucky artists' careers and creative work.

The Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship program seeks to provide public recognition and acknowledgement of Kentucky artists creating work of high artistic merit.

Literary Arts (fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry): Applications in the literary arts categories of fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry. Picture books, books of aphorisms, children’s books, and blog postings are ineligible for consideration. Creative nonfiction categories include critical essays, literary criticism, biography, memoir, travel writing or other writing that applies literary skills and methods to nonfiction.

Literary Arts (play/screenwriting): Applications in the literary arts category of play/screenwriting.

Visual Arts (two- and three-dimensional): Categories include: drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, craft, installation and mixed media. Visual artists must select and apply under one discipline and subdiscipline. Visual artists working in conceptual, kinetic, mechanical and/or installation formats should consult with the individual artist director if unsure about selection of medium or discipline or the format of appropriate work samples.

Media Arts (audio, film, technology/experimental and video): Media artists must apply under one of four categories: audio, film, video or technology/experimental. Recorded music, web portals, hubs, and mobile and tablet applications are not accepted in the media arts category. Media arts include screen-based projects for film, television, radio, audio, video, the Internet, interactive technologies, video games and transmedia storytelling. Work samples may include films, multi-part or single television and radio programs (documentaries and dramatic narratives); experimental; animated; transmedia; or interactive work, webisodes and video games. Productions where the primary purpose is instructional, journalistic or promotional will not be considered. Media artists creating art work for installations must apply under visual arts. Media artists who are unsure where their art work fits within the mediums above should consult with the individual artist director.

Composing: The composing category is open to composers of chamber, electronic, experimental, jazz and symphonic music.

Songwriting: The songwriting category is open to individual songwriters of music and/or lyrics in the following categories: adult contemporary, alternative/rock, bluegrass, blues, country, folk/Americana, inspirational, instrumental, hip hop, musical theater, pop, R&B, urban contemporary, and world. Children’s music, comedy/novelty music and music for holiday markets are ineligible.

Choreography: Applications in choreography.

Performance Expectations Applications will be assessed using the following performance expectations:

Artistic Excellence
-Technical proficiency
-Distinctive artistic 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

Estimated Size of Grant:


Additional Eligibility Criteria:

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

Definition of Professional Artist:

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

-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.
-With the exception of media arts, all work samples must have been completed within the past three calendar years. Media artists may submit work completed within the past four years.

Residency Requirements:

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 Feb. 15, 2017, for applications due Feb. 15, 2018).

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.

Pre-Application Information:

The arts council requires that all applicants have a DUNS number. Dun & Bradstreet keeps track of more than 70 million businesses worldwide through its Data Universal Numbering System.

NOTE: It may take up to thirty (30) days for your DUNS application to be processed. It is recommended that you submit your application immediately.

The current cycle is accepting applications in for the Literary Arts (fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and screen/playwriting). The application schedule is as follows:

-Literary Arts (fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry): Applications in the literary arts categories of fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry are accepted in even-numbered years (e.g., 2018, 2020, etc.).

-Literary Arts (play/screenwriting): Applications in the literary arts category of play/screenwriting are accepted every four years in even-numbered years (e.g. 2018, 2022, etc.).

-Visual Arts (two- and three-dimensional): Applications in visual arts are accepted in odd-numbered years (e.g., 2019, 2021, etc.).

-Media Arts (audio, film, technology/experimental and video): Applications in media arts are accepted every four years in odd-numbered years (e.g. 2021, 2025, etc.).

-Composing: Applications in composing are accepted every four years in odd-numbered years (e.g. 2019, 2023, etc.).

-Songwriting: Applications in songwriting are accepted every two years in odd-numbered years (e.g. 2019, 2021, etc.).

-Choreography: Applications in choreography are accepted every four years in even-numbered years (e.g. 2020, 2024, etc.).

The application packet must be: 1) officially postmarked by the U.S. Postal Service, or 2) delivered by a shipping service (e.g., UPS, FedEx, etc.) with a paid receipt dated on or before the deadline date included on the package, or 3) hand delivered to the arts council office no later than 4:30 PM on the deadline date.

Program Timeline:
-Application deadline: Feb. 15, 2018
-Review of applications by panel: May 2018
-Arts council board reviews panel recommendations: June 2018
-Applicant notification: As soon as possible after board meeting
-Press release announcement issued: No later than July 30, 2018
-Grant agreement form due: Within 30 days of receipt of grant agreement form
-Final report due: July 30, 2019

Like all programs of the Kentucky Arts Council, the fellowship program is guided by the arts council’s core values. Successful applications will embody these core values, and all applicants are strongly encouraged to read and reflect upon them before submitting an application:

Contact Information:

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

Tamara Coffey, 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