Arts Innovator Award

Application: Closed

Amount Awarded: $25,000

Number of Awards: 2

Eligible Disciplines: All Disciplines

Eligible Counties: All

Deadline: March 18, 2024 at 11:59pm

About this Award

The Arts Innovator Award recognizes artists who demonstrate innovation in their art practice. These unrestricted awards of $25,000 are given annually to two Washington State artists of any discipline who are originating new work, experimenting with new ideas, taking risks, and pushing the boundaries of their fields.

Funding for this award is generously donated by the Dale and Leslie Chihuly Foundation. Dale recalls receiving grants that supported experimentation early in his career, adding credibility, opening doors, and enabling new connections for him as an artist. Today Dale remembers the importance of this support, and he and Leslie would like to help artists in a similar way.

To learn more about the Arts Innovator Awards, see the guidelines below. To learn how to apply for the Arts Innovator Awards, check out our How to Apply webinar below.


Read the 2024 Arts Innovator Award guidelines.

Read a plain text version of the 2024 Arts Innovator Award guidelines.

Reference Guide

Review examples of successful application materials from previous grantees in the Arts Innovator Award Reference Guide.

Selection Criteria

  • Advancement of the artist’s practice;  
  • The background and experience of the artists. 
  • Artist’s continued dedication and exploration of new work; 
  • Artistic excellence and innovation within applicant’s field/medium;  

Selection Process

The Arts Innovator Award’s panel consists of five working artists from across Washington State with expertise in a variety of disciplines and practices. Panelists have several weeks to review and score applications through Submittable. While reviewing applications, panelists are asked to apply a lens of racial and geographic equity. They meet to discuss the highest-ranking applicants; select eight finalists, two per disciplinary category (literary, media, performing, and visual arts), for interviews; and choose two recipients based on the selection criteria. 2024 panels will be held virtually via Zoom. Interviews are held on Thursday, May 9. Finalist orientation will be held on Tuesday, May 7. Artists selected as finalists must be available for interviews.

2024 Timeline

January 19  Guidelines available.

February 19  Application opens.

February 29, March 7 & 8  Office Hours.

March 12  Study Hall.

March 18  Application closes.

March – May  Panel review.

May  Notification of award status.

May  Board votes.

June Newsletter  Public announcement.

Eligibility Information

The 2024 Arts Innovator Award is open to artists and artist teams residing in Washington State working in all disciplines.


  • 18 years of age or older by application deadline;
  • Washington State residents at the time of both application and payment (payment will be made June 2024);
  • Generative artists (those who are the originators of works of art) with a minimum of five years in professional art practice;
  • Available for finalist interviews on Thursday, May 9, 2024.


  • Recipients of more than one AT grant per calendar year;
  • Previous recipients of the James W. Ray Distinguished Artist Award or Arts Innovator Award;
  • Current graduate or undergraduate students enrolled at the time of both application and payment (payment will be made June 2024);
  • Applying as cultural organizers, curators, or applying on behalf of a company, nonprofit, organization, fiscal sponsorship, or community group;
  • Current AT staff, Board of Trustees, honorary committee, consultants, contractors, AIA panelists, or their family.
  • Affiliated with Chihuly Studio, Dale and Leslie Chihuly Foundation, Portland Press, or family of Dale or Leslie Chihuly.


Can I apply for an award from Artist Trust?
To apply for one of our awards, you must be an artist, 18 years or older, residing in Washington State.

Most of our awards are open to artists of all disciplines with two exceptions – the Twining Humber Award and SOLA Awards are open to self-identified female visual artists age 60 or older, who have dedicated 25 years or more to creating art. Proof of residency, such as a copy of a Driver’s License or a utility bill, is required if you’re selected for an award.

You may not be currently enrolled in a graduate or undergraduate degree program at the time of the deadline, and you may not apply on behalf of a company, nonprofit, organization, community group, or a fiscally-sponsored entity.

Each of our awards has additional eligibility requirements. For example, for the Fellowship Award, you cannot receive more than two awards in a lifetime. Eligibility requirements can be found on page 2 of the respective award’s guidelines.

Where can I find help with my application?

We offer several support services and resources to help you with your application, including virtual Office Hours and Study Hall, workshops, reference guides, and other resources. These are listed in the guidelines and on our website. You can also request feedback on unsuccessful applications. Information on how to request feedback is included in the email notification about your application.

What do I do if I’m having technical difficulties with my grant application?
If you aren’t able to sign into Submittable, have questions about uploading or formatting files, or other technical questions, visit

How are the awards selected?
All of our awards are selected by an independent selection panel made up of 3-5 artists and arts professionals with a depth of knowledge and expertise. Panelists review all eligible applications online through Submittable and meet online via Zoom to discuss applications and recommend recipients. Panelists are asked to review all applicants through a lens of racial equity and consider geographic diversity. The panel selects the recipients based on the award’s selection criteria.

Our selection panels change each grant cycle. Panelists must wait three years before they can serve on another selection panel and must wait five years before they can serve on a panel for the same awards program.

Selection panelists are chosen by our staff. In selection panelists, we seek a committee that represents an intersection of race/ethnicity, gender, geography, career stage, discipline, and artistic practice. Our staff and Board do not select any of the awardees.

How does racial equity impact the selection of awardees?
We have a strong commitment to racial equity throughout our organization. Within our award programs, we ask selection panelists to review all applications through a lens of racial equity. This means when a panelist is considering an applicant we ask them to be mindful of structural, institutional, and historical barriers artists of color face and how those barriers may impact their work and their career.

Read more about applying a racial equity lens in this report on compiled by the Foundation Center, a leader in the field of philanthropy.

Read more about our work towards racial equity here.

Can I re-apply? Or apply for more than one grant?
Yes, we encourage all applicants to re-apply. Many artists who have received awards don’t receive them on their first try. Our selection panels change each grant cycle, and work that one panel may not be excited by another panel may absolutely love. You can apply for as many grants as you’d like, but you can only receive one grant from us in a calendar year.

Do you accept late applications?
We do not accept late applications under any circumstances.

Can I make changes to my application after the deadline?
No, we do not allow changes to applications after the deadline.

What is a generative artist?
A generative artist means you are the originator of the works of art. Curatorial projects and adaptions are ineligible.

Can I receive a grant if my work has been funded elsewhere?
Yes. If you’re work has been funded elsewhere, include that information in your resume.

Can I submit a paper application?
No, we do not accept paper applications. Applications are only accepted through Submittable.

What disciplines are eligible?
All disciplines and artistic practices, including all forms of visual, literary, media, and performing arts, are eligible for our awards. The exceptions are the Twining Humber and SOLA Awards, which are open to female-identified visual artists age 60 or older, who have dedicated 25 years or more to creating art.

Can I apply as part of a collaboration or team?
A team of two or more artists may apply if you have a documented history of creating and presenting work as a team for at least three consecutive years. Artists applying as a team must contact Artist Trust to confirm eligibility before applying. If eligible, one artist will submit the application and list team members. All team members must meet the eligibility requirements for the respective award. Applications made on behalf of a company, nonprofit, organization, community group, or a fiscally-sponsored entity will not be accepted.

What’s the most important part of the application?
Your work samples are the most important part of your application. Spend the most time honing your samples. If you are submitting images, audio, or video, make sure your documentation is high quality. Be sure to follow the work sample guidelines.

The written parts of your application, such as the artist statement, impact statement, and project description, help panelists understand your vision, process, and philosophy and give context for the work in your work samples. Start on these parts early and have friends or colleagues read them. You can find examples of successful applications in our reference guides here.

I don’t have a resume. Should I apply?
You will need to create a resume to apply for our awards. You can find examples of resumes in our reference guides, and many word processing programs, such as Microsoft Word, have resume templates. If you do not have extensive experience, consider including your education, training, artistic projects you’ve completed, or professional affiliations. In the end, what matters most to selection panelists is the strength of your work.

I can’t decide on my career stage. Will that affect the panelists’ decision?
Career stage is not a selection criteria for our awards and does not have an impact on whether or not you are chosen for an award.

If you have questions not addressed in this FAQ, please be in touch with our Program Co-Director, Luther Hughes at