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Behind the Curtain: Artist Trust Fellowships

Megan Gallagher

Communications Intern

Che Sehyun, SOBEBA (So Breathe Easy & Be Aware), video (still), 2014.

Since 1987, the Artist Trust Fellowships have provided over $2.2 million in unrestricted funds for Washington State artists of all disciplines. The awards began as a way to provide direct support for artists living and working in Washington State following the culture wars of the 1980s, and currently provide $7,500 in unrestricted funds for ten or more outstanding artists each year.

Recent Fellowship recipients include Amjad Faur (visual, 2017), Esther de Monteflores (performing, 2017), Jana Brevick (craft, 2016), Monica Rojas Stewart (traditional, 2017), King Khazm (music, 2016), and Che Sehyun (media, 2016).

Funding for the Fellowships comes directly from Artist Trust’s fundraising efforts throughout the year, including the Benefit Art Auction. This means the total number of awards available each year varies, though Artist Trust has awarded an average of 16 awards each year since 2010 and plans to award 16 Fellowships in 2018.

Asked why he believes the Fellowships have lasted so long, Artist Trust Program Director Brian McGuigan says, “The awards have lasted so long because, like Artist Trust as a whole, generous individuals, businesses, corporations, and funding agencies value the arts and artists. Since its launch in 1986, the Fellowship has grown in terms of the number of awards and the total amount of them, which I think speaks to how critical the support is for artists and how much their work is valued within and beyond the artist community.”

Application Process
Applications for the 2018 Fellowships are open to Washington State artists of all disciplines, including interdisciplinary, emerging, and traditional fields. Applications consist of a discipline statement (short description of the artist’s work and approach), biography, impact statement, resume, artist statement, and collection of up to 10 work samples from the past three years.

After the application closes, submissions are reviewed by a five-person multidisciplinary panel of artists and arts professionals. Panelists base their decisions on the artistic excellence demonstrated in the work samples and support materials, the applicant’s professional background, and evidence of continued dedication to their artistic practice. Panelists are also encouraged to look at applications through the lens of racial equity.

Interested in applying?
Applications for the 2018 Fellowships are open until March 5. Award recipients will be announced in June 2018. More information about the awards as well as sample applications and application guidelines can be found here.

Learn more about recent changes to the Fellowship program here.

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Megan Gallagher is a writer from Redmond, Washington. She currently serves as Artist Trust’s Communications Intern.