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Application Instructions > Program Guidelines

Program Guidelines - FY 2018

Mass Cultural Council Artist Fellowships
The Artist Fellowships provide direct, unrestricted support to Massachusetts artists in recognition of exceptional original work, to foster the creation of new art in the Commonwealth. Artist Fellowships in a range of disciplines are awarded to primary creators of original works of art.

Awards
The Artist Fellowships provide competitive grants of $12,000 and finalist awards of $1,000 (award amounts contingent upon legislative appropriation). The number of awards per discipline category varies according to the number of applications reviewed, the recommendations of each panel, and program funds available.

Disciplines and Deadlines

Apply Now in:
Drawing & Printmaking, Poetry, and Traditional Arts
Application deadline: October 2, 2017
Grants announced by February 2018

Choreography, Fiction/Creative Nonfiction, and Painting
Online application available: December 15, 2017
Application deadline: January 29, 2018
Grants announced by June 2018

Categories for the next (FY 2019) cycle will include: Crafts, Dramatic Writing, Sculpture/Installation/New Genres, Film & Video, Music Composition, and Photography.

For more information, please refer to the Discipline Definitions.

PLEASE NOTE: the Artist Fellowships Program recognizes contemporary artists' work ranging from traditional practices to emerging fields. Mass Cultural Council encourages all eligible artists, in a wide range of disciplines, including cross-disciplinary forms, to apply to this program. Please contact Mass Cultural Council staff if you have any questions about the most appropriate category or grant cycle.

Eligibility Requirements
Any artist 18 years or older who has been a legal resident of Massachusetts for the last two years at the time of application is eligible. All Artist Fellows/Finalists must be legal residents of Massachusetts when grants are awarded.

The Artist Fellowships Program defines "legal resident" as an individual who fulfills the description of a "full-year resident" as defined in the Massachusetts tax code. See the Dept. of Revenue for more information.

Please note:

  • Any artist who has received a Mass Cultural Council Artist Fellowship in the past five years is ineligible to apply. This includes 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. Finalists from these years may reapply. Work samples previously submitted in a successful application (resulting in a full fellowship) may not be re-submitted in a new application.

  • Students enrolled in a degree program directly related to the discipline or whose degrees are pending at the time of application are ineligible to apply. Undergraduate students and high school students are ineligible to apply.

  • Mass Cultural Council members, staff, and their immediate family may not apply for Artist Fellowships.

  • Except in the case of Traditional Arts, applicants should be artists who create original work, as opposed to those who interpret or translate the work of others.

If you are unsure whether you are eligible, please contact program staff.

Eligible applicants may apply in more than one category. Please note, however, that individual artists may receive only one grant in any given fiscal year. If an applicant is recommended for funding in more than one discipline, s/he will be recognized as a fellow in both categories, but will be awarded only one monetary grant. Applicants may not submit the same work in more than one category. Different excerpts from the same piece do not constitute separate work.

Collaborating artists interested in applying together must file and sign one joint application for a single Artist Fellowship and provide resumes for each collaborator. A collaborator may reside out of state, as long as the primary applicant is a legal resident of Massachusetts.

Review Criteria
There are two review criteria for the Artist Fellowships: artistic quality and creative ability as evidenced by original work submitted.

Anonymity
Mass Cultural Council's Artist Fellowships review process is anonymous (with the exceptional of Traditional Arts), so neither your name, nor any information identifying commissions, awards, reviews, and/or presentations should appear within or upon your work sample(s). Please include your name and identifying information only on your resume and where designated in the online application. Work samples will be tracked by title #1.

Application Process

For applications in Drawing & Printmaking and Painting, please use the callforentry.org (CaFE) application system.

For applications in Poetry, Traditional Arts, Choreography, and Fiction/Creative Nonfiction, please use Mass Cultural Council’s online application system.

All applications and accompanying work samples must be submitted by 11:59 PM on the deadline day. Late submissions will not be accepted. You will receive an email confirmation when your application is submitted. If you do not receive the email confirmation, contact Mass Cultural Council staff.

Applicants will be informed by email of final grant decisions by early February (for October deadline) or by early June (for January deadline).

Each discipline has different instructions for submitting work samples, so please read carefully.

Work Sample Instructions
Work samples that do not adhere to the following guidelines will not be reviewed. For tips on applying for an Artist Fellowship, please visit our blog, ArtSake.

DRAWING & PRINTMAKING - Deadline: October 2, 2017
Upload five images, in JPG format, into your CallforEntry.org (CaFE) Portfolio. When filling out Mass Cultural Council's online application in CaFE, select images to submit in the order (1-5) that you wish them to be viewed (left to right).

Preparing Your Digital Images

Images must be saved in JPG format. The pixel dimension (horizontal or vertical) must be 1920 pixels on the longest side of your image. The maximum file size is 5 MB.

Panel review of work samples is anonymous. Therefore, neither your name, nor any information identifying commissions, awards, reviews, and/or presentations should appear on your work sample. Work samples will be tracked by title #1. Work completed prior to 2014 is ineligible.

POETRY - Deadline: October 2, 2017
Work samples that do not adhere to the following guidelines will not be reviewed. Upload a file of a manuscript of 15 pages or fewer. You may include a single poem, or up to fifteen excerpts. Any additional pages will be discarded from the end of the manuscript.

Works in progress are eligible. Work completed prior to 2014 in ineligible.

Panel review of work samples is anonymous. Therefore, neither your name, nor any information identifying commissions, awards, reviews, and/or presentations should appear on your manuscript. Work samples will be tracked by title #1. Work samples must be:

  • On 8 ½”X11” pages.
  • Typed in Times, Helvetica, or equivalent font, no smaller than 12 point in size.
  • Formatted with at least 1" margins on all sides.
  • Uploaded as .doc, .docx, .pdf, .txt, or .rtf. (For best results, please be sure the file names contain no punctuation marks.)

TRADITIONAL ARTS - Deadline: October 2, 2017
Please submit the following materials in support of your Traditional Arts Artist Fellowship.

1. Upload a file containing your Narrative. In up to two double-spaced pages, address the ideas below:

  • Name and describe the traditional art form that you practice.
  • Explain how you learned your traditional art.
  • Tell us about your audience/or people who buy your work. For whom is your traditional art made or performed?

2. Submit at least one but no more than three recommendation letter(s) from a folklorist, practicing peer, and/or member of the community knowledgeable about your traditional art explaining why you deserve recognition. The recommendation letter should address the following:

  • Where does this person’s work stand within the tradition?
  • Is he or she recognized as a master?
  • Does this person excel at the aesthetic standards within the tradition?
Letters should be mailed in, hand-delivered, or scanned/emailed to Maggie Holtzberg, Mass Cultural Council, 10 St. James Ave 3rd Floor, Boston, MA 02116.

3. Required work sample. To submit your work sample(s), you may provide Web site URL(s) if samples are online (such as on a personal Web site, or on YouTube, SoundCloud, Flickr, etc.); OR you may upload work sample(s) via the Dropbox link you will receive when you complete the online application form. We strongly recommend that you submit work created within the past four years.

Choose the category that best represents your work:

Folk Craft
Submit FIVE digital images of your work by including URL(s), or by uploading them via the Dropbox link you will receive when you complete the online application form. If possible, include an image that shows the place in which your work is created. Digital images must be minimum 72 dpi. Pixel dimension 1920 pixels high or wide. In additional, up to three pieces of actual work may be submitted for review.

Music/Verbal Arts
Submit audio or video sample(s) by including URL(s), or by uploading them via the Dropbox link you will receive when you complete the online application form. Please submit no more than five URL(s) or files.

Dance/Ethnic Theater
Submit audio or video sample(s) by including URL(s), or by uploading them via the Dropbox link you will receive when you complete the online application form. Please submit no more than five URL(s) or files. If you are part of an ensemble or a dance teacher, make clear who you are in the work sample.

Panelists may view some or all of any submitted material.

CHOREOGRAPHY - Deadline: January 29, 2018
Work samples that do not adhere to the following guidelines will not be reviewed. Submit up to 20 minutes of choreographic work. You may include a single work, or up to four works or excerpts.

Submit video file(s) via Mass Cultural Council’s DropBox link. Accepted file formats: MOV, MP4, MV4, and WMV. Maximum file size is 1 GB. You will receive an email containing the link to submit the file(s) when you have submitted Mass Cultural Council’s online form. When submitting your work sample(s), please name each file with the title of the corresponding work sample.

Works in progress are eligible. Work completed prior to 2014 is ineligible.

Panel review of work samples is anonymous. Therefore, neither your name, nor any information identifying commissions, awards, reviews, and/or presentations, should appear in your Work Sample Description or within the work itself. Work samples will be tracked by title #1.

FICTION/CREATIVE NONFICTION - Deadline: January 29, 2018
Work samples that do not adhere to the following guidelines will not be reviewed. Upload a file of a manuscript of 25 pages or fewer. You may include a single work, or up to four works or excerpts. Any additional pages will be discarded from the end of the manuscript.

Works in progress are eligible. Work completed prior to 2014 in ineligible.

Panel review of work samples is anonymous. Therefore, neither your name, nor any information identifying commissions, awards, reviews, and/or presentations should appear on your manuscript. Work samples will be tracked by title #1.

Work samples must be:

  • On 8 ½”X11” pages.
  • Double-spaced and typed in Times, Helvetica, or equivalent font, no smaller than 12 point in size.
  • Formatted with at least 1" margins on all sides.
  • Page numbered
  • Uploaded as .doc, .docx, .pdf, .txt, or .rtf. (For best results, please be sure the file names contain no punctuation marks.)

PAINTING - Deadline: January 29, 2018
Upload five images, in JPG format, into your CallforEntry.org (CaFE) Portfolio. When filling out Mass Cultural Council's online application in CaFE, select images to submit in the order (1-5) that you wish them to be viewed (left to right).

Preparing Your Digital
Images Images must be saved in JPG format. The pixel dimension (horizontal or vertical) cannot be smaller than 1920 pixels on the longest side of your image. The resolution size is a minimum of 72 ppi/dpi. The maximum file size is 3 MB.

Panel review of work samples is anonymous. Therefore, neither your name, nor any information identifying commissions, awards, reviews, and/or presentations should appear on your work sample. Work samples will be tracked by title #1. Work completed prior to 2014 is ineligible.

Review Process
After the application deadline, Mass Cultural Council convenes independent panels to review applications. Panels are composed of artists and arts professionals representing a range of aesthetic perspectives. The review process is anonymous to ensure impartial assessment of each applicant's work. Funding recommendations made by review panels are presented to the Mass Cultural Council members for final award decisions.

Accessibility and Non-Discrimination Policy
Mass Cultural Council is committed to ensure that all programs, services, policies, and practices are formulated and conducted in a manner which will ensure equal access for all people and prevent discrimination not only as a matter of law, but also as a policy designed to encourage the participation of all segments of the Commonwealth's population in Mass Cultural Council programs and services.

Mass Cultural Council is dedicated to creating a workplace, programs, and services that welcome, respect and value people of all races, color, age, sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, religions, creeds, ancestry, national origin, disability and veteran status, and does discriminate on the basis of these attributes.  We strive to reflect diversity in all activities, programs and services by removing any barriers to accessibility.

Mass Cultural Council is happy to offer alternative formats, auxiliary aids, and services necessary so that any individual can participate in Mass Cultural Council's programs and services. Contact Staff for help. To facilitate your request in a timely manner, please contact us at least two weeks before any Mass Cultural Council event or grant deadline. Please read the full Access Policy for more information.

Conflict of Interest
To ensure that all Mass Cultural Council review panels are free from conflicts of interest and/or the appearance of such conflicts, panelists are required to disclose any current or prospective affiliations they or their immediate family members have with an actual or potential applicant. "Affiliations" applies to employment, board memberships, independent contractual relationships, advisory or policy relationships, substantial contributor relationships, or other financial relationships. In addition, panelists are required to disclose any past or current adversarial relationships with actual or potential applicants of a professional or personal nature. Mass Cultural Council members are not permitted to participate in discussions or votes relating to any applicant with whom they have an affiliation or relating to any applicants competing with that applicant.

Reconsideration Policy
An applicant may request reconsideration of a Mass Cultural Council decision on his or her application if the applicant can demonstrate that the Mass Cultural Council failed to follow published application and review procedures. Dissatisfaction with the results of a review does not constitute grounds for reconsideration, however.

The first step in the reconsideration process is to consult with the appropriate Program Staff to discuss the review process that concluded in Mass Cultural Council's decision. If the applicant wishes to pursue a reconsideration, a request must be sent to the Mass Cultural Council's Executive Director, in writing, within 30 days of the Mass Cultural Council's notification to the applicant of its decision. All requests will go to the Mass Cultural Council members for reconsideration no earlier than its next scheduled Council meeting.

 
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