MAC’s Artist Fellowship program is focused on honoring Mississippi artists who demonstrate the ability to create exemplary work in their chosen field. The agency awards fellowships of up to $5,000 in several categories each year. The program does not require a cash match. Professional artists living and working in Mississippi are eligible to apply.

The Artist Fellowship program is highly competitive – only a small number of the total applicants each year receive an award. An artist may submit one Fellowship application per year. Those who are not awarded a fellowship may re-apply the following year. Applicants can receive written feedback from the review panel on their application.

Individuals who receive an Artist Fellowship are ineligible to re-apply for five years. Artist Fellowship recipients are not eligible to receive an Artist Minigrant during the same fiscal year of their Fellowship award.

Artist Fellowships are awards of merit. While applicants are not required to submit information on how they might use the funds, MAC expects the recipients to dedicate the funds towards expanding their ability to create new work. Recipients are required to document their fellowship-funded activities in their final report. Fellowship funds may not be used to support academic research or study toward an academic or professional degree.

Application Deadline: March 1, 2021

Please note: With the implementation of our new eGRANT system, MAC will no longer accept paper applications. Applications will be accepted beginning on January 15. To be considered for funding, applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on March 1, 2021.

Before submitting an application, MAC recommends you thoroughly read the Frequently Asked Questions.

Please note: Fellowship grants are reported as income for the recipients. MAC is required to report the grants to the IRS. The Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration issues a 1099 tax form to each Fellowship recipient.

Who May Apply

You may apply for an Artist Fellowship if you are a professional artist producing work of high artistic quality.

Individuals are considered to be at the professional level if they:

  • earn at least part of their annual income in their artistic disciplines,
  • consider their artistic endeavors as a career,
  • maintain a high level of artistic quality, and
  • make a significant time investment in their artistic disciplines through practice, performance and production;

In addition the applicant must be:

  • more than 18 years of age;
  • not a full-time student; and
  • a permanent, legal resident of Mississippi at the time of application and throughout the grant period. Applicants may be required to show proof of residence (such as driver’s license, proof of domicile, homestead, utility bills).

Artist Fellowship Categories

Certain artistic disciplines in fellowship categories alternate every other year (with the exception of applications in the Folk Arts category). Please select the appropriate category below:

Fellowship Categories for FY2022 (July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022)
Deadline to apply: March 1, 2021

  • Literary Arts:
    • FY21 Categories: Creative nonfiction, playwriting, and screenwriting
    • Staff contact: Kristen Brandt, 601.359.6075 or kbrandt@arts.ms.gov
  • Media Arts:
  • Performing Arts:
    • FY22 Categories: Music (solo vocal or instrumental performance), theater (acting), storytelling and dance performance (solo performance).
    • Staff contact: Leslie Barker, 601.359.6529 or lbarker@arts.ms.gov
  • Visual and Design Arts:
    • FY22 Categories: Visual & Design Arts (Painting, sculpture, works on paper, photography, architectural design, fashion design, graphic design, and landscape architecture)
    • Staff contact: Victoria Meek, 601.359.6030 or vmeek@arts.ms.gov 
  • Folk Arts:
    • FY22 Categories: Folk / Traditional  Visual & Folk Performing
    • Staff contact: Maria Zeringue, 601.359.6034 or mzeringue@arts.ms.gov
    • Folk & Traditional Arts F.A.Q.’s:  
      • What are the Folk and Traditional Arts? The folk and traditional arts are artistic expressions of community life. A community is a group of people held together by common bonds such as shared beliefs, language, identity, ethnicity, occupation, recreational interests, and regional affiliation. In short, folk arts often reflect the shared values, identity and aesthetics of a community.
      • Am I a Folk Artist? Folk artists work within a community-based art form and demonstrate a balance of individual creativity expressed within a collective arts tradition. Traditional artists usually learn informally through apprenticeships, imitation, and/or face-to face instruction, and folk arts are usually passed down from one generation to the next.
      • Examples of Folk Arts: Pine-needle basket weaving, Native American beadwork, bowl hewing, Gulf Coast boatbuilding, southern food traditions, storytelling, blues music, hip hop music and dance, leather working, blacksmithing, Chinese New Year celebrations, Our Lady of Guadalupe dance processions, and many other forms of community-based traditional art.

Review Criteria

For Design, Literary, Media, Performing, And Visual Arts

Artist Fellowships are reviewed through a “blind” panel process. The review panel does not know the names of the applicants nor receives information about their academic or professional achievements. The panel’s discussion and feedback is focused solely on the artistic excellence of the submitted work samples. They score the applications using a 100 point scale. Artist Fellowship review panels determine an applicant’s artistic excellence by reviewing the following three components:

• Originality and vision of the work
• Technical skill and mastery of the artistic discipline
• Technique or process used to create the work.

For Folk Arts

Applicants in the Folk Arts Fellowship category are also reviewed through a “blind” process, but the panel receives the applicants’ personal narrative statement. This allows them to gain an understanding of the applicant’s connection to their artistic tradition.

The Folk Art review panel evaluates the applications using the following review criteria:

  • Mastery of the artistic discipline (40 points)
  • Connection of the artist’s work to a community-based traditional art form (40 points)
  • Potential for creating new work of high quality during the grant period (20 points)

How To Apply

For Design, Literary, Media, Performing, And Visual Arts

Apply online using MAC’s eGRANT system. Faxed, mailed, or emailed applications are not accepted. If you are new to eGRANT, please review the guides and video tutorials available on MAC’s Frequently Asked Questions page, then contact MAC staff if you have any questions.

Fellowship applications are blindly adjudicated by a panel of experts. These experts have access to an applicant’s Artist Statement and Biographical Description of Artist Development. The applicant’s name should not appear in the text responses to the Artist Statement or the Biographical Description of Artist Development. Please be prepared to submit the following information through the eGRANT system:

  • A biographical description in which you discuss your development as an artist
  • An artist’s statement (500 word maximum) which provides insight on your work samples. Describe your vision and creative process. Please also include any relevant details on special processes or techniques you utilized to create the work. The statement should be written in first person and present tense. Do not include any biographical information or professional achievements in the statement.
  • Your current artistic resumé. This document should detail your work as a professional artist only. Please include information on any (arts-related) college level study or other advanced artistic training that you have completed. Focus on providing information about your non-arts work.
  • Appropriate work samples (see the appropriate work sample format listed below). The samples must have been completed within the last five years.
  • A list that describes the submitted work samples. These descriptions should include the titles and completion dates of each work sample. If appropriate for the art form, please also include the medium and the approximate dimensions of each work. DO NOT include your name or any publication or exhibition information about the samples.

NOTE: 

Do NOT link to the applicant’s personal social media pages or website in the Artist Statement or Biographical Description of Artist Development. Areas of the application which include the applicant’s name will be disregarded in adjudicating applications and may result in the rejection of an application as incomplete.

For Folk Arts

Apply online using MAC’s eGRANT system. Faxed, mailed, or emailed applications are not accepted. Please contact MAC staff if you have any questions.

Please be prepared to submit the following information through the eGRANT system:

  • Narrative in which you discuss your development as an artist, including how you learned your artform. Make sure to relate the description of this development to the work samples that you submit (your name should not appear on or within the narrative)
  • Your current artistic resumé (this document should detail your work as a professional artist only. Do not include information about your non-arts work)
  • Appropriate work samples (see the guidelines below). The samples must have been completed within the last five years.
  • A list describing the submitted work samples. These descriptions should include the titles and completion dates of each work sample. If appropriate for the art form, please also include the medium and the approximate dimensions of each work. Do NOT include your name or any publication or exhibition information about the works in the list.
  • An artist’s statement (500 word maximum) which provides insight on your work samples. Describe your vision and creative process. Please also include any relevant details on special processes or techniques you utilized to create the sample work. The statement should be written in first person and present tense. Do not include any biographical information or professional achievements within the statement.

Work Samples

Work Sample Formats

Work samples are the most important component of an Artist Fellowship application. If you have trouble uploading the work sample files to eGRANT, please consult the tutorials available in MAC’s Frequently Asked Questions.

NOTE: Fellowship applications are blindly adjudicated by a panel of experts. These experts have access to an applicant’s Work Samples. The applicant’s name should not appear in the file name, the url (or the linked webpage), or content of Work Samples (including: credits in a video or document or the content of a linked webpage).

Do NOT link to the applicant’s personal social media pages or website for the Work Sample. Submitted samples that do not meet the following guidelines will not be considered in the review process:

  • Folk Arts:
    • Performing artists should submit audio files or links to audio files of multiple songs. The list of work samples should include the instruments, title, duration, the role of the applicant for each work and the date completed.  If additional performers are a part of the performance group, please identify the role of the applicant.
    • Visual Artists will be required to submit six digital images that feature work completed within the last three years. The images should be saved in JPEG format at 72dpi, with no image wider than 1240 pixels. Please submit the best quality images that you have available.
  • Literary Arts:
    • Fiction: Work samples should include 15-20 pages total, completed within the last five years.
      • If your submitted work sample is an excerpt from a longer work, you may include a one-page synopsis of the work as a whole.
    • Poetry: Work samples should include 5-10 pages total, completed within the last five years.
    • Please note:
      • Submitted samples must be of a completed work. To be considered a completed work, the the submitted excerpt must be from a completed and revised manuscript. First drafts are not acceptable for Fellowship applications.
      • Published work must be submitted as a word processed document rather than published form. The sample must be formatted using a 12-point font size with one-inch margins on all sides of the page.
      • Neither your name nor any publication information should appear on the samples.
  • Performing Arts:
    • Musicians: Applicants should submit audio files or links to audio files of at least 3 songs. Work sample descriptions should include the instruments, title, duration, the role of the applicant for each work and the date completed.  If additional performers are a part of the performance group, please identify the role of the applicant.
    • Dance Choreography, Music Composition, Theatrical Design (costume, stage, lighting): Applicants submitting video files or links to videos should contain one complete work or several shorter works. The video files should include the time marking where the panel should begin reviewing the performance. The work sample description should include the instruments, title, duration, the role of the applicant for each work and the date completed.  If additional performers are a part of the performance group, please identify the role of the applicant. Theatrical or Film Directors may include additional still photos, Theatrical Designers should also include sketches or renderings a additional work samples.
  • Visual Arts: Applicants will be required to submit six high resolution digital images (at least 72dpi but no image wider than 1240 pixels). When choosing your work samples, please provide your strongest work completed within the last five years.

Work Sample File Types

Ineligible File Types: Items uploaded from the following file types will be disregarded in adjudicating applications and may result rejection of an application for as incomplete.

  • Pages (.pages)
  • Numbers (.numbers)
  • Keynote (.key)

Please note, the above programs offer the ability to save as or export to PDF. Please submit the PDF version. 

Video & Audio

  • If you share media from your website, link directly to the video/audio rather than your home page.
  • MAC recommends applicants upload using the following file types: MP3, MOV, MP4, WMV, WMA.
  • MAC recommends applicants upload links to video or audio files. Applicants can link to websites such as YouTubeVimeoSoundcloudBandcamp, etc.

Images & Documents

  • MAC recommends applicants upload using the following file types: Word (.doc or .dox), Excel (.xls, .xlr, or .xlsx), PDF (.pdf), or JPEG (.jpeg).
  • You may upload links contained in a Word Document or PDF.

Application Timeline

  • March 2 March 9 – Artist Fellowship application deadline
  • April  – Review of applications by the grant panel (the specific panel date will be available by late March. Applicants are allowed to attend panels.)
  • June – MAC Board meets and makes final funding decisions on all applications
  • July  – Applicants are notified whether their application was funded or not. No information on the grants (including whether or not an applicant will be receiving an award or the amount of the award) will be available from MAC prior to this date.

Artist Fellowships are paid in one installment upon return of the signed grant contract.