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

Please note: With the implementation of our new eGRANT system, MAC will no longer accept paper applications. Instructions on how to register and utilize the eGRANT system are available here. Applications will be accepted beginning on February 1. To be considered for funding, applications must be submitted and authorized by 5:00 p.m. on March 1.

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. Please select the appropriate category below.

Fellowship Categories for FY2019 (July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019)
Deadline to apply: March 1, 2018

  • Folk Arts: Traditional, community-based visual art forms such as basketmaking, woodcarving and quilting (staff contact: Maria Zeringue, 601.359.6034 or mzeringue@arts.ms.gov)
  • Literary Arts: Fiction and poetry (staff contact: Melody Moody Thortis, 601.359.6035 or mthortis@arts.ms.gov)
  • Media Arts: Film and video (staff contact: Melody Moody Thortis, 601.359.6035 or mthortis@arts.ms.gov)
  • Performing Arts: Music composition, choreography or interdisciplinary arts (staff contact: Charlotte Smelser, 601.359.6037 or csmelser@arts.ms.gov)
  • Visual and Design Arts: Includes painting, sculpture, works on paper, photography, architectural design, fashion design, graphic design, and landscape architecture (staff contact: Turry Flucker, 601.359.6075 or tflucker@arts.ms.gov)

Fellowship Categories for FY2020 (July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020)
Deadline to apply: March 1, 2019

  • Folk Arts: Performing arts traditions such as blues guitar, old-time fiddling and traditional dance
  • Literary Arts: Screenwriting, playwriting, creative non-fiction
  • Performing Arts: Music, theater, storytelling and dance performance
  • Visual Arts: Painting, sculpture, works on paper, and photography

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 (30 points)
  • Traditionality of art work (30 points)
  • Potential for creating new work of even higher quality during the grant period (40 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 refer to MAC’s video guide on how to create an account. Please contact MAC staff if you have questions.

Please note: Visual and Literary artists must submit their Artist Fellowship application materials through MAC’s eGRANT electronic grant system.

Please be prepared to submit the following information through the eGRANT system. The review panel will not see these documents. However, they are required to document your status as a professional artist and gather required information for reporting purposes:

  • A biographical description (up to two pages) in which you discuss your development as an artist
  • 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. Do not include 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 three 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.
  • An artist’s statement (no more than 500 words) 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.

For Folk Arts

Apply online using MAC’s eGRANT system. Faxed, mailed, or emailed applications are not accepted. If you are new to eGRANT, please refer to MAC’s video guide on how to create an account. Please contact MAC staff if you have any questions.

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

  • Narrative (two-page maximum) 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 three 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. Neither your name nor any publication or exhibition information about the works should be included in the list.
  • An artist’s statement (no more than 500 words) 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. Submitted samples that do not meet the following guidelines will not be considered in the review process:

  • Folk Arts: Applicants 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.
  • Literary Arts: Word-processed samples of your work, 15-20 pages total, completed within the last three 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. Published work must be submitted as a typed manuscript 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:
    • Performing Arts – Music: Applicants 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.
    • Performing Arts – theatre, Storytelling and Dance: Applicants should submit video files containing one complete work or several shorter works. The video files should include the time marking where the panel should begin reviewing the performance. 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 Arts: Applicants 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. The work must have been completed within the last three years. Please submit the best quality images that you have available.

NOTE: Work samples are also a required component of the Artist Fellowship Final Report which documents the activities accomplished as a result of the grant award. Please be prepared to submit the following:

  • Samples of work created as a result of the project
  • Documentation of travel to workshops or other learning opportunities
  • Proof of Purchase of artistic supplies or equipment that has allowed you to expand your work
  • Publicity and credits recognizing MAC as the grantor
  • Copy of letters to legislators informing them of the grant  (REQUIRED), and/or
  • Documentation from events (such as gallery shows or other presentations of your work) that came as a result of the Fellowship

If you are unsure what types of items to attach, contact the Program Director at MAC that manages your artistic discipline for guidance.

Application Timeline

  • March 1, 2018 – Artist Fellowship application deadline
  • April 2018 – Review of applications by the grant panel (the specific panel date will be available by late March. Applicants are allowed to attend panels.)
  • June 2018 – MAC Board meets and makes final funding decisions on all applications
  • July 2, 2018 – 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.