Individual Artist Fellowship

Important:
Recognition and acknowledgement of outstanding professional Tennessee artists who, through their work add to the cultural vitality of the state.

Fellowships provide those individuals who by education, experience, or natural talent engage in a particular art form or discipline, and live and work in Tennessee. To qualify, an artist must be financially compensated for his or her work, and this compensation must be a significant source of support for their livelihood.

No matching funds are required and no specific project has to be carried out with the funds. The Commission anticipates that each fellowship recipient will be awarded $5,000. In a year, the Tennessee Arts Commission may award approximately 1-2 fellowships each in Craft, Media, Visual Art, Dance, Music, Theater, and Interdisciplinary Performing Arts as well as three in the Literary Arts.

Accepted categories for FY 2024:

  • Visual Art (two categories):
    • Two-Dimensional Work
    • Mural Arts
  • Craft
  • Media (two categories):
    • Film
    • Photography
  • Dance (one category):
    • Solo Dance or Choreography
  • Music (two categories):
    • Composition
    • Performance (Instrumental or Vocal)
  • Theater (two categories):
    • Playwriting
    • Acting
  • Interdisciplinary Performing Arts (one category):
    • Interdisciplinary Performing Arts (integrating more than one artistic discipline to form a single work)
  • Literary Arts (three categories):
    • Fiction
    • Children’s Literature/Young Adult Literature
    • Poetry

Individual Artist Fellowships (IAF) Fiscal Year 2024 Guidelines

Description

The Individual Artist Fellowship (IAF) provides monetary awards to outstanding professional artists (i.e. those individuals who by education, experience, or natural talent engage in a particular art form or discipline) who live and work in Tennessee. To qualify, an artist must be financially compensated for his or her work, and this compensation must be a significant source of support for their livelihood. See qualification exception below for Literary Arts.

To qualify for a Literary Fellowship, a writer must meet most of the following criteria:

  • Have a significant publishing history other than vanity or print-on-demand publication
  • Have been recognized with local, regional, or national awards for their writing
  • Work in a literature related field such as teaching literature or writing, editing, or publishing
  • Hold a degree or have other specialized education in Writing or Literature
  • Have received significant financial compensation for their work

No matching funds are required, and no specific project has to be carried out with the funds.

The Commission anticipates that each fellowship will be awarded $5,000.

Eligibility
  • Fellowship applicants must be professional practicing artists of exceptional talent working in their chosen discipline.
  • Fellowship applicants must be at least 18 years of age and be legal residents of Tennessee with a Tennessee mailing address.
  • Applicants must have resided in Tennessee for the past three consecutive years.
  • Proof of residency will require a valid Tennessee voter registration card or a legal Tennessee driver’s license.
  • Applicants may be requested to submit a copy of their most recently filed Federal Income Tax Form 1040 if there is a question concerning legal residency.
  • Individuals may apply in only one fellowship category each fiscal year.
  • Those not eligible to apply include: past fellowship and partial fellowship recipients, minors (individuals under 18 years of age), full-time students (elementary, secondary, college, or university), full-time State of Tennessee employees (other than instructors on the faculties of state-supported educational institutions), Commission or staff members or members of their families.

Commission staff contacts:

  • For Literary Arts: Lee Baird, (615) 532-0493
  • For Performing Arts: Music, Theater, Dance or Interdisciplinary: Jared Morrison, (615) 532-9801
  • For Visual Arts, Craft and Media: Krishna Adams, (615) 532-9798

The Tennessee Arts Commission reserves the right to deny any application if the activity or work samples are outside of the scope or spirit of the agency’s mission, purpose, or this grant program.

Debarment and Suspension. Awardees are required to sign contracts certifying to the best of their knowledge and belief, that they are not presently debarred, suspended, proposed for debarment, declared ineligible, or voluntarily excluded from covered transactions by any federal or state department or agency.

Evaluation Criteria

Out of state adjudicators who are professionals with expertise in your discipline will review all the applications submitted in your category. The primary evaluation criterion is artistic excellence based on work samples you submit with the application. Specific instructions on what and how to submit discipline based supporting and work materials are at the end of this document. In making final recommendations, adjudicators may also take into consideration the artistic statement, and other portions of the application.

Accessibility

All Commission sponsored programs, services, and facilities are fully accessible to all Tennessee artists and citizens. Organizations are urged to consider contracting with diverse artists, artists living with disabilities, and/or artists representing Tennessee’s diverse artistic and cultural heritage. No person on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, age, religion or sex shall be excluded from participation in, or be denied benefits of, or otherwise be subject to discrimination of services, programs and employment provided by the Commission and its contracting agencies. If an individual believes they have been subjected to discrimination, they should contact the Commission’s Director of Arts Access, Kim Johnson, (615) 532-9797.

Appeals Process

By submitting an application under the extant guidelines, applicants implicitly agree to abide by the professional judgment of the independent adjudicator as relates to artistic content and merit.  Appeals to grant awards may be based on procedural grounds. Appeals must contain a justification indicating that actions of the adjudicator were based upon insufficient or incorrect information in the process that is not the fault of the applicant. Dissatisfaction with the denial of a grant or with the amount of the grant is not a valid ground for appeal.

Valid procedural grounds for appeal may include:

  • Erroneous Determinations: Incorrect or misleading information discovered in an application that would deem the applicant ineligible. An example of this would be discovering a selected IAF applicant in fact did not live and work in Tennessee.
  • Non-presentation of information: Application information that was not presented to the Adjudicator that might have altered their decision.
  • Improper procedure: Contention by an applicant that the Adjudicator’s review and or decision was arbitrary and capricious.

As provided in the Rules of the Tennessee Arts Commission, Chapter 0140-1, any appeal which contests the denial of a grant in whole or in part must be filed no later than August 1 of the calendar year in which the grant was applied. The Executive Director shall review the appeal and issue a decision in writing no later than September 1 of the calendar year in which the grant in issue was applied.

Deadline & How to Apply
  1. Register to use the new Online Grants System. You are strongly advised to register well in advance to the application deadline. Anyone registering close to the deadline date can expect delays in the processing of their grant application.
  2. Log in to the new Online Grants System.
  3. Carefully read the IAF guidelines. Links to each of the guidelines can be found in the “Apply for Grants” tab in the left-hand menu. We strongly suggest that you print a copy of the guidelines or have them open in a separate browser tab to have available when filling out the application. If you have questions, please contact the appropriate Commission staff member before beginning an application.
  4. Use the “People” tab on the left-hand menu to accurately complete your “People” profile. This information will also be used in the review of the application. To edit your profile, click the “Edit” button at the top of the screen.
  5. When your “People” profile is complete and accurate, select the “Apply for Grants” tab again and choose the IAF application link.
  6. Complete all of the application fields.
  7. Create and upload required attachments.
  8. Submit by Monday, January 23, 2023, by 11:59 p.m. (CST).

NOTE: The forms in the portal do not auto-save. Always click the “Save” button before navigating away from the form you are editing to save your work.

Beware that clicking the back navigation button on your web browser will exit you from the system and you will lose your work.

Required Documents

You will be prompted to create and upload the following documents in the “Required Documents” section of your IAF Application in the system.

  1. A current professional artist resume (including publication history for literary applications).
  2. Proof of TN Residency. A copy of applicant’s Tennessee voter registration card, or a legal and valid Tennessee driver’s license.
Additional Discipline-Specific Requirements

You will NOT be prompted to upload these documents in the system, but these documents are required based on artistic discipline. Upload files directly into the System’s “Documents” section by clicking the plus sign and attaching files. You may also paste links to websites that house your work samples, such as YouTube.com or Vimeo.com, into the “Work Sample Link(s)” text box. See below for discipline-specific requirements.

Visual Arts: Two-Dimensional Work or Mural Arts

Two-Dimensional Work

  • Submit ten digital images of recent work (created within the past three years) formatted as jpeg files. Images should be between 1-4 MB in size and labeled in numerical order and with the title of the piece.
  • Upload jpegs into the “Documents” section.

Mural

  • Submit ten digital images of recent work (created within the past five years) formatted as jpeg files. Images should be between 1-4 MB in size and labeled in numerical order and with the title of the piece. Murals must have been designed by the artist applying for the grant.
  • Upload jpegs into the “Documents” section.

Craft

  • Submit ten digital images of recent work (created within the past three years) formatted as jpeg files. Images should be between 1-4 MB in size and labeled in numerical order and with the title of the piece.
  • Upload jpegs into the “Documents” section.

Media: Film or Photography

Film

  • Submit at least three of your most recent works that have been created in the past three years. The work samples provided should reflect applicant’s individual artistic expression rather than work produced for commercial production purposes. The entire length of the films combined can be no longer than 20 minutes.
  • Paste online links into the “Work Sample Link(s)” text box.

Photography

  • Submit ten digital images of recent work created within the past three years, formatted as jpeg files. Images should be between 1-4 MB in size and labeled in numerical order and with the title of the piece.
  • Upload jpegs into the “Documents” section

Dance: Solo Dance or Choreography

Solo Dance Performance

  • Video link(s) for two examples of solo dance captured in the past three years
    • Samples may be from a rehearsal and/or production
    • Samples must not exceed 10 minutes each, or 20 minutes total.
    • Samples may be different moments from the same production.
  • A narrative description of the artistic approach to sample pieces (include the title of the work(s) and the date(s) and location(s) of the performance(s).

Choreography

  • Video link(s) for two examples of choreography created in the past three years.
    • Samples may be from a rehearsal and/or production
    • Samples must not exceed ten (10) minutes each, or twenty (20) minutes total.
    • Samples may be different moments from the same production.
  • A narrative description of the artistic approach to sample pieces (include the title of the work(s) and the date(s) and location(s) of the performance(s).

Music:

       Solo Performance (Instrumental or Vocal)

  • Video link(s) for two examples of solo instrumental or solo vocal performance created in the past three years.
    • Instrumental sample works must be from the musical genres of classical or jazz only
    • Vocal sample works must be from the musical genres of opera or musical theatre only
    • Samples must not exceed ten (10) minutes each, or twenty (20) minutes total
  • A narrative description of the artistic approach to sample pieces (include the title of the work(s) and the date(s) and location(s) of the performance(s).

Composition

  • Two scores from within the last three years that represent a cross section of your work (orchestral, chamber and vocal scores are acceptable)
  • Link(s) to audio recordings of each score submitted
  • A narrative description of the artistic approach to sample pieces (include the title of the work(s) and the date(s) and location(s) of the performance(s).

Theater: 

Playwriting

  • Full-length play script or sample of at least approximately 45 minutes in length
  • A narrative description of the artistic approach to sample images and/or video(s) (include the title of the work(s) and the date(s) and location(s) of the performance(s) if applicable).

Acting

  • Video link(s) for two examples of acting from the past three years.
    • Samples may be from a rehearsal and/or production
    • Samples must not exceed ten (10) minutes each, or twenty (20) minutes total.
    • Samples may be different moments from the same production.
  • A narrative description of the artistic approach to sample pieces (include the title of the work(s) and the date(s) and location(s) of the performance(s).

Interdisciplinary Performing Arts:

  • Video link(s) of up to two examples of an interdisciplinary work (works that combine one or more elements of Music, Theatre or Dance) created by the applicant from the past three years or
    • Samples may be from a rehearsal and/or production
    • Samples must not exceed ten (10) minutes each, or twenty (20) minutes total.
    • Samples may be different moments from the same production.
  • A narrative description of the artistic approach to sample pieces (include the title of the work(s) and the date(s) and location(s) of the performance(s).

Literary: Fiction, Children’s / Young Adult Literature, or Poetry

Fiction

  • Submitted samples may be short stories or excerpts from longer works. No more than 25 double-spaced pages of typescript with no identifying labeling on any page.
  • Upload documents into the “Documents” section.

Children’s / Young Adult Literature

  • Submissions may be in the categories of picture book, middle grade or young adult. No more than 25 double-spaced pages with no illustrations or pictures. Previously published (typeset) works must be reverted to typescript manuscript form with no identifying markings on any page. Samples may be complete works or samples from longer works.
  • Upload documents into the “Documents” section.

Poetry

  • Submitted samples may be in any poetic form or in free verse. No more than 25 double-spaced pages or 13 single-spaced pages. Multiple poems per page are acceptable. Previously published (typeset) works must be reverted to typescript manuscript form.
  • Upload documents into the “Documents” section.