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Glass art by Carrie Gustafson, Cambridge, MA

Artist Fellowships

Frequently Asked Questions

Due to the delayed passage of a state budget for FY21, this grant process is paused.

This section focuses mainly on eligibility requirements and our grant review process. Visit the contracts section for any questions about your Artist Fellowship contract or payments.


Which disciplines are funded through the Artist Fellowships?
Discipline categories rotate on a biannual basis. Even years categories (years ending in even numbers, i.e., 0, 2, 4, 6, 8) are:

  • Choreography
  • Drawing & Printmaking
  • Fiction/Creative Nonfiction
  • Painting
  • Poetry
  • Traditional Arts

Odd year categories (years ending in odd numbers, i.e., 1, 3, 5, 7, 9) include:

  • Crafts
  • Dramatic Writing
  • Film & Video
  • Music Composition
  • Photography
  • Sculpture/Installation/New Genres

Can I apply in more than one discipline? 
Yes. If you are selected as a grant recipient in more than one discipline, you will be listed as a winner in each discipline but will receive only one monetary award. Also, keep in mind that you cannot use the same works of art for more than one application.

I received an Artist Fellowship in the past. Am I eligible to apply in this funding cycle?
Recipients may not reapply for five years. For example, an applicant who received a fellowship in 2015 is not eligible to apply again until 2021.

I was previously selected as a Finalist. Am I eligible to apply in my discipline in this funding cycle?
Yes. Finalists may reapply at any time.

Grant Timelines

When is my application due?
There are two Artist Fellowship deadlines per grant cycle, with artistic disciplines divided between deadlines in October and in January. Refer to the application process page to see when your discipline will be accepted. Online applications and supporting materials must be received by Mass Cultural Council on the deadline date no later than 11:59:59 PM (ET).

When will you announce the fellowship results? 
We will announce Artist Fellows and Finalists by email. We will send this email by early February (for October deadline) or by early June (for January deadline). Please note: If you have opted out (“unsubscribed”) from receiving Mass Cultural Council e-newsletters, you will not receive the announcement. We will also publish the results on Mass Cultural Council’s web site.

Application Information & Work Samples

Can I get a printed copy of the Artist Fellowship application?
All Artist Fellowship applications must be completed online. If you do not own a computer and don’t have access to one, please contact the Mass Cultural Council. You may first print out the discipline-specific instructions so you can prepare your application before you go to fill it out online.

What is an artist resume?
An artist resume or biography details your achievement as an artist. The resume can include awards or recognition in your field; publications, exhibitions, or presentations of your work; public readings; workshops of your art; conferences and master classes you have taught, organized, or attended; national, regional, or state affiliations in your field (i.e. “member of the Dramatists Guild”).

If you don’t have an extensive amount of artistic experience to list on your resume, don’t worry! Artist Fellowship panelists will not review your resume. We ask for resumes, so we have information to better promote the Fellows and Finalists.

Why can’t I put my name on my work sample?
Except for Traditional Arts, all applications are evaluated through a completely anonymous process. See the application process for more information.

What size should my images be?
Images must be saved in JPG format. Resize your images so that H or W pixel dimension is at least 1200 pixels. You may resize greater than 1200 pixels (e.g., 2400 px) as long as the file size doesn’t exceed 5 MB. More info.

Can I submit work that has been published?
Yes. But your material must be in document form, as specified by the discipline-specific instructions. Do not include any information that identifies the publication, to help ensure that all work, published or unpublished, is evaluated in the same manner.

Grant Review Process

Who are the panelists?
Panelists are artists, teachers, critics, and leaders in their respective fields. We welcome new panelist recommendations. Email the appropriate program staff, and be sure to include contact information for the panelist you are recommending.

How is my work evaluated?
Your work is evaluated by a panel of artists and arts professionals in your discipline. The evaluation is anonymous at every step of the process (except in Traditional Arts). Panelists judge only the artistic merit of the work submitted. First, panelists forward the most competitive applicants to a final round. The panel then ranks applicants and makes the determination of Artist Fellows and Finalists.

For the Traditional Arts Fellowship, grant application materials and work samples are evaluated by a panel of folklorists, traditional artists, and other cultural specialists according to specific review criteria (please see guidelines). All panel recommendations are presented to the governor-appointed Mass Cultural Council board for final approval.

Grant Awards and Payments

How much money can I receive through the Artist Fellowships?
Artist Fellowship awards are $15,000, and Finalist awards are $1,500. Please note that award amounts may change, year to year, depending on our annual budget.

How many Artist Fellowships are awarded in my discipline?
The number of awards varies with each discipline. It depends on the number of applicants, the recommendations of each panel, and available funds.

If I am awarded a fellowship, when can I expect to receive the money?
After you complete and return the contract and the other required paperwork, your award payment is typically processed within six weeks.

Is the fellowship taxable?
Yes. According to IRS guidelines, the fellowship money you receive is considered taxable income.

What if I have more questions?
Please read about the Artist Fellowships application process, then contact the Mass Cultural Council’s Artists Department.

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