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Glass art by Carrie Gustafson, Cambridge, MA

Artist Fellowships

Frequently Asked Questions

Please note: This program is paused for FY23 as we evaluate our support for artists as part of our Racial Equity Plan.

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

Discipline Categories

Which disciplines are funded through the Artist Fellowships?

Mass Cultural Council offers 12 discipline categories. Each year, we accept Artist Fellowships applications in 6 artistic discipline areas. Opportunities for Artist Fellowships available in years that end in an odd number (i.e., 1, 3, 5, 7, 9.)  “Odd Year Discipline Categories” are as follows:

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

“Even Year categories Discipline Categories” offered in the years ending in even numbers (i.e., 0, 2, 4, 6, 8) are:

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

Please see discipline definitions for further details

Can I apply in more than one discipline? 
Yes, an artist may apply for Artist Fellowships in more than one discipline during the same funding cycle, provided that different work samples are used in each fellowship application submission.

If selected as a winner in more than one discipline, you will receive recognition for your artistic excellence and creative abilities for both discipline categories; however, only one monetary fellowship award is given.


I received an Artist Fellowship in the past. Am I eligible to apply in this funding cycle?
Recipients, including collaborators, may not reapply in any category for five years; for example, an applicant who received a fellowship in 2017 is not eligible to apply again until 2023.

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 deadlines each grant cycle. Three disciplines have an October deadline and three disciplines have a January deadline. Check the application instructions for discipline-specific deadline information. Online applications and supporting materials must be received by Mass Cultural Council on the deadline date no later than 11:59pm (ET) for your application to be considered complete.

When will you announce the fellowship results? 

We will announce Artist Fellows and Finalists by email in late January for the Fall deadline and late May for the 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 this web site.

Application Information & Work Samples

How do I register in your application system?
In FY22, Mass Cultural Council moved to a new grants management system. Learn how to register in our system.

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?
The file size cannot exceed 2 GB. We recommend your pixel dimensions be at least 1200 pixels.

Can I submit work that has been published?
Yes. However, all work samples must be formatted, as specified by the discipline-specific instructions. Do not include any information that discloses any publication information to help ensure that all work, both 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 recommendations 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 $5,000. 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 usually 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 additional questions?
Please read about the Artist Fellowships application process, then contact the Mass Cultural Council’s Artists Department.

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