Rhode Island Foundation offers $25,000 grants to local artists

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Visual artists who dream of having the resources to push their craft to the next level have until Aug. 19 to apply for $25,000 fellowships from the Rhode Island Foundation. The grants are considered to be among the largest no-strings-attached awards available to visual artists in the United States.

The Foundation will award grants to as many as three emerging or mid-career visual artists through its Robert and Margaret MacColl Johnson Fellowship Fund. The awards are intended to free them to concentrate time on the creative process, focus on personal or professional development, expand their body of work and explore new directions.

“This assistance will permit local artists to spend more time thinking about their work instead of trying to make ends meet. This fellowship reflects the importance that our donors placed on the presence of practicing artists in the community,” said Jenny Pereira, the Foundation’s vice president of grant programs.

Previous recipients include Leslie Hirt, a RISD professor who works in a variety of media to explore the meaning of materiality; and Jordan Seaberry, whose work has been exhibited at the Marwen Art Foundation in Chicago, the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, Mass., and the RISD Museum. His current solo show at the Steven Zevitas Gallery in Boston runs through July 27.

According to Seaberry, his fellowship gave him more than just the resources to devote more time to his art.

“This gave me the space to experiment and to find new ways to honor the voices of Providence's marginalized families. Additionally, it gave me a previously unachievable level of engagement with the artistic community as a whole,” he said. 

Applicants must have been legal residents of Rhode Island for at least 12 months prior to the Aug. 19 deadline. High school students, college and graduate students who are enrolled in a degree-granting program and writers who have advanced levels of career achievement are not eligible.

Applicants will be judged on the quality of their work samples, artistic development and the creative contribution to the visual arts, as well as the potential of the fellowship to advance their career. Applications will be accepted from visual artists creating new original work in any genre, including film, sculpture, painting and photography.

Although the fellowships are unrestricted, recipients are expected to devote concentrated time to their art and to engage in activities that further their artistic growth. Examples include creating new work, training in technologies or techniques, purchasing equipment, travel, research and developing artistic endeavors.

 The recipients will be selected by a panel of out-of-state jurors who are recognized practicing artists and arts professionals. For more information about applying for a MacColl Johnson Fellowship, visit rifoundation.org.

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