Showcasing the Arts

FY2024 Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship Emerging Artist Award

Literary Arts

(fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, play/screenwriting)

Application Deadline: March 15, 2023

Grant Period: July 1, 2023-June 30, 2024

The Kentucky Arts Council strongly encourages you to read and understand the Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship and Emerging Artist Award guidelines before accessing the application.

Like all programs of the Kentucky Arts Council, both of these programs are guided by the arts council’s core values. Successful applications will embody these core values, and all applicants are strongly encouraged to read them carefully before submitting your application.

Core Values of the Kentucky Arts Council

Program Purpose

The purpose of the Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship program is to support professional, established Kentucky artists engaged in creating artwork of high quality and to recognize creative excellence.

The purpose of the Emerging Artist Award program is to support professional, early-stage Kentucky artists engaged in creating artwork of high quality and to recognize creative excellence.

Goals

The primary goal of the Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship program is to directly support the advancement and continuation of Kentucky artists' careers and creative work. The program provides public recognition and acknowledgement of Kentucky artists creating work of high artistic merit.

The primary goal of the Emerging Artist Award program is to directly support the advancement and continuation of early-stage Kentucky artists' careers and creative work.

Eligibility

To be eligible to apply to the Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship or Emerging Artist Award program, an applicant must:

  • Be a legal, full-time resident of Kentucky
  • Remain a legal, full-time resident of Kentucky for the duration of the grant period
  • Be at least 21 years of age at the time of application
  • Be a professional, working artist, responsible for creating original work, not interpreting the work of others or creating under the guidance of an instructor or mentor

Residency Requirements

Applicants must be United States citizens, lawfully admitted to the U.S. for permanent residence or have permission from the Department of Homeland Security to work permanently in the U.S.

Applicants must have been legal Kentucky residents for a period of at least one full year immediately prior to the application deadline (e.g., legal Kentucky residency must have begun by March 15, 2022, for applications due March 15, 2023).

For proof of residency, applicants must submit a copy of two of the following documents by the application deadline:

  • Kentucky driver’s license or Commonwealth of Kentucky identification card that includes the date issued and expiration date (Note: The arts council will accept a copy of a license OR an identification card.)
  • A screen shot of Kentucky voter registration verification from the State Board of Elections’ Voter Information Center website at https://vrsws.sos.ky.gov/VIC/)
  • 2020 or 2021 Kentucky state income tax form (740 series form for full-year residents)

Program Description

The Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship is a competitive $7,500 award given to working, professional Kentucky artists who have achieved a high level of excellence and creativity in their work and who have demonstrated significant achievement in their field. Fellowships are based upon the quality of the work samples submitted by the artist. Fellowship awards are unrestricted and may be used in any way to enhance the artist's career.

The Emerging Artist Award is a competitive $1,000 award given to working, professional Kentucky artists who are in the early years of their career (typically the first 10 years of professional work) and who have achieved a high level of excellence and creativity in their work. Emerging Artist Awards are determined by the quality of work samples submitted by the artist. Emerging Artist Awards are unrestricted and may be used in any way to enhance the artist's career.

Assessment

Applications will be assessed using the following criteria:

Artistic Excellence:
  • Artistic skill and technique (30 points)
  • Creativity (30 points)
  • Demonstration of a cohesive body of work (15 points)
  • Originality/individuality (25 points)

The fellowship program uses a “blind jury” process, meaning that applicants’ names and other personal information are not revealed to the panel.

Work samples must support the selected subdiscipline. Applicants must submit work completed within the past three full calendar years and up to the application deadline (e.g., for the application deadline of March 15, 2023, eligible work must have been created between January 1, 2020, and March 15, 2023.)

Restrictions

  • Artists may apply only with work samples over which they had complete creative control. Works based on appropriated images are not allowed.
  • Artists may apply in one discipline only per application year. All work samples submitted must be representative of the selected discipline and subdiscipline.
  • Students currently enrolled in a degree or certificate-granting educational program at the time of application are not eligible.
  • Work created solely for commercial or instructional purposes is not eligible.
  • Multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary or multi-category applications are not eligible.
  • Artwork created by collaborations and teams is not eligible.
  • Artists may submit only one application for either the Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship or the Emerging Artist Award per application year.
  • Program recipients may receive no more than two Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowships and three Emerging Artist Awards in their lifetime.
  • Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship recipients must wait at least 10 years before applying for a second fellowship (e.g., a FY2014 Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship recipient is eligible to apply for a FY2024 fellowship).
  • Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship recipients may not apply for an Emerging Artist Award.
  • Emerging Artist Award recipients must wait at least four years before applying for an additional Emerging Artist Award or an Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship (e.g., a FY2020 Emerging Artist Award recipient is eligible to apply for a FY2024 Emerging Artist Award or a FY2024 Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship).
  • Per the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 with expanded criminal penalties in the Indian Arts and Crafts Act, 2010 amendment, it is illegal to offer or display for sale, or sell, any art or craft product in a manner that falsely suggests it is Indian produced, an Indian product, or the product of a particular Indian or Indian tribe or Indian arts and crafts organization, within the United States. Under the Act, a Native American is defined as a member of any federally or officially State recognized tribe of the United States, or an individual certified as a Native American artisan by a Native American tribe.

Note: If submitting authentic Native American work, you must submit with your application a copy of your membership card or certification as a Native American artisan from a federally- or state-recognized Native American Indian tribe, band, nation or organized group or community.

Program Timeline

Application deadline: March 15, 2023

Application review by panel: May 2023

Kentucky Arts Council board reviews panel recommendations: June 2023

Applicant notification: After July 1

Grant Agreement Form due: Within 30 days of receipt of Grant Agreement Form

Final report due: July 30, 2024

Program Benefits

  • Public announcements will be distributed announcing fellowship recipients.
  • $7,500 unrestricted cash award for Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship recipients.
  • Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship recipients may be eligible to apply to the Kentucky Peer Advisory Network (KPAN) program for consultations about art business issues.
  • Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship recipients are invited to participate in other special initiatives as available.
  • $1,000 unrestricted cash award for Emerging Artist Award recipients.

Application Deadline

The application deadline is 11:59 p.m. Eastern on March 15, 2023. Note: The application can take several minutes to upload and closes at exactly 11:59 p.m. Eastern. The arts council strongly advises that applicants submit early. Following the deadline, each application will be reviewed by the program director, who may contact the applicant if clarification is needed.

Panel Meeting

A panel of out-of-state, discipline-based arts professionals will review all eligible fellowship applications according to the performance expectations. Kentucky Arts Council staff do not participate in the panel process and have no input into panel discussion or award decisions.

The arts council reserves the right to not award an Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship or Emerging Artist Award due to funding availability or when fewer than five applications are received by the deadline.

Arts Council Board

The panel’s recommendations are forwarded to the arts council’s governing board for approval.

Grant Agreements

Applicants who are approved for funding enter into a legal agreement with the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Agreements cannot be altered without prior approval from the arts council’s executive director.

Grant agreements must be signed and returned within 30 days to initiate payment. Award payments will be issued within 30 days of receipt of the signed grant agreement form. All funds for this program must be disbursed by the arts council and deposited by the awardee no later than June 30, 2024. Funds are not available after this time.

Recipients concerned about any tax liability should consult an accountant. The Kentucky Arts Council is not able to provide tax advice or information.

Final Reports

All arts council grantees must submit a final report within 30 days of completion of the grant period. The grant period for the fellowship will be July 1, 2023, through June 30, 2024. Final reports will be due by July 30, 2024. The final report form will be available in the online application program. Grantees with past due final reports for any Kentucky Arts Council grant are ineligible to apply.

Appeals

There are no appeals in this program.

Application Instructions

The arts council recommends using Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome or Firefox to complete your application. Do not type in all CAPITAL letters.

Carefully review the program guidelines and instructions before beginning your application.

Submission of the application indicates that you have read and understand all guidelines and application instructions but does not guarantee eligibility or that all guideline requirements have been met.

The Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship and Emerging Artist Award are highly competitive programs. Not all applicants will be awarded funding.

Literary arts applicants must select and apply under one subdiscipline only. Subdisciplines eligible for funding are fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry and play/screenwriting.

Kentucky Vendor Number

A Kentucky Vendor Number is required of all applicants for an Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship. Apply for a free Kentucky Vendor Number prior to beginning your application by completing the EZ Kentucky Vendor Registration application and faxing or emailing it to 502-564-5319 or finance.crcgroup@ky.gov.

Applications submitted without a valid Kentucky Vendor Number will be ruled ineligible.

The Finance and Administration Cabinet manages the Kentucky Vendor Number. All questions about registration must be addressed to the Cabinet’s Customer Resource Center by calling 502-564-9641 or emailing finance.crcgroup@ky.gov.

Accessing the online application

Applications for this program are made through Kentucky Arts Council’s GO Smart application system at https://kyarts.gosmart.org/. If you have not used the Kentucky Arts Council’s GO Smart system, you must first set up a profile. Once established, your profile remains in the system for future applications. Be sure to keep your username and password for future use. If you have applied to the Kentucky Arts Council in the past three years, you may already have a profile. Do not create a duplicate profile.

Profile

* Profile Type: Select Individual Artist.

Enter your first name, last name, phone and email, then create your username and password. (Save your username and password in a safe place for future use.)

Click Save Work on the bottom of each page to ensure your work is not lost.

After clicking Save Work, the page will refresh to include additional fields:

* Legal Name: Enter your name as it appears on your birth certificate or Social Security card.

* Address (Note: It must match your Kentucky Vendor Code information!)

* Applicant Discipline: Select literature; in the unnamed box below Applicant Discipline, select either fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry or play/screenwriting.

* Congressional district/state legislative districts: Enter your current district numbers. Find your congressional district at https://www.house.gov and your state legislative districts at https://legislature.ky.gov/Pages/index.aspx or check your Kentucky Voter Registration at https://vrsws.sos.ky.gov/VIC/ where you’ll find all three district numbers.

Click the reCAPTCHA box. GO Smart will take you back to the grant system’s main page. Select Current Programs & Applications and scroll down to Al Smith Fellowship and Emerging Artist FY24.

Completing the Application

Select Current Programs and Applications and scroll down to Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship 2024. Click Start to open the application. GO Smart allows applicants to save and close their application then return to it later by selecting Edit under the application name. Save each page as you work through the application.

In the application, use the menu on the upper left of each page or the Previous and Next buttons at the bottom of each page to navigate through the application. Remember to always click the Save button before moving on to avoid losing work.

Applicant Information

The Applicant Information page is for use by the Kentucky Arts Council only. Panelists will not view this page.

Select either the Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship or Emerging Artist Award at the top of the page.

* Applicant Name: Enter your legal name.

AKA: Enter your name as you would like it to be announced if you receive a fellowship.

* County: Enter the name of the Kentucky county in which you reside.

* Kentucky Vendor Number: Enter the number you received when you registered in the Kentucky Vendor Self Service System.

* Biography: Enter a brief biography. Awardee biographies may be used by the arts council to announce the fellowship award.

Artistic Excellence

Do not include your name or other identifying information in this section.

* Artist Statement: Enter a brief overview of your current work including artistic inspiration, philosophy, evolution of style, current directions, influences, etc. Artist statements must be written in first person. Do not include information that may identify you.

* List of Awards/Recognitions: Enter a short list of up to 10 awards and recognitions from the past five years. Include the date and name of the award or recognition and the location of the awarding organization. You may include a brief summary paragraph of up to five sentences describing awards and recognitions from six or more years ago. For example:

  • Jan. 1, 2022, Creative Writing Fellowship in Fiction, National Endowment for the Arts, Washington, D.C.
  • July 5, 2019, The Flannery O’Conner Award for Short Fiction, University of Georgia Press, Athens, GA
  • July 15, 2018, Emerging Artist Award in Fiction, Kentucky Arts Council, Frankfort, KY

* List of Readings/Presentations: Enter a short list of up to 10 public readings and presentations from the past five years. Include the date, name and location of each reading or presentation. You may include a brief summary paragraph of up to five sentences describing readings and presentations from six or more years ago. For example:

  • April 24, 2022, Reading, National Poetry Month Celebration, Lexington Public Library, Lexington, KY
  • July 25, 2022, Reading and panel discussion, Sewanee Writers Conference, Sewanee, TN
  • June 29, 2021, Reading and workshop, Kenyon Review Writers Workshop, Gambier, OH

Work Sample Selection

Work samples are the primary means by which panelists assess artistic and professional quality. Carefully consider your choice of work samples in relation to the program’s application criteria. Applicants who are unsure about the eligibility of their work samples must contact the program manager at least two weeks prior to submitting their application.

Do not include your name or other identifying information in your work samples, embedded metadata or in work sample file names. An application submitted with identifying information in any of these areas of the application will be ruled ineligible.

Pay careful attention to the specific requirements for submitting work samples and other information. All work samples must be uploaded as a single document and formatted as 8.5-inch x 11-inch pages (white or no background) with one-inch margins all around. Use black text in 11- or 12-point font (Arial, Times New Roman, Calibri or Courier New preferred). Work samples downloaded from websites or scanned from books or journals will not be reviewed.

  • Fiction and creative nonfiction work samples are limited to no more than 20 double-spaced pages.
  • Poetry work samples are limited to no more than 20 poems. Poems may not be combined on a page.
  • Screen/playwriting work samples are limited to 40 pages. Screen/playwriting samples must follow standard formatting.

Naming work sample files: Work sample file names should begin with the application number followed by the title of the work. The application number is located at the top of each application page. For example, if your application number is 001 and your work sample is called Short Story 1, your file name will be 001_Short Story 1.

Upload work samples using the Upload Documents button. (Images, audio and video uploads are not permitted.) Uploading work samples is a two-step process.

Step 1: Click Upload New Media File, select the document from your computer and include the title of the sample. Click Show Additional Fields Below. Many of the fields in this section are not required for this application. The required fields are:

  • Year Completed (2020, 2021, 2022 or 2023)
  • Total number of pages for work
  • Number of pages uploaded (excerpts)

NOTE: You may use the text boxes for Scene Description and Excerpt Context Statement, but these are not required. Contextualizing excerpts of fiction, creative nonfiction and play/screenwriting work samples is encouraged.

Do not include artist name or other identifying information.

Do not include a cover image.

Click Upload File. This takes you to the Document Library where you can continue uploading work samples or Return to Application.

Step 2: Attach work samples to your application in the Work Sample Selection section of the application. Click SAVE, then use the Sort Order buttons to put your work samples in the order you want the panelists to review them.

Signature

Read the certification statement. By clicking the box and typing your signature, you are certifying you have read and understand the program guidelines and requirements and that your application is true and correct to the best of your knowledge.

Submit

Applicants are strongly advised to review their applications before submitting them. Click on PDF at the bottom of the page to view your application.

To submit, click the Final Submission button and then the larger, blue Submit button.

You will receive an email confirming that your application has been received. A PDF of your application will be attached to the email for you to download and save for your files.

Remember to mail, email or Dropbox your two proofs of Kentucky residency to the program manager using the contact information below.

Questions?

  1. Attend the Zoom Application Workshop
  2. Attend a Zoom Open House
  3. Contact the program manager: