Showcasing the Arts


Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship Guidelines


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

Like all programs of the Kentucky Arts Council, the fellowship program is guided by the arts council’s core values. Successful applications will embody these core values, and all applicants are strongly encouraged to read and reflect upon them before submitting an application.

Core Values of the Kentucky Arts Council

Program Purpose

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


Who May Apply

Professional artists, responsible for creating their own work, not interpreting the work of others or creating under the guidance of an instructor or mentor.

Kentucky Arts Council Definition of a Professional Artist

Program Description

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

Performance Expectations

Applications will be assessed using the following performance expectations.

  1. Artistic Excellence (100%)

You may wish to refer to the Panelist Assessment Sheet to better understand how your application will be evaluated.

Work Samples

Work samples are the primary way that panelists assess artistic and professional quality. Consider your choice of work samples carefully in relation to the program performance expectations. Describe important points about the quality, scope and depth of your work in the work sample index. Work created collaboratively or under the supervision of a mentor or an instructor is not eligible for consideration.

The Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship program uses a “blind jury” process, meaning that applicants’ names are not revealed to the panel. Pay careful attention to the specific requirements for submitting work samples and the work sample index, especially removing or blocking out your name, address and other identifiable information. Any application that includes the artist’s name or other identifying information in the artist statement, the work sample index or on submitted work samples will be ruled ineligible and will not be forwarded to the panel for review.

All work samples must demonstrate the discipline and subdiscipline indicated on the application. All work samples must have been completed within the past three calendar years. (For the literary arts application deadline of Feb. 15, 2018, all work samples must have been completed between January 1, 2015, and February 15, 2018.)

Literary Arts
Literary arts subdisciplines are fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry and screen/playwriting. All work samples must be printed on 8.5-inch x 11-inch white copy paper and must use 11- or 12-point font (Arial, Times New Roman, Calibri or Courier New only). Work samples copied from magazines, journals, books, websites, etc. are not eligible for consideration. Fiction and creative nonfiction applicants may submit up to three work samples totaling no more than 20 pages combined. Poetry applicants may submit up to 20 work samples on separate pages totaling no more than 20 pages combined. Screen/playwriting applicants may submit up to three work samples in standard screen/play format totaling no more than 40 pages combined. Literary arts applicants may include a brief summary as needed to contextualize excepted work samples, but the summary page will be counted as one page of the total number of pages allowed.


Program Timeline

Application deadline

Review of applications by panel

Arts council board reviews panel

Applicant notification

Press release announcement issued

Grant agreement form due

Final report due

Feb. 15, 2018

May 2018

June 2018

As soon as possible after board meeting

No later than July 30, 2018

Within 30 days of receipt of grant agreement form

July 30, 2019

Program Benefits

Application Deadline

Applicants must print the entire application and sign it in the space noted in red ink. The application packet must be: 1) officially postmarked by the U.S. Postal Service, or 2) delivered by a shipping service (e.g., UPS, FedEx, etc.) with a paid receipt dated on or before the deadline date included on the package, or 3) hand delivered to the arts council office no later than 4:30 p.m. on the deadline date. Packages dated with internal postage meters and applications sent by FAX or email will not be accepted. Be aware that your post office may not automatically use a dated postmark. It is highly recommended that you request hand cancellation with the date included. Note that, due to postal regulations, all packages weighing more than 13 ounces must be given directly to a postal clerk at a post office, not dropped in a postal box.

Accessing the application

Click to download the application form. With the latest version of Adobe Reader®, you can open the application online and save it to your computer. Once the application is completed, print it on white, 8.5-inch x 11-inch copy paper. (Adobe Reader can be updated or downloaded free by visiting the Adobe website at

Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number

The arts council requires that all applicants have a DUNS number. Dun & Bradstreet keeps track of more than 70 million businesses worldwide through its Data Universal Numbering System. In recent years, the DUNS number has become increasingly important as an arts advocacy tool for both federal and state governments (e.g., the National Endowment for the Arts and the Kentucky Arts Council) and national arts organizations (e.g., Americans for the Arts). Organizations use data from DUNS number applications to demonstrate the power of the arts to stimulate economic activity and create jobs.

To learn more about the DUNS number, click below to visit the American for the Arts website:

To apply for your free DUNS number, call Dun & Bradstreet at 1-866-705-5711 or access the Dun & Bradstreet website at

NOTE: It may take up to thirty (30) days for your DUNS application to be processed. We recommend that you submit your application immediately.

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 year immediately before the application deadline (e.g., legal residency must have begun no later than Feb. 15, 2017, for applications due Feb. 15, 2018).

For proof of residency, applicants must submit a copy of two of the following at the time of application:

Panel Meeting

Panels of out-of-state, discipline-based arts professionals will review all fellowship applications according to the performance expectations.

Arts Council Board Meeting

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 an 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 and all funds must be disbursed by the arts council by June 30, 2019. Funds are not available after this time.

Final Reports

All arts council grantees must submit a final report within 30 days of completion of the grant period. The final report form will be available on the program application splash page. If a grantee fails to submit the required final report for any grant, the arts council will accept no future applications from the grantee, and the grantee’s entry in the online directory and all outstanding payments will be suspended until an acceptable final report is submitted.


There are no appeals in this program.

For More Information

The arts council welcomes all questions regarding this program. For more information, contact:

Tamara Coffey
Individual Artist Director
888-833-2787 (toll free)

Page last updated: May 9, 2018
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