Showcasing the Arts

FY2023 Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship Visual Arts

Application Deadline: March 30, 2022

Grant Period: July 1, 2022-June 30, 2023

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 them carefully 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 professional, established Kentucky artists engaged in creating artwork of high quality and to recognize creative excellence.


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 Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship program seeks to provide public recognition and acknowledgement of Kentucky artists creating work of high artistic merit.


To be eligible to apply to the Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship program, applicants 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 visual artist, responsible for creating their own 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 30, 2021, for applications due March 30, 2022).

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

  • Kentucky driver’s license, which includes the date issued and expiration date or State of Kentucky identification card, which includes the date issued and expiration date (note: The arts council will not accept both a Kentucky driver’s license and a State of Kentucky identification card as the required two proofs of residency.)
  • Kentucky voter registration verification (downloadable from the State Board of Elections’ Voter Information Center website at
  • 2019 or 2020 Kentucky state income tax form filed in 2020 or 2021 (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.


Applications will be assessed using the following criteria:

Artistic Excellence (100 points)
  • Artistic structure
  • Creative vision
  • Originality

The 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 other information.

Work samples must support the selected discipline and 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 30, 2022, eligible work must have been created between January 1, 2019 and March 30, 2022.)


  • No individual may receive more than two Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowships in their lifetime.
  • Fellowship recipients may not apply for an Emerging Artist Award.
  • Emerging Artist Award recipients must wait four years before applying for a fellowship (e.g., a FY2019 Emerging Artist Award recipient is eligible to apply for a FY2023 Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship).
  • Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship recipients must wait at least 10 years before applying for a second fellowship (e.g., a FY2013 Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship recipient is eligible to apply for a FY2023 fellowship).
  • 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.
  • Artists may submit only one application for either the Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship or the Emerging Artist Award per application year, but not both.
  • 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.
  • Work that appears to be Native American but was not made by a Native American person is prohibited, as stipulated in the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 with expanded criminal penalties in the Indian Arts and Crafts Act, 2010 amendment. Note: The Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 makes it illegal to sell, or display for sale, any product not made by Native American people in a way that falsely suggests it was. If submitting authentic Native American work, you must provide a copy of your membership card in a federal or state-recognized Native American Indian tribe, band, nation or organized group or community with your application.

Program Timeline

Application deadline

March 30, 2022

Review of applications by panel

May 2022

Kentucky Arts Council board reviews panel recommendations

June 2022

Applicant notification

As soon as possible after board approval

Grant Agreement Form due

Within 30 days of receipt of grant agreement form

Final report due

July 30, 2023

Program Benefits

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

Application Deadline

The application deadline is 11:55 p.m. Eastern on March 30, 2022. Submissions received after that time will not be accepted. Note: The application can take several minutes to upload and closes at exactly 11:55 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 a fellowship due to funding availability in any discipline for which applications have been solicited.

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, 2023. Funds are not available after this time.

Recipients concerned about any tax liability should consult with an accountant. The Kentucky Arts Council does not provide tax assistance.

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, 2022, through June 30, 2023. Final reports will be due by July 30, 2023. The final report form will be available in the online application program. If a grantee fails to submit the required final report for any grant, the arts council will accept no future applications from the grantee.


There are no appeals in this program.


The arts council recommends using Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome or Firefox to complete your application. Internet Explorer is not compatible with the GO Smart application program.

Do not type in all CAPITAL letters.

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

Late, ineligible and incomplete applications will not be reviewed. 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 is a highly competitive program. Not all applicants will be awarded funding.

Visual arts applicants must select and apply under one discipline and subdiscipline. Categories include but are not limited to drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, craft, installation and mixed media. Artists working in conceptual, kinetic, mechanical and/or installation formats should consult with the program manager if unsure about eligibility or the selection of discipline or subdiscipline or the format of appropriate work samples.

Kentucky Vendor Number

A Kentucky Vendor Number is required of all applicants for an Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship. The Kentucky Arts Council strongly advises that you apply for your free Kentucky Vendor Number prior to beginning your application. To apply, go to the Kentucky Vendor Self Service Portal at or complete the EZ Kentucky Vendor Registration application at

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

Accessing the online application

Applications for this program are made through Kentucky Arts Council’s GO Smart application system at 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 in an easy to access location 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.


Fields noted with an asterisk (*) are required.

* Profile Type: Select Individual Artist.

* Legal Name: Enter your name as it appears on your birth certificate or social security card. You will have an opportunity to include the name you prefer for your artwork in the application.

* Address: Enter your street address. You will have an opportunity to include your mailing address, if different, in the application.

* Congressional district/state legislative districts: Enter your current district numbers. Find your congressional district at and your state legislative districts at

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

Media Library

After creating your profile, select Media Library at the top of the page and follow the instructions to upload the required 10 work samples. At least eight of the images must be of separate work samples. Two of the images may be details derived from other work sample images.

Exception: Installation work samples must represent at least two different installations. Installation work samples must include one full image of each installation. The remaining eight images must be of individual pieces within the installations. Media, video and audio work samples are not accepted in the visual arts application cycle.

Work Sample Requirements: All work sample images must be of original pieces made by the applicant. Work samples should be in the same medium. Samples should be of similar style and technique to complement each other and create a cohesive body of work. Each image should include one work sample only. Sets may be considered as one sample: a set of jewelry may consist of earrings, necklace and bracelet designed to be worn together; a tea set may consist of tea pot, creamer and cups and saucers; a triptych of three separate paintings that combine to make one image, etc.

Naming work sample files: Work sample image file names should begin with the application number followed by the title of the artwork. The application number is located at the top of each application page.

For example, if your application number is 001 and your image is called Visuals, your file name should be “001_Visuals.”

Images must be:

  • JPG, JPEG format
  • Sized at exactly 1920 by 1920 pixels at a resolution of 72 pixels per inch
  • under 250 MB (inclusive of all 10 images)

Images uploaded to the Media Library must be attached to the application in the Work Samples section.

Do not include your name or other identifying information in your work samples, embedded metadata or in work sample file names. Visual artists must obscure signatures on their artwork. An application submitted with identifying information in any of these areas of the application will result in the application being ruled ineligible.

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. Images should not include anything that detracts from or interferes with the main subject of the image. Applicants who are unsure about the eligibility of their work samples must contact the program manager at least one week prior to submitting their application.

For detailed information about preparing your sample images for submission, go to:

Media Library Additional Fields: Some of the fields on the Media Image Library page are not required for this application. The required fields for work sample images in the Additional Fields section are:

  • Year Completed (2019, 2020, 2021 or 2022)
  • Artwork Dimensions
  • Artwork Description (describe medium, materials, processes and details)

Do not include artist names or wholesale/retail pricing.

Uploading images to the Media Library is the first step of providing work samples for your application. In the second step, you must attach your 10 images in the Work Sample section of the application. You may sort the order of images once they are attached ensure panelists view them in the order you determine.

Open the Application: Once your work samples are uploaded, scroll to the top of the page and select Current Programs and Applications. Select Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship 2023 and select Start to open the application. Save each page as you work through the application. GO Smart allows applicants to save and close their application then return to it later as time permits by selecting Edit under the application name.

Applicant Information

Note: The Applicant Information page is for use by the Kentucky Arts Council only and will not be available to the panel. Fields with an asterisk (*) are required.

* Applicant Name: Enter your name as you would like it to be announced should you receive an award.

Mailing Address: Enter your mailing address if different from the street address in your profile.

City: Enter your city/town/community name for your mailing address.

State: Enter KY.

Zip: Enter the zip code for your mailing address.

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

* Kentucky Vendor Number: Enter the number you received once 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. Panelists will view this section but will not score it.

* Artist Statement: Enter a brief overview of your current artwork 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 the artist, particularly applicant name and contact information.

*List of Awards/Recognitions: Enter a short list of your awards and recognitions from the past 10 years. Include the date and name of the award or recognition and the location of the awarding organization. For example:

  • Jan. 6, 2012, First Prize, National Art Competition, New York, NY
  • Feb. 5, 2013, Blue Ribbon, Another National Art Competition, Chicago, IL
  • March 1, 2014, Outstanding Visual Artist for the Month of March, University Art Dept., My Hometown, KY

* List of Exhibitions: Enter a short list of exhibitions from the past 10 years. Include the date, name and location of each show. For example:

  • May 2015, Governor’s Derby Exhibit, Frankfort, KY
  • June-Aug. 2016, University Art Gallery, My Hometown, KY
  • Sept. 2017-Jan. 2018, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Special Exhibitions, New York, NY

Work Sample Selection

This page provides a preview of the order in which your work samples will be viewed by panelists. Use the Move Up and Move Down buttons to re-order your work samples for presentation. You may also upload additional images.

The most effective image presentation is one that shows panelists a cohesive, consistent, developed body of your most recent work. Select images representative of your style, and sequence them in a way that will enhance the panelist’s understanding of the direction of your work and draw their attention to your most significant pieces.

Attach Images: If necessary, click on the blue box that says Attach Image. Select the box next to the file name of each image to be attached. You must attach 10 images though your media library may include more. Once you have selected the images to attach, click Save.

Attached Media: View and sort your attached work sample images. Use the Sort Order drop down boxes to put your images in the order you want them viewed. Use the Resort Files button to show your work samples in the order you have selected.


Read the certification statement. By clicking the box and typing your e-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.


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

Click the Final Submission button, and then the larger, blue Submit button to submit your application.

After submitting your application, GO Smart will forward you to a page that states your application has been submitted. In addition, you will receive an email confirming that your application has been submitted with a PDF of your application attached. Download the PDF and save for your files.


  1. Attend a Zoom Application Workshop || Monday, March 14 and 21, at 3:30 p.m. Eastern
  2. Attend a Zoom Office Hours || Zoom Office Hours occur Tuesdays, March 8-22, and March 29, from 3-4 p.m. Eastern. Applicants may ask questions of the program director.

For More Information

Tamara Coffey
Organization Support and Individual Artist Director