Showcasing the Arts


Emerging Artist Award Guidelines


FY2020 Guidelines
Application Deadline: March 15, 2019

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

Like all programs of the Kentucky Arts Council, the Emerging Artist Award 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 Emerging Artist Award program is to support Kentucky emerging artists engaged in creating artwork of high quality and to recognize creative excellence in practicing, early-career, professional Kentucky artists.


Who May Apply

Emerging professional songwriters, 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

The songwriting emerging artist application is open to individual songwriters of music and/or lyrics in the following categories: Americana/folk, bluegrass, blues, country, inspirational, rhythm and blues/soul, rock and world.

Children’s music, comedy/novelty music and music for holiday markets are ineligible.

Program Description

The Emerging Artist Award is a $1,000 award given to a professional, emerging Kentucky artist who has achieved a high level of excellence and creativity in their work. For the purposes of this program, the term “emerging artist” is defined as a professional artist who is in the early stages, up to 10 years, of his/her career. An emerging artist possesses some professional experience (i.e. exhibitions, sales, contracted/paid performances, publications/readings, etc.), but may not yet have established reputations as an artist. Emerging artist applicants may be graduating seniors in bachelor’s programs, graduate students or non-matriculating, early-stage, professional artists. The Emerging Artist Award is based solely 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.

One award is available during the FY2020 application cycle.

Performance Expectations

Applications will be assessed using the following performance expectations:

  1. Artistic Excellence (100 points)

You may wish to refer to the Panelist Scoring Rubric 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 Emerging Artist Award 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 songwriting application deadline of March 15, 2019, all work samples must have been completed between Jan. 1, 2016, and March 15, 2019.)

Songwriting applicants must submit three audio work samples as three separate web links. The samples may not be located on the applicant’s website or other web page that might include identifying information. It is suggested that applicants upload each work sample to a private YouTube or SoundCloud channel that can be easily accessed. Password protected work samples will not be reviewed. Remember that any identifying information must be excluded from the web page and work sample. Any application that includes the applicant’s name or other identifying information will be ruled ineligible.

In addition, songwriting applications must upload a PDF or Word file of the lyrics and instrumentation for each work sample. Instrumentation may be in the form of a score, a lead sheet or sheet with chord progressions. Songs without lyrics will not be reviewed in this category.


Program Timeline

Application deadline

Review of applications by panel

Arts council board reviews panel recommendations

Applicant notification

Press release announcement issued

Grant agreement form due in arts council office

Final report due

March 15, 2019

May 2019

June 2019

As soon as possible after board meeting

No later than July 30, 2019

Within 30 days of awardee’s receipt of grant agreement form

July 30, 2020

Program Benefits

Application Deadline

The application must be submitted online no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on March 15, 2019. Submissions received after that time will be ineligible for consideration. Note: The application can take several minutes to upload. As a result, the arts council strongly advises that applicants do not wait until 11:59 p.m. to submit.

Following the deadline, each application will be reviewed by the program director, who may contact the applicant if clarification is needed.

Accessing the application

The online application has some issues with Internet Explorer. The arts council recommends applicants use Google Chrome or Firefox to complete their applications.

Applications for this program are made through the Kentucky Arts Council online grant system located at You will need to create a profile, including a username and password, before beginning the application. Store your username and password in an accessible place to ensure that you can access your account later.

Before beginning the application, carefully read all instructions included in this document.

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: sign-up-and-be-counted/registering-for-a-d-u-n-s-number.

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 March 15, 2018, for applications due March 15, 2019).

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

Panel Meeting

A panel of out-of-state, discipline-based arts professionals will review all emerging artist applications according to the performance expectations. A minimum of five applications must be received in an emerging artist category in order for that category to undergo panel review. The arts council reserves the right not to award an emerging artist award in any discipline for which applications have been solicited.

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, 2020. 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 Kentucky Arts Council GoSmart website at 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.

For More Information

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

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


Page last updated: February 27, 2019
Report a broken link.