Asian American Arts Alliance

Call for Artists: The Sustainable Arts Foundation 2017 Awards

Application Guidelines

Awards

This year, we have increased our funding and will make awards of $5,000 each to twenty artists and writers. Additionally, we will name ten award finalists.

Our awards offer unrestricted cash, and recipients can use the funds as they see fit.

Our program is an award program that rewards excellence in a creative field (note that this is different from a grant program, in which the application is focused on a proposal for new work).

Our selection process is focused almost entirely on the strength of the submitted portfolio.

Eligibility

To be eligible, the applicant must have at least one child under the age of 18.

Who Should Apply

Artists and writers with at least one child and a strong portfolio of polished work are welcome to apply.

We are inspired by anyone who is making creative work while raising a family. Given the intense demand for these awards (in 2016 we received 5,000 applications for our program), and the fact that the awards are based on demonstrated excellence in your discipline, we don’t recommend that artists or writers who are just starting out in their creative careers apply to this program.

While we don’t require that applicants have published or exhibited their work, the rigor and critique involved in that process can certainly benefit the portfolio. Portfolios of writing or artwork created in a more personal vein for sharing with friends and family are not suitable.

We invite you to view our list of previous awardees and follow the links to their work to get a feel for their level of craft.

Racial Equity

As of Fall 2016, we will make half our awards to applicants of color. You can read more about this decision on our website.

Disciplines

Writers may apply in one of the following categories:

  • Creative Nonfiction
  • Early and Middle Grade Fiction
  • Fiction
  • Graphic Novels
  • Long Form Journalism
  • Picture Books
  • Playwriting
  • Poetry
  • Young Adult Fiction

We do not accept portfolios of self-help books, motivational writing, travel and/or other kinds of guidebooks.

Visual artists may apply in one of the following categories:

  • Book Arts
  • Drawing
  • Fiber Arts and Textiles
  • Illustration
  • Installation
  • Mixed Media
  • Painting
  • Photography
  • Printmaking
  • Sculpture

At this time we are not accepting applications in the performing arts, film/video/tv (including screenplays), music, jewelry, pottery, and other crafts.

Please see our FAQ for more information about disciplines.

Criteria

We seek to reward excellence. Your portfolio--which may (but need not) allude to your parenting--will assist us in evaluating your work. We're also interested in hearing what your plans are, and how this award might assist you in attaining your goals.


The application consists of 3 major parts:

Personal Information

We need your contact information so we can keep you posted on the status of your application.

Artistic Information

This is your chance to tell us who you are as a person, an artist, and a parent. We've organized this into four questions:

Who I Am: Biography

Please tell us about yourself. Remember that the Sustainable Arts Foundation's unique trait is our focus on artists and writers who are also parents. If it's relevant, we'd like to hear how your family life inspires or challenges your artistic career.

What I Do: Artist Statement

Please give us a concise description of your work and goals as an artist.

What I've Done: Curriculum Vitae

We'd like to know about the public presentation of your work. Please paste in (or attach on the next screen) your current CV or resume, noting especially, if applicable, any grants, awards, or fellowships, plus your exhibitions or publications.

What I'd Like to Do: How I Would Use this Award

If you have specific needs that would be met by this award -- child care, workspace, new equipment, research, travel, etc. -- please outline them here. If you have a budget for a specific project, let us know. The more we know about you and your work, the easier it is for us to envision how this award would succeed.

We don’t enforce a strict word or page count, but typical answers to the essay questions range between a paragraph and two pages (100-500 words).

If you already have nicely-formatted versions of any of the above, please feel free to attach them as PDFs.

Portfolio

Please supply samples of work created within the last 2-3 years. While you're welcome to make reference to older works, please know that you should only submit work produced since having children.

Submission Requirements for Writers

Prose Writers
15 double-spaced pages, maximum (you may submit a single long sample or multiple shorter samples)
Poets
10 poems, not to exceed 15 pages total, in a single PDF
Playwrights
25 pages maximum

All writing samples must:

  • be written in English
  • have page numbers
  • use a 11- or 12-point standard serif font (for example, Times, Palatino, or Cambria)
  • be in PDF format only; Microsoft Word documents will not be accepted.
  • have no identifying information. Please ensure that your portfolio attachment does not contain your name: no name on a cover page, no name in the header/footer, no scanned copies of published work with your name visible. Autobiographical works that may reference your name in the body of the submission are acceptable. Our application asks for a title for each submitted piece. Please do not use your name in the title.

Portfolios that do not meet these requirements will not be considered.

Special instructions for Creative Nonfiction
Creative nonfiction (also known as literary nonfiction or narrative nonfiction) is a genre of writing that uses literary styles and techniques to create factually accurate narratives. If this describes your work, then you should feel welcome to apply in this category.

Please note that we do not accept general nonfiction submissions, and we specifically do not accept submissions of self-help books, motivational writing, travel or other guidebooks.

Special instructions for Graphic Novels
If you write and illustrate your works, you may submit samples of 1-2 works, not to exceed 20 pages in a single PDF.

Please follow our guidelines about keeping portfolio submissions anonymous. Do not include the cover of your book if it has your name on it.

The general guidelines for writers regarding fonts and page numbering do not apply to graphic novels.

If you illustrate graphic novels, but don't write the text, we advise that you submit an application as a visual arts illustrator.

If you write the text for graphic novels, but don't illustrate them yourself, you have two options:

  • You may apply collaboratively with your illustrator only if the illustrator is also eligible for our awards (is a parent of a child under 18)
  • You may apply with just the text of up to 3 works, not to exceed 15 pages.
We recognize that a single PDF with images and text will exceed our standard maximum file size of 5MB. Graphic novelists may submit PDFs as large as 30MB. If you have questions about file size, please contact us.

Please read our guidelines regarding collaborations carefully.

Special instructions for Picture Books
If you write and illustrate your works, you may submit PDFs of 2 complete books.

We are not able to accept physical hardcopy books.

The general guidelines for writers regarding fonts and page numbering do not apply to picture books.

Please follow our guidelines about keeping portfolio submissions anonymous. Do not include the cover of your book if it has your name on it.

If you illustrate picture books, but don't write the text, we advise that you submit an application as a visual arts illustrator.

If you write the text for picture books, but don't illustrate them yourself, you have two options:

  • You may apply collaboratively with your illustrator only if the illustrator is also eligible for our awards (is a parent of a child under 18)
  • You may apply with just the text of up to 3 books, not to exceed 15 pages.

Please read our guidelines regarding collaborations carefully.

Submission Requirements for Visual Artists

  • Submit images of 10 works of art.
  • Each image should be uploaded individually as a JPG or PNG file.
  • You may submit additional images (up to 20 total) to include detail and installation shots, if appropriate.
  • You must submit high resolution images (1,000 - 3,000 pixels per side). We want to see your work at its best.
  • Each individual image should be no more than 5MB.

Descriptions should be strictly limited to the following:

  • Date created
  • Medium/materials
  • Dimensions

Do not tell us what each piece means or provide a narrative about its creation. If you'd like to talk about how your art is made or what you think it means, you can do so in your artist statement (the essay question titled "What I Do.")

It is not acceptable to direct us to your website to view your portfolio. The process of editing and curating one's work is extremely important and it is up to you to select the images that best represent your work. We do, on occasion, after our blind review is complete, visit an applicant's website to get a feel for the breadth of his/her work. But our review is based on the strength of the work submitted with your application.

Portfolios that do not meet these requirements will not be considered.

Special instructions for Book Arts
Book arts is a genre involving making unique (or limited edition) artistic or literary books by hand. It may involve papermaking, printmaking, letterpress, calligraphy, binding, paper marbling, paste papers, and the like.

If your work does not involve physically making or altering books by hand, you should not apply in this genre.

Special instructions for Installation
We understand that installation pieces can sometimes be much larger, and more time-consuming to produce, than other types of work. If you are an installation artist, you need not submit 10 unique works of art, but you may submit multiple images/views from one or more installation pieces to satisfy our portfolio requirements. Your portfolio should include a minimum of 10 images.

Application Fee

Our application fee is $15. 100% of this fee goes to our jurors, who are past award winners. Charging this fee insures that at least two jurors will review each application and be compensated for their work.

Our fee is a modest one, but we’re aware that you may be applying for many awards and grants and these costs can add up. Please contact us if you need assistance with the fee, or if you would like to contribute to a fund to cover other applicants’ fees.

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