Sustainable Arts Foundation
online application


We've announced our calendar for our 2017 award program. Please note our dates below.

2017 Awards
Online application availableJuly 25, 2017
Deadline to applyAugust 31, 2017
Awards announcedNovember 16, 2017
Please read these instructions carefully before you begin.

We strive to keep our application process as simple as possible. Please keep one thought in mind: the better we understand your work, the easier it is to evaluate it. The unfortunate reality is that the majority of applications go unfunded. Please know that regardless of the outcome, we greatly appreciate the time and effort you put into your application.

Racial Equity

Starting with our Fall 2016 Awards, we are committed to offering half our awards to applicants of color. You can read more about this decision on our website.

We've answered some questions about logistics in our FAQ below.

We welcome your questions and comments.


Our program is an award program that rewards excellence in a creative field. Our selection process is focused almost entirely on the strength of the submitted portfolio. Additionally, our awards offer unrestricted cash, and the recipients can truly use the funds as they see fit.

Note that this is different from what some other organizations do that offer grant programs, in which the application is focused around a proposal for new work, and the funds, if awarded, must be used for the specific grant proposal.

The foundation will award the following:

Sustainable Arts Foundation Award: $6,000
Sustainable Arts Foundation Promise Award: $2,000

We typically offer five of each award in each application round. Additionally, we will publicly announce a number of applicants (typically 10 in each round) as finalists.


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


The foundation offers awards in two major categories: visual arts and writing.

Writers may apply in one of the following categories:

Visual artists may apply in one of the following categories:

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


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 is very straightforward, and consists of 3 major parts:

Contact Information

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

Personal and 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 a few sections:

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 (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 -- 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.

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


Please supply samples of recent work. While you're welcome to include or make reference to older works, please know that we're particularly interested in the work you've produced since having children.

Submission Guidelines for Writers

Submission Guidelines for Visual Artists

If the works have titles, please use the appropriate field on the application, and also note any additional description of the work (date created, dimensions, medium, etc.) If the work has been published or exhibited, please note that as well.

Note that we do have a field on our application where you can list your website. 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.

We strongly urge you to prepare your responses offline. Computers crash, internet connections hang. We'd hate for you to lose your work due to a technical glitch. After preparing your answers and the files you wish to upload, you can simply copy-and-paste them into our form in a matter of minutes.

Application Fee

Our application fee is $15. As always, 100% of this fee goes to our jurors, who are also fellow parent artists and writers themselves.

Our fee remains a modest one ($15), but we’re aware that many of you are applying for multiple awards and grants and we know these fees add up.

By charging this fee, we can insure that at least two jurors will review each application.

Frequently Asked Questions

Before contacting us, please take a minute to read through our frequently asked questions below. If you don't see your question answered, please feel free to contact us.


International Artists

Are artists living in other countries eligible to apply?
Yes. We have no geographical restrictions on our applicants. This applies both to U.S. citizens living abroad as well as to citizens of other countries.

Collaborators and Joint Applications

May applicants apply for an award jointly? If so, how should collaborators apply?
Collaborators may apply if they have some history together and will be submitting a portfolio that consists of work done together. Our program is not designed to support a future project by collaborators that have never worked together.

All members of a collaborative application must meet our eligibility guidelines: each must have at least one dependent child under the age of 18.

Note that one applicant should list him or herself as the primary contact. The answers to essay questions (biography, artistic statement, CV, and future plans) should reference all collaborators, not just the primary contact.

Multiple Disciplines

Are artists who work in multiple disciplines eligible to apply?
Absolutely. Here's what we recommend: if the bodies of work are truly connected and make each other better, then you should certainly apply and attach samples from both disciplines. (Imagine a book of essays with accompanying photographs). In this case, you'll still be asked to choose one "main" category (artist or writer) under which the application is filed. On the other hand, if the two disciplines are more distinct—you are a poet who paints—then you may consider applying in each discipline separately.


Are applicants who are pregnant, but do not yet have a child, eligible to apply?
First of all, congratulations! However, you really need to have an "outside baby" to apply. The spirit of our award is to acknowledge the struggle of continuing one's creative work while simultaneously raising a child. This is meant in no way to diminish anyone else's struggle, nor to suggest that pregnancy itself doesn't impact one's ability to work or focus. We encourage applicants who are expecting to apply after the baby has arrived and inspired all sorts of new and exciting work!

Application Guidelines

What should writers do with regard to font size, spacing, and margins?
Writing samples should be double-spaced, 11- or 12-point size, in an easily legible font (serif fonts, such as Times, Palatino, Cambria, etc. are preferred)

Word Counts

How long should the answers to the various essay questions (biography, artist statement, etc.) be?
We don't have word limits for our essay questions. Every applicant has a different way of approaching these questions; some will write more than others.

Image Size

What size or resolution should attached images be?
Our preference is for the highest quality images you can provide. Quite simply, we want to be able to judge your work at its absolute best. Individual images should be 5 MB or less.

Publications and Exhibitions

Is it a requirement that my work have been previously published or exhibited?
We have no requirement that applicants have had their work previously published or exhibited. That said, our program is designed to reward artistic excellence, and you should only apply with work that is completely polished and of the highest caliber.

Recent Work

Your guidelines ask for "recent work." What does that mean exactly?
At the very least, we want to see work that has been produced since you've had children. Beyond that we don't have an explicit rule about what defines recent. Work created in the last two years would certainly qualify. We do recognize that everyone's situation and schedule is unique and also that certain disciplines are more time-consuming than others.


Can I re-apply for these awards if I've applied in the past?
Yes, you can. If you choose to re-apply, we do strongly recommend submitting at least some new work.

Confidentiality, Privacy and Copyright

Will my application materials be shared or made public?
We take confidentiality very seriously. The only people that will see your application materials are those jurors that have been assigned to review it. These jurors are former award winners -- parent artists and writers themselves -- and so they have a built-in empathy towards the needs (confidentiality and privacy among others) of their fellow artists and writers.

No submitted content can be copied, shared, disseminated in any form. The sole exception is that we will, with permission, excerpt samples from the submission of our award winners on our website.

Do I retain the rights to my work?
Absolutely. All applicants retain complete rights to their work. We make absolutely no claim of ownership to your submitted work.

Racial Equity

Why are you factoring race into your decisions?
Please read our statement on our website for more information about this decision.
How did you come up with the categories you're using on your application?
We have been collecting volunteered anonymous data from our applicants for three years through a post-application survey. We've been using the format and questions used by the 2010 Census. On our application, we're using a newer format being proposed for the 2020 Census which we feel captures the information we desire in a more natural format.
How will this information be used in your selection process?
We remain committed to artistic and literary excellence. Applicants, as always, will be selected on the strength of their submitted portfolios. Information regarding the self-reported racial identity of our applicants will remain anonymous in the early stages of our selection process. We will start to include race as an additional factor in our decision-making only after applicants have already demonstrated their excellence.