Sustainable Arts Foundation
online application


We are now accepting applications for our Fall 2016 Awards. Please read our important update regarding racial equity below.
2016 Spring Awards
Online application available
January 15, 2016
Deadline to apply
Awards announcedMay 13, 2016
2016 Fall Awards
Online application available
Deadline to applySeptember 2, 2016, 5pm Pacific Time
Awards announcedNovember 18, 2016
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.


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.

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

Please note: starting in our Fall 2015 round, our application fee will be $15 instead of $10. As always, 100% of this fee goes to our jurors, who are also fellow parent artists and writers themselves. This increase is in recognition of the incredible amount of time and energy they put into this process.

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

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. Please note, however, that all applications must be submitted in English.

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.

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.

You can only submit one application in each category (artist, writer).

Joint applications

May artists apply for an award jointly?
Yes. Note that one artist should list him or herself as the main applicant for contact purposes. Please do keep in mind that a joint application should only be for artists who are truly collaborators.

Image Size

What size or resolution should attached images be?
We want to be able to judge your work at its best. Our preference is for the highest quality images you can provide, but please make sure each image is under 5 MB.


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!

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.

If you have any questions about the application process, please don't hesitate to contact us.