Frequently Asked Questions

Confidentiality, Privacy and Copyright
Will my application materials be made public?
Do I retain the rights to my work?

Disciplines
Are artists who work in multiple disciplines eligible to apply?
I’m a parent artist, but my work isn’t about my kids. Is it OK to apply?
Are there special instructions for those working in Book Arts?
Are there special instructions for those working in Installation?
Are there special instructions for those working in Creative Nonfiction?
Are there special instructions for those working in Graphic Novels?
Are there special instructions for those working in Picture Books?

Eligibility
Are artists living in other countries eligible to apply?
Are applicants who are pregnant, but do not yet have a child, eligible to apply?
I have an adult child (over 18) with special needs. Am I eligible?
I am a grandparent who looks after her grandchild/ren. Am I eligible?
Can collaborators apply together?
My child just turned 18. Can I still apply?

Essays
How long should responses to the essay questions be (Biography, Artist Statement, Future Plans)?
Can my name appear on my CV or other essay responses?

Portfolio
Is it a requirement that my work has been previously published or exhibited?
Can I just link to my website to show you my portfolio?

Racial Equity
Why are you factoring race into your decisions?
How did you come up with the categories you’re using on your application?
How is racial identity used in your selection process?

Re-Applying
Can I re-apply if I’ve applied in the past?

Recent Work
Your guidelines ask for “recent work.” What does that mean exactly?


Confidentiality, Privacy and Copyright

Will my application materials be made public?
No. We take confidentiality very seriously. The only people that will see your application materials are the jurors who have been assigned to review them. These jurors are 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 will be copied or disseminated in any form. The sole exception is that we will, with permission, share samples of award winners' work on our website.
Do I retain the rights to my work?
Absolutely. All applicants retain complete rights to their work. We make no claim of ownership to your submitted work.

Disciplines

Are artists who work in multiple disciplines eligible to apply?
We don't recommend applying with multiple genres in a single application, as it's hard to demonstrate excellence with half the page or image count of an application focusing on a single genre.

We generally encourage artists and writers to submit a single application. We do allow artists who work in multiple disciplines to submit multiple applications, but in our experience it's rare for individuals to be producing award-level work in more than one discipline.

We advise applicants to submit their very strongest work.

I’m a parent artist, but my work isn’t about my kids. Is it OK to apply?
Yes! Please take a look at our past award winners to see the varied subject matter which inspires their art.

Using your children as your subject can be challenging, and is not always successful. On the one hand, one’s children are accessible and familiar; they can be uninhibited and provide lots of material. However, it is difficult not to succumb to the cuteness factor, and to move beyond cliché in order to create an original and thought-provoking work.

Portfolios of writing or artwork created in a more personal vein for sharing with friends and family are not suitable.

Are there special instructions for those working in 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.

Are there special instructions for those working in 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.
Are there special instructions for those working in 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.

Are there special instructions for those working in 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.

Are there special instructions for those working in 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.

Eligibility

Are artists living in other countries eligible to apply?
Yes. We have no geographic restrictions on our applicants. This applies both to U.S. citizens living abroad as well as to citizens of other countries.
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 raising a child. This is not meant to diminish anyone else’s struggle, nor to suggest that pregnancy itself doesn’t impact one’s ability to work or focus. Applicants who are expecting should apply after the baby has arrived and inspired all sorts of new and exciting work!
I have an adult child (over 18) with special needs. Am I eligible?
While we recognize that parents raising adult children with special needs face many of the same -- and often more -- challenges and demands than parents of younger children, our program was created with specific eligibility guidelines that required IRS approval. We are unfortunately unable to bend these rules. We do hope to be able to make a modification to these guidelines in the future.
I am a grandparent who looks after her grandchild/ren. Am I eligible?
While we recognize that grandparents raising or helping to raise grandchildren face many of the same challenges and demands as parents, our program was created with specific eligibility guidelines requiring IRS approval. We are unfortunately unable to bend these rules.

If you are a documented legal guardian or custodian of your grandchildren, you may apply, although we recommend contacting us first for confirmation of your situation.

Can collaborators apply together?
The answer is a qualified yes. To apply as collaborators:

  • the entire submitted portfolio must be work created jointly
  • both collaborators must meet our eligibility guidelines (at least one dependent child under the age of 18)

Should you meet these requirements and decide to move forward with an application, please use the contact information for just one person, note that you are applying as a collaborator, and note your collaborator's name in the appropriate fields.

My child just turned 18. Can I still apply?
Our award program has just one eligibility requirement: applicants must have at least one child under the age of 18.

In 2017, we moved from two award programs (Spring and Fall) to a single, combined program in the fall.

As a one-time concession for this calendar change, for 2017 only, anyone who has at least one child under the age of 18 as of March 1st, 2017 will be eligible to apply in 2017.

Moving forward, all applicants will need to have a child under the age of 18 at the date of our application deadline.

Essays

How long should responses to the essay questions be (Biography, Artist Statement, Future Plans)?
We don’t enforce a strict word or page count, but typical answers range between a paragraph and two pages (100-500 words).
Can my name appear on my CV or other essay responses?
Yes.

Portfolio

Is it a requirement that my work has been previously published or exhibited?
No. That said, our program rewards artistic excellence, and you should only apply with work that is completely polished and of the highest caliber.
Can I just link to my website to show you my portfolio?
No. We believe in the importance of the curatorial process. We want applicants to select the specific works and images that they feel best represent their work. We also strive to keep the majority of our review process anonymous. Applicants may list their website on the application, and we will occasionally view an applicant's site very late in the process to help us understand the breadth of their practice, but only after having evaluated their submitted portfolio.

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?
For the past several years, we have been collecting anonymous applicant data via an optional post-application survey. This survey uses the format and questions of 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 is racial identity used in your selection process?
Applicants, as always, will be selected on the strength of their submitted portfolios. Information regarding the self-reported racial identity of applicants remains anonymous in the preliminary review stages. For more on our process, please read our article, I Once Was Blind: Acknowledging Race in Granting to Individuals. Race is considered as an additional factor only at the final stage of decision making.

Re-Applying

Can I re-apply if I’ve applied in the past?
Yes. If you re-apply, we do strongly recommend submitting at least some new work.

Recent Work

Your guidelines ask for “recent work.” What does that mean exactly?
For your portfolio submission, please supply work produced since you've had children, and work produced in the last 3 years.