Application Guidelines

Awards

This year, we 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 (we typically receive over 3,000 applications), and the fact that the awards are based on demonstrated excellence in your discipline, we don’t recommend that artists or writers who are beginning 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 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. The portfolio is the primary factor we consider in evaluating each application. It should only include work created since becoming a parent and within the last 3 years. 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:

What I Do: Artist Statement

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

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.

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've Done: Curriculum Vitae

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

Typical answers to the essay questions range between a paragraph and two pages. Do not exceed 500 words for each response.

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

Portfolio

Please supply recent work: specifically work that has been created since becoming a parent, and created within the last three years.

Please view our portfolio requirements page for specific details about portfolio requirements for all disciplines.

Application Fee

Our application fee is $20. 100% of this fee goes to our jurors, who are all parent artists and writers themselves. 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.

Ready?