2021 Painting Guidelines

➔ Painting

Application Deadline: Wednesday February 10, 2021 11:59 PM EST

NYFA only accepts applications submitted online at apply.nyfa.org/submit 



This category accepts work that involves painting of any kind upon any surface. However, artists who make engravings, etchings, lithographs, prints, serigraphs, woodcuts, and drawings should apply in the Printmaking/Drawing/Book Arts category– not Painting.


When Submitting an application to all PAINTING categories you will need to complete:


  • Artist Statement – up to 100 words
  • Work Statement – up to 100 words 
  • Work Samples – up to 10 digital images with descriptions 

Optional written statements: 

  • Technical Statement – up to 200 words 
  • Cultural Statement – up to 400 words


NYFA is committed to supporting artists from every background, and at all stages in their creative careers. We strongly encourage artists of color, LGBTQ+ artists, artists with disabilities, and artists living outside of the metropolitan area to apply.

To request an accommodation or assistance in applying, please email [email protected]. We ask that requests for accommodation be made as soon as possible or by January 12, 2021 to allow adequate time for staff to support you in submitting an application before the deadline.


Images of your art

Work samples are a representation of your artistic work created within the last five years. This is the most important part of your application, as it will be the primary point of review. Keep in mind the panel reviews a large volume of material in quick succession, therefore, it is very important that you present your work clearly. 

Work Sample Inventory: 

Applicants can submit up to 10 digital images. You do not need to submit all 10 work samples if you feel your practice is represented well with fewer. 

We do not recommend applicants upload composite images. Each application can only have up to 10 artworks represented through the image work samples. Images of diptychs, installations, and multi-part works are not considered composites. 

Work Sample Descriptions:

Before you upload your files to your application, you will need to name your files. Do not label any work samples with your name. Instead, label each uploaded work sample starting with a number 01 through 10, followed by the title of the work. Number your files in the order you would like them to be reviewed.

After your work samples have uploaded, you will be able to provide descriptions (metadata) for each submitted work sample, including  title, date, materials, dimensions, and additional information (format, equipment, location etc.). If your piece is largely conceptual, and requires additional written context, please explain this in the “additional information” section using 1 – 2 sentences.

File Format:

  • File name: label each image starting with a number 01 through 10, followed by the title of the work, ex. 01_Landscape.jpg Do not include your name. 
  • File size: No larger than 4.0 MB (each image)
  • File format: .jpg

When formatting your images, RGB is the recommended color profile for screen viewing and your image resolution should be at least 72 dpi to avoid pixelation. You can use image editing software such as Photoshop or Preview to edit, resize and format your images.


Written statements about your artistic practice 

Support statements are available to the panelists in the later rounds of review.

Artist Statement: A short concise statement giving an overview of your artistic practice. This statement should give a brief introduction to ideas, themes and methods in your practice. This is not an Artist’s Bio. Up to 100 words. 

Work Statement: A statement explaining your artistic vision as directly related to your submitted work samples. This is not an artist statement, but should instead reflect only the ideas and inspiration relevant ONLY to the work submitted. Up to 100 words.
The work statement is available to panelists in the first round of review.

Questions to consider for your Work Statement: Referencing only the submitted Work Samples

1. What is your submitted work about?

2. How does this work represent the primary concerns and intentions of your artistic practice as described in your artist statement?

Technical Statement (Optional): A supplemental statement describing the key technical aspects of the work. Use this statement to highlight your role in creating/executing the work. Be sure to note whether your work samples represent documentation of a performance, installation, experience, etc. You can also describe the circumstances in which the viewer/audience should experience the work. Please include instructions on how to navigate your work if it’s interactive. Up to 200 words.

Questions to consider for your Technical Statement: Referencing only the submitted Work Samples

1. How was the work created/executed?

2. What specific technology is integral to creating the work?

Cultural Statement (Optional): A supplemental statement describing how your work is rooted in a specific cultural technique, tradition or community. Up to 400 words. 

Write a Cultural Statement if: Referencing only the submitted Work Samples

1. Your practice stems from a specific and/or unique cultural tradition.

2. The understanding of your work is dependent on the context of a cultural community.


How are applications reviewed?

Painting applications are reviewed over the course of 3 elimination rounds. 

In Round 1, panelists review all applications remotely and vote online. In the following round, panelists meet online and discuss applications and select Fellowship recipients.  

In the preliminary rounds, applications are assigned a number and reviewed anonymously. In these rounds panelists are directed to review and score applications by only the work samples and work statement submitted. 

All supplementary written statements will be reviewed alongside your work samples in later rounds, and panelists will have access to all submitted information. 
Please note, panelists will not look at websites of any kind during the application review process.
Submitting any work that has been awarded a NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in the past will automatically disqualify your application.

Once submitted, you will no longer be able to make changes to your application!

You will receive an automatic confirmation notification from Submittable once your application has been successfully submitted. If you do not see this confirmation, please contact [email protected].

Applications submitted after the stated deadline will not be accepted and no exceptions will be made. We highly recommend completing your application before the deadline to allow time for work samples to upload and to avoid potential technical problems.