The Art of the Application | Being a First-Time NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship Applicant

The Art of the Application | Being a First-Time NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship Applicant

Read on for tips that will help you navigate the application process.

Submitting an application for a NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship for the first time can be challenging. See below for tips that will make your application process smoother.

Before you start:

  • Read the guidelines to ensure you meet the eligibility criteria!
  • Depending on your discipline, you will need to read either the Visual Arts, Literary, or Media guidelines.  
  • As you read through the guidelines, highlight or take note of what you will need to prepare and what important things you must remember before submitting your application.

When selecting your work samples: 

  • Select artworks created within the last five years.
  • Select artworks that are a strong representation of your vision and voice as an artist.
  • Select artworks that create a cohesive visual story.
  • Make sure that your work samples are in the correct format and file size so they’re uploaded successfully.
  • Take the time to properly and clearly document your work samples. 
Image: Sun Young Kang (Fellow in Architecture/Environmental Structures/Design ’19), "Neither Here nor There," 2017

When completing the application form:

  • Write an outline or plan for each statement. This will make it easier to flesh out your thoughts and make sure you are specifically addressing each section.
  • For your required statements, make sure you focus on representing a clear vision and voice.
  • If you feel your work needs more context, you may use one or more of the optional statements (Cultural Statement, Technical Statement, and/or Excerpt Explanation) to give the panel more information about the way you create your work or the way you intend your work to be experienced.
  • Write in clear, simple language and avoid using “arts speak.” You should also avoid referencing other artists as this will take the panelist’s attention away from your work.
  • The panel will view work samples in the order they are uploaded. Therefore, put time into organizing your work samples, particularly if you are providing images.

Polishing your application:

  • Double check all of your written statements for any errors. If possible, have someone else review them.
  • Make sure all your contact information is correct.
  • In your written statements, make sure you are only referencing artworks that appear in your work samples.
  • Give yourself enough time to apply! Plan to submit your application a few days in advance so if you run into any issues, NYFA can help you troubleshoot. 

-Eleysha Sajous, Program Associate, NYFA Grants

The current NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship application cycle ends on January 22, 2020. Visit our website for more information about the NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship, including FAQs and additional Application Tips. NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowships are administered with leadership support from New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Images: Matthew Conradt (Fellow in Photography ’19), Artifices, 2016, and Sun Young Kang (Fellow in Architecture/Environmental Structures/Design ’19), Neither Here nor There, 2017

Amy Aronoff
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