ArtsMemphis offers five $5,000 ArtsAccelerator Grants annually to visual artists living and working in Shelby County. The ArtsAccelerator Grants are incentive grants for visual artists who are at a critical juncture in their careers and are intended to deepen and expand artistic work to advance the grant recipient’s artistic accomplishments. The ArtsAccelerator Program supports artists working in any media, including painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, installation art, performance art, video art, or social practice (as defined below in the Glossary).
The ArtsAccelerator Program enables ArtsMemphis to demonstrate the value of visual artists’ work to our region by supporting working artists in their artistic practice. We believe this program contributes to the vitality of our artistic community and helps Memphis attract and retain a vibrant creative class.
ArtsMemphis values inclusion and equity. When evaluating applications, judges will be instructed to consider historically underserved populations. Minimally two of the five 2018 ArtsAccelerator Grants, or 40% of funds, will be awarded to artists of color (as defined below in the Glossary). Also, minimally one of the artists awarded a grant will be an emerging artist (as defined below in the Glossary).
Please note that this is a competitive process. In 2017, 96 artists applied for the five ArtsAccelerator Grants, meaning that just 5% of applicants received a grant.
Grant guidelines noted herein apply to 2018. Guidelines may be updated and amended annually.
Applicants were judged by three distinguished judges from outside of the MidSouth area. Read about their projects here.
If you are unsure of your eligibility, please contact Tracy Lauritzen Wright at (901) 578-2787 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss before submitting a full application.
Proposals are reviewed and grant decisions are made by a panel of judges living and working outside of Memphis & Shelby County, identified by members of the ArtsMemphis’ Artist Advisory Committee, which facilitates the ArtsAccelerator Program with ArtsMemphis staff.
When evaluating applications, judges will be instructed to consider the racial or ethnic background of applicants to ensure that minimally 40% of grants are awarded to artists of color, as one of many review criteria is to ensure support for artists who have been historically underserved. Judges will also be instructed to ensure minimally one artist receiving a grant award to be considered emerging in their field. The application platform will enable you to share information about yourself to help us ensure we reflect the creative landscape of Shelby County. Your responses will support us in ensuring an inclusive process, but will not bear sole consideration on your application.
Judges evaluate each eligible application using the following 100-point rating scale. Applicants should address these specific criteria when answering narrative questions in the grant application.
1. Need & Impact (Max.: 60 points)
51–60 = Excellent
41–50 = Good
31–40 = Fair
> 30 = Poor
2. Artistic merit, strength of the applicant’s work (Max.: 20 points)
17-20 = Excellent
13-16 = Good
11-12 = Fair
> 10 = Poor
3. Professionalism (Max.: 20 points)
17-20 = Excellent
13-16 = Good
11-12 = Fair
> 10 = Poor
The funds are intended to offset any expenses related to a project or opportunity that will enhance an artist’s overall body of work or career.
Examples include but are not limited to:
Can an artist apply as a group or a team?
Yes, however, artists may only submit one grant application. If you apply for a grant as a group or team you may not submit an additional application as an individual artist.
Are previous grantees eligible to reapply?
Previous ArtsAccelerator grantees are currently not eligible. Former members of ArtsMemphis’ Artist Advisory Council must wait two grant cycles after rolling off the council before he or she are eligible to apply for the ArtsAccelerator Grant.
Is preference given to emerging or established artists?
The ArtsAccelerator Program will ensure minimally one artist receiving a grant award is considered to be emerging. Artists have new and evolving challenges as they move through their career. Competitive applications will demonstrate the impact of the proposal on the artist’s career at the current point in time.
Social practice: Art that is collaborative, often participatory and involves people as the medium or material of the work. Social Practice (or Socially Engaged) art focuses less on aesthetics and more on creating collaborations within communities to bring about heightened awareness of societal issues.
Artist of color: An artist who is not white or of European heritage.
Artistic merit: Extent to which the work deepens and extends the arts' value, including the ability to foster new connections and to exemplify creativity and innovation.
Clarity of proposal: Clarity means you understand what you’re thinking and your reader not only understands your writing, but understands that you understand the problem or issue you are addressing. Note that the formality is different from the clarity of the writing. Even when writing formally, let some personality come through. Don’t try to sound “professional” by using fancy words and jargon.
Emerging Artist: Artists who have created work in their discipline outside of an academic degree program for five years or less and are early in their artistic careers, regardless of age. Emerging artists have not yet received significant recognition, such as exhibitions, critical reviews, commissions, performances, other grant awards, residencies, fellowships, productions or productions; and do not have sustained income derived from art sales, commissions or other income related to art production.
Application Deadline: January 16, 2018
ArtsMemphis uses SlideRoom to receive grant applications and review portfolios for ArtsAccelerator.