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.
Allison Glenn is a New Orleans-based curator and writer, who is currently the Manager of Publications and Curatorial Associate for Prospect 4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp. Her writing has been featured in exhibition publications for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Prospect New Orleans Triennial, The California African American Museum, and The Studio Museum in Harlem, and she has contributed to ART21 Magazine, Hyperallergic, Pelican Bomb, and Newcity. She has held positions at the University of Chicago, Monique Meloche Gallery, Dorchester Projects, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Hammer Museum.
Born in Chicago, bred in Los Angeles and living in New York City in the 70’s with a year of foreign study in Tokyo, Japan, Senga Nengudi has been a resident of Colorado Springs since 1989.
Active in arts awareness and education since her arrival, Senga has served on a number of Arts organization boards as well as being a founder and founding member of other cultural organizations that focused on diversity and cultural literacy. From1998 to 2008 she was a lecturer at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in the Visual Arts and Performing Arts department as well as the Women’s Studies and Ethnic Studies departments.
Senga Nengudi is a 2010 recipient of the Women’s Caucus on Art lifetime achievement award, winner of the 2005-2006 Anonymous Was A Woman Award and the 2005-2006 Louis Tiffany Foundation Biennial Competition Award. In 2016 Nengudi received an Honorary Doctorate Degree from Colorado College and a United States Artist Fellowship.
Nengudi’s disciplines include sculpture, installations and performance.
Using predominantly nylon mesh and found objects, much of her sculptural works mimic in abstract the sensuality and elasticity of the body and psyche, reflecting the toll that inside and outside pressures have on our mortal selves.
Nengudi’s African/African-American heritage insists on responding to the moment. Her work is ephemeral in nature. Her installations are subtle and intimate, involving issues of time and personal change, made out of materials that are discards and commonplace.
Her current work is interactive in nature, inviting viewers through multi-media installations to be co-participants in her exploration of the human relationship to the concept of time, space, movement and internal landscapes.
With exhibits that have spanned the globe, her work was most recently shown in the 2017 Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy and in a touring solo show “ Improvisational Gestures” that originated at the Museum of Contemporary Art-Denver.
In the permanent collections of the Tate, London, Centre Pompidou-Paris, France, the Museum of Modern Art – NYC, Brooklyn Art Museum - Brooklyn, N.Y., Carnegie Museum of Art - Pittsburgh, Penn., The Hammer Museum - Los Angeles, Ca., Museum of Contemporary Art - Los Angeles, Ca. and Studio Museum in Harlem – N.Y., Nengudi is represented by the Thomas Erben Gallery and the Levy-Gorvy Gallery.
Wassan Al-Khudhairi is the Chief Curator at the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis and the former Hugh Kaul Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Birmingham Museum of Art where she organized Third Space /shifting conversations about contemporary art. She was invited to be a Curator for the 6th Asian Art Biennial in Taiwan in 2017 and Co-Artistic Director for 9th Gwangju Biennial in South Korea in 2012. Serving as the Founding Director of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Qatar, Al-Khudhairi oversaw the opening of the Museum in 2010 and co-curated Sajjil: A Century of Modern Art and curated Cai Guo-Qiang: Saraab.
Download the 2018 ArtsAccelerator Workshop Presentation
View the Hustle ArtsAccelerator Workshop
You aren’t required to attend a workshop in order to apply for an ArtsAccelerator Grant...BUT it is highly recommended. This is your opportunity to ask questions, learn from past grantees, and get helpful tips for your application. Each session is one hour.
If you are unsure of your eligibility, please contact Tracy Lauritzen Wright at (901) 578-2787 or [email protected] 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.
Click Here for our frequently asked questions and check back often for updates.
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.