Metro Detroit Artists Working in Literary Arts and Visual Arts Invited to Apply for $25,000 Fellowships and $5,000 Emerging Artist Awards

DETROIT, MI – NOVEMBER 2, 2020 – Metropolitan Detroit artists working in literary arts and visual arts disciplines are invited to apply for a 2021 Kresge Artist Fellowship.

Monday, November 2, 2020:  Application Guidelines Available
Tuesday, December 1, 2020:  Online Application Opens
Thursday, January 14, 2021 by 11:59 p.m. EST: Application Deadline

Now entering its 13th year, Kresge Arts in Detroit will award 20 fellowships—ten in Literary Arts and ten in Visual Arts—to artists of all career stages living and working in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties. Kresge Artist Fellowships are $25,000, no strings attached awards plus professional development support and the creation of a short film highlighting the artist’s work.

Fellowships are awarded on the basis of a demonstrated track record of artistic achievement and high-quality work, the potential to grow and advance in one’s career during the fellowship period, and the potential to reflect, enhance, or impact communities within metro Detroit.

Kresge Arts in Detroit will also award ten Gilda Awards—$5,000 no strings attached prizes—for emerging artists living and working in the metro Detroit area. The awards honor the legacy of Gilda Snowden (1954–2014), who was one of the 18 inaugural artists to receive a Kresge Artist Fellowship in 2009, and who taught painting at CCS for more than 30 years.

Gilda Awards celebrate early stage artists with a demonstrated commitment to their craft and a willingness to explore and exceed the boundaries of their chosen art form. Gilda Awards are chosen from the pool of Kresge Artist Fellowship applicants. There is no separate application for Gilda Awards.

“These are obviously times that are hitting many artists particularly hard, and these are precisely the times when we look to artists to ground us, to connect us, to help us see the world around us and look to possibilities ahead,” said Wendy Lewis Jackson, managing director of The Kresge Foundation’s Detroit Program. “Kresge Artist Fellowships and Gilda Awards are one way that we can lend support to the metro Detroit community of artists in return.”

Artists working in the following disciplines are eligible to apply:

Arts Criticism, Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, Graphic Novels, Playwriting, Poetry, Spoken Word, Zines, Interdisciplinary Work

Book Art, Ceramics, Collage, Drawing, Fiber, Glass, Installation, Metalwork, New Media, Painting, Photography, Performance Art, Printmaking, Sculpture, Video Art, Interdisciplinary Work

Kresge Artists Fellows receive in-depth professional development support, administered under the direction of the Kresge Arts in Detroit and a team of nationally recognized arts organizations. Fellows will be able to select the skill-building, networking, promotion, and coaching support that best suits their goals and definition of success.

Each year’s fellows and Gilda Award recipients are selected by independent panels of distinguished local and national artists and arts professionals. The program strongly encourages previous applicants to re-apply, as new panels, with new perspectives, are convened each year.

“We are continuously amazed by the depth of artistic talent and commitment in our region, and by The Kresge Foundation’s unending support for ensuring that artists are rewarded for the many ways they enhance and transform our region,’’ says Kresge Arts in Detroit Director Christina deRoos. “I can’t think of a time when the visionary role of artists has been more vital to the human spirit.’’

Kikko Paradela, an independent designer, printmaker, and 2019 Kresge Artist Fellow says the in-depth application process gave him an unexpected sense of creative clarity. Paradela applied twice before his selection in 2019. To prospective applicants he says, “Just do it. Obviously, the financial benefit is great, but what’s really nice about it, even if you don’t win, is that it allows you to reflect and articulate all the work you’ve been doing.’’

Cherise Morris, a writer and 2019 Kresge Artist Fellow adds, “I encourage all literary artists to apply for this amazing opportunity. The (application) questions provoked me to think through my work in new ways and really, for the first time ever, define myself and my purpose as a writer.’’

In light of COVID-19, the traditional in-person info sessions will be presented in a digital format this year. An informational video pertaining to the application will be released in November. While not required, applicants are encouraged to view the video, which is designed to support artists in creating their most authentic and compelling application for a Kresge Artist Fellowship. Additionally, Kresge Arts in Detroit staff will hold an online question and answer session in January.

Thursday, November 19, 2020: Informational video released (online)
Thursday, January 7, 2021, 5:00-6:30PM: Application Questions & Answers (online)

Visit to access the complete guidelines, FAQs, and additional resources. Direct questions about application requirements to Kresge Arts in Detroit: The Kresge Arts in Detroit office is currently operating remotely, so email is the best way to contact us.

For further information, please contact Katie McGowan, Managing Director:

Kresge Arts in Detroit is generously funded by The Kresge Foundation and administered by the College for Creative Studies. The goals of Kresge Arts in Detroit are to enrich the quality of life for metro Detroiters by helping artists provide a broad spectrum of cultural experiences; celebrate and reflect the richness and diversity of our community in all its aspects; heighten the profile of arts and artists in our community; and strengthen the artistic careers of local artists. Since 2008, Kresge Arts in Detroit has awarded more than $6 million through 12 Kresge Eminent Artist Awards ($50,000 each), 218 Kresge Artist fellowships ($25,000 each), and 22 Gilda Awards ($5,000 each).

The Kresge Foundation was founded in 1924 to promote human progress. Today, Kresge fulfills that mission by building and strengthening pathways to opportunity for low-income people in America’s cities, seeking to dismantle structural and systemic barriers to equality and justice. Using a full array of grant, loan, and other investment tools, Kresge invests more than $160 million annually to foster economic and social change. Kresge’s Detroit Program collaborates with civic, nonprofit and business partners to promote and expand long-term, equitable opportunity in our hometown for current and future residents.

The College for Creative Studies (CCS), located in the heart of Detroit, educates artists and designers to be leaders in the creative professions. A private, fully accredited college, CCS enrolls more than 1,400 students pursuing Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) and Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degrees. Students in the BFA program can major in Advertising Design, Art Practice (Fine Arts), Communication Design, Craft & Material Studies, Entertainment Arts, Fashion Accessories Design, Illustration, Interior Design, Photography, Product Design, and Transportation Design, in addition to a dual major Art Education program. Students in the MFA program can major in Color and Materials Design, Interaction Design, Integrated Design, and Transportation Design. The College also offers non-credit courses in the visual arts through its Continuing and Precollege Studies programs and opportunities for youth through its Community Arts Partnerships programs.

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