Socially Engaged Art Fellowship 9/18/17

Blade of Grass

The deadline to apply is September 18, 2017, 11:59 PM (EST)

About the Fellowship
Blade of Grass is looking at the process and relationships of socially engaged art projects.

They see the aesthetic qualities of socially engaged art here—in how alliances are formed and maintained, the way disparate stakeholder groups are coordinated, how power dynamics are navigated, and how bridges are built between many different types of people in a socially engaged art project.

They create content that illuminates and deepens understanding of these relationships. A primary goal of ABOG is to make the “invisible” parts of socially engaged art visible. They do this through documentary films and field research that are artist-led, and are grounded in the perspective of project participants, as well as publications, web content, and public programming.

They also use this focus on process and relationships to advocate for a more expanded sense of what art is, how artists can work in communities, and how art might be integrated into everyday life. Their field research, documentary films, and other content serve as the basis for curriculum, toolkits, and consulting that enable more artists to work in partnership with non-artist stakeholders.

Fellowship projects become the focus of:
A short, engaging documentary film directed and produced by RAVA Films
Field research that utilizes action research methodology
Web content and public programs
A biennial publication
Curriculum and advocacy that advance the field of socially engaged art
Two dedicated opportunities to engage a cohort of peer artists

To realize this partnership, artists receive $20,000 in minimally restricted support.

Click here to meet current and past Fellows, watch their Fieldworks series of short documentary films, and get a sense of the public programs they present.

Art and artists are vitally important, so they encourage you to take a moment to consider fit and eligibility before committing your valuable time and energy to the application process.

Eligibility requirements for the ABOG Fellowship for Socially Engaged Art:

Artists or artist collectives working independently of a 501c3 nonprofit are eligible. If you are working under a registered 501c3, you are not eligible to apply
If you are a collective, you must submit one application. Multiple applications for collectives are not permitted
Anyone registered as a student at the time of applying is not eligible
Applicants must be US citizens or US residents with legal work status
Applicants must be at least 25 years of age
You are not eligible if you have received an ABOG Fellowship as an individual or as part of an artist collective in the last 3 years

Fit with Fellowship
To ensure fit, ask yourself the following questions before applying:

Do I, and do my partners, want to collaborate with ABOG’s documentary crew and a field researcher to generate creative content about my project?
What are the stories of my project? Is storytelling a good lens for understanding my work?
What is the transformation, or problem that is being solved by the project?
Who is my project? Can I make an informative stakeholder map, or otherwise represent project participation?

Issue-Based Fellowships
ABOG-David Rockefeller Joint Fellowship in Criminal Justice

This fellowship examines the transformational roles artists play in a criminal justice context.
Applicants working in criminal justice are automatically considered.

ABOG Fellowship for Contemplative Practice, in partnership with the Hemera Foundation

This fellowship supports artists who work with the intersection of social practice and contemplative practice.
Applicants who would like to be considered will be asked to answer two supplementary questions in the online submission form. Click here to learn more and read FAQs.

How To Apply
The first round of our open call requires you to submit the following:

A 500-word letter of intent that describes your project
A url to a website that showcases your project or body of work
A CV (or multiple CV’s if applying as a collective)
An informational diagram that describes your stakeholder network and/or project participation
Click here to access the online application form. Letters of interest are due September 18, 2017, 11:59 PM (EST)

Helpful Tips | FAQ
Successful applications at the first stage of the application process will:

Clearly describe a project that ignites aesthetic interest and relates meaningfully to our curatorial statement
Describe a community that is open to collaborate with a field researcher and ABOG’s film production staff

Writing about a socially engaged art project is difficult! Here are some helpful tips:

Don’t rely on jargon or name recognition! There is a community organizer who has no real experience with the art world on the committee that reviews your proposal
Be sure to balance a strong articulation of your artistic vision and a clear “who-what-when-where” description of the process and outcomes
Address how you and your partners would collaborate with ABOG in creating a documentary film and field research
Get feedback! Make sure your letter reads clearly to someone who doesn’t know about the project

Informational Diagram

Most socially engaged projects benefit from being represented in a sketch that clarifies participation and process. There is no single way to do this! Just make sure you’re clearly representing your project’s process and relationships.

Consider looking at models for inspiration. Click here for a PDF of the diagrams from our first publication, Future Imperfect, and other examples. You might also look at other types of diagrams, such as stakeholder maps, flow charts, blocking diagrams, or taxonomies.
This is not an art project. Legibility is much more important than drafting skill or artistic expressiveness.

Application Timeline
This is a two-step application process. Semi-finalists from the first round will be invited to submit a full application with an extended narrative, budget, and a timeline.

Open call closes: September 18, 2017, 11:59 PM (EST)
Notification to applicants: Begins November 6, 2017
Full application due: January 5, 2018
Notification to applicants: Begins January 29, 2018
Finalist interviews: January 29 – February 9, 2018
Notification to selected Fellows: Begins March 13, 2018
Fellows’ orientation (mandatory): May 3-5, 2018

Click here to access the online application form.  Letters of interest are due September 18, 2017, 11:59 PM (EST)

Not sure whether your project is a good fit? Have questions about the application process? Send a short description via email (not the whole application document), and allow 2-3 business days for a response:

Interested in joining a small working group? Let them know at and we’ll introduce you via email to two other artists interested in independently reviewing each other’s proposals.