In 2016, Erie Arts & Culture made a commitment to make a greater investment in the artists living and working in Erie County by establishing the annual Artist Fellowship program. The agency saw a need to provide artists with funding, specifically unrestricted funding, that could be used by artists to delve deeper into their creative processes and assist them in their pursuit of artistic development and growth.
Since then, the agency has awarded three fellowships annually – two to emerging artists and one to an established artist. Initial eligibility requirements mandated that applicants must be 25 years of age or older and be a resident of Erie County for at least two consecutive years prior to applying. Eligible disciplines also rotated on a two year cycle between Visual/Media Arts and Performing/Language Arts.
Erie Arts & Culture’s Grantmaking Committee is responsible for overseeing the Artist Fellowship program. In 2019, the Committee reviewed the program’s eligibility requirement through the lens of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. It was determined that eligibility requirements would be revised for the 2020 fellowships.
To partially address this issue in 2019, Erie Arts & Culture’s Board of Trustees approved the award of an additional fellowship in the present year. Emerging artists 19 years of age or older of any artistic discipline are eligible to apply. The only residency requirement is that artists demonstrate their commitment to living and working in Erie County as part of their application. Erie Arts & Culture defines an emerging artist as someone who is in the early stage of their career and has a modest independent body of work.
Artists interested in applying for this funding opportunity can do so online through Erie Arts & Culture’s website. The deadline to submit an application for this fellowship is September 6, 2019. Fellows will be contacted later in the fall and acknowledged at Erie Arts & Culture’s annual Fall for Arts and Culture Awards.