Rasmuson Foundation is now accepting applications for the 2019 Individual Artist Awards (IAA). Applications will be accepted until midnight on March 1.
The awards are solely for artists living and working in Alaska. They are intended to support artistic growth and exploration of new creative ground. Artists from around Alaska are eligible, from the smallest villages to urban centers. Last year artists represented a dozen different communities from Toksook Bay in Southwest Alaska, to Anchorage in Southcentral and Fairbanks in the Interior, to Juneau, Kake and Kasaan in Southeast.
Artists can pursue either a project award or a fellowship (but not both):
Project Award: $7,500 for a specific, short-term project that clearly benefits the artist’s growth. Artists at all career stages — emerging, mid-career and mature — are eligible. Applications are accepted in all 11 recognized disciplines, the five listed below for fellowships as well as: media arts, multidiscipline, music composition, new genre, presentation/interpretation, and visual arts.
Fellowship: $18,000 for mid-career and mature artists to focus their energy and attention on a yearlong period of creative exploration. In 2019, the fellowship categories are: choreography, crafts, folk and traditional arts, literary arts/scriptworks, and performance art. The foundation recruits a panel of experts in the arts from across the country to review applications and ultimately select 10 fellows and 25 project award recipients.
Applications are highly competitive. The Foundation offers resources to help artists with the process. Informational meetings for artists will be held this year in Bethel, Fairbanks, Juneau and Anchorage. The first one is set for Bethel on Friday, Jan. 25, in the library at the Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center. Other dates will be announced soon.
“It’s a rigorous process and we encourage artists to keep applying. Don’t give up! Every year there’s different judges and new opportunity,” said Jeff Baird, Foundation chief of staff and before that a program officer whose responsibilities included the IAA program.
Additional resources including a recorded webinar and tips on how to write an artist statement are available by scrolling down at the Rasmuson website.
Besides the grant, awardees receive additional benefits. For the 2019 recipients, the Anchorage Museum will conduct a day-long workshop on strategic career planning for artists that will include skill development in marketing, finances, creation of work samples and more. The Foundation also promotes artists on social media and on rasmuson.org/iaa. An upcoming Foundation web feature will showcase a collaboration with 49 Writers to profile past IAA recipients.
Alvin Amason, the Foundation’s 2018 Distinguished Artist, recently provided an applicable lesson when he discussed how he approaches his creative work. He talks in this video about agonizing over a piece for days, then the relief of it coming together, sometimes in minutes.
“The thing is, you just had the discipline to show up,” he says.
Artists with questions can email program officer Sharity Sommer at [email protected] or call the Foundation at 907.297.2700.
Rasmuson Foundation was created in May 1955 by Jenny Rasmuson to honor her late husband “E.A.” Rasmuson. Through grantmaking and initiatives, the Foundation aims to promote a better life for all Alaskans.