John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation: Grants for Fine Arts

OVERVIEW: One of the most prestigious awards in its field, the Guggenheim Fellowship is considered a "mid-career" award for those who are exceedingly well established in their area of expertise. It is given in recognition of "men and women who have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts."

IP TAKE: Grant seekers should not even think about attempting to apply for this fellowship unless they are at the absolute top of their field.

PROFILE: Created in 1925, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation was founded by United States Senator Simon Guggenheim to honor the memory of his son who died 1922. It seeks “to further the development of scholars and artists by assisting them to engage in research in any field of knowledge and creation in any of the arts, under the freest possible conditions and irrespective of race, color, or creed.” There are two separate competitions each year, one for citizens and permanent residents of the United States and Canada and one for Latin America and the Caribbean (it should be noted that the Latin American branch of this program has been suspended until they better determine the specific needs).

Grant amounts vary according to the needs of each fellowship, depending on the resources required, and the purpose and scope of work, but past awards have averaged roughly around $45,000 each.

The foundation receives around 3,500 and 4,000 applications for their fellowships each year and awards an average of 200 fellowships out of these. The selection process for these coveted fellowships is incredibly rigorous. In the first round, applications are paired with an expert in the related field (art, science, history, etc.) from the Foundation's several hundred different advisors who are also former Guggenheim Fellows. These advisors rank the applicants and submit reports which are then forwarded along to the Committee of Selection, which then determines the ultimate number of awards to be made in each area.

Within the creative arts, Guggenheim routinely supports film/video, poetry, fiction, visual art, and the performing arts. The number of fellowships in each area depends on the determination of the Committee of Selection each year.

Information for each year's competition is generally available in June, with applications due in September and work samples for those contacted due in November. Final results and winners are announced the following April. Grant seekers will need to provide everything from references, to supporting documents, to examples of past work in order to apply, and the list of what's needed is quite comprehensive, so those looking to apply need to do their homework before moving forward.

Fellowships support individuals only, not organizations, institutions, or groups. They are also not available for the "creation of residencies, curriculum development, or any type of educational program, nor are they available to support the development of websites or blogs."

Consult the website for further details about application resources and submission materials for the United States & Canada Competition, as well as FAQs.

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