Helene Wurlitzer Foundation: Grants for Creative Writing

OVERVIEW: This funder supports literary artists as part of its artist resident program in Taos, New Mexico. It provides residence grants to writers without any expectation or requirement of creative output.

FUNDING AREAS: Literature, creative fiction

IP TAKE: Wurlitzer isn’t a traditional creative writing grantmaker, but provides a peaceful space to work and an artist community from which to draw inspiration.

PROFILE: The Helene Wurlitzer Foundation was established in 1954 in New Mexico and is one of the oldest artist resident programs in the U.S. It’s located in Taos and aims to support literary artists, visual artists, and music composers. Helene V.B. Wurlitzer lived from 1874 to 1963 and became a permanent part-time resident of the artist colony in Taos in the 1940s. Her family's wealth came from the mining industry in the Southwest. She established a residency program for artists, including creative writers in the 1950s.

This foundation provides residency grants to creative artists of varying kinds. Writers are one of the types of artists on Wurlitzer’s radar, as well as painters, poets, sculptors, playwrights, screenwriters, composers, filmmakers, and photographers. National and international artists are welcome to apply for these grants. Creative writers who are accepted into the program can live on the property for three months rent-free with paid utilities. The guest houses are fully furnished and designed to provide a peaceful setting to pursue creative endeavors.

To apply, creative writers can submit an application form online with an application fee of $300 and work samples. The annual deadline is January 18 for residence grants. You can apply online or by mail. Applicants will be notified of the foundation’s decision by June.

It is important to note that there are no expectations or requirements on the creative writers who receive these residence grants. This is unique when compared to other creative writing programs that have high expectations of literary output. The foundation provides bicycles for artists to use during their stay, however, vehicular transportation and food are not included. But through the Rhonda Artist Stipend Fund writers may be able to get assistance with grocery expenses.

Another related opportunity is the Chesley/Bumbalo grant, which supports playwrights of gay and lesbian theater. The Wurlitzer Foundation and the Robert Chesley/Victor Bumbalo Foundation have a partnership, so this is an additional opportunity that's specific for writers of plays. Applicants must indicate on their Wurlitzer grant application that they’re are interested in applying for this other grant as well.

The Wurlitzer Foundation also collaborates with the Caruso Family Foundation to provide scholarships to high school seniors in Taos who are pursuing creative arts degrees. General questions can be directed to the foundation via online contact form. Nic Knight is the executive director and can also be reached at 575-758-2413.


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