Take a look at our recent Creative Writing posts and you'll see that aside from two children's writing awards—the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award and Ezra Jack Keats Foundation's mini-grants—most of the grants cover broad categories, like "emerging writers" or "lifetime achievement" awards.
It's no accident. It isn't often we stumble across a grant focused on a highly specialized type of writing.
But they exist, of course, and one such grant is the Creative Capital | Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program. It supports writers whose work addresses contemporary visual art through project-based grants, ranging from $15,000 to $50,000. The foundations recognizes twenty individual authors a year.
Indeed, it may be a niche area, but it's an important one nonetheless, as any who has read, say, an exhibition critique in the New York Times can attest. And so the program recognizes arts writing's symbiotic relationship with the art itself, while also acknowledging that in this precarious arts climate, there isn't a lot of money to go around for arts writers.
The program is currently accepting applications for its 2016 grant cycle. The deadline is May 18, 2016.
But before we loop back to some of the application criteria, a bit more commentary is required to further underscore the uniqueness of this program. For example, as previously noted, the program strives to embrace art writing that deals with contemporary issues and blur the lines between criticism, scholarship, and even a kind of photojournalism. Recent winners include Claudia Calirman's book, "A Study from the Margins: Female Practices in Brazil and Chile," and Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert's book, "Troubled Waters: Ecology and History in 21st-Century Caribbean Art."
What's more, the program takes an expansive view around the various mediums out there. Writers who meet the program's eligibility requirements are invited to apply in the categories of articles, blogs, books, new and alternative Media, and short-form writing.
And as much as the program may appreciate, say, a piece examining Rembrandt's rejection of the predominant mid-17th century Baroque style, it prefers to focus on arts writing spanning the previous sixty years or so. Eligible arts writers, in other words, must apply for a project about "contemporary visual art."
By "contemporary visual art," the program means:
Visual art made since World War II. Projects on post-WWII work in adjacent fields—architecture, design, film, theater/performance, sound, etc.—will only be considered if they directly and significantly engage the discourses and concerns of contemporary visual art. Projects with a pre-WWII component will only be considered if the project’s main focus is contemporary.
Interested? Click here for the full application guide.