The MacColl Johnson Fellowships - Apply

Established by the Rhode Island Foundation in 2003, The Robert and Margaret MacColl Johnson Fellowship Fund provides up to three $25,000 artist fellowships each year. Artist Communities Alliance (ACA) leads the selection process for these fellowships.

The MacColl Johnson 2022 Fellowships will be awarded to emerging and mid-career visual artists in Rhode Island.

  • Three MacColl Johnson Fellowship Awardees: $25,000 each.
  • Three MacColl Johnson Fellowship Finalists: Artist residency + $3,000 each.
  • Three MacColl Johnson Fellowship Semi-Finalists: $2,500 each.

The Rhode Island Foundation is employing Artist Communities Alliance, an independent international association, to manage applications and the jury process for The Robert and Margaret MacColl Johnson Fellowships.

The application is open now through August 19, 2022 at 11:59 pm EST. Applicants should review and understand the following information before starting the application process. 

ACA staff will be available to answer questions until Thursday, August 18th at 4pm ET. Any messages, voicemails, and inquiries received after 4pm ET on 8/18 will not be answered before the application deadline. Please prepare accordingly and email any questions regarding your application in advance.

How to Apply

(1) Prepare your application

Be sure to read the Eligibility Guidelines below. Then download a preview of the online application to assist in preparing the below items. Note: no written/hardcopy applications will be accepted. Eligible applicants may only apply online at the link at the bottom of this page which takes you to the online platform Submittable.

  • Statement of purpose (3 questions)
  • Resume/CV
  • Work samples
  • Work sample inventory

(2) Prepare your work samples
The review panel will rely on the submitted information you provide to inform their recommendations. You are encouraged to submit your strongest work created within the past five years.

(3) Review the application in the online platform Submittable
All applications must be submitted online through Submittable; paper applications and physical copies of work samples will not be accepted. The application is available here. Complete all required fields in Submittable and click Submit. You may save drafts in progress in Submittable by clicking on Save Draft.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

In your Work Sample Index (PDF file only), list work samples in the order in which you wish them to be reviewed and include the following for each work sample:

  • Title of work
  • Year of completion
  • Medium/materials
  • A brief description of any relevant information about the work, its content, and your approach.
  • If a sample is excerpted from a longer work, provide a brief description of the selection’s broader context.
  • If your work is the result of collaboration, please explain the degree to which the sample reflects your work as an individual artist.

Work Samples

The review panel will rely on the submitted information you provide to inform their recommendations. You are encouraged to submit your strongest work created within the past five years. 

You may submit any combination of the following of recent, relevant work, not to exceed 11 total work samples:

  • Images: Up to 8 images (JPG, GIF, PNG)
  • Video: Up to 3 video files (MP4, MOV, AVI, MPG, 3GP, FLV, WEBM, WMV, M4V)

If submitting video, please note: no more than 10 minutes will be reviewed. You may submit edited selections and note them as such on your “Work Sample Index.”

Your name should not appear anywhere on your work samples. 

Please note: You may submit 1-11 separate files (including videos) as long as they do not exceed 11 work samples in total. IMAGES: UP TO 8 FILES; VIDEOS: UP TO 3 FILES. As an example, you may choose to submit 3 JPG image files, 5 PNG image files, and 2 MOV video files - for a total of 10 separate files uploaded as work samples.

Eligibility

(1) State Residency: Applicants must be Rhode Island residents 12 months prior to the application deadline, at the time of submitting the application, and during the period of the fellowship. If recommended for a Fellowship, applicants will be required to provide two (2) documents as proof of residency.

(2) Disciplines / Media: Applications are accepted for original visual art. Eligible visual arts genres include, but are not limited to:

  • Book arts
  • Ceramics/clay art/pottery
  • Drawing
  • Film/video/animation
  • Glass arts
  • Installation
  • Jewelry
  • Metalworking
  • Painting
  • Photography
  • Printmaking
  • Sculpture
  • Textile/fiber arts
  • Woodworking
  • Interdisciplinary arts

(3) Career Stage: Though the Fellowships are not awarded by career stage categories, applicants must demonstrate that they are within the range of an emerging to mid-career stage in their artistic profession, regardless of age. To assist applicants in determining if they are within this range, The Foundation defines the eligible career stages as follows:

Emerging Artists are considered to be in the early years of their professional careers, which may include having recently undertaken a career change to a significant artistic practice. 

An emerging artist:

  • demonstrates at least 3 years of professional practice and currently is creating independent work;

  • demonstrates promising artistic development and may have attracted some early critical notice, but does not yet have an extensive record of recognition;

  • has produced an elemental yet substantive body of work and has an accruing record of publication, public readings, and other presentations of work.

Mid-Career Artists are those who have created an independent body of work over a number of years and have received some regional or national recognition. 

A mid-career artist:

  • demonstrates at least 7 years of a sustained professional practice and is currently producing work;

  • has produced an accruing body of work that demonstrates artistic exploration and development;

  • has received some regional and/or national recognition, but is not substantially established in the field, or has had substantial professional recognition at an earlier career stage.  

Ineligibility

(1) Established Artists: Established artists are not eligible. They are defined as having reached the mature stage of their careers and advanced levels of achievement. 

An established artist:

  • has a record of at least 15 years of a continuous and sustained professional artistic practice;

  • demonstrates a history of regional, national, and/or international professional recognition through commissions, critical reviews, performances, grant awards, residencies, fellowships, and/or productions; and

  • produces work that is regarded to have measurable critical and/or commercial value.

(2) Previous Awardees: Previous awardees of the $25,000 fellowship are not eligible; however, previous finalists/semi-finalists may apply again. 

(3) Students: Applicants who are high-school students or who are undergraduate or graduate college students enrolled in a degree-granting program, at the time of application or during the period of the fellowship, are not eligible.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Who is eligible for these fellowships?

A: This year, the fellowships are for Rhode Island based visual artists. If you're a Rhode Island based composer, you can apply in 2023; if you're a Rhode Island based writer, you can apply in 2024.

Q: Are artist duos or collectives eligible for these fellowships?

A: The fellowships are for individual artists. You are welcome to apply using work created collaboratively, but make sure you explain the degree to which it represents your individual work in your Work Sample Index.

Q: Are undocumented artists eligible for these fellowships?

A: Yes, so long as the artist can verify their residence in Rhode Island. The most common ways to verify residence are through a driver's license or other ID, a mortgage or lease, etc. The artist's documentation status will not impact the outcome of the panel decisions. 

Q: Who reviews the applications/selects awardees?

A: ACA stewards the review process by selecting four panelists from outside of Rhode Island with relevant expertise. In past years, the panel has been comprised of practicing artists, curators, educators, administrators, and other professionals. 

Q: How much of my work can I share with the selection panel? 

A: Due to the volume of applications we receive, the selection panel will only be able to review up to 11 work sample files: up to 8 images, and up to 3 videos. Please do not exceed these limits, and select your strongest work from the last 5 years. Please limit video selections to 10 minutes.

Q: If I am only submitting images, and no videos, can I submit more than 8? Can I show you alternate views or detail shots of a particular piece?

A: Please do not submit more than 8 images, regardless of whether you are also submitting videos. The reverse is also true: if you are only submitting videos, with no images, the video limit is still 3. You may submit multiple images or videos of the same piece, but please be aware that these images also count towards the 8 image, 3 video limit. The limit refers to number of total images or videos submitted, not number of works shown.

Q: Can I submit work that is older than 5 years?

A: You are encouraged to submit work from the past 5 years. You will not be disqualified for submitting older work samples. However, be aware that the panelists are looking to your work samples to show them your current practice, as well as where the fellowship might take you. It is to your benefit to focus on submitting your strongest recent work. 

Q: I'm not sure if I'm an "Established" artist or not. Do I still qualify?

A: The guidelines listed above are what the selection panel will use to determine your eligibility. If you aren't certain if you qualify based on your career stage, you're welcome to apply anyway, as there is no application fee or penalty for applicants who are deemed ineligible.

Q: I have been making art for more than 15 years, but have not received major critical recognition. Am I considered "Established" or not?

A: The "Established" artist designation is based primarily on critical success + recognition. A record of major publications, gallery shows, fellowships, etc. is weighted more heavily in assessing career stage than number of years practicing. An artist who has been working for over 15 years, but has not seen substantial career recognition, is still eligible for the Fellowship. 

Q: I have a question that isn't answered on this page.

A: You may email your question to Zooey Arnold-Conner, Grants + Development Administrator. ACA staff will be available to answer questions until Thursday, August 18th at 4pm ET. Any messages, voicemails, and inquiries received after 4pm ET on 8/18 will not be answered before the application deadline. Please prepare accordingly and email any questions regarding your application in advance.

Apply Now!