Community , Culture

Tulsa Artist Fellowship provides sustainability for artists

Photo caption: Tulsa Artist Fellow Sarah Ahmad works in her studio. Courtesy Photo/Melissa Lukenbaugh

TULSA, Okla. - Tulsa Artist Fellowship, a place-based durational award that was initiated by the George Kaiser Family Foundation, announces its 2021-2023 application. Open to professionally established artists and arts workers of any medium or discipline, the submission process begins Friday, November 20, 2020, and closes Friday, January 15, 2021. Tulsa Artist Fellowship (TAF) awards include a $40,000 stipend, fully subsidized living and studio space within Tulsa’s Arts and Greenwood Districts for two years.

Uncertainty due to COVID-19 has greatly impacted the arts across the globe igniting a sense of urgency for TAF to provide critical support for both current and future program participants. For Tulsa Artist Fellows transitioning out of the program at the end of 2020, TAF has extended support including subsidized housing, program transition stipend and continued access to the program’s studio facilities for an additional full year.

“We have been carefully shaping how our program can optimally support arts practitioners navigating the pandemic,” says Tulsa Artist Fellow Executive Director Carolyn Sickles. “It is an immense privilege to provide scaffolding for individuals entering and exiting our program. We are incredibly grateful that the George Kaiser Family Foundation understands this critical need and continues to provide groundbreaking levels of support to artists and arts workers.”

Tulsa Artist Fellowship awards are merit-based, not project focused. Fellows are encouraged to engage with the City of Tulsa through a variety of community touchpoints including readings, symposiums, publications, exhibitions, performance, public projects and art talks. Due to the pandemic, all community engagement events have pivoted to virtual or outdoor platforms, and all studio spaces are closed to the public. Each Tulsa Artist Fellow has a private, individual workspace to allow for social distancing.

“The framework of the Fellowship has allowed me to create work that is crucial to my career and exhibition schedule,” says clay and fabric artist Anita Fields. “It provides opportunities to collaborate, dialogue, and share my practice with a greater audience. Tulsa Artist Fellowship supports and values the creative endeavors of artists and their contributions towards social change in the chaotic environment of today’s world.”

Tulsa Artist Fellowship engages new Tulsans, brings Tulsans home, and honors Tulsans who are here making meaningful artistic contributions. Applications are reviewed by a national panel of arts professionals, past award recipients and Fellowship stakeholders. The program seeks a diverse community of artistic practitioners, including artists, curators, writers, publishers, and performers. Awardees will join current Tulsa Artist Fellows and Arts Integration Grantees which is currently at a critical mass of 51 recipients. This concentration of arts practitioners allows the sharing of and accessibility to innovative ideas, and opens up opportunities for education, spurring social awareness and change. To date, 94 artists and arts workers have been awarded a Tulsa Artist Fellowship.

"The Tulsa Artist Fellowship has supported my work in ways I had not anticipated,” says multi-disciplinary artist Kalup Linzy. “Many ideas I’ve had for years. Either I did not have the time or the means to execute them. Over the past few years, I have been able to release new music, develop my previous video and collage work, present live performances, develop a fashion line and map out ways I can better serve our art community as I move into the future. My experience in the program has been truly inspiring."

Tulsa Artist Fellowship anticipates offering up to ten awards that will be announced in June 2021. The 2021-2023 Fellowship term begins in August 2021 and ends July 2023. Additional Fellowship details and application information can be found at tulsaartistfellowship.org.