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Application opens for Kresge Artist Fellowships, Gilda Awards; $550,00 to be shared by 30


Metro Detroit artists working in literary arts and visual arts are invited to apply online for a 2023 Kresge Artist Fellowship before applications close Jan. 19.

Kresge Arts in Detroit will award 20 fellowships and 10 Gilda Awards to artists of all career stages living and working in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties. The Kresge Foundation-funded awards to individual artists are administered by the Kresge Arts in Detroit office of College for Creative Studies.

Kresge Artist Fellowships are $25,000 no-strings-attached awards which come with a year of professional development support including workshops, mentorship and promotion (for example, inclusion in a Michigan Emmy Award-winning film series, like this set from 2021). Gilda Awards are unrestricted $5,000 awards that come with most of the professional development opportunities available to fellows.

Photo-illustration graphic with abstract design, type advertising Kresge Artist Fellowships with $25,000 awards and embedded poem by one of the fellows.Since 2008, Kresge Arts in Detroit has awarded more than $6.66 million directly to artists in three counties through 258 Kresge Artist Fellowships and 42 Gilda Awards. (An additional $700,000 has been distributed to 14 Kresge Eminent Artists, a lifetime achievement award which is not application-based.)

Kresge Artist Fellows are selected on the basis of a demonstrated track record of artistic achievement and high quality work and, to a lesser extent,  the potential to grow and advance in their artistic career, and the potential to reflect, enhance, or impact communities within metro Detroit.

Gilda Awards recognize early-career artists who are gaining momentum and who demonstrate exceptional potential through creative risk-taking and pushing the boundaries of their chosen art form. (See the 2022 fellows and Gilda Award winners here.)

Artists apply for fellowships and Gilda Awards using the same online application: After supplying the information for a possible fellowship, applicants can indicate whether they would also like to be considered for a Gilda Award. Seeking the Gilda Award does not impact fellowship decisions. No candidate can receive both in a given year.

The total number of fellowships (20) and Gilda Awards (10) will be divided between the two categories — literary arts and visual arts — based on the relative number of applications received in each category.

Artists working in the following disciplines are eligible to apply:

This category focuses on book art, ceramics, collage, drawing, fiber, glass, installation, metalwork, new media, painting, photography, performance art, printmaking, sculpture, video art, interdisciplinary work.

This category focuses on arts criticism, creative nonfiction, fiction, graphic novels, playwriting, poetry, spoken word, zines, interdisciplinary work.

Jina B. Kim, literary scholar, writer, Smith College professor, and 2021 Literary Arts Panelist, recommends applicants, “Strive for clarity and cohesion both in the work and the application materials. Give us a clear picture of your vision and what you’re all about.”

“The process of applying for a Kresge Artist Fellowship helped me move through the passion, the muddle, the rejections toward clarity, toward a deeper understanding of what I do,” said 2012 Literary Arts Fellow Mary Jo Firth Gillett about the application process. “In our naysaying world, to receive a Kresge Artist Fellowship is to hear a voice saying ‘We see your talent. We value your art.’ That’s an enormous gift.”

Let's stay in touch Sign up for our newsletters SubscribeKresge Artist Fellows and Gilda Award recipients are selected by independent panels of distinguished local and national artists and arts professionals. Previous applicants are strongly encouraged to reapply, as new panels — with fresh perspectives —are convened each year.

The application went live earlier today, Dec. 1. The deadline is Thursday, Jan. 19, at 11:59 p.m.

“The Kresge Artist Fellowship application process is extremely generative. By the time you’re done, you’ve crafted an artist statement, community impact statement, biography, CV, and a portfolio of your strongest pieces. Those are the elements necessary to apply for any number of grant and funding opportunities in Michigan and nationally,” says poet, storyteller and 2021 Kresge Artist Fellow Jeni De La O. Her advice to prospective applicants: “The Kresge name is well-recognized in academic and artistic circles and having it on your resume opens up doors. Even if you aren’t selected, the process expands your network and exposes you to resources and opportunities you might not otherwise hear about. Go for it, you won’t regret it.”

Kresge Arts in Detroit staff will hold an online informational session for first-time applicants on Dec. 14,  followed by a second online Q&A session for all applicants in January. While not required, applicants are encouraged to attend these sessions, which are designed to support artists in creating strong applications for a Kresge Artist Fellowship. Details on those sessions, complete guidelines, FAQs, the application portal and additional resources can be found here.

Further questions can be directed to [email protected] or by phone to 313-744-3204.