ACF | create 

The American Composers Forum (ACF) champions composers and other creative music makers, and boosts their careers with professional opportunities. ACF | create is an evolution of the Jerome Fund for New Music (JFund), which started in 1979. Through this program, ACF has made hundreds of awards and has helped launch many careers. ACF | create supports the creation, presentation, and subsequent life of a new work. Five grants are available: up to $8,000 for the composer or primary artist’s time to create the work, and up to $3,000 to help with production and promotion support. This program is for early career artists that reside in Minnesota or the five boroughs of New York City.

The American Composers Forum encourages applicants from the full range of musical styles, and is committed to supporting a diverse pool of artists whose work demonstrates strong artistic merit. Accordingly, awards for our programs will represent, as far as possible, artists and projects that are diverse in genre, gender, race, ethnicity and geography.

2021 ACF | CREATE APPLICATION GUIDELINES

Download a PDF of the complete guidelines HERE.

ACF is intentional in its interchangeable use of the terms artist, music creator, and composer as we recognize not everyone identifies themselves by one of these terms.

ACF | create welcomes applicants from the whole range of musical paths and is committed to supporting a diverse pool of artists.

The music creator applying needs to be at the early stages of their creative development; have a focused direction and are actively creating new work; have yet to be substantially celebrated within their field, the media, funding circles, or public at large; are vocational (as opposed to avocational, academic, amateur, or educational) artists. The music creator applies with a collaborative partner (such as a performing group or a presenter) that is committed to presenting the finished work. The collaborative partner can be based anywhere in the world.

The selection of music creators for this opportunity are curated by a committee of artists and arts leaders selected by ACF.

The curators will select projects that:

  • expand the aesthetic or social experience in music and/or revive traditional forms in original ways
  • are imaginative, rigorous, and well-executed
  • are technically proficient and exhibit a high level of craft
  • are compelling and have a distinctive vision and authentic voice
  • connect with intended audiences/participants
  • are engaging aesthetically and experientially
  • are bold and risk-taking

AWARDS

Five artists will be awarded the following:

  • $8,000.00 commission support paid directly to the artist* across three installments for their time to create a new work. Take the size of this fee into consideration in regards to the scope (length of the work, technical demands, and number of artists required for performance) of your proposed work.
  • $3,000.00 to help with the production or promotion of the new work. ** These funds may be used before, during, or after the premiere. Scenarios might include: research, travel, consultation, preparation fees, equipment or software costs, rehearsals, workshops, space rental, collaboration costs, outreach events, touring, publication, recording, and promotion costs.

ACF does not provide a standard fee schedule. These funds are taxable income.

*A note to ensemble or organizations applying on behalf of the artist creating the work, all commission support is paid directly to the artist creating the work and is not distributed to the organization or ensemble applying on behalf of the artist.

**At the discretion of the artist creating the new work, production and promotion support funding can be paid directly to the artist or be paid to an organization and/or performer(s) at the direction of the awarded artist.

ELIGIBILITY 

Minnesota or Five Boroughs of New York City Residency

  • The music creator must be a resident of the state of Minnesota or one of the five boroughs of New York City and have been resident for at least one year prior to application. Applicants did (or will) file US federal taxes as a resident of either Minnesota or one of the five boroughs of New York City. Proof of Minnesota or one of the five boroughs of New York City residency will be required to be provided before issuing an agreement to a selected artist. Applicants must have a US Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). 

  • Collaborating Partner(s) may be based anywhere in the world.

Early Stage Artist:

  • Early stage artists have between 2 to 10 years of experience as music creators making new original work (excluding any in a time degree-granting programs; as a musician of non-original work created by others; or arranging or reviving the work of other music creators; or time away from working as an artist due to circumstances-e.g., having children, caring for family members, long-term illness, etc.). Music creators who have been generating new work for more than 10 years (excluding any time spent as a student) are generally not eligible, even if they feel under-recognized. Such artists with more than 10 years in the field who wish to discuss eligibility-based on circumstances (weather personal or geographic) or on specific creative practice consideration (i.e, the scale of work and/or extended creative cycles necessary to complete a single work)- should contact Billy Lackey, ACF Vice President of Artist Services before Friday, May 7, 2021 to discuss eligibility in advance of submitting an application.
  • Have completed and publicly presented works. Works created and presented while in a degree-granting program are not eligible for meeting this requirement.
  • Have at least 1 work on your resume that has been supported by a presenting organization (that is not your own organization, if applicable) or funder (for a project grant from either a foundation or a federal, state, or local arts agency). Self-presented work or work created and presented while in a degree-granting program is not eligible for meeting this requirement.
  • Curators will rely on materials submitted in this application to assess the review criteria.
  •  This opportunity is not for beginning artists who have never created music, whose generated new work has yet to be publicly shared, or without a sufficient body of completed work that a panel can use to assess your artistic development over time.
  • Age is not a factor in determining eligibility.
  • Artists who are mid-career or established are not eligible.
  • Artist will be considered beyond early career and ineligible if they have:
    • Received consistent significant financial support for their artistic work from foundations and/or federal, state, or local arts agencies for multiple different projects.
    • Considerable bodies of work and are consistently touring and being produced by organizations (not your own organization).
    • Garnered significant regional or national prizes or awards in recognition or support of the creation and/or public presentation of multiply different works, including but not limited to: Grammy Awards, United States Artists Awards, Creative Capital Awards, MAP grants and/or Fulbright Fellowships, ASCAP Foundation or BMI Awards, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Chamber Music America Grants, New Music USA Awards, Commission or touring grants from national or regional performance venues. Receipt of one of these grants and awards does not make an artist ineligible-it is the receipt of multiple grants and awards for multiple projects that, taken as a whole, move an artist to mid-career or beyond.
    • Received recognition in the form of awards, commissions, residencies or funding opportunities that are specifically categorized as mid-career.
    • Received awards or prizes in recognition of significant cumulative career achievement (including but not limited to the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, The American Prize, Guggenheim Fellowship, or the MacArthur Fellowship).
    • Have a full-time tenured faculty position (or the equivalent).

Recognizing that different funders may define “mid-career” in different ways, artists who have received mid-career awards but consider themselves still in an early career stage should contact Billy Lackey, ACF VP of Artist Services before Friday, May 7, 2021 to discuss eligibility in advance of submitting an application.

Mid-career or established artists from fields other than music will not be considered early career. For example, a new media artist with a substantial career who is now moving into creating music will not be considered early career for the purposes of this commission.

Exclusive Application

  • Applicants (music creators and collaborators) may only be a part of one application.

Sit Out Period:

  •  Two Years (2018/2019 and 2019/2020 ACF | create music creators and their collaborators are ineligible)
  • Any Creators and Their Collaborators with In-progress Projects Awarded Prior to 2018 by ACF with Funding Provided by the Jerome Foundation Are Ineligible.
  • ACF | create funds may not support costs or activities supporting the artist(s) through other Jerome Foundation-funded grants or programs.

No Conflict of Interest

  • American Composers Forum and the Jerome Foundation administrative staff, board of directors, and their family members are ineligible.

Not enrolled as a full-time student in a degree-granting education program.

  •  Applicants can not be enrolled full-time in any degree-granting programs (K-12, undergraduate, or graduate) in any field. Applicants who are or will be students enrolled full-time in a degree granting programs are ineligible. Ph.D. and DMA candidates who have completed all requirements except their dissertation may apply.   

Early Stage Works

  • Proposed works should be at an early stage in their development, and must not be finished by the time of application. Works must be scheduled to premiere after September 30, 2021. Supported projects must be completed within five years of the award date.

SELECTION PROCESS

ACF staff reviews all applications for eligibility and completeness. A diverse committee of five curators familiar with a range of music will have access to all materials submitted. Curators convene via Zoom over a three-day period to make final determinations. Curators will remain anonymous until after the results are announced in August 2021.

Some of the past curators for ACF | create (formerly JFund) include Linda Antas, Nicolas Lell Benavides, Samantha Boshnack, Theron Brown, Lisa Renee Coons, Vinny Golia, Eric Gould, Kristin Kuster, Mari Kimura, HyeKyung Lee, Shawn Okpebholo, Meg Okura, Ingrid Stӧlzel, David Smooke, Melinda Wagner, and Michael Woods.

The American Composers Forum staff who oversee ACF | create do not contribute to the decision-making process or the selection of the artists. The role of the staff is to provide clarity for the review process and ensure that the curator’s review and the discussions proceed in accordance with the program’s guidelines.

KEY EVALUATION CRITERIA

  • Sample materials are imaginative, compelling, and exhibit a high level of craft.
  • Connection of the primary artist and collaborator(s) with intended audiences/participants.
  • Bold and risk-taking plan for the commission that expands the aesthetic or social experience in music and/or revives traditional forms in original ways. The proposed commission is engaging aesthetically and experientially.
  • Level of commitment by the collaborator to supporting the authentic voice of the music creator by performing, presenting and furthering the commissioned work.
  • Relevance of the Production and Promotion Support Funds to deepen the work and further the artist’s work.
  • The final pool of curated artists will reflect a range of projects diverse in creative methodology, gender, race, and ethnicity.

The American Composers Forum staff who oversee ACF | create do not contribute to the decision-making process or the selection of the artists. The role of the staff is to provide clarity for the review process and ensure that the curator’s review and the discussions proceed in accordance with the program’s guidelines.

NOTIFICATION 

The curators’ decision is final and will be announced in August 2021. Results will be posted on ACF’s website and applicants will be notified by email. After the 2021 ACF | create commissioned artists and collaborating partners are announced, all applicants will have an opportunity to set up a phone appointment with ACF’s vice president of artist services for feedback from the panelists.

COLLABORATING PARTNERS

The Collaborating Partner is someone other than you; typically, a performer, ensemble, or presenter. Your Collaborating Partner can be located anywhere in the world. If you perform in your own work, then the Collaborating Partner needs to be a presenter or someone who will be producing the performance. This Collaborating Partner provides a Commitment Letter indicating enthusiasm to perform, present, and promote the proposed work. The letter of support should describe plans for the premiere and any additional activities that increase the visibility of the work and the artist. The Collaborating Partner can only be a part of one application and can’t partner with multiple music creator applicants. Make sure your Collaborating Partner has not agreed to be a part of another 2021 ACF | create application and are not partners of:

  • 2018/2019 and 2019/2020 ACF | create commissions
  • Any In-progress Projects Awarded Prior to 2018 by ACF with Funding Provided by the Jerome Foundation
  •  ACF | create funds may not support costs or activities supporting the artist(s) through other Jerome Foundation-funded grants or programs.

If multiple Music Creator Applicants list the same Collaborating Partner, the first commitment letter received/submitted with the completed application will be accepted and all other subsequent applicants will be asked to find another Collaborating Partner.

HOW TO APPLY

The music creator applicant completes or uploads the following in the Online Application Form via the SlideRoom Application System. For an overview of SlideRoom, visit https://help.liaisonedu.com/SlideRoom_Applicant_Help_Center/Starting_Your_SlideRoom_Application/Getting_Started_with_Your_SlideRoom_Application .