McKnight Composer Fellowships

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Monday, April 19, 2021

The McKnight Foundation’s Arts program is one of the oldest and largest of its kind in the country. Established in 1981, the McKnight Artist Fellowships provide annual, unrestricted cash awards to outstanding mid-career Minnesota artists in fourteen areas. Twelve arts organizations oversee the administration of the fellowships and structure their own program to respond to the unique challenges of different creative disciplines: book artists, ceramic artists, choreographers, composers, community – engaged practice artists, dancers, fiber artists, media artists, performing musicians, playwrights, printmakers, theater arts, visual arts, and writers; administered respectively by the Minnesota Center for Books, Northern Clay Center, The Cowles Center, American Composers Forum, Pillsbury House Theatre, Textile Center, FILMN°RTH, MacPhail Center for Music, The Playwrights’ Center, Highpoint Center for Printmaking, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and The Loft.

The American Composers Forum encourages applicants from the full range of musical styles, and is committed to supporting a diverse pool of artists who demonstrate compelling artistic work. 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 MCKNIGHT COMPOSER FELLOWSHIP GUIDLEINES 

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.

Download a PDF of the complete guidelines, HERE.

ONLINE APPLICATION DEADLINE: MONDAY, APRIL 19, 2021 (11:59 PM CENTRAL)

The American Composers Forum (ACF) is pleased to announce the 2021 McKnight Fellowships for Composers. This program is made possible by the generous support of the McKnight Foundation.

The McKnight Foundation’s Arts program is one of the oldest and largest of its kind in the country. Established in 1981, the McKnight Artist Fellowships provide annual, unrestricted cash awards to outstanding mid-career Minnesota artists in fourteen areas. Twelve arts organizations oversee the administration of the fellowships and structure their own program to respond to the unique challenges of different creative disciplines: book artists, ceramic artists, choreographers, composers, community-engaged practice artists, dancers, fiber artists, media artists, performing musicians, playwrights, printmakers, theater arts, visual arts, and writers; administered respectively by the Minnesota Center for Books, Northern Clay Center, The Cowles Center, American Composers Forum, Pillsbury House Theatre, Textile Center, FILMN°RTH, MacPhail Center for Music, The Playwrights’ Center, Highpoint Center for Printmaking, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and The Loft.

THE PURPOSE OF THE MCKNIGHT ARTIST FELLOWSHIPS AS DESCRIBED BY THE MCKNIGHT FOUNDATION  

The intent of this program is to recognize and support mid-career artists living and working in Minnesota who demonstrate a sustained level of accomplishment, commitment, and artistic excellence.

ACF frames artistic excellence in terms of models of rigor in our own work.

MCKNIGHT ARTIST FELLOWSHIPS COMMUNITY VALUES

Welcome to the McKnight Artist Fellowships community! The McKnight Foundation and the administering partners for the McKnight Artist Fellowships are committed to creating and supporting an artistic community in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. The community of the McKnight Artist Fellowships includes people who engage with the fellowships program whether as applicants, fellows, panelists, contractors, collaborators, fellowships administrators, and staff of the McKnight Foundation and partnering organizations.

As a community, we commit to creating and maintaining relationships that are free from harm, prejudice, and harassment. Community members agree to communicate directly and transparently regarding issues of conduct that could negatively impact the well-being of participating members and organizations.

In the case of an accusation, legal action, or conviction, the McKnight Foundation and its fellowship program partners may gather and assess relevant information. If deemed necessary, the McKnight Foundation and its fellowship program partners may take administrative action up to and including the recommendation of participation in reconciliation or restorative justice processes; disqualification of an application; the termination of a contract; and the recall and/or termination of a fellowship.

This community will be what we make it and our aim is to collectively create an experience in which all artists and members of the McKnight Artist Fellowships community thrive.

For more information about this statement, read this announcement.

ELIGIBILITY

  • You have or maintain Minnesota residency for at least one year prior to application and for the duration of the fellowship year. You must have a US Social Security Number or US Tax ID.
  • You are mid-career with a body of work that demonstrates a sustained level of accomplishment, commitment, and artistic excellence.
  • You can only apply to one McKnight Artist Fellowship in any artistic discipline within a year.
  • You have not been a recipient of a McKnight Artist Fellowship within any artistic discipline in the last five award years. Recipients of 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 McKnight Fellowships in any discipline are not eligible. 2015 fellows are eligible to apply again for 2021 fellowship awards. Past fellows can search on the McKnight Artists Fellowship webpage to confirm their award year.
  • You demonstrate growth and ongoing artistry since your most recent McKnight Artist Fellowship.
  • You are not staff, board, or immediate family of the McKnight Foundation or fellowship administrative partners (including ACF). See the list of all partner organizations named above. The partners are also shown here: https://www.mcknight.org/programs/arts/the-mcknight-artist-fellowships/
  • You may not be enrolled full-time in an academic program. Low-Residency MFA programs, Ph.D., and DMA candidates who have completed all requirements except their dissertation are not considered “full-time” students.

AWARDS

  • Four fellowships of $25,000 in unrestricted funds will be awarded. Awards are subject to state and federal income tax guidelines.
  • Fellows also have an opportunity to attend an artist residency program coordinated by the Alliance of Artist Communities within two years of the fellowship program.
  • Fellows will have an opportunity to present their work in the Second McKnight Composer Fellowship Biennial scheduled to take place in 2023. Each of the 2020 & 2021 McKnight Composer Fellows will be provided a budget up to $2,000 to hire musicians and/or defray the cost for the presentation of their work. These funds will go directly to the hired artists or production cost specifically for the Fellow’s programmed work. ACF’s Vice President of Artist Services in consultation with the 2020 & 2021 Composer Fellows will hire all musicians and coordinate the production of the McKnight Composer Fellowship Biennial.
  • Consultation, time, and resources from the ACF.
  • Consultation, time, and resources from Springboard for the Arts

SELECTION PROCESS

The McKnight Fellowships for Composers provide recognition for mid-career music creators working in any musical style or approach. The program is designed to award artists whose work is of exceptional artistic craft, who have created a substantial body of work over a period of time, and who are at a career stage that is beyond emerging.

ACF staff review all applicants for eligibility and completeness. A curatorial committee of five music creators and/or advocates from outside Minnesota are selected for their familiarity with diverse musical approaches and will review applications and select fellowship recipients. Applicants are evaluated and selected based on the quality of their work as evidenced in submitted materials, most importantly work samples and body of work. Consideration is given to accomplishments to date, promise for continued development, impact the fellowship will have on the artist, sustained contribution to the creator’s artistic field and to Minnesota’s arts ecosystem.

Past curators have included: Marcos Balter, Susan Botti, Gavin Chuck, Ken Field, Douglas Geers, Carolina Heredia, Amy Knoles, Elainie Lillios, Gilda Lyons, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Fang Man, Donovan Mixon, Osnat Netzer, Marilyn Shrude, and Beth Wiemann.

The ACF staff members who oversee the McKnight Fellowship program do not contribute to the decision-making process or the selection of the McKnight Composer Fellows. The role of the staff is to provide clarity for the review process and to ensure that the curators’ review and the discussions proceed in accordance with the program guidelines.

KEY EVALUATION CRITERIA

ACF encourages applicants from the full range of musical styles, and is committed to supporting a diverse pool of artists who demonstrate compelling artistic work. Accordingly, awards for our programs will represent, as far as possible, artists and projects that are diverse in creative methodology, ethnicity, gender, geography, and race.

 Artistic craft:

  • Strong sense of the creator’s voice
  • Technical proficiency necessary to achieve the desired results
  • Quality of work samples (Quality is always defined by a cultural context)

The applicant has clearly reached the mid-career stage (or beyond) as evidenced by:

  • Significant body of work
  • Creative achievement
  • Sustained contribution to your artistic field and to Minnesota’s arts ecosystem.

NOTIFICATION

The curators’ decision will be announced in July, 2021. Results will be posted on ACF’s website and applicants will be notified by email. After the 2021 McKnight Fellowships for Composers and Visiting Composer Residencies are announced, all applicants will have the opportunity to set up a phone appointment with ACF’s Vice President of Artist Services for comments from the curators.

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 .

The online application can be found here, https://composersforum.org/programs/mcknight-composer-fellowships/