McKnight Artist Fellowship Logo

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.

 Current Participants

2020 panelists were composers Carolina Heredia (Columbia, MO), Donovan Mixon (Evanston, IL), and Beth Wiemann (Maynard, MA).

Kathy McTavish
Kathy McTavish
Ted Olson
Ted Olsen
Davu Seru
Davu Seru
Anat Spiegel
Anat Spiegel
Davu Seru photo courtesy of Saint Paul Almanac; Anat Spiegel photo by Yaël Temminck



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


  • Four fellowships of $25,000 in unrestricted funds will be awarded. Awards are subject to state and federal income tax guidelines.

2021Guidelines Will Be Posted Here in December 2020


  • 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 midcareer 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 artistic discipline within a year.
  • You have not been a recipient of a McKnight Artist Fellowship within any artistic discipline in the last five years. Recipients of 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 McKnight Fellowships in any discipline are not eligible.
  • You must demonstrate growth and on going artistry since your most recent McKnight Artist Fellowship.
  • You are not staff, board, or immediate family of the McKnight Foundation or fellowship administrative partners. See the list of all partner organizations. (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)
  • You may not be enrolled full-time in an academic program.

Selection Process

The McKnight Fellowships for Composers provide recognition for midcareer music creators working in any genre. 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.

A panel of three music creators from outside Minnesota selected for their familiarity with diverse genres of music 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.

The American Composers Forum 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 panel’s review and the discussions proceed in accordance with the program guidelines.


The panel’s decision will be announced in June, 2020. Results will be posted on ACF’s website and applicants will be notified by email. After the 2020 McKnight Fellowships for Composers and Visiting Composer Residencies are announced, all applicants will have the opportunity to setup a phone appointment with ACF’s Vice President of Programs for comments from the panelists.





Google Drive:


INFORMATION SESSIONS for 2021 will be posted here in December 2020



2019 panelists were composers Gavin Chuck (Chicago, IL), Elainie Lillios (Bowling Green OH), and Gilda Lyons (Rhinebeck, NY)

Aleksandr Brusentsev
Aleksandr Brusentsev
James G. Everest
James G. Everest
Asuka Kakitani
Asuka Kakitani
Stefon Bionik Taylor
Stefon Bionik Taylor
Aleksandr Brusentsev photo by Joe Sarah; James G. Everest photo by Erin Westover; Asuka Kakitani photo by Hanayo Takai; Stefon Bionik Taylor photo by Brandon Sweet



2018 Panelists: Marcos BalterAmy Knoles, and Osnat Netzer

Joshua Clausen
Joshua Clausen
Scott L. Miller
Scott L. Miller
JC Sanford
JC Sanford
Tiffany M. Skidmore
Tiffany M. Skidmore


2017 Panelists: Fang Man, Ken Field, and Marilyn Shrude

deVon Russell Gray
Linda Kachelmeier
Linda Kachelmeier
Andrea Mazzariello
Andrea Mazzariello
Jake Runestad
Jake Runestad


2016 Panelists: Susan Botti, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Douglas Geers

Asako Hirabayashi
Asako Hirabayashi
Sergey Khvoshchinsky
Sergey Khvoshchinsky
David Means
David Means
Joko Sutrisno
Joko Sutrisno








  • 2015: Abbie Betinis, David King, Reinaldo Moya, Peter O’Gorman
    Panelists: David Dzubay, Aruán Ortiz, Zeena Parkins
  • 2014: Alex Freeman, Jocelyn Hagen, Michelle Kinney, George Maurer
    Panelists: Amir ElSaffar, Stacy Garrop, and Daniel Trueman
  • 2013: Randy Bauer, Scott Miller, Joshua Musikantow and David Evan Thomas
    Panelists: Anne LeBaron, Nicole Mitchell and Sven-David Sandstrom
  • 2012: Viv Corringham, Christopher Danforth, Douglas R. Ewart and Steve Tibbetts
    Panelists: Nancy Galbraith, Graham Reynolds, Huang Ruo
  • 2011:Elizabeth Alexander, Justin Merritt, Jeremy Wagner and Spencer Wirth-Davis
  • Panelists: Linda Dusman, J.D. Parran and Jack Perla
  • 2010: Neal Hagberg, Jocelyn Hagen, Ann Millikan and Peter O’Gorman
  • Panelists: Fernando Benadon, David Conte and Mary Jane Leach
  • 2009: Abbie Betinis, Mankwe Ndosi, Schuyler Tsuda and Janika Vandervelde
  • Panelists: Derek Bermel, Jennifer Bilfield and Newman Baker
  • 2008: John E. Bower, Brent Michael Davids, Philip Fried and Noah Keesecker
  • Panelists: Mark Applebaum, Margaret Leng-Tan and David Stock
  • 2007:Douglas Ewart, Douglas Geers, Adam Wernick and Preston Wright
  • Panelists: Susie Ibarra, Matthew Levy and Steven Stucky
  • 2006:Mary Ellen Childs, Viv Corringham, Edie Hill and Aaron Kerr
  • Panelists: Milford Graves, Belinda Reynolds and Neil Rolnick
  • 2005:Yawo Attivor, Carol Barnett, Eric Barnum and Thomas Scott
  • Panelists: Fred Frith, Anthony deMare and Ileana Perez Velazquez
  • 2004:Ruth MacKenzie, Mike Olson, Matthew Smith and Ying Zang
  • Panelists: Jason Hwang, Alex Shapiro and Kevin Stahlheim
  • 2003: Michael Croswell, Jeffrey Brooks, Janika Vandervelde and George Cartwright
  • Panelists: Eleanor Hovda, Robert Moran and Roger Kleier
  • 2002: Brent Michael Davids, James Harley, Barb Ryman and Preston Wright
  • Panelists: Joel Chadabe, Melissa Hui and David Cleary
  • 2001:Steve Heitzeg, John O’Brien, Scott Miller and Edie Hill
  • Panelists: Chinary Ung, Eve Beglarian and Philip Bimstein
  • 2000: Erik Belgum, Douglas Ewart, John Jindra, David Means and Victor Zupanc
  • Panelists: Bill Brooks, Tamar Diesendruck and Adolphus Hailstork
  • 1999: Chris Bates, Dan Kallman, Anne Kilstofte, Monte Mason and Carei Thomas
  • Panelists: Ellen Christi, Allen Strange and Regina Baiocchi
  • 1998:Maura Bosch, Jeffrey Brooks, Doug Little and Carl Witt
  • Panelists: John Duffy, Fred Ho and Judith Shatin
  • 1997: Mary Ellen Childs, Anthony Gatto, Michael Karmon, Schoen Oslund and Gary Wolber
  • Panelists: Sebastian Currier, Anne Deane and Gustavo Matamoros
  • 1996:Keith Bradshaw, Jan Gilbert, Edie Hill, Michael Nelson, Richard Paske and Russell Platt
  • Panelists: Orlando Garcia, James Tenney and Augusta Reed Thomas
  • 1995: Ellen Lease, David Means, Kevin Schmidt, Gary Schulte, Lorren Stafford and Zhang Ying
  • Panelists: Warren Burt, Fran Richard and Lois Vierk
  • 1994:John Baboukis, Jeffrey Brooks, Craig Carnahan, Anne Kilstofte, Ethan Torrey, Janika Vandervelde and Victor Zupanc
  • Panelists: Bun-Ching Lam, Susan McClary and Larry Polansky
  • 1993:Marc Anderson, Tristan Fuentes, Marjorie Hess, William Lang, Carleton Macy, Lori Westmoreland-Schoenfeld, Paul Siskind and Steve Tibbetts
  • Panelists: Mary Ann Feldman, Steven Mackey and Larry Polansky
  • 1992:Mary Ellen Childs, Douglas Ewart, Cary John Franklin, Henry Gwiazda, Paul Koonce, Charles McHugh, Monica Maye and David Evan Thomas
  • Panelists: Robert Paredes, Jeanette O’Connor and Vincent Plush
  • 1991:John Devine, Jan Gilbert, Eleanor Hovda, Daniel Kallman, Homer Lambrecht and David Means
  • Panelists: Carman Moore, Ingram Marshall and Marion Brandis
  • 1990: Carl Bergmann, Jeffrey Brooks, Arthur Campbell, Mark Hellum, David John Olsen and Eric Stokes
  • Panelists: Cindy McTee, Martin Bresnick and Elinor Armer
  • 1989: Marc Anderson, Michelle Kinney and Ellen Lease
  • Panelists: Reggie Workman, Alice Parker and James Mobberley
  • 1988:Miriam Gerberg, Jan Gilbert, Eleanor Hovda and Sarah Peebles
  • Panelists: Kenneth Gaburo, Alan Otte and Carol Plantamura
  • 1987: Mary Ellen Childs, Randall Davidson and Philip Rhodes
  • Panelists: Michael Fleming, Ed London and Nancy Shear