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Metro Detroit artists invited to apply for $25,000 awards in Live Arts and Film & Music


Do you have talent in the arts or film? Would you like to try and turn that talent into a $25,000 fellowship?

You can. Just apply for the Kresge Artist Fellowships in Live Arts and Film & Music. Fellowships. An application guide is available at the Kresge Arts in Detroit website. The online application began Dec. 1 and closes Jan. 21, 2016. Eighteen awardees will be announced in June 2016.

If you live and work in metropolitan Detroit (Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties), you could be one of nine who becomes a Live Arts fellow or one of nine who becomes a Film & Music fellow.

To further whet your desire to apply there’s more. The unrestricted $25,000 prizes are accompanied by a year of intensive professional development support provided by Creative Many.

You need to be working in one of the following disciplines to apply:

  • Live Arts: Choreography, dance, theater directing, performance art, playwriting and interdisciplinary work
  • Film & Music: Animation, film directing, music composition, music performance, screenwriting and interdisciplinary work

The program is funded by The Kresge Foundation and administered by the Kresge Arts in Detroit office at the College for Creative Studies. Kresge Artist Fellowships are awarded to emerging and established artists whose commitment to artistic achievement, in contemporary or traditional forms, is evident in the quality of their work. The fellowship program represents The Kresge Foundation’s desire to advance the careers of artists living and working in the foundation’s hometown, as well as to elevate the profile of metro Detroit’s artistic community.

The Kresge Arts in Detroit office has scheduled an orientation session for artists interested in applying for a fellowship: Navigating the online application: Saturday, Dec. 12, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

The orientation will be held in the Wendell W. Anderson Jr. Auditorium, Walter B. Ford II Building on the campus of the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to attend and are asked to RSVP to confirm attendance.

Here are a couple of examples of people who have won the award in the past.

Kahn Davison

Kahn Davison

Detroit-based Kahn Davison is a 2015 Literary Arts Fellow. He is a music writer for The Metro Times and was formerly an art columnist for The Gazette News and an Arts and Entertainment writer for The Michigan Citizen. He also served as a creative writing instructor at Detroit Impact Community Center and InsideOut Literary Arts Project.

Rola Nashef, a screenwriter, director and producer, received an award for film in 2014. “She uses her experience in the arts and involvement in Detroit’s diverse communities as a catalyst for creative expression and social movement,” Kresge says.

In 2011, she was named one of the “25 New Faces of Independent Film” by Filmmaker Magazine for her debut feature-length film Detroit Unleaded, which she wrote, directed and produced. Nashef was born in Sidon, Lebanon, and raised in Michigan

“The fellowship enabled me to take greater risks in my work and to live my entire life as art,” says playwright and 2014 Kresge Artist Fellow Sherina Rodriguez Sharpe. “I wake up every day excited to create, to build and to collaborate. Kresge Artist Fellowships are a life-changing experience, and I encourage everyone to apply.”

Fellows are selected through an open, competitive process as judged by independent panels of local and national distinguished artists and arts professionals. Previous applicants are strongly encouraged to reapply.

Those who apply for the Kresge Artist Fellowships in Live Arts and Film & Music will also be eligible for a no-strings-attached $5,000 Gilda Award. That award honors the late Detroit artist Gilda Snowden’s legacy of championing and mentoring young, emerging artists. It will support the work of two artists, one in Live Arts and one in Film & Music, who are early in their artistic careers, are gaining momentum and who demonstrate exceptional potential through creative risk-taking and pushing the boundaries of their chosen art form.

Gilda Snowden

Gilda Snowden

Gilda Award will be selected by the same independent panels that select the 18 Kresge Artist Fellows in 2016. Gilda Award recipients are selected from Kresge Artist Fellowship applicants. There is not a separate application for the Gilda Awards.

Kresge Artist Fellowship applications are only available and can only be submitted online. The deadline for submission is Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. In addition to the application guide, an FAQ for applicants, lists of past fellows and Gilda Awardees and other resources are available now at

“The fellowships have had a substantial impact on both the awarded artists and communities throughout metropolitan Detroit,” says Michelle Perron, director of Kresge Arts in Detroit. “The Kresge Foundation’s investment in artists has sparked increased exposure and resources for tri-county artists, and new narratives about Detroit.”

Since 2009, Kresge Arts in Detroit has awarded 126 fellowships and more than $3.5 million to metropolitan Detroit artists. The fellowships recognize creative vision and commitment to excellence within a wide range of artistic disciplines, including artists who have been classically and academically trained, self-taught artists and artists whose art forms have been passed down through cultural and traditional heritage.

Kresge Artist Fellowships will be awarded to artists working in the literary and visual arts in 2017.

Read about the 2015 Kresge Artist Fellows. Follow Kresge Arts in Detroit on Twitter.

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