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Kresge Arts in Detroit will award 18 fellowships – nine in Live Arts and nine in Film & Music – to artists living and working in the tri county area (Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties). In addition, two Gilda Awards, $5,000 prizes solely for emerging artists, will also be awarded – one in each category.

Kresge Artist Fellowships are no strings attached $25,000 awards, plus professional development support, and the creation of a short, documentary-style film highlighting the artist’s work. Artists at all career stages are invited to apply. Fellowships are awarded on the basis of a demonstrated track record of artistic achievement and high-quality work, the potential to grow and advance in their career during the fellowship period, and the potential to reflect, enhance, or impact communities within metro Detroit.

“Artists have been a consistent wellspring of vitality in metro Detroit; they are essential to defining us and our place in the world. Our artists fellowship initiative is one way our foundation seeks to help them continue – and advance – in their work,” says Wendy Lewis Jackson, managing director of The Kresge Foundation’s Detroit Program. “Along with the rest of the community, we look forward to June of each year when we can see the display of talent that Kresge Arts in Detroit brings our community through its rigorous outreach and selection process.”

Key Dates

NOV 1, 2019
Guidelines Available

DEC 2, 2019
Online application opens

JAN 16, 2020 BY 11:59 PM EST
Application deadline


Dance, Choreography, Theatre Directing, Playwriting, Performance Art and Interdisciplinary Work

Film Directing, Screenwriting, Animation, Music Composition, Music Performance, Sound Art and Interdisciplinary Work

Emilio Rodriguez, playwright, co-founder of Black and Brown Theater, and 2017 Kresge Artist Fellow, encourages all eligible artists to apply, noting, “There’s nothing to lose from applying. Whether or not the award is received, the true reward is looking back at all you’ve accomplished and putting it into words which you can use for your own website, grants, fellowships or other applications.” 

Two Gilda Award recipients will be selected from the applications, one in Live Arts and one in Film & Music. Gilda Awards recognize artists who are early in their careers, are gaining momentum, and who demonstrate exceptional potential through creative risk-taking and pushing the boundaries of their chosen art form. Gilda Awards are chosen from the pool of Kresge Artist Fellows applicants. There is no separate application for the Gilda Award.

“Winning the Gilda Award not only provided much needed financial resources so that I could support my full-time artistic practice,” says 2018 Gilda Award recipient and multidisciplinary performance artist Aja “Salakastar” Dier, “it also affirmed that the work I do is valuable and necessary in the landscape of this city, this nation, and the world. Being an independent artist in Detroit (or anywhere for that matter) can be an arduous path. This award came at a challenging time in my career where I was experimenting with new forms and was unsure how the risks I was taking in my work would be received or if I could continue my work here in Detroit in an authentic way. I am so honored to carry on the legacy of Gilda Snowden in making work that is brave, honest, raw, human, original, and authentically Detroit.”

New panels are convened each year, bringing fresh perspectives to the review process. Previous applicants are strongly encouraged to re-apply.

Fellowship applications are only available and can only be submitted online. The online application opens on Monday, December 2, 2019. Applications must be submitted before 11:59 PM EST on Thursday, January 16, 2020.