Grants and Scholarships for Women in the Arts

artsA lot of funding opportunities exist today to support talented female artists. In fact, many successful female artists such as sculptors, painters, and writers alike have benefitted from private and federal donations at one point or another in their careers.

The majority of institutions that offer financial assistance to female artists do so out of the realization that art can be used to create change in the community, and that underrepresented female talent can only contribute as much as their male counterparts if comparable financial support is provided.

If you are a female artist who is limited by lack of finances, you should know the various options that are available for funding your idea or project and turning it into meaningful art for the enjoyment of society.

Scholarships from the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts (NHFA)The NHFA sponsors Hispanic students who are interested in pursuing graduate art studies at several accredited universities in the U.S. An applicant must be enrolled at any of the following universities; Columbia, UCLA, NYU, USC, Yale, Northwestern, UT Austin, or Havard. Applicants are only eligible if both parents are half Hispanic or if at least one parent is a full Hispanic. You must also be a permanent resident or a citizen of the U.S in order to qualify.

NHFA sponsors Hispanic female artists who have demonstrated financial need and have submitted a letter of recommendation from an employer or school instructor. Selected candidates can use the allocated funds to finance studies in film, theatre, communications, and entertainment. Stipend amounts for each applicant are determined by the foundation.

The CAA travel grant in memory of Archibald Cason Edwards, Senior, and Sarah Stanley Gordon EdwardsThe College Art Association (CAA) supports and promotes individuals and institutions that engange in teaching, practice, and research of visual arts and humanities. Under the CAA, the Committee of Women in the Arts (CWA) specifically supports female art scholars by providing them with college funding and connecting them to other resources for scholarly study.

The CAA feminist travel grant is specifically given to female art scholars whose art research papers have been selected for presentation at the annual CAA conference. Qualifying for this grant covers all your expenses related to travel, accomodation, and entry to the conference for its entire period.

To be eligible you must be a doctorate degree student in your final year of study or you must be a PhD graduate. However, you will only receive travel funds if you graduated no more than two years before to the date of application.

The Kentucky Foundation for WomenIf you are a female artist with a goal of impacting your community through art for social change, the Kentucky Foundation for Women is the right partner for you. This foundation offers grants for women in the arts whose work involves portraiture, sculptures, plays, songs, and other forms of art that focus on female subjects.

Open to beginner and established artists, this foundation awards between $1,000 and $7,500 annually to each qualifying female applicant of the Artist Enrichment Grant. A similar amount is also available to applicants of the Art Meets Activism grant.

You can apply for funding either as an individual artist or as an organization residing or based in Kentucky, U.S.A. Grants are approved only for non-profit organizations. Funding must be used only on art projects that will bring positive social change to female residents of Kentucky.

The Kentucky Foundation for Women approves grants for female artists irrespective of race, sexual orientation, academic qualification, and income status. Applicants must submit a detailed portfolio of their works in performing arts, media, literary arts, and visual arts.

Grants and scholarships from A Room of Her Own Foundation (AROHO) – Set up as a non-profit organization, AROHO gives opportunities to talented women to explore and develop their talents in literature. AROHO funds female writers aged 18 and above through several annual fellowships and grants.

Eligible artists can apply for one of four awards; The $10,000 Shakespeare’s Sisters Fellowship Award, The $50,000 Gift of Freedom Award, The $1,000 Lighthouse and Clarissa Dalloway Book Prize, and The $1,000 Orlando Prize.

In addition to being a playwright, you must have completed at least one full-length play to qualify for the Gift of Freedom Award or the Shakespeare’s Sisters Fellowship Award. However, the other awards offer opportunity for less-established female playwrights to get recognition for their works. Beyond these grants for female artists, AROHO biennial retreats also provide the opportunity for new writers to meet and interact with established playwrights who can become their continuing mentors.

Awards are granted through a competition process to legal residents of the U.S or applicants residing in the U.S for the entire period of a fellowship.

The Leeway Foundation GrantsThese grants are offered to talented women living within Philadelphia, Montgomery, and Delaware Valley regions in the U.S. Before applying, you should note that your submitted work must demonstrate the ability to create positive social change. The Leeway Foundation supports women and trans-gender artists whose goal is to use various forms of art to raise awareness and conciousness of the public to critical issues in society.

Financially needy applicants are eligible to receive up to $2,500 through the Art and Change grant and up to $15,000 from the Transformation Award.

Although the Leeway Foundation Transformation Award is not limited to a specific form of art, you will only receive funding if you prove that your art for positive social impact has been creating a benefit for at least five years. This is in line with the Leeway Foundation’s goal to work with artists who show long-term commitment to creating art for change.

How to Increase Your Chances of Getting Art Scholarships and Grants

  • Before you begin to apply for any grants for women in the arts, you must choose a specific field of study. Funding is often provided in categories such as painting scholarships, scholarships for female sculptors, and other specific art disciplines. Understanding your specific talent enables you to narrow down specific organizations that can sponsor you.
  • Prepare a portfolio. Many art scholarships and grants are given on basis of artistic potential rather than on pure academic qualifications. A portfolio of your works should include several pictures of different art projects or samples of other art works which will be submitted during the application process.

If you are a minority art student, you should consider general minority scholarships for needy students. Other than specific funding for art students, you can get funding from general minority scholarships for female students. These funds are usually not limited to specific degrees, so once you qualify you can utilize them to cover your art educational expenses.

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