5th Cohort Artist Fellowships Announced

March 1, 2018

Categories Press Releases

Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis Announces


Reaches $1 Million Milestone

ST. LOUIS (February 27, 2018) – For the fifth year in a row, the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis (RAC) has awarded $20,000 fellowships to ten local artists as part of its annual Artist Fellowship program. With this fifth round of grants, RAC has now awarded a total of $1 million to help regional artists further their artistic careers.

Instead of supplying funds for a specific project, the Artist Fellowships allow for    the development of the individual artist’s craft, providing the crucial gift of time to study, reflect, experiment, explore and create. These awards are not grants in the traditional sense. These fellowships are considered a financial endowment or investment in the careers of St. Louis artists.  Recipients can use the funds to buy materials or studio space, pay collaborators, or even take sabbaticals, or engage in residencies to focus on their art. The RAC Artist Fellowship program is one of only a few multi-disciplinary fellowship programs of its kind in the United States.

The program was inspired, in part, by a survey conducted by RAC and funded by the Kresge Foundation in 2012. The survey found that one of the most pressing needs for regional artists is financial support to pursue their art. The following year, 2013, a total of $200,000 was awarded to the first 10 fellowship recipients.

The latest fellowship recipients represent a wide variety of disciplines including visual arts, theater, music, literature, craft, media arts, and design. The 10 winners were selected from a total of 176 applicants after an in-depth review by 26 expert readers, a community advisory committee, and RAC Commissioners. A complete list of the artists and their bios can be found here.

The 10 RAC Artist Fellowship Recipients
Ellie Balk – Visual
Lamar Harris – Music
James Ibur – Craft and Traditional
Kahlil Irving – Craft and Traditional
Edward McPherson – Literature
De Nichols – Design
Kim Portnoy – Music
Justin Reed – Literature
Jacqueline Thompson – Theatre
Brett Williams – Media

If you have any questions about the Artist Fellowships, please contact James F. Anderson, Director of Grants at james@racstl.org or 314-863-5811.

About the Regional Arts Commission www.racstl.org
The Regional Arts Commission (RAC) is at the forefront of efforts to transform St. Louis into a more vibrant, creative and economically thriving community by elevating the vitality, value and visibility of the arts. It is the largest annual funder of the arts in the region, and since its inception in 1985, RAC has awarded more than 7,000 grants totaling over $100 million to support nonprofit arts, individual artists, cultural organizations, consortiums and programs. Directed by a board of 15 commissioners appointed by the chief executives of St. Louis City and St. Louis County, RAC is a pivotal force in the continuing development and marketing of the arts in the region. Visit www.racstl.org for more information, or follow us on Facebook at Regional Arts Commission or Twitter @RACStLouis.

Arts and cultural events are waiting around every corner throughout the St. Louis region. Explore the abundant creativity our area has to offer. From gallery shows and performances to public installations, St. Louis is rich with culture and the arts in all forms. Browse these links to experience our arts community firsthand.


Due to the ongoing financial impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Regional Arts Commission (RAC) has been working diligently to adjust our annual grantmaking programs to ensure alignment with RAC’s strategic priorities, and in response to feedback from the arts community.


We have gathered a variety of news, information, and other resources to sustain the health and vibrancy of our arts community.


As the leading public catalyst for arts and culture in St. Louis, the Regional Arts Commission leverages the power of creativity to strengthen and enrich our community. Read our commitment to diversity, racial equity, accessibility, and inclusion, and see our strategic plan for the next five years.


Covid-19 has impacted us all. But what it hasn’t changed is RAC’s commitment to finding innovative ways to support arts programming, arts organizations, and individual artists through the pandemic, and to resuming these programs as soon as conditions allow.


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