in creating exchanges, experiences, and structures to enact social change
How To Apply
This year we streamlined the application process and are no longer asking for preliminary Letters of Interest. All interested and eligible applicants will submit their full narrative application and supplementals, with only finalists having to submit more detailed budgets and timelines. Full application details and timeline are below.
You will need to submit the following materials by the Open Call deadline:
- A max 2000-word project narrative that describes your project
- Up to 10 images
- Up to 5 supplemental documents or links (press clips, critic reviews, catalog text, videos, your own creative or analytical writing samples)
- A CV (or multiple CV’s if applying as a collective)
- An informational diagram that describes your stakeholder network and/or project participation
Starting in 2018 this is a two-step application process. Semi-finalists from the first round will be invited to participate in a phone call to determine finalists. Finalists will be asked to provide a budget and a timeline, and be invited to an in-person or video conference interview with ABOG staff.
- October 9, 2018, 6-8PM (EST): Fellowship Workshop with ABOG Fellow Miguel Luciano (Brooklyn, NY)
- November 16, 2018, 11:59 PM (EST): Open call closes
- February 4, 2019: Semi-Finalists selected, all applicants notified
- February 5-12, 2019: Semi-Finalist short phone interviews/feedback
- February 19, 2019: Finalist budgets & timelines due
- February 22-28, 2019: Finalist Interviews, in-person or video conference
- Mid-March, 2019: Selected Fellows notified
- May 9-11, 2019: Fellows’ orientation (mandatory)
Issue-based Fellowship: ABOG-David Rockefeller Joint Fellowship in Criminal Justice
This fellowship examines the transformational roles artists play in a criminal justice context. Applicants working in criminal justice are automatically considered, there is no separate application required.
Interested in joining a small working group? Let us know at email@example.com and we’ll introduce you via email to two other artists interested in independently reviewing each other’s proposals. All applications benefit from being reviewed for clarity by people not associated with the project.
Not sure whether your project is a good fit? Have questions about the application process? Send us a short 3-5 sentence description of your project via email (not your full proposal) to: firstname.lastname@example.org. We will get back to you in 2-3 business days.
Please send us final questions by 5 PM (EST) on Friday, November 9, 2018.
Writing about a socially engaged art project is difficult! Here are some helpful tips:
- Don’t rely on jargon or name recognition! There is a community organizer on the committee that reviews your proposal who does not primarily function in the art world.
- Be sure to balance a strong articulation of your artistic vision and a clear “who-what-when- where” description of the process and outcomes.
- Address how you and your partners would collaborate with ABOG in field research.
- Get feedback! Make sure your application reads clearly to someone who doesn’t know about the project.
- Click here to download two sample applications written by 2018 Fellows Rachel Barnard and Miguel Luciano.
How do we evaluate the artistic value of the project?
- We understand that artistic value is subjective, which is why we strive for a diversity of perspectives amongst our selection committee. However, it is helpful for the applicant to articulate “where the art is” in the project.
- Does the artist have a strong track record?
- Is it aesthetically compelling or formally innovative?
- Can it act as a leading example in the field of socially engaged art?
- Do the work samples and supplementals give us a good idea of the artist(s)’ approach to the proposed project? If not, can the applicant explain why?
- Is the project ambitious? If this project is ongoing, does this proposal represent meaningful growth in the project?
Most socially engaged projects benefit from being represented in a sketch that clarifies participation and process. There is no single way to do this! Just make sure you’re clearly representing your project’s process and relationships.
Consider looking at models for inspiration such as stakeholder maps, flow charts, blocking diagrams, or taxonomies. This is not an art project. Legibility is much more important than drafting skill or artistic expressiveness.
Diagnosing the Competitiveness of Your Proposal
Transparency is a core value of ABOG—we want to give as much information as we possibly can to artists who are applying for the Fellowship. At the same time, we have a small staff and more than 500 people apply to the Fellowship every year, so we simply lack the capacity to offer individual feedback.
In lieu of individualized feedback, we can offer specific diagnostic criteria that you, or a trusted colleague, can apply to your proposal. Some of these are a matter of fit between your project and what we are looking for, and others are about how your project is being described in the proposal.
The Fellowship is designed to support artists that are using great art to enact a social change in the world. Our criteria for reviewing proposals are therefore looking at artistic value, a plan to enact social change, and the quality of the artist’s engagement practice.
Most non-competitive proposals reveal themselves in one of the following ways:
- The project identified a social problem but did not propose an inventive, ambitious, or aesthetically compelling response to it.
- The proposal reflects a gap between the project’s intentions or goals, and the artist’s training, relevant experience, or preparation.
- The artist(s) proposed to work with a community or partner without indicating how they have been (or plan to be) invited to work with it.
- The project lacked a sense of reciprocity or generosity–it involved participants investing significant time and labor to implement the project without their meaningful engagement throughout the creative process or tangible benefit at the end (eg new skills, resources, or connections).
- The artist(s) didn’t communicate an awareness of their bias and privilege in relationship to their collaborators.
- The proposal added a small community engagement component to an otherwise static public art project.
- The project conflated providing greater access to art with social change.
- Many social practice projects take the form of workshops, dialogues, gardens, mobile units, or education. Proposals that do not distinguish this project from many others like it are not competitive.
- The project’s primary impact was limited to the art world.