About the Fellowship

We look at the process and relationships of socially engaged art projects.

We see the aesthetic qualities of socially engaged art in how alliances are formed and maintained, the way disparate stakeholder groups are coordinated, how power dynamics are navigated, and how bridges are built between many different types of people within a socially engaged art project.

We create content that illuminates and deepens understanding of these relationships. A primary goal of ABOG is to make the “invisible” parts of socially engaged art visible. We do this through documentary films and field research that are artist-led, and are grounded in the perspective of project participants, as well as publications, web content, and public programming.

We also use this focus on process and relationships to advocate for a more expanded sense of what art is, how artists can work in communities, and how art might be integrated into everyday life. Our field research, documentary films, and other content serve as the basis for curriculum, toolkits, and consulting that enable more artists to work in partnership with non-artist stakeholders.

The deadline to apply is September 18, 2017, 11:59 PM (EST)

Fellowship projects become the focus of:

  • A short, engaging documentary film directed and produced by RAVA Films
  • Field research that utilizes action research methodology
  • Web content and public programs
  • A biennial publication
  • Curriculum and advocacy that advance the field of socially engaged art
  • Two dedicated opportunities to engage a cohort of peer artists

To realize this partnership, artists receive $20,000 in minimally restricted support.

Click here to meet our current and past Fellows, watch our Fieldworks series of short documentary films, and get a sense of the public programs we present.

Download the "Get to Know Us" Booklet

Art and artists are vitally important, so we encourage you to take a moment to consider fit and eligibility before committing your valuable time and energy to the application process.


Eligibility requirements for the ABOG Fellowship for Socially Engaged Art:

  • Artists or artist collectives working independently of a 501c3 nonprofit are eligible. If you are working under a registered 501c3, you are not eligible to apply
  • If you are a collective, you must submit one application. Multiple applications for collectives are not permitted
  • Anyone registered as a student at the time of applying is not eligible
  • Applicants must be US citizens or US residents with legal work status
  • Applicants must be at least 25 years of age
  • You are not eligible if you have received an ABOG Fellowship as an individual or as part of an artist collective in the last 3 years

Fit with Fellowship

To ensure fit, ask yourself the following questions before applying:

  • Do I, and do my partners, want to collaborate with ABOG’s documentary crew and a field researcher to generate creative content about my project?
  • What are the stories of my project? Is storytelling a good lens for understanding my work?
  • What is the transformation, or problem that is being solved by the project?
  • Who is my project? Can I make an informative stakeholder map, or otherwise represent project participation?

Issue-Based Fellowships

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.

ABOG Fellowship for Contemplative Practice, in partnership with the Hemera Foundation

  • This fellowship supports artists who work with the intersection of social practice and contemplative practice.
  • Applicants who would like to be considered will be asked to answer two supplementary questions in the online submission form. Click here to learn more and read FAQs.

How To Apply

The first round of our open call requires you to submit the following:

  • A 500-word letter of intent that describes your project
  • A url to a website that showcases your project or body of work
  • A CV (or multiple CV’s if applying as a collective)
  • An informational diagram that describes your stakeholder network and/or project participation

Click here to access the online application form. Letters of interest are due September 18, 2017, 11:59 PM (EST)

Helpful Tips | FAQ

Successful applications at the first stage of the application process will:

  • Clearly describe a project that ignites aesthetic interest and relates meaningfully to our curatorial statement
  • Describe a community that is open to collaborate with a field researcher and ABOG’s film production staff

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 who has no real experience with the art world on the committee that reviews your proposal
  • 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 creating a documentary film and field research
  • Get feedback! Make sure your letter reads clearly to someone who doesn’t know about the project

Informational Diagram

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.

Application Timeline

This is a two-step application process. Semi-finalists from the first round will be invited to submit a full application with an extended narrative, budget, and a timeline.

  • Open call closes: September 18, 2017, 11:59 PM (EST)
  • Notification to applicants: Begins November 6, 2017
  • Full application due: January 5, 2018
  • Notification to applicants: Begins January 29, 2018
  • Finalist interviews: January 29 – February 9, 2018
  • Notification to selected Fellows: Begins March 13, 2018
  • Fellows’ orientation (mandatory): May 3-5, 2018

Click here to access the online application form. Letters of interest are due September 18, 2017, 11:59 PM (EST)


Not sure whether your project is a good fit? Have questions about the application process? Send us a short description via email (not the whole application document), and allow 2-3 business days for a response: info@abladeofgrass.org

Please send us final questions by 5 PM (EST) on Thursday, September 14.

Interested in joining a small working group? Let us know at info@abladeofgrass.org and we’ll introduce you via email to two other artists interested in independently reviewing each other’s proposals.

Sign ups for working groups are now closed.