Attention Artists: The Obama Foundation Wants You to Apply for Its New Fellowship

Participants will help shape the fellowship in its first year.

US President Barack Obama addresses troops with First Lady Michelle Obama at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kailua on December 25, 2016. Photo Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images.
US President Barack Obama addresses troops with First Lady Michelle Obama at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kailua on December 25, 2016. Photo Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images.

Artists have a new opportunity to network and develop projects aimed at civic good, courtesy of none other than Barack and Michelle Obama, via their foundation.

Twenty “community-minded rising stars,” among them “organizers, creators, educators, artists, entrepreneurs, and journalists,” will be selected for the first round of the Obama Foundation Fellowship. They will enjoy expense-paid trips to confabs with all the other fellows. The two-year, non-residential fellowship invites applicants from around the world.

The Obama Foundation specifically seeks artists who are at a turning point in their careers, but who currently lack access to the networks that can help take their work to a bigger stage.

Author and podcast host Tyler Green first noted the foundation’s request for artist applications to the new initiative on Twitter.

There’s an uncommon opportunity for the first class as well. The foundation’s announcement points out that the inaugural group of fellows will be able to help shape the program for future participants. Additionally, a representative of the foundation told artnet News via email that the Obama foundation will consult with experts in the field to select fellows, adding that the foundation sees art and culture as integral to the social sphere.

N.B.: The announcement of the fellowship specifies that it’s open to “good humans” with a “strong moral character,” hinting that especially edgy or challenging applications may not find favor.

The open call for applications closes at 6 p.m. Central time on October 6th; the chosen few will be notified in February 2018; the first fellowship gathering takes place in April of next year in the Chicago area, where the foundation has its headquarters.


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