Luminarts Cultural Foundation Fellowship

Applications for open Fellowship Programs are listed below. For general questions about program eligibility please visit our Frequently Asked Questions page or contact Luminarts at info@luminarts.org or 312-435-5961.


Luminarts has recently made revisions to the application process for Project Grants. Please read the information below.

Before Submitting Your Application

Luminarts Fellows are encouraged to apply for funding of projects that break new ground artistically, professionally, and personally. While Project Grants aim to support a broad and diverse scope of career development opportunities for Fellows, Project Grant proposals are strongest when they demonstrate a significant and pivotal impact on the individual Fellow and their career trajectory in the arts. The Review Committee also takes into account if the project addresses relevant social issues and its potential impact on the community.

In addition, Fellows who have not yet applied for a project grant in the past must contact Luminarts’ Executive Director, Jason Kalajainen prior to submitting a project grant proposal; to discuss the project in detail, the budget, and ask any questions that may increase the quality and overall impact of the project being proposed. Contact Jason at jason@luminarts.org to set up a time to meet via phone. Fellows are asked to do this no later than February 25, 2021 for the March 15 application deadline. If you have previously applied for a project grant you are not required to schedule a meeting with Jason prior to your submission.  At the completion of your project you will be required to schedule a summary meeting with Luminarts' Program Director, Leslie Haviland.


Please note that Luminarts Fellows are eligible to receive Project Grant funding only one time per 12 month period.


The next deadline for Fellow Project Grants is March 15, 2021. Fellows will be notified three to four weeks after the deadline regarding the status of their proposal. For proposals that have been approved for funding, grant checks will be issued within three weeks after being notified that the project has been funded.


While these grants may be used for a broad array of career development opportunities, applicants must demonstrate how the funding will support this development, and how the funded experience will in turn benefit the Chicago community. Luminarts Fellows, including first- and second-place award recipients as of 2010, are eligible to apply for Project Grants.  

Project Grant Guidelines

  • Applicants must be designated a Luminarts Fellow (or have been a 1st or 2nd place winner in a Foundation competition since 2010)
  • While applicants are not required to live in the Chicago area, they must be able to demonstrate how the funded opportunity will directly benefit Chicago
  • Applicant requests for funding may not exceed $2,500 and the total request may be no more than 50% of the total project expenditure
  • All funding granted must be spent and accounted for within one (1) year from the date awarded.
  • Fellows can receive project grant support totaling up to $5,000 within 10 years of being named a Fellow.

Luminarts' Expectations for all Project Grant Awardees

The Luminarts Cultural Foundation has the expectation that all Fellows who are awarded project grant funding will highlight the Foundation's contribution through any marketing and/or PR materials that may be connected with the project. Fellows are encouraged to contact the Foundation with questions regarding marketing and PR expectations. Fellows are also encouraged to consider how their project might be beneficial to other emerging artists and Fellows.


Luminarts requests that any photos, recordings, and video footage regarding funded projects be shared with the Foundation.


For more information about Project Grants please contact the Foundation at info@luminarts.org or at 312-435-5961. 

Classical Music Fellowship

Deadline to Apply: Friday, February 26, 2021

The Classical Music Fellowship awards five Luminarts Fellowships to classical musicians in categories of Women's and Men's Voice, Piano, Strings, and Winds; $52,500 in total. Three $7,500 Fellowships will be awarded to musicians in the categories of piano, strings, and winds. Two $15,000 Fellowships will be awarded to musicians in Women's and Men's Voice. The 2021 auditions will be held on a virtual submission platform. Please see below for more details:

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:

· Be between the ages of 18 and 30 years old on the date of applying

· Be currently enrolled in, or have completed, a degree program, conservatory, or other professional artist development program (not necessarily specific to the program of which you are applying)

· Live within 150 miles of the Chicago Loop or attend school (in person or virtually) within the same radius.

Submission Guidelines

There are four components that must be attached to your application before auditioning. These include:

· Audio and video recordings that will be reviewed by a panel of jurors

· A career statement outlining what your career objectives are as an artist, how becoming a Luminarts Fellow would help support those objectives, and how you envision your art/career impacting the greater Chicago community

· The name, contact information, and relationship to one (1) professional or educational reference

· CV/Resume

Read below for specific details about each of these components.

Audio/Video Sample:

Applicants must attach two audio samples and one video sample with the application (three total music samples). You may record an audio clip using a recorder on a mobile device or other recording equipment. Your recordings will be used for judging purposes. Please attach three  (one video and two audio) to your application and do not attach recordings over ten minutes long.

Please record a selection of the audition repertoire listed below and upload these recordings to your application. Recordings that feature an accompanist are preferred. Recordings with play-along recordings are also acceptable.

· Please limit file size to 50 MB or less for audio clips and length to less than ten minutes per audio/ video submission. While some of the repertoire requirements are longer than ten minutes we ask that you use your best judgement on what portions of the requirements to submit.

· File name should be the title of the piece

· Files and images may not include your name or other personal information

· Please provide the highest quality recordings possible and note a variety of selections within the guidelines is preferred.

· All submission should be unedited.

· Please save all recordings and videos in the event we need you to resubmit any of the materials

Career Statement:

Your career statement should outline what your career objectives are as an artist, how becoming a Luminarts Fellow would help support those objectives, and how you envision your art/career impacting the greater Chicago community

· Your statement may not exceed 500 words in total

· This statement will be used in the Foundation's evaluation

Professional/Educational Reference:

Space will be provided on the application to include the name, contact information, and relationship to one (1) professional or educational reference. Note that references may or may not be contacted as part of this process.

Repertoire Requirements:

Please submit your repertoire list in the designated field on the submission application. Please list the pieces in the order they are submitted in the audio/video recording section.

If one of your pieces does not have accompaniment, perform the piece as the composer intended it to be performed.

Piano Repertoire (All From Memory):

· Prelude and Fugue, Bach's Well Tempered Clavier (no repeats)

· One sonata (complete movements) or other major work from Classical Period (no repeats)

· One major work from the Romantic or Impressionist Period (no repeats)

· One bravura etude or toccata (no repeats)

· One contrasting composition from 20th or 21st century. Please provide the score if the piece was written after 1970.

Strings and Winds Repertoire:

· One concerto from memory

· One sonata with piano (memory not required)

· One contrasting modern or contemporary composition, 1945 - Present (memory not required)

***It is recommended that the concerto and the sonata represent different music periods

***To best showcase your talent jurors recommend you work with your accompanist to cut any music where the accompanist is playing for a long period of time***

Voice Repertoire (all from memory, except #2 oratorio):

· One aria from an opera in its original language

· One aria from an oratorio

· One selection of each of the following:

o Italian song of the 17th - 19th centuries, sung in Italian

o German song from the Classic, Romantic, or Modern Periods, sung in German

o French song from the Classic, Romantic, or Modern Periods, sung in French

o Contemporary song by English or American composers, sung in English

After the Audition

Piano, Strings, and Winds musicians will be notified by Friday, March 19 as to whether they have been selected as a winner and Luminarts Fellow.

Men's and Women's Voice musicians will be notified by Friday, March 26 as to whether they have been selected as a winner and Luminarts Fellow.

After Submitting Your Application

You will receive a confirmation email immediately after successfully submitting your application. If you do not receive a confirmation email please check your spam/junk filter settings. If you still have not received confirmation after submitting your application please contact the Foundation.

While applicants may reapply to Luminarts Fellowship annually, they are only eligible to receive the Fellowship award once. However, once an individual has been designated a Luminarts Fellow they are eligible to apply for Fellow Project Grants through the Foundation. For Project Grant information visit our Artist Opportunities page.

For questions about eligibility or more information about the Fellowship visit our Frequently Asked Questions page or contact Luminarts at info@luminarts.org or (312) 435-5961

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Friday, February 26, 2021 11:59 p.m. CST.

***Please note that due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, audition schedules and selection processes are subject to change.***

Jazz Fellowship

Deadline to Apply: Monday, February 8, 2021

The Jazz Fellowship Competition awards four $7,500 Luminarts Fellowships to jazz musicians through the performance of original, creative, and spontaneously improvised jazz music. The competition includes a two-tiered jury process, with recorded preliminary auditions sent in through the online application. The final jazz competition will be based off the original recorded submissions judged by a separate set of jurors.

Of the Jazz Fellowship applicants, eight finalists will be selected for the final round of judging and four winners will be selected by Friday, February 26, 2021.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:

· Be between the ages of 18 and 30 years old on the date of applying

· Be currently enrolled in, or have completed, a degree program, conservatory, or other professional artist development program (not necessarily specific to the program of which you are applying)

· Live or attend school (in person or virtually) within 150 miles of the Chicago Loop

Submission and Preliminary Audition Guidelines

There are four components that must be attached to your application before auditioning. These include:

· Two audio recordings or samples of a performance that will be reviewed by a panel of jurors

· Please record the audition repertoire listed below and upload these recordings to your application. Recordings that feature the applicant as a soloist in a small group are preferred. Recordings with play-along recordings are also acceptable. Ensemble recordings that include the applicant as a soloist may also be used but must be edited down to include only the applicant’s solo sections.

·  Applicants will submit one blues piece and one composition of their choice. Vocalists should include words and skat in their performance. The total time of the recordings should not exceed ten minutes.

·  All audio submissions should be unedited

·  Please limit file size to 50 MB or less and length to less than ten minutes.

· Please provide the highest quality recordings possible.

·  File name should be the title of the piece

·  Files and images may not include your name or other personal information

·  Please save all recordings in the event we need you to resubmit any of the materials

· A career statement outlining what your career objectives are as an artist, how becoming a Luminarts Fellow would help support those objectives, and how you envision your art/career impacting the greater Chicago community

· The name, contact information, and relationship to one professional or educational reference

· CV/Resume

Read below for specific details about each of these components.

Audio Sample:

Applicants must attach two audio samples with the application. You may record an audio clip using a recorder on a mobile device or other recording equipment. Your recordings will be used for judging purposes. Please attach two recordings to your application and do not attach recordings over ten minutes long. Applicants will be judged by the originality and creativity of their spontaneous improvisation. Applicants should demonstrate knowledge and respect for the melody, and accuracy of improvising chord changes.

Career Statement:

Your career statement should outline what your career objectives are as an artist, how becoming a Luminarts Fellow would help support those objectives, and how you envision your art/career impacting the greater Chicago community. Your statement may not exceed 500 words in total and this statement will be used in the Foundation's evaluation.

Professional/Educational Reference:

Space will be provided on the application to include the name, contact information, and relationship to one professional or educational reference. Note that references may or may not be contacted as part of this process.

After Submitting Your Application

Once you submit your application you will receive a confirmation email. If you do not receive a confirmation email immediately after submitting your application, please check your spam/junk filter and settings. If you still have not received a confirmation email immediately after submitting your application, please contact the Foundation.

Applicants will be notified by Friday, February 26, 2021 as to whether they have been selected as a Luminarts Jazz Fellow. Please note finalists may be asked to submit a video before a final decision is made. 

While applicants may reapply to the Luminarts Fellowship annually, they are only eligible to receive the Fellowship award once. However, once an individual has been designated a Luminarts Fellow they are eligible to apply for Fellow Project Grants through the Foundation. For Project Grant information, please visit our Artist Opportunities page.

For questions about eligibility or more information about the Fellowship visit our FAQs page or contact Luminarts at info@luminarts.org or (312) 435-5961,

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Monday, February 8, 2021 11:59 p.m. CST.

***Please note that due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, audition schedules and selection processes are subject to change.***

Visual Arts Fellowship: Deadline to Apply: Friday, March 5, 2021

The Visual Arts Fellowship awards three $7,500 Luminarts Fellowships for excellence in visual arts (drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, mixed media, sculpture, and moving images). Please note that artists integrating the moving image/video into their work may apply and are welcome to submit short clips of the integrated pieces along with images of the overall installation. However, the Luminarts Visual Arts Fellowship program does not currently accept short films. 

Eligibility and Guidelines

Applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements: 

  • Be between the ages of 18 and 30 years old on the date of applying
  • Be currently enrolled in, or have completed, a degree program, conservatory, or other professional artist development program (not necessarily specific to the program of which you are applying)
  • Live within 150 miles of the Chicago Loop 
  • Be available to hang/setup artwork at the Union League Club of Chicago on Monday, May 10, 2021 between 9:30 a.m. and noon (only required if you are selected as a winner) 
  • Be available to attend a Visual Arts Exhibition on Tuesday, May 11, 2021 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. (only required if you are selected as a winner)

If you are selected as a winner you must be available to hang your work on Monday, May 10, 2021 between 9:30 a.m. and noon, as well as attend the Visual Arts Exhibition on Tuesday, May 11, 2021 at 5 p.m. at the Union League Club of Chicago.

Submission Guidelines

There are four components that must be attached to your application. These include:

  • Three (3) images of your artwork 
  • A career statement outlining what your career objectives are as an artist, how becoming a Luminarts Fellow would help support those objectives, and how you envision your art/career impacting the greater Chicago community 
  • The name, contact information, and relationship to one (1) professional or educational reference
  • An artist statement
  • CV/Resume

*please note that the Luminarts Cultural Foundation and the Union League Club of Chicago are not responsible for finalists’ work while they are in our possession

Read below for specific details about each of these components.

Images of Your Artwork:

  • Image resolution should be a minimum of 72 ppi 
  • All image file sizes may not exceed 1 MB (video clip limit is 50 MB)
  • File name should be the title of the piece 
  • Files and images may not include your name or other personal information 

All images submitted must be of pieces able to be installed in a shared gallery space within a limited period of time. Any piece you submit should not exceed 60 inches in any direction. Pieces to be hung on the wall should not weight more than 20 pounds. Space will be provided on the application to include details about each attached piece. Please include the title, date, dimensions, and medium for each piece.

Career Statement:

Your career statement should outline what your career objectives are as an artist, how becoming a Luminarts Fellow would help support those objectives, and how you envision your art/career impacting the greater Chicago community

· Your statement may not exceed 500 words in total 

· This statement will be used in the Foundation's evaluation

Professional/Educational Reference:

Space will be provided on the application to include the name, contact information, and relationship to one (1) professional or educational reference. Note that references may or may not be contacted as part of this process.

Artist Statement:

  • Artist statement may not exceed 300 words

Moving Image/Video Clip Guidelines: 

Artists integrating the moving image/video into their work may apply and are welcome to submit short clips of the integrated pieces along with images of the overall installation. However, the Luminarts Visual Arts Fellowship Program does not currently accept short films. If submitting a moving image video file:

  • The file size may not exceed 50 MB
  • The video length may not exceed three minutes
  • The file must be in mp4 format
  • External links are not accepted

Images and videos are reviewed by Luminarts jurors via Submittable. If a particular piece requires multiple angles or views then you may create one image file with all views to be counted as one submission/piece. Please exercise good judgment when submitting images and/or video. Visit our Frequently Asked Questions page or contact us at info@luminarts.org for questions about file submission.

After Submitting Your Application

Applicants will be notified via email on Thursday, April 22, 2021 regarding whether or not they have been selected as a Luminarts Visual Arts Fellow. Please do not contact the Foundation before April 22 regarding your status as a winner.

While applicants may reapply to the Luminarts Fellowship annually, they are only eligible to receive the Fellowship award once. However, once an individual has been designated a Luminarts Fellow they are eligible to apply for Fellow Project Grants through the Foundation. For Project Grant information visit our Artist Opportunities page.

For questions about eligibility or more information about the Fellowship visit our FAQs page or contact Luminarts at info@luminarts.org or (312) 435-5961.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Friday, March 5, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. CST.

***Please note that due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, audition schedules and selection processes are subject to change.***

Creative Writing Fellowship: Deadline to Apply: Friday, February 5, 2021

The Creative Writing Fellowship awards two $7,500 Luminarts Fellowships for excellence in creative writing in the categories of prose and poetry, both fiction and nonfiction. 

Eligibility and Guidelines

Applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Be between the ages of 18 and 30 years old on the date of applying
  • Be currently enrolled in, or have completed, a degree program, conservatory, or other professional artist development program (not necessarily specific to the program of which you are applying)
  • Live within 150 miles of the Chicago Loop

Submission Guidelines

There are four components that must be attached to your application. These include:

  • A written piece of your work, two pages maximum length, single-spaced (excerpts of larger work are also allowed, but limited to two pages)
  • A career statement outlining what your career objectives are as an artist, how becoming a Luminarts Fellow would help support those objectives, and how you envision your art/career impacting the greater Chicago community
  • The name, contact information, and relationship to one (1) professional or educational reference
  • CV/ Resume

Read below for specific details about each of these components.

Your Written Piece:

While all work is welcome, the Foundation and its jurors advise applicants to submit work that encourages exploration and risk taking.

You may submit one (1) piece of writing in either prose or poetry, fiction or nonfiction. The piece should be no more than two (2) pages in length, single-spaced, using 11-12 pt. type, in a standard academic font (Times New Roman, Cambria, Georgia, Arial, or Calibri, no exceptions). If your written piece is an excerpt of a larger body of work such as a novel or short story, space will be provided for you to attach the full piece in addition to the excerpt. In addition: 

  • Remove your name from all pages
  • Write the title of your piece in the top left header
  • Below the title indicate if the piece is prose or poetry and fiction or nonfiction
  • If your piece is an excerpt, please indicate "excerpt" (you will also attach the full-length piece using the same guidelines, indicating "Full Piece"
  • Edit the entire document for grammatical errors
  • The .doc file name should be the title of the piece (example: "Catcher in the Rye.doc")
  • Please submit your piece in Microsoft Word format (.doc or .docx).

Career Statement:

Your career statement should outline what your career objectives are as an artist, how becoming a Luminarts Fellow would help support those objectives, and how you envision your art/career impacting the greater Chicago community

  • Your statement may not exceed 500 words in total 
  • This statement will be used in the Foundation's evaluation

Professional/Educational Reference:

Space will be provided on the application to include the name, contact information, and relationship to one (1) professional or educational reference. Note that references may or may not be contacted as part of this process.

After Submitting Your Application

Applicants will be notified via email on Wednesday, April 21, 2021 regarding whether or not they have been selected as a winner. Please do not contact the Foundation before April 22 regarding the status of your application.

While applicants may reapply to the Luminarts Fellowship annually, they are only eligible to receive the Fellowship award once. However, once an individual has been designated a Luminarts Fellow they are eligible to apply for Fellow Project Grants through the Foundation. For Project Grant information visit our Artist Opportunities page.

For questions about eligibility or more information about the Fellowship visit our Frequently Asked Questions page or contact Luminarts at info@luminarts.org or (312) 435-5961.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Friday, February 5, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. CST.

***Please note that due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, audition schedules and selection processes are subject to change.***


Luminarts Cultural Foundation