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.


Classical Music Fellowship: Deadline to Apply: Friday, February 5, 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

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 

Submission Guidelines

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

  • An audio recording or sample of a performance that will be reviewed by a panel of jurors to determine your eligibility to schedule an in-person audition
  • 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 Sample:

Applicants must attach an audio sample with the application. If you do not have an audio sample, you may record an audio clip using a recorder on a mobile device or other recording equipment. Your recording will be used for judging purposes. Please do not attach a recording over ten minutes long. 

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.

Audition and Repertoire Information

Applicants will schedule an audition online from a list of available audition dates if they have been selected to continue with the auditions process. In order to successfully schedule an audition, applicants must provide a valid credit card to hold an audition time. Please note, there is no fee to book an audition; however, in the event an applicant cancels their audition after the cancellation deadline of Monday, March 1, 2021 at 9 a.m., Luminarts will charge a late cancellation fee of $50. In the event an applicant is a no call/no show for the audition, they will be subject to the $50 late cancellation fee as well. The late cancellation fee does not apply to applicants who cancel an audition before this deadline. Applicants who arrive 5 minutes past their scheduled audition time will not be able to audition

The Foundation will process an authorization on the card to verify it. This may appear as a $1.00 charge on your credit card statement but will disappear after a few business days.

Scheduling the Audition

Applicants will be notified via email on Wednesday, February 24, 2021 if they have been selected to continue with the audition process. At that time, those selected will begin scheduling their auditions. The email message on February 24 will include a link and instructions to schedule the audition online. Auditions are booked on a first come, first serve basis. All auditions must be scheduled by Monday, March 1, 2021 at 9 a.m. CST. Audition times are not guaranteed until you receive an email confirmation from Luminarts with the booked audition time. If you have questions or need assistance with scheduling an audition please contact the Foundation.

What to Bring to the Audition

Bring three (3) copies of a list of your repertoire to the audition. Jurors will request selections based off of your repertoire list. You do not need to bring the sheet music for the jurors. Only bring a list of the repertoire pieces. Be prepared to perform any selections listed on your repertoire list. Audition slots are 10 minutes per musician, therefore jurors might not request every selection be performed. Be prepared to perform any of your pieces when requested by the jurors. Applicants must provide their own accompanist (excluding musicians auditioning in piano). If one of your pieces does not have accompaniment, perform the piece as the composer intended it to be performed.

Auditions will be held at the Union League Club of Chicago, located at 65 West Jackson Boulevard in Chicago. The Union League Club of Chicago has a strict business casual policy. No jeans or gym shoes may be worn by applicants or their guests. 

Audition Dates:

  • Monday, March 15, 2021, Piano Auditions
  • Tuesday, March 16, 2021, Strings Auditions
  • Wednesday, March 17, 2021, Winds Auditions
  • Monday, March 22, 2021, Women's Voice Preliminary Auditions
  • Tuesday, March 23, 2021, Men's Voice Preliminary Auditions
  • Thursday, March 25, 2021, Men's and Women's Voice FINAL Auditions, 5—7 p.m. 

Repertoire Requirements:

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

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.

After the Audition

Piano, Strings, and Winds musicians will be notified by 12 p.m. on the day following their audition whether or not they have been selected as a winner and Luminarts Fellow.

Men's and Women's Voice musicians will also be notified by 12 p.m. on the day following their preliminary audition whether or not they have been selected as a finalist. Voice Finalists will then return to the Union League Club of Chicago for the Voice Finals on Thursday, March 25, 2021 from 5–7 p.m.

Cancelling/Rescheduling Auditions

Applicants will be able to cancel or reschedule an existing audition using the links included in the audition email that will be sent to applicants on Wednesday, February 24, 2021. The deadline to schedule or to cancel an existing audition is Monday, March 1, 2021 at 9 a.m. After that time you must call the Foundation at (312) 435-5961 to cancel an existing audition. Cancellations after the cancel deadline will be subject to the $50 cancellation fee, including a no call/no show, and in addition, any applicant who is a no call/no show to a scheduled audition without previously contacting the Foundation will be disqualified from any future Luminarts programs. 

Warm-Up Room Information:

While warm-up space cannot be guaranteed, Luminarts will make every effort possible to provide a warm-up space for applicants who are auditioning in classical music. Applicants who wish to use warm-up space are required to arrive 30 minutes before their scheduled audition time, and must check in to the audition registration area prior to using the room. Applicants will have ten (10) minutes to warm-up, approximately 20 minutes before the scheduled audition time. This will allow enough time to return to the registration area 10 minutes prior to the scheduled audition. For example, if your audition is scheduled for 11 a.m. you must arrive by 10:30 a.m. to check in, and will have warm-up space available from 10:40—10:50 p.m., then returning to registration for your audition to begin at 11 a.m. Applicants are not allowed to swap warm-up times with each other or remain in the warm-up space longer than 10 minutes without prior approval from Luminarts. Note that Luminarts does not monitor the warm-up room, and therefore we expect all applicants to be respectful of one another’s audition times.

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. Once your application submission is confirmed, you do not need to do anything until Luminarts contacts you on Wednesday, February 24 with audition scheduling information. The email at that time will include a link and instructions to schedule your audition online. Once scheduled, you will receive a confirmation email with the booked audition. If you do not receive an email after scheduling your audition 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 5, 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: Tuesday, February 2, 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 three-tiered jury process, with preliminary auditions held at the Union League Club of Chicago, and final round auditions held during the 2020 Jazz Finals at an offsite location.

Of the Jazz Fellowship applicants, eight finalists will be selected to advance to the final round of judging and perform live at the jazz finals on Thursday, February 25, 2021. Each finalist performs with a professional jazz trio, and four winners are selected based on their improvisation skills during the event. An award is also awarded for People's Choice.

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 
  • Be available to perform for the final round of judging during the 2021 Jazz Finals on Thursday, February 25, 2021 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Submission and Preliminary Audition Guidelines

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

  • An audio recording or sample of a performance that will be reviewed by a panel of jurors to determine your eligibility to schedule an in-person audition 
  • 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 Sample:

Applicants must attach an audio sample with the application. If you do not have an audio sample, you may record an audio clip using a recorder on a mobile device or other recording equipment. Your recording will be used for judging purposes. Please do not attach a recording over ten minutes long. 

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 (1) professional or educational reference. Note that references may or may not be contacted as part of this process.

Preliminary Auditions

Applicants will be notified by Monday, February 8 as to whether they have been selected to schedule an audition. At that time, applicants can schedule their audition. Applicants will have until Wednesday, February 10 at 11:59 p.m. to schedule their audition. The list of available audition dates is below. Audition time slots are granted on a first come first serve basis and are not guaranteed until you receive email confirmation from Luminarts. 

Auditions will be held at the Union League Club of Chicago, located at 65 West Jackson Boulevard in Chicago. Finalists will be determined based on preliminary auditions and will advance to the final round of judging and perform during the 2021 Jazz Finals on Thursday, February 25, 2021 at 5 p.m. 

The Union League Club of Chicago has a strict business casual policy. No jeans or gym shoes may be worn by applicants or their guests while in the Club.

Preliminary Audition Dates:

  • Monday, February 15, 2021
  • Tuesday, February 16, 2021
  • Wednesday, February 17, 2021
  • Thursday, February 18, 2021

Audition Guidelines:

  • Applicants will be limited to a ten (10) minute time slot, which includes setup and take down
  • Applicants will improvise one (1) blues piece and one (1) composition of their choice. Vocalists should include words and skat in their performance. Drummers might be asked to sight read a jazz standard with appropriate fills and solos if the jurors request.
  • Applicants will be judged by the originality and creativity of their spontaneous improvisation
  • A professional accompanist (piano) will be provided for the audition (Do not bring your own accompanist)
  • Applicants must bring lead sheets for the accompanist
  • Applicants should demonstrate knowledge and respect for the melody, and accuracy of improvising chord changes
  • Applicants who arrive 5 minutes past their scheduled audition time will not be able to audition

Notice to Guitarists, Bassists, and Drummers:

A drum set will be provided by Luminarts for those auditioning in percussion. Please bring any additional equipment you need for the audition (i.e. cymbals and drumsticks for drummers). Guitarists and bassists are required to bring their own amp if desired.

Cancelling/Rescheduling Auditions:

Please keep the email confirmation you receive after booking your audition. Applicants may cancel or reschedule an existing audition online by using the appropriate links located in that confirmation email. Applicants may only cancel or reschedule auditions online after booking until Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. After that time you must call the Foundation at (312) 435-5961 to cancel. Any applicant who is a no call/no show to a scheduled audition without previously cancelling their audition will be disqualified from any future Luminarts programs.

Warm-Up Room Information:

While warm-up space cannot be guaranteed, Luminarts will make every effort possible to provide a warm-up space for applicants who are auditioning in jazz or classical music programs. Applicants who wish to use warm-up space are required to arrive 30 minutes before their scheduled audition time, and must check in to the audition registration area prior to using the room. Applicants will have ten (10) minutes to warm-up, approximately 20 minutes before the scheduled audition time. This will allow enough time to return to the registration area 10 minutes prior to the scheduled audition. For example, if your audition is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. you must arrive by 6 p.m. to check in, and will have warm-up space available from 6:10—6:20 p.m., then returning to registration for your audition to begin at 6:30 p.m. Applicants are not allowed to swap warm-up times with each other or remain in the warm-up space longer than 10 minutes without prior approval from Luminarts. Note that Luminarts does not monitor the warm-up room, and therefore we expect all applicants to be respectful of one another’s audition times.

After the Audition:

You will be notified no later than 6 p.m. CST on Monday, February 22 regarding whether or not you have been selected as a finalist to perform during the 2021 Jazz Finals on Thursday, February 25, 2021. Please do not contact Luminarts before 6 p.m. on Monday, February 22, 2021 regarding your status as a finalist.

If you are selected as a finalist to perform at the Jazz Finals you will be asked to perform two (2) different selections from the pieces you performed during your audition, and the requirements are the same; one (1) blues piece, and one (1) composition of your choice.

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 Monday, February 8 as to whether they have been selected to schedule an audition. At that time they can schedule their audition. They will have until Wednesday, February 10 at 11:59 p.m. to schedule their audition. 

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: Tuesday, February 2, 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