Luminarts Cultural Foundation Fellowship

Applications for open Fellowship and Project Grants are listed below. Please note: Fellow Project Grants are only available to Luminarts Fellows. 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.


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 setup a time to meet in person or via phone. Fellows are asked to do this no later than March 2, 2020 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 funding only one time per 12 month period.


The next deadline for Fellow Project Grants is March 15, 2020. 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.


Project grants are available for Luminarts Fellows to support career development and advancement opportunities, including residencies, master classes, exhibition and performance expenses, professional travel, research, and more.


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.
  • Fellows must contact Executive Director, Jason Kalajainen at jason@luminarts.org prior to submitting a proposal to discuss the project.


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.

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 4, 2020 between 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. (only required if you are selected as a finalist) 
  • Be available to attend the Visual Arts Exhibition and awards on Tuesday, May 5, 2020 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. (only required if you are selected as a finalist)


If you are selected as a finalist you must be available to hang your work on Monday, May 4, 2020 between 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. for final round judging at the Union League Club of Chicago, as well as attend the Visual Arts Exhibition on Tuesday, May 5, 2020 at 5 p.m. at the Union League Club of Chicago. If you are unable to install your work and/or attend the exhibition you may send another individual on your behalf to install your work, attend the exhibition, and/or accept any awards on your behalf should you be selected as a winner or Fellow. However, you must make arrangements with Luminarts approval prior to sending an individual to represent you. Failure to do so will result in disqualification and forfeit of any Luminarts awards.


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

*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.



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. Contact us at info@luminarts.org for questions about file submissions.

After Submitting Your Application

Applicants will be notified via email on Monday, April 13, 2020 regarding whether or not they have been selected as a finalist. Finalists will then select two of their pieces to exhibit for the final round of judging at the Visual Arts Exhibition on Tuesday, May 5, 2020. Please do not contact the Foundation before April 13 regarding your status as a finalist.

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 13, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. CST.

Luminarts Cultural Foundation