Joan Mitchell Fellowship

Launched in 2021, the Joan Mitchell Fellowship re-envisions and enhances the impact of the Foundation's previous grant programs through a multi-year commitment.

Emily Gherard's hands lay thin black horizontal strips bordered by strips of yellow tape on white silk stretched over a frame. Brushes, pencils and other art supplied are to the side on the wooden table. Gherard is a white woman wearing a denim button-up shirt, and photo is cropped at her chest.
2021 Joan Mitchell Fellow Emily Gherard working in the studio on a painting. Photo by Meggan Joy.


The annual Joan Mitchell Fellowship provides 15 artists based in the U.S. with unrestricted funds of $60,000 each, distributed over the course of five years. Selected artists receive an initial payment of $20,000, followed by annual amounts of $10,000 given over the four subsequent years. The financial support is interwoven with dedicated and flexible professional development that also unfolds across the five-year timeline, including virtual studio visits and one-on-one professional practice consultations; convenings that facilitate community building and peer learning; and programs that focus on personal finance, legacy planning, and thought leadership, among other opportunities. Once their five-year engagement is completed, Fellows will also be eligible to apply for a residency at the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans.

The Joan Mitchell Fellowship re-envisions the Foundation’s oldest program, the Painters & Sculptors Grants (awarded from 1994-2020), to deepen its investment in artists’ long-term success through a multi-year fellowship with related professional offerings. As an unrestricted award, artists make the decisions about how best to develop their work and careers.

Eligibility & Selection Process

Each spring, we invite a diverse range of artists and arts professionals to nominate artists at any career stage who:

  • are making exceptional work in the evolving fields of painting and sculpture
  • are deserving of greater acknowledgment on a national level
  • will benefit from the recognition and resources that the award provides


To be eligible to apply, artists must first be nominated by one of the Foundation’s invited grant nominators. Nominations are limited to:

  • Artists based in a U.S. state or territory
  • Primary practice is painting or sculpture
  • Not a full-time student

Given that the Fellowship is an expansion of the Painters & Sculptors Grants (awarded 1994–2020), previous recipients of that grant are not eligible for the Fellowship.


Nominated artists are invited by email to apply. Fellowship recipients are then selected by a jury of artists and arts professionals.

Why do we use a nomination process?

By using a nomination process—rather than an open call for applications—the Foundation ensures a diverse pool of nominees from across the country, while maximizing the funds available for direct artist support.

How can I get nominated?

Our invited fellowship nominators remain anonymous, and artists cannot ask to be nominated. We cannot advise a single strategy to be nominated, given that our past grant recipients’ career paths are incredibly diverse, and the Foundation’s programs and nominators strive to capture artists at various points of their careers. That said, be sure you are connecting with your art community: network with other artists and art organizations, hold open studios, seek out professional development opportunities, and apply for open call grants and residencies offered by other national and local organizations. All of these activities will increase the odds that one of our nominators is familiar with your work.