Joan Mitchell Fellowship

Established in 2021, the Joan Mitchell Fellowship re-envisions 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 Joan Mitchell Fellowship annually recognizes and supports 15 US-based artists working in the evolving fields of painting and sculpture. Encompassing long-term financial support, skills development, and community building, the multi-year Fellowship structure provides critical resources that artists need to sustain their practices.

The Fellowship provides each artist with $60,000 in unrestricted funds, distributed over the course of five years. The financial support is interwoven with learning, peer engagement, and network-building opportunities, tailored by staff based on the artists’ interests and feedback. The offerings include in-person and virtual convenings; workshops on finance, legacy planning, and self-advocacy; and consultations with arts professionals. The depth of each artist’s participation directly impacts their experience of the Fellowship. Fellows in the fourth year of the program and beyond are also eligible to apply for a residency at the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans.

Eligibility & Selection Process

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

  • Are making important contributions to artistic and cultural discourse

  • Are deserving of greater national recognition

  • Would find the Fellowship to be meaningful and impactful on their lives and careers

The Foundation is committed to acknowledging artists who reflect the diverse world in which we live, and actively encourages nominators and jurors to put forward artists of color and indigenous artists; women artists; LGBTQIA+ artists; artists with disabilities; artists who have come to their practice through non-traditional career paths; and artists living outside of city centers.


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

  • Are based in a U.S. state or territory
  • Have a primary practice rooted in painting or sculpture
  • Are not enrolled in an arts degree program at the time of nomination or award acceptance

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. Artist duos or collectives are also not eligible.


Nominated artists are invited by email to apply via an online application form. Fellowship recipients are then selected by a jury of artists and arts professionals who review the submitted applications and consider the following criteria:

  • Strength and clarity of the artistic vision

  • Impact of the award—is this a pivotal moment for the artist?

  • Interest in engaging with peers in a community of practice

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.