The Arkansas Arts Council, an agency of  Arkansas Heritage, will award up to 18 Individual Artist Fellowships in six categories in 2022, which doubles the program, and will increase each award to $5,000. The move to expand the Fellowship awards is made possible, in part, through a grant from Windgate Foundation.

“We believe partnerships like the one between the Arkansas Arts Council and Windgate Foundation strengthen what we can do for individual artists and our arts community statewide. These Fellowships will go directly to artists and encourage them to continue to pursue their work in Arkansas,” said Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism.

Windgate Foundation, established in 1933, is a private, family organization based in Little Rock. Their goal is to advance contemporary craft and strengthen visual arts education in the United States.

“The expansion of the Individual Artist Fellowship program will help us reach and support more Arkansas creatives in new ways and inspire innovation in our state’s creative sectors,” said Jimmy Bryant, director of Arkansas Heritage. “These awards are meant to celebrate, highlight and cultivate the creative spirit of Arkansas.”

Applications for the award open Dec. 30 2021 and are available online at The deadline for submission is April 16, 2022.

“The Arkansas Arts Council has long been a supporter of individual artists and of using the arts in general to create strong, vibrant, economically sufficient and healthy communities,” said Patrick Ralston, director of the Arkansas Arts Council. “Now, through this partnership and expansion, we have the opportunity to increase support for our artists, while redesigning our program to be more inclusive to art genres and artists of all backgrounds.”

Up to three artists in six categories will be chosen by an independent panel of judges. The three new categories included this year will offer Arkansas creatives a better opportunity to pursue contemporary, cutting-edge artworks and receive recognition for engaging, mixed-media and multisensory works. Recipients of the award earn $5,000 each in unmatched funding. The award encourages and recognizes individual Arkansas creatives whose work is exceptional.

New categories are:

Multisensory art
This category showcases creatives who create work that is experienced through more than one sense: sight, touch, hearing, taste and smell. A growing trend nationwide, multisensory artwork combines at least two senses and creates new, immersive and dynamic ways experience art in multiple ways.

Community Engagement Art
This category uses art to create community dialog or engage residents with art and each other. The art is a mechanism to inspire, invoke and evoke dialog, inspire change or understanding, educate and bring unity to communities. The artwork should address something the community cares about, create dialog and/or activities toward solutions, and establish or embolden relationships that improve the community’s quality of life, inclusion, place identity and/or preservation.
Contemporary Craft
This category focuses on nonfunctional crafts created by using traditional and/or historical methods or materials and using modern and contemporary aesthetics or concepts. This category includes using traditional folk arts methods. The creations should be “art of today” in the truest sense in that the work today with Arkansas heritage and passed through the mechanism and lens of traditional arts and crafts. Contemporary craft does not have to be functional, but it traces its history back to traditions rooted in functionality. Traditional crafts, such as quilting, is then used to create a contemporary work emblematic of what Arkansan’s experience today.

Traditional categories are:

Performance Art: Mississippi Delta Blues Contemporary Songwriting or Score
This category seeks to recognize the compositions of Arkansas musician-songwriters who create in the blues genre. Historically, Arkansas was a hotbed for blues musicians and helped develop a style of music specific to the Mississippi Delta. This Fellowship category will highlight the current blues talent in our state.
Visual Arts: Graphic Novel or Narrative
This category seeks to recognize the artform of graphic novels or graphic narrative, which includes manga, extended comic strips, traditional graphic novels, comics and heavy-visual roleplaying books. The graphic novel or narrative work may be fiction, creative nonfiction or nonfiction. Artwork must be original to the artist. This category will focus on the quality of the art and its ability to successfully tell a story visually.
Literary Arts: Flash fiction or flash creative nonfiction
In this category, the Arkansas Arts Council seeks to recognize writers whose work falls between 500 and 1,000 words and uses literary fiction techniques in either a fiction or nonfiction format. The work can be fiction or creative nonfiction but should contain all elements of a good story. Flash fiction is the telling of a story that is not true but is told in a truthful way or in a way that evokes the truth of something larger and encourages readers to think. Creative nonfiction is a true story told by including fiction techniques, such as allusion, alliteration, allegory, figurative language and blurred-time sequences.

Creatives who earn a Fellowship will be honored during a reception in October 2022. Again, the deadline to submit an online application is April 16, 2022. Forms and more information about each category are available at For more information, contact Scarlet Sims, artist services manager, at