Emerging Creators Fellowship


The Emerging Creators Fellowship program is developed out of ASC’s belief that a continued investment in creative individuals who make Charlotte-Mecklenburg home benefits the region’s overall cultural climate.  

The fellowship funds can be used for research, workspace/studio rental, conferences, apprenticeships, travel, creation of new work, materials or other experiences that help the recipients develop their creative capacity. In addition to the grant, the fellows be made aware of and encouraged to participate in professional development and growth opportunities through ASC. 

The fellowship is an investment in Mecklenburg county’s emerging creatives, 25 years and older, who need time and resources to explore ideas, connect with professionals in their field and create new projects. The fellowship supports creatives with evolving practices that are at a pivotal moment in launching sustainable careers in the creative sector. 

Fellowship activities must occur between April 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022 as determined by the applicant. Examples of possible fellowship activities include but are not limited to the following: 

  • Apprenticeships  
  • Exploration of new ideas 
  • Execution of new or recently begun projects 
  • Research and/or instruction 
  • Conferences or retreats 

Professional development activities may be conducted anywhere. Proposals for new work should be accessible to Charlotte-Mecklenburg audiences. Fellows will be responsible for making all arrangements and/or purchases for fellowship activities. Fellowship funds may not be used for tuition toward degree-seeking course work.  

Funding Partners

Emerging Creators Fellowships are funded through the generous support of donors to the ASC Community Engagement Campaign.

Grant Amount

In 2021, ASC will award up to four (4) $5,000 Emerging Creators Fellowships to individuals who have lived in Charlotte-Mecklenburg for at least the past three continuous years and who have earned at least one half of their income from their creative practice over the past year. 

Payments will be made according to a Funding Schedule that will be issued to grantees. Each fellowship recipient will be required to submit an IRS W-9 form so that an IRS 1099 income statement can be issued by ASC for the fellows tax records. All taxes and reporting of taxes will be the responsibility of the fellowship recipient.  


Please consider applying if you meet the following criteria: 

  • You are emerging creative who shows exceptional promise, who has mastered the basic techniques in their field, and who is launching a professional career in the arts, sciences or history. 
  • You have lived in Mecklenburg County for a minimum of three consecutive years as of January 1, 2021. 
  • You are 25 years or older as of January 1, 2021. 
  • You have generated at least one half of your income over the past year through your work as a sole proprietor, creative entrepreneur or contract employee in the fields of visual/folk/performing/multi-disciplinary arts, literature, science, or history, OR the percentage of income earned through your creative practice has progressively increased in each of the past 3 years. Note: Other than creative individuals who have formally incorporated their practice as a business, full time employees at arts, science, history organizations are not eligible to apply. 
  • Applicants and recipients should not currently be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree-granting program now or during the time their funded project is in progress.

Evaluation Process and Selection Criteria

Applications will be adjudicated by a panel of individuals to be populated and assembled by ASC. Panelists will have credentials and working knowledge relative to the disciplines represented by the applicant pool 

Panelists will review the application materials including work samples/documentation and will evaluate: 

  • The quality of the creative work 
  • The strength of the proposed fellowship activities  
  • The potential impact on the applicant’s creative development 

A variety of disciplines will be represented in the fellows chosen.  

Fellowship Agreement

Fellows must enter into a written agreement with ASC. No fellowship funds will be awarded in the absence of a signed fellowship agreement.

Fellows are required to participate in 2-3 meetings convened by ASC throughout the fellowship period. These meetings are intended to expand the scope of the experience from an individual to the community and to generate creative synergy, new ideas and collaborations.

ASC realizes that, as an emerging creative, it is possible that your career may take you out of the area following your award period. We do hope that, at minimum, this award encourages those receiving the fellowship to maintain a connection to the area and continue enriching the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community regardless of where your career takes you.

Timeline and How to Apply

The application period for 2021 fellowships has passed.

Award Notification

By March 1, 2021.

Public Announcement and Fellowship Activity Period

April 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022.

Questions about Emerging Creators Fellowships can be directed to Liz Fitzgerald, Grants & Services Program Director, at liz.fitzgerald@artsandscience.org.

Grant Application Resources

Emerging Creators Fellowship guidelines

Individual Artist Fellowships application information and tips

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2020 Emerging Creators Fellowship Recipients

  • Meredith Connelly, a visual artist whose first public project, “Lights,” led viewers through a series of immersive light installations along a half-mile walking trail at the U.S. National Whitewater Center. Connelly’s fellowship will help her support process exploration, new applied research and tools, and new concepts while expanding on current work for a sustainable full-time art career.
  • Irisol Gonzalez, a visual artist whose work focuses on the intricacies of being an immigrant raised in the Southern United States by Latino parents. Gonzalez will use her fellowship to support the exploration and execution of a developing “Machismo” visual art series which focuses on sexism in Latin American culture.
  • Angela Haigler, a writer and teaching artist. She will use her fellowship to support significant progress on an essay collection during a Solo Writers Retreat.
  • Jay Smith, a voice instructor who turns people who want to sing into people who sing. His fellowship plan is to explore book publishing and distribution in order to publish a book he has written about learning to sing, personal philosophies on vocal technique and working with vocal students.

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