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We're offering composers $25,000 to create music
By Chris Barnett / August 11, 2017 /   Loading Disqus...
Rhode Island composers who dream of having more time to work on their craft have until Sept. 5 to apply for $25,000 fellowships from the Rhode Island Foundation. The grants are considered to be among the largest no-strings-attached awards available to artists in the United States.

The Foundation will award grants to as many as three composers through its Robert and Margaret MacColl Johnson Fellowship Fund. The awards are intended to free composers to concentrate time on the creative process, focus on personal or professional development, expand their body of work and explore new directions.

“These grants will enable local composers to spend more time thinking about their music instead of trying to make ends meet. That reflects the importance that our donors placed on presence of practicing artists in the community,” said Daniel Kertzner, the Foundation’s senior philanthropic advisor for funding partnerships.

Previous recipient Bevin Kelley tells The Rhode Show how she planned to use her grant in this 2015 interview, which also includes a sample of her music.

Applicants must have been legal residents of Rhode Island for at least 12 months prior to the Sept. 5 deadline. High school students, college and graduate students who are enrolled in a degree-granting program and artists who have advanced levels of career achievement are not eligible.

Applicants will be judged on the quality of the work samples, artistic development and the creative contribution to music composition, as well as the potential of the fellowship to advance the career of emerging-to-mid-career artists. Applications will be accepted from composers creating new original work in any genre.

Although the Fellowships are unrestricted, recipients are expected to devote concentrated time to their art during the term of the fellowship and to engage in activities that further their artistic growth. Examples include creating new work, training in technologies or techniques, purchasing equipment or materials, travel, research and developing artistic endeavors.

The recipients will be selected by a panel of four out-of-state jurors who are recognized practicing artists and arts professionals.

Established in 2003, the MacColl Johnson fellowships rotate among composers, writers and visual artists on a three-year cycle. Over the years, the Foundation has awarded 36 fellowships totaling $900,000.

Rhode Islanders Robert and Margaret MacColl Johnson were both dedicated to the arts all their lives. Mrs. Johnson, who died in 1990, earned a degree in creative writing from Roger Williams College when she was 70. Mr. Johnson invented a new process for mixing metals in jewelry-making and then retired to become a fulltime painter. Before he died in 1999, Johnson began discussions with the Foundation that led to the creation of the fellowships.

The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. In 2016, the Foundation awarded a record $45 million in grants to organizations addressing the state’s most pressing issues and needs of diverse communities. Through leadership, fundraising and grantmaking activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping Rhode Island reach its true potential. 
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