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Emerging Artist Grant

History & Purpose of the Grant

In 1996 the Jerome Foundation and VSA Minnesota began a collaboration to encourage the creation of new artistic work by emerging Minnesota artists with disabilities. Since support of emerging artists is a priority to both organizations, the Jerome Foundation has awarded VSA Minnesota funds for the past 20 years to administer grants to Minnesota artists.

First known as Artist Recognition Grants and now as Emerging Artist Grants, the program has awarded 126 grants to 96 different Minnesota artists totaling just over $147,000. In early 2016, six $2,000 grants were awarded (SEE NAMES elsewhere on this page) following a jurying process conducted by two panels, one looking at visual artists and the other at writers, performers and multi-media artists. Thirteen grant panelists with extensive backgrounds in written, visual and performing arts looked at samples of the artists’ work, resumes and artist statements.

The 2017 grant application deadline is January 17, 2017. Grant review panels will meet in March, and six awards will be announced by April 1, 2017. To receive the guidelines or ask questions about the grant program, email emerginggrant@vsamn.org or call 612-332-3888 or 800-801-3883 with your name and email and/or mail address. Or download the guidelines at Resources for Artists with Disabilities.

Successful applicants can spend the money in whatever way they wish so long as they create new work. This could include art supplies, research time, a mentor, classes, framing, studio recording time, etc. The main criterion is the quality of an artist’s past art as seen in samples (generally 10 visual art samples, 15 pages of printed writing, 10 minutes of video or audio recordings, etc.) and making the case that they are seriously pursuing their art.

New work by six 2015 Emerging Artist Grant Recipients was exhibited at Homewood Studios in North Minneapolis Feb. 11-27, 2016. Those artists were Renae Carpenter, Cambridge, acrylic painting; Michael Cohn, St. Louis Park, dance choreography & performance; Naomi Cohn, St. Paul, poetry; Chris Juhn, Burnsville, photography; Romayne Kilde, Fergus Falls, visual art; and Liza Sylvestre, Minneapolis, multi-media & painting.

The 2016 Emerging Artist Grant Recipients are now creating new work. They are:
Becca Cerra, Shafer — dancing sculpture hybrid;
Kristin Dieng, Plymouth — stained glass-on-glass mosaics;
Paul M. Ernst, Minneapolis — photography based art;
Angelique Lele, Minneapolis — dance;
Samuel Lynn, Brooklyn Center — painting;
Lucas Scheelk, Minneapolis — poetry.

Corporate Logo of the Jerome Foundation, St. Paul, Minnesota

Artists in Minnesota are very fortunate that they live in the state that is home to the Jerome Foundation. The Foundation has supported emerging artists from Minnesota and New York City through its own grant programs and it provides funding to nonprofit arts organizations to re-grant to individual artists. The 20-year partnership between VSA Minnesota and the Jerome Foundation allows us to claim the Emerging Artist Grant Program as the only privately funded grant program for artists with disabilities in the country.

Meet the 2016 Emerging Artist Grant Recipients
  • Becca Cerra, Shafer, dancing sculpture hybrid
  • Kristin Dieng, Plymouth, stained glass-on-glass mosaics
  • Paul M. Ernst, Minneapolis, photography-based art
  • Angelique Lele, Minneapolis, dance
  • Samuel Lynn, Brooklyn Center, painting
  • Lucas Scheelk, Minneapolis, poetry
staring man with long dark hair and dark vest against a blue-hued background

“Eugene Gaffke”: acrylic painting by Samuel Lynn

See other sample images on the News Posts for 2015 grant recipients or 2016 grant recipients.