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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 22 years to administer grants to Minnesota artists.

First known as Artist Recognition Grants and now as Emerging Artist Grants, the program has awarded 138 grants to 106 different Minnesota artists totaling just over $172,000. Six $2,000 grants were awarded in early 2017 and six in late March 2018 (SEE NAMES elsewhere on this page) following a jurying process conducted by grant panelists with extensive backgrounds in written, visual and performing arts who looked at samples of the artists’ work, resumes and artist statements. (One panel examined visual art; the other writing, performance and multi-media artists.)

The 2019 grant application deadline will be announced in May or June 2018. Previous grant applicants and anyone interested will receive the guidelines by mail or email. 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.

The 2017 Emerging Artist Grant Recipients are now creating new work. They are:
Ayesha Adu, Minneapolis — screenplay writing
Sarah Drake, Sauk Rapids — painting & mixed media
Ruth Lais, Minneapolis — mixed media
Luke Lyons, Minneapolis — ceramics
Carrie Salberg, White Bear Lake — creative non-fiction writing
Joey Schad , St. Paul — music performance

A bike in bushes by a river and stone arch bridge with Minneapolis skyline in the background - all created with multi-colored pieces of paper and paint

Stone Arch Bridge, by Ruth Lais (acrylic paint, watercolor paper, gesso, glue and varnish on birch wood panel)

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.

A collage of different colors, shapes & designs of paper shows a dark-skinned boy and a light-skinned girl by a fence; behind it are a large tree, green fields, another tree, sky and clouds

Painting in Tiebele, paper collage by Sarah Drake

Meet the 2017 Emerging Artist Grant Recipients
  • Ayesha Adu, Minneapolis — screenplay writing
  • Sarah Drake, Sauk Rapids — painting & mixed media
  • Ruth Lais, Minneapolis — mixed media
  • Luke Lyons, Minneapolis — ceramics
  • Carrie Salberg, White Bear Lake — creative non-fiction writing
  • Joey Schad, St. Paul — music performance
  • a blue pitcher, with an orange octopus with many blue/white suckers and either blowing a bubble or swallowing a sword

    Orange Octopus, earthenware vase by Luke Lyons

    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
    a semicircle-framed stained glass in a windowsill of many colors and rectangle shapes forming the image of a sunrise

    Geometric Sunrise (stained glass-on-glass mosaic) by Kristin Dieng

    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.