Donate

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.

The 2018 Emerging Artist Grant Recipients, selected from 37 applicants, were announced in March. They are:

D. Allen, Minneapolis — poetry, essay
John Lee Clark, Hopkins — poetry
Mike Harris, Jr., Minneapolis — painting
Harrison Halker Heinks, Edina — photography
Chris Juhn, Burnsville — photography
Shelia D. Nelson, St. Paul — photography

The grants were awarded following a jurying process conducted by individuals with backgrounds in the written, visual and performing arts. Panelists looked at samples of the artists’ work, resumes and artist statements. Artists who scored highest in artistic quality and career received awards. Four grantees are first-time Jerome grant recipients; two are previous recipients. Members of the panels included:

Writing and Performance Panel:
Asher Edes, Minneapolis – ASL interpreter, experience with several arts groups
Howard Lieberman, Stillwater – storyteller, past Fringe Fest & Patrick’s Cabaret boards
Marcie Rendon, Minneapolis – writer of plays & children’s books
Elizabeth Windnagel, Mpls. – performing artist with several music and theatre groups
Beth Wright, Minneapolis – writing coach, editor, and publishing consultant
Visual Arts Panel:
Tacoumba Aiken, St. Paul – artist, arts administrator, educator, community activist
Heather Bunch, Minneapolis –performer/teacher at Interact, Transatlantic Love Affair, Kairos
JM Culver, Minneapolis – visual artist
Christopher E. Harrison, Brooklyn Park – public artist, designer, arts educator at Walker Art Center
Seitu Jones, St. Paul – artist, muralist, set designer, environmental artist

First known as Artist Recognition Grants and now as Emerging Artist Grants, the program has awarded 138 grants totaling over $172,000 from 1996 to 2018. The grant awards have gone to 106 individuals, including 28 repeat winners, 72 Visual Artists, 34 Writers, 23 Performers or Composers, and 9 Multi-Media Artists.

The Jerome Foundation, created by artist and philanthropist Jerome Hill (1905-1972), seeks to contribute to a dynamic and evolving culture by supporting the creation, development, and production of new works by emerging artists. It makes grants to not-for-profit arts organizations and artists in Minnesota and New York City. It is affiliated with the Camargo Foundation in Cassis, France.

The next grant application deadline is February 1, 2019, with applications available in fall 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.

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 22-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.

2018 Visual Artist Grant Recipient samples

acrylic painting of bees pollinating flowers

Mike Harris: Bee Medley and Pollinator Drone

Photograph of a reflection in a store window of a young man taking a picture and seeming to hold a bag that's actually in the window display

Harrison Heinks – Window Shopping

a night0time photo of six helmeted policemen carrying a horizontal young black man (like a

Chris Juhn – Battering Ram

Photo of a cream-colored wall with a darker section shaped like a vertical slender torso with a crack running through it

Shelia D. Nelson – Figure in Stone

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

    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

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