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2021 Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship (SARF)

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https://fellowships.si.edu/SARF 

 

The 2022 program is not currently accepting nominations please check the new site above for updates.

 

 An Innovative Research-Based Artist Residency Program

2021 SARF Deadlines

  • Nomination period:  September 14 to the deadline:  October 16, 2020 at 11:59 PM EST
  • Instructions to Artist: Will be sent on or after October 27, 2020 
  • Applications due:  January 15, 2021 at 11:59 PM EST  
  • All applicants notified of final decision: April 2021 
Cleft, 2016

2014 SARF Artist: Annet Couwenberg Cleft, 2016 CNC routed polyethylene, screws, felt, fiberglass, covered with feathers, copper braid 2’ x 8’ x 8’ Photo credit Dan Meyers

Background:

The Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship (SARF) program was launched in 2007 to provide outstanding visual artists from across the world a unique opportunity to work with Smithsonian museums, research sites, collections, and scholars, so they may conduct research that inspires new artwork. SARF Fellows spend one to two months in residence at the Smithsonian immersed in its unparalleled collections and multidisciplinary scholarly expertise, building connections between art, science, history and culture. The program embodies the depth and breadth of the Smithsonian. Fellows have studied not only what is on view in the Smithsonian’s nineteen museums and National Zoo, but also the vast collections in non-public areas, libraries, archives, gardens, laboratories, storage facilities and field sites in the U.S. and abroad.

As the program’s reputation has grown, SARF has become increasingly competitive and international. See former Smithsonian Artist Research Fellows at the end of this page. You can also find additional information and video recordings from the 10th Anniversary Symposium here

Purpose:

This unique residency offers creative collaboration in a dynamic environment. It brings together Smithsonian scholars and distinguished visual artists from a variety of disciplines throughout the United States and abroad to explore cross-disciplinary connections. It allows the Smithsonian a unique opportunity to see the collections and resources in different ways. It inspires new directions and creative expression for both artists and Smithsonian staff. It strengthens the arts community within the Smithsonian and broadens public interest in and understanding of contemporary art. SARF fellowships are explicitly for artist research and do not require recipients to create or exhibit artwork. Consequently, studio space is not provided.

Eligibility:

You are eligible to apply for a SARF Fellowship if the following applies to you:

  • Secured a nomination by the deadline listed above.
  • Received an email from the Office of Fellowships and Internships inviting you to apply a week or two after the nomination period closes. 
  • Outstanding visual artist
  • Strong exhibition history beyond the home region
  • Demonstrated record of artistic accomplishment
  • Ability to create a strong research proposal that utilizes Smithsonian specific resources
  • Ability to independently secure a nomination and a Smithsonian advisor
  • U.S. citizens and foreign nationals with proficiency in written and spoken English
  • Ability to independently arrange accommodation and travel
  • Self-reliant and flexible

You are NOT eligible to apply for a SARF Fellowship if the following applies to you:

  • Undergraduate students and MFA candidates
  • Smithsonian employee or contractors if the Smithsonian Fellowship would coincide with their employment
  • Any person who has been employed or under contract with the Smithsonian in the previous year is ineligible for a Smithsonian Fellowship unless he/she is given approval from the Office of Fellowships and Internships.
Yann Seznec image no border

2015 SARF Artist: Yann Seznec, Sound Signature P51 (WWII era fighter with Merlin engine) 2015 Screen printed spectrogram

How it Works:

Award Letters

All details of the Fellowship (exact dates of tenure, the amount of the stipend and any allowances as well as how they are paid out, etc.) are specified in each award letter sent by the Office of Fellowships and Internships to selected candidates.

Stipends and Allowances

Stipends are up to $4,500 per month and are prorated according to a Fellow’s exact length of tenure.

In addition, a Travel Allowance, exclusively for a Fellow’s one-time relocation cost (average cost of a round trip coach seat on a train or airplane at the time of tenure) from his/her home to the Smithsonian, may also be provided. If a Fellow elects to split the appointment into multiple trips, he/she will be responsible for covering the additional travel costs.

Research Allowance of up to $2,000 may be available for the artist to purchase research equipment or materials necessary for the Fellowship. Any travel related specifically to a Fellow’s research (e.g., non-local travel from one Smithsonian location to another to conduct research) falls into the category of research. You are not required but may use the  SARF Budget Form 2021

Tenure Dates

Tenure dates at the Smithsonian can be divided into multiple visits, but must total a period of one to two months, depending on the specifics of each fellow’s award letter.

Any changes to tenure dates must be approved in advance by 1) the advisor and then 2) the Office of Fellowships and Internships. If changes to tenure dates reduce the number of months the fellow is on residence the stipend will be prorated.

Housing

SARF Fellows are expected to spend their Fellowships in residence at the Smithsonian conducting research with Smithsonian staff and using Smithsonian resources following a project schedule agreed to by the Smithsonian advisor(s).

Smithsonian Artist Research Fellows must secure their own housing. Successful Fellows coming to DC and searching for housing should use extreme caution when sending money to a third party for housing deposits.

Nomination Requirement  

To be considered for this fellowship, artists need to be nominated and the information send it to hudsonp@si.edu by the deadline by October 16, 2020. Each nominator may nominate up to two (2) artists.

The email should be sent to hudsonp@si.edu from the nominator and include the following information: Name and affiliation of the nominator and the name and email address of the artist(s) they are nominating.

Artists seeking nomination:

  • Consider the research you want to conduct at the Smithsonian
  • Find a Smithsonian research staff member in the Smithsonian Opportunities for Research and Study (SORS) whose research relates to the research you want to conduct at the Smithsonian.
  • Reach out to the Smithsonian research staff member to discuss your research and ask if s/he would be willing to 1) nominate you and 2) serve as your advisor during a 1-2 month fellowship if you are selected.
  • If the Smithsonian research staff member agrees to nominate you they will need to email the information to hudsonp@si.edu by the deadline.
  • After the nomination deadline has passed, you will receive instructions about the next steps to apply for the fellowship.

Please Note: Incomplete nominations sent after the deadline, and nominations with incorrect email addresses will not be accepted.  

 

Milumbe Haimbe_The Monument at DC

2015 SARF Artist: Milumbe Haimbe The Monument at DC, Hybridized, (part of a series called Hybrid Cities) 2016

 

Selection Criteria:

The SARF committee selects a limited number of applications to be awarded for fellowships based on the following criteria:

  • Outstanding quality of artwork based on technical finesse and conceptual sophistication
  • Well-established or promising exhibition record that shows progress beyond home region
  • Evidence of independence and flexibility
  • Proposal listed in the application is:
    • Innovative
    • Feasible
    • Makes a strong case for research projects that require Smithsonian-specific collections, resources, scholars or locations in order to succeed

 

Please Note: The Smithsonian is unable to provide applicants with individual feedback about their proposals

 

On Fait Ensemble 6

2015 SARF Artist: Ato Malinda in On Fait Ensemble, 2010

FAQ

 

How can I secure a nomination?

If you are seeking a nomination, you will need to find a Smithsonian research staff member in the Smithsonian Opportunities for Research and Study (SORS) whose research relates to the research you want to conduct at the Smithsonian. You need to reach out to the Smithsonian researcher and ask to be nominated.

 

As a nominator how many artists can I nominate?

Each nominator may nominate up to two (2) artists.

 

Can a group of artists who collaborate together apply for this fellowship? 

Collaborative groups of artists with a single research proposal are encouraged to apply and have been awarded in the past. The group needs to find a Smithsonian research staff member in the Smithsonian Opportunities for Research and Study (SORS) whose research relates to the artistic group’s single research proposal. Like individual artists, the group needs to reach out to the Smithsonian researcher and secure a nomination in order to apply.

 

I have left several messages for a Smithsonian research staff member whose research relates to the research I want to conduct at the Smithsonian, but s/he hasn’t responded. What should I do?

If you have left at least two messages for a Smithsonian staff researcher and have not heard back, you should assume they are not able to nominate you. This can because the staff person is on leave or the collection you want to research is unavailable. You should try and find another staff person whose research relates to the research you want to conduct at the Smithsonian to nominate you. If there is no other staff members whose research relates to the research you want to conduct at the Smithsonian, then you should try securing a nomination the following year.

 

I have been unable to secure a nomination prior to the deadline. What are my options?

You should consider trying to secure a nomination the following year. Incomplete nominations sent after the deadline, and nominations with incorrect email addresses will not be accepted.

 

What happens after I (the nominator) submit my completed nomination?

You will should receive an email at the address from which you sent the nomination acknowledging receipt of the nomination email.

 

How many references do I need when filling out the SARF application in SOLAA?

You will need the name and email address of two individuals at least one of whom should be a professional art expert.

 

How do I ensure my references received the survey?

Once you enter both references into the application you must select the option to send the survey to the references (click Send Email). Applicants are responsible for tracking their two references and ensuring that the references submit by the application deadline.

 

Are SARF Fellows given studio space?

SARF fellowships are explicitly for artist research and do not require recipients to create or exhibit artwork. Consequently, studio space is not provided.

 

What if my research involves the use of live animals?

Please mark on your application that live animals will be involved in your research. If your proposal is accepted the committee and your advisor will determine the extent of your involvement with live animals and if specific training is required.

 

When providing specific art samples on my application, which format is best to use?

Any functioning URL that links to samples of your artwork is acceptable. There is no preferred URL.

 

Are SARF Fellows given housing?

Smithsonian Artist Research Fellows must secure their own housing. The point of the monthly stipend is to help defray living costs (housing, local transportation, food).

NOTE: Any Fellows coming to DC and searching for housing should use extreme caution when sending money to a third party for housing deposits.

 

How many SARF Fellows are selected each year?

There is no fixed number of Fellows selected each year as funding varies.

 

Who selects those awarded for SARF Fellowships?

Applications are reviewed and artists selected by members of the SARF Committee. The committee is composed of Smithsonian art curators and representatives from the Smithsonian science, culture and history communities.

 

What criteria is used to select those awarded for SARF Fellowships?

The SARF committee selects a limited number of applications to be awarded for fellowships based on the following criteria:

  • Outstanding quality of artwork based on technical finesse and conceptual sophistication
  • Well-established or promising exhibition record that shows progress beyond home region
  • Evidence of independence and flexibility
  • Proposal listed in the application is:
    • Innovative
    • Feasible
    • Makes a strong case for research projects that require Smithsonian-specific collections, resources, scholars or locations in order to succeed

 

If I am accepted for a SARF Fellowship when will I need to start the fellowship?

Awards are not official until each selected applicant receives an official award letter from the Smithsonian’s Office of Fellowships and Internships. This award letter lists all the details of each fellowships (e.g., exact dates of tenure, the amount of the stipend, any allowances, how the fellow will be paid, etc.)

 

If I am accepted I will need to break my tenure up into multiple visits to the Smithsonian. Does a travel allowance cover all my trips?

Tenure dates at the Smithsonian can be divided into multiple visits, but must total a period of one to two months. Specifics of the tenure are reflected in each fellow’s award letter. If a travel allowance is included in the award, it pays for only one relocation trip from the awardee’s home to the Smithsonian location where s/he will do research. If tenure will be broken up into multiple visits, the fellow will have to pay for additional trips to and from the Smithsonian tenure location.

 

I was not selected for a SARF Fellowship. Can I get feedback on why I was not selected?

The Smithsonian is unable to provide SARF applicants with individual feedback about their proposals.

 

BlanePortraitMiami

SARF Artist: Blane De St. Croix in front of his sculpture High Rise, at Untitled, Miami Beach, 2014

Current & Previous Smithsonian Artist Research Fellows:

2020

Adeagbo, Georges, An Artistic inquiry on Abraham Lincolns motivations to abolish slavery and the impact of his decisions until our days, at the National Museum of American History with Nancy Bercaw and Harry Rubenstein.

Agha, Anila Quayyum, A Place to Call Home, at the Smithsonian American Art Museum & Archives of American Art with Nora Atkinson and Sarah Newman.

Almanza Pereda, Alejandro, All the water under the bridge, the moon and the stars, at the National Air and Space Museum with Teasel Muir-Harmony and .

Apostol, Alexander, The Political Portrait and Queer Portrait in the Staging of Power, at the National Portrait Gallery with Leslie Ureña and Taina Caragol.

Bensahel, Chloe, Soft Ware, at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum with Susan Brown and Alana Staiti.

Bouton, Ligia, Mount Holyoke College, A Time Capsule in Glass: Stellar Variables and the Life of Henrietta Swan Leavitt, at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics with Kelly Korreck.

Fernandes, Brendan, Northwestern University, Seat and Power: Reflections on Cultural Exchanges Between the Goan and Kenyan Experience, at the National Museum of African Art with Karen Milbourne, Kevin Dumouchelle and Saisha Grayson.

Gardner, Tia-Simone, at the National Museum of American History with Crytal Moten.

Harvey, Ellen, LOVE/LOSS/USA, at the Smithsonian American Art Museum with Sarah Newman.

Luger, Cannupa Hanska, A Way Home, at the National Museum of the American Indian and National Museum of Natural History with Ann McMullen and Gwyneira Isaac.

Mutiti, Nontsikelelo, Virginia Commonwealth University, Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes, at the National Museum of African Art and National Museum of American History with Karen Milbourne and Ellen Feingold.

Pavlovic, Vesna, Vanderbilt University, Fast Obsolescence, at the Archives of American Art with Josh Franco and Joshua Bell.

Quevedo, Ronny, Manual Labor in Pre-Columbian Works, at the National Museum of the American Indian with David Penney and Josh Franco.

Skawennati, Concordia University, Dressing Indigenous Avatars, at the National Museum of the American Indian with Rebecca Trautmann.

Vantu, Quynh, University College London, Breaking Bread: the hospitality of the dining table, at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, and the Freer | Sackler with Yao-Fen You and Frank Feltens.

Young, Carey, Slade School of Fine Art, Stranger than Fiction: Law and Art within the Archives of American Art, at the Archives of American Art with Josh Franco and Robyn Asleson.

2019

Melissa Baez, National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC): Daughter of Revolution

Holly Bass, National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC): And the Cotton is High

Zarina Bhimji, National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC): Ruby

Priyanka Dasgupta, National Portrait Gallery (NPG): The Unforgettable Bobby Alam

Elise Eeraerts, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC): Natural and Anthropogenic Transformations of Soil

Modupeola Fadugba, National Museum of African Art (NMAfA): A Century of Swimming

Sofia Gallisa, Cooper Hewitt, National Design Museum (CHNDM): What Remains

Tsedaye Makonnen, National Museum of African Art (NMAfA): Humans as Cargo

Chad Marshall, National Portrait Gallery (NPG): The Unforgettable Bobby Alam

Meghann O’Brien, National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI): Tied Together: Chilkat Weaving and Abstract Expressionism

Muhammad Qureshi, Freer-Sackler Gallery of Art (FSGA): Dialogue with Tradition

Roberto Sifuentes, Archives of American Art (AAA): Exsanguination: Marking and Re-Mapping Our Geopolitical and Racialized Bodies Through Research into Leeches and Bloodletting as an Act of Violence

Stephanie Syjuco, National Museum of American History (NMAH): The Colonial Ersatz: Investigating the Photographic Legacy of the 1904 World’s Fair

2018

Adriana Corral

Victor Ekpuk

Beatrice Glow

Ayana Vellissia Jackson

Clara sukyoung Jo

Agnieszka Kurant

Ruth LeGear

Ander Mikalson

Temitayo Ogunbiyi

Wendy Red Star

Jann Rosen-Queralt

Mark Shapiro

Tintin Wulia

Lynne Yamamoto

2017

Brandon Ballengee

Krista Caballero

Maria Candiani

Maria Davila

Frank Ekeberg

Dimitri Fagbohoun

Laurel hope

Samuel Hopkins

Syowia Kyambi

Juan Orrantia

Eto Otitigbe

Eduardo Portillp

Rein Terpstra

Amie Siegel

Rico Washignton

2016

Peju Alatise

Brook Andrew

Sammy Baloji

Mark Boulos

David Brooks

Luca Buvoli

Petrit Halilaj

Aram Han Sifuentes

Hugh Livingston

Adal Maldonado

Matthias Mansen

Victor Mutelekesha

Freddy Rodriguez

Casey Ruble

Paul Rucker

Lynn Sures

2015

Gina Adams

Lauren Alexander

Erika Blumenfeld

Paco Cao

Chris Chong

Guy Michael Davis

Blane De St. Croix

Ghalia Elsrakbi

Ian Garrett

Sara Greenberger Rafferty

Milumbe Haimbe

Kiluanji Henda

Ato Malinda

Marcus Neustetter

Katie Parker

Yann Seznec

2014

Vivian Beer

Annet Couwenberg

Kenneth Robert Gonzales-Day

Lamont Hamilton

Muriel Hasbun

Shana Lutker

Esperanza Mayobre

Edward Morris

Kenjiro Okazaki

Amy O’Neill

Damian Ortega

Jaime Permuth

Susannah Sayler

Christina Seely

Praneet Soi

2013

Suzanne Hitt Bocanegra

Julia Brown

Evaristus Chukweumeka Obodo

Walmor Correa

Cameron Gainer

Peter Garfield

Shan D. Goshorn

Anawana Haloba

Susan Lawty

Beth Lipman

Aime Mpane Enkobo

Hossein Valamanesh

Jin-me A. Yoon

2012

Richard Barnes

Lia Cook

Lillian Cox-Richard

Christine Dixie

Simryn Gill

Camille Henrot

Michael Joo

Irene Kopelman

Tristin Lowe

Steven Montgomery

Herve Ngamago-Youmbi

Kim Schoenstadt

Chico Togni

Penelope Umbrico

Mark Zirpel

2011

Tauba Auerbach

Willem Boshoff

Halsey Burgund

Richard Chartier

Kate Davis

Joseph Grigley

Avish Khebrehzadeh

Trevor Paglen

James Peel

Elaine Reichek

Dario Robleto

Mary Sibande

Elizabeth Turk

Marie Watt

2010

Carlos Amorales

Joann Brennan

Jocelyn Chateauvert

Sonya Clark

Mary Evans

Joseph Gerhardt

Emmet Gowin

Tracy Hicks

Ruth Jarman

Richard Pell

Clive Van den Berg

2009

Kader Attia

Peter Coffin

Jamal Cyrus

Nancy Friedman-Sanchez

Brian Jungen

Candace Lin

Linn Meyers

Henrique Oliveira

Morgan Puett

Alison Taylor

2008

Rachel Berwick

Abraham Cruz Villegas

Samuel Durant

Elizabeth Huey

Runa Islam

Marcia Kure

Rodney McMillian

Maggie Michael

Douglas Ross

Dan Steinhilber

2007

Ghada Amer

Sandow Birk

Bjorn Dahlem

Terence Gower

Shih-Chieh Huang

Nene Humphrey

Sergio Palleroni

Tim Rollins

Sue Williamson