MCKNIGHT FELLOWSHIPS for FIBER ARTISTS FAQ’s
- What is the age limit for the fellowships?
There is no age limit for the fellowships; this is not asked for as part of the juried part of the application process. As stated on the application, the only reason that we ask for your age is to provide data for Textile Center to know who we are reaching through outreach during the application process.
- Who is eligible to apply, what is mid-career, and what does my experience in the discipline of Fiber Art need to be?
Since all of these details are entwined, they are explained together:
The intent of the McKnight Fellowships for Fiber Artists is to recognize and support talented Minnesota fiber and textile artists whose work is of exceptional artistic and cultural merit, who have created a significant body of work over a period of at least 8 years, representing a sustained investigation and maturation of personal creativity and accomplishment in, and commitment to the field of fiber art and Minnesota’s arts ecosystem. These fellowships are in support of artists who are at a career stage beyond emerging.
Fiber Artists, as defined for the purposes of this fellowship, are artists who use textile and fiber arts materials, processes, histories, traditions, and/or sensibilities as their primary modality in their artistic and creative practice throughout the conception, execution, and resolution of their work.
These fellowships are for mid-career and beyond. The only requirement for the purposes of the McKnight Fellowships in Fiber Arts Program is to show at least eight (8) years of invested, creative practice, documented by a resume, CV, or list of accomplishments–that demonstrates commitment to active practice and documents recognition of your work through exhibitions, awards or honors, grants received, studio art teaching, etc. We check this documentation when your application comes in to be sure you meet this qualification.
There is no limit to a time period for mid-career, and McKnight program partners uphold the belief that mid-career could be the rest of your life!
There are no specific requirements as to calling yourself a fiber artist for eight years, as artists tend to use whatever means are most appropriate to communicate their message. However, your work does have to recognize fiber art as the primary basis for your work, on a high level–particularly in work done recently, over the last 2-3 years. Applications need to show excellence, consistency, maturity, breadth, and depth in the field. Here are the criteria from our guidelines and a link to detailed program guidelines: https://textilecentermn.org/2023mcknightappinfo/
- What are the awards based on?
The awards are based on portfolio excellence, as exemplified by your images and your writing (or recorded speaking) about your work. There is NO proposal involved and the application does not include request for a budget. The intent of this program is to recognize and support midcareer artists living and working in Minnesota who demonstrate a sustained level of accomplishment, commitment, and excellence. The award is not based on what you plan to do or what you think you are going to do. It is about what you have done so far in your career.
- How does the jury process work?
The jury process is blind, at least until they meet you on Zoom if you become a finalist. Jurors focus on the images in the portfolio and the accompanying statement about the work, along with an image list that you provide that includes the title, year, processes and materials in each work you submit. They also refer to your resume if they have questions about your accomplishments thus far in your career, and how these might relate to how they see the caliber of your portfolio.
There is nowhere on the application where your identity is divulged to the jury, unless someone includes something about themselves in their statement. However, please note that as you write about yourself in the statement, what you say should connect as an influence on or provide context for your ideas and the work presented. The statement needs to relate to the work–especially the images the jurors are looking at.
This year, applicants can include a brief separate statement (250 characters) to be shared with the jurors about their demographics or personal info–it could be about your history, family, illness, disability, religion, parenthood, sexual orientation, place of origin or residence, race, ethnicity, binary/non-binary, etc.
- What does the McKnight Foundation stand for and how does this impact the program?
Please take a look at what McKnight Foundation’s Arts and Culture program stands for, because that is the lens we use for our work with the jurors:
The jurors are asked to look at all of the SAME links as you are, in the detailed application information, so they understand the agenda of the foundation and see everything that every applicant has access to.
When they agree to jury, they agree to use a lens of equity, diversity, and inclusion. This is broad–nowhere in either ours or McKnight’s materials is the interpretation of any of these three values predicated solely on race. Please see specific links, particularly in the introductory section of the detailed application information, attached, or on the various info tabs on the McKnight section of our website:
- What if I decide I don’t fit into the fiber art category?
If you feel your work is less specific to fiber art, and can’t talk about it in your statement from the context of the definition above, you can apply in the general visual art category through MCAD, or one of the other mid-career fellowship programs for the 2023 fellowships. All of our deadlines are different. Typically, work done in higher education programs does not count toward the 8 years, as it is seen as supported by a cohort environment, research, professional and networking resources, mentorship, and often financial assistance—much like the funding and program benefits provided by these fellowships beyond the unrestricted gift of $25,000.
- All of the McKnight Artist Fellowships award categories and links to the specific program partners are available here: