Southern Prize & State Fellowships - FAQ

We recognize that applicants may have questions as they begin the Southern Prize and State Fellowships. We have assembled this FAQ to address the most commonly-asked questions. If your question is not addressed here or in the program's guidelines, please contact us.

FAQs last updated October 5 2022.

What's new for the 2023 Southern Prize and State Fellowships?
  • Matriculated students in a graduate, undergraduate, or high school program are ineligible
  • Applicants must submit a copy of the current state-issued identification or driver's license
  • Work created while an applicant was a student, is ineligible as work sample submissions.
About the Application

Why is this only for visual artists?

We intend to have the Southern Prize serve other art forms in the future. Since South Arts has programs benefiting other art forms such as music and dance, we decided to begin the program in 2016 with visual artists.

Is film/video/media art included in visual arts?

Film/video/media art is not eligible for this year’s Fellowships and Prize. However, if your experimental or mixed media work includes video/film and/or sound, you may apply. Additionally, if your work includes video or sound, you may include video or sound files within your total of 10 items.

Are architecture, design or graphic arts included in visual arts?


My work incorporates several media into each piece. Is it eligible?

Yes. When completing your application, choose the “mixed media” category if your work is either traditional mixed media or if it is multimedia (incorporating video, projections, and/or sound).

I work in more than one visual art discipline. Is my work eligible?

Yes; please select the "multidisciplinary” category when completing your application.

I use a craft medium, but I make conceptual work. What category should I apply in?

If an artist uses a craft medium to make contemporary, conceptual artwork (rather than following traditional methods and pattern), then their work doesn't belong in the Craft category, and they should enter in the category that best fits the form of their work.

What if I create my work in collaboration with another/multiple artist(s)?

See Eligibility.

When does the work I am submitting need to have been created?

Submitted artwork must have been completed between 2019 and the date of your submission.

If your work is extremely time-intensive to create, you may include older pieces, but at least some of the work submitted must date between 2019 and the date of your submission. Please mention the time-intensive nature of the work in the Additional Details field of the media submissions or in your Artist Statement.

What should my ten images include?

The applicant may use the image requirement as they see fit to represent their best work. They may choose to show multiple perspectives of a single piece or a range of different works within one of the disciplines, or the multidisciplinary, categories.

You may include one or more images that show multiple pieces/elements that are meant to be viewed together as a single work, or to show one or more pieces as installed in a gallery/space. Composite images (separate images combined into one image) are not acceptable.

Do photographs taken before 2019, but edited afterward, count as current work?

If it is a straight photographic imagery taken before 2019, then it does not qualify as current work. If, between 2019-2021, you have significantly digitally (or physically) altered those photos into another artwork (digital collage, for example), it would count as current work.

Do the artwork images need to have a common theme or be a project, or is it just a cross-section of an artist’s work?

The applicant needs to submit the images that, in their opinion, best shows their work - whether it be in a series, or a cross-section of work.

What if I don’t have an artist statement?

The artist statement is an opportunity for the jurors to understand the context and approach for the work they are viewing. Here’s an article that may be helpful in developing your artist statement.

Why do I need to submit a resume or CV if the jurors won’t review it?

South Arts anticipates a quick turnaround time between the jurors’ selection, and having the winners’ background information on hand will allow us to publicize the winners more quickly.

How long can my resumé be?

The resumé can be as brief as one page and up to five pages.

Fee Waiver Requests

If the $25 application fee creates a barrier for your participation, you may request a fee waiver. You must make your request by emailing us at no later than October 24, 2022.

My current project is more about Europe than about the South. Will that be viewed negatively by the jurors?

There is no expectation that the artwork relates to the South; that's not relevant in the review process.

About Eligibility

Can students apply?

The applicant must be at least 18 years of age and cannot be a full-time high school or undergraduate student. Graduate students may apply.

I am going to be moving to a state in your region soon. Can I apply?

No. The applicant must have been a legal resident within the nine states served by South Arts for a period of at least two years immediately before the application deadline.

I split my time between [state in our region] and [state outside of our region]. Am I eligible?

Applicants may be asked to provide proof of, or certify, their residency in one of our nine states later in the process, in order to confirm eligibility. You must be able to certify that your primary address is in a state in the South Arts region.

Why isn’t my state included?

South Arts is a Regional Arts Organization serving the following nine states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. While we’d love to serve everyone everywhere, our sister Regional Arts Organizations (Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Mid America Arts Alliance, etc) have excellent programs supporting the arts within their regions. Many State Arts Agencies also offer statewide fellowships and awards, and we encourage you to check out their programs.

What if I create my work in collaboration with another/multiple artist(s)?

A team of two co-creators is eligible. The team members must share equally, and be the sole participants, in the creation of the work (design and execution), and will share the prize equally if they win. Both must have their primary residence in one of South Arts’ member states. One of the artists should be named as the applicant; the nature of the collaboration should be explained in the Artist Statement; and, if selected for a State Fellowship, both artists must prove residency in a South Arts’ state. At this time, no teams larger than two are eligible.

About the Judging

Who will select the winners?

The group of nine State Fellows will be selected through a two-tiered selection process by a national jury. A separate national panel of jurors will select the Southern Prize Winner and Finalist.

What is the selection criterion?

The jurors will make their selections based on artistic excellence that reflects and represents the diversity of the region.

Could I ask how my images are viewed? What is the screen/projected size? Will they be viewed two or three at a time?

Images are viewed typically on a computer screen by each individual juror. For each submission, they see thumbnails of your ten images, and enlarge each to be pretty much a full-screen size.

About the Prizes

What are the prizes?

  • South Arts State Fellowships; $5,000
    • The South Arts State Fellowship is a state-specific prize awarded to the artists whose work reflects the best of the visual arts in the South. A two tiered selection process by a national jury will select one winner per eligible state, based on artistic excellence that reflects and represents the diversity of the region.

      A total of nine fellowships will be awarded. Each will be awarded a $5,000 South Arts State Fellowship, and will compete for one of the two South Arts Prizes. State Fellowship recipients will be required to attend an awards ceremony.
  • South Arts Southern Prize; $25,000 and $10,000
    • The nine State Fellowship recipients will compete for the South Arts Southern Prize. The $25,000 Southern Prize will be awarded to the artist whose work exhibits the highest artistic excellence, and one finalist will be awarded a $10,000 Prize, also based on artistic excellence. Both Southern Prize recipients will also receive a two-week residency at The Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences. A national panel will convene to evaluate the body of work represented by the nine State Fellowship recipients and select the Prize winner and Finalist. Winners of the South Arts Prize will be announced at the awards ceremony.

Will the winners have their work shown in an exhibit?

An exhibition of works by the State Fellowship winners will be organized and open in 2022, (date and location to be determined) and then tour to other sites. All or most of the work represented in your work samples must be available for a touring exhibition beginning summer 2022 for 18-24 months.

Will the winners have their work shown in a catalogue?

A catalogue may be created to accompany the exhibit.

If I am a winner, what do I receive? What am I obligated to do?

Winners of the South Arts State Fellowships are required to attend the South Arts State Fellowship & Prize awards ceremony, which will take place in spring 2022 (date and location to be determined) to receive their cash prizes. Winners’ travel and accommodations for the awards ceremony will be paid for. One round-trip flight (or rental car coverage) and one hotel room will be provided, booked by South Arts. This offer does not extend to any of the winners’ guests.

The winners of the State Fellowships (and, therefore, the South Arts Southern Prize winner and finalist) will have their work included in a touring exhibition (date and location to be determined) opening in summer 2022 and be on display for 18-24 months. All or most of the work represented in the submitted work samples must be available for exhibition. South Arts will assume the cost of shipping artwork.

If I am a winner, what can I spend the money on?

There is no requirement for how Fellowship and Prize winners use their awards. South Arts hopes the money would go towards pursuit of artistic achievement, but winners are not required to submit their use of the funds for approval. The funds are expected to be used between May 2022 and June 30, 2023. State Fellowship and South Arts Southern Prize winners should note that the award money constitutes taxable income, and should file accordingly. Fellowship and Prize winners are expected to write a one-page final report and submit images (if appropriate) on how they used the fellowship winnings.

What is The Hambidge Center’s connection to these prizes?

The Hambidge Center will be overseeing the application process and serving as the point of contact for applicants. Both Southern Prize recipients will also receive a two-week residency at The Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences.

About the Exhibit

What are the details? 

The nine South Arts State Fellowship winners will be included. Each artist will need to make available multiple pieces, which were represented in the images submitted with the application. The final selection will be made with the Exhibit Coordinator and based on the entire range and size of work represented by the nine Fellows. South Arts will cover the shipping costs to and from the exhibit location.

Work must be received at the exhibit location by an agreed upon date TBD in spring/summer 2022. The exhibition, the South Arts 2022 Southern Prize Exhibition, will open in late summer/early fall 2022 at a location to be determined. The exhibit will then tour to other sites spanning 18-24 months. Celebrating the breadth and diversity of the highest quality art being created in the American South, the Southern Prize Exhibition will bring together work from the nine esteemed State Fellowship winners, one from each state within the South Arts region – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. One fellowship winner will then be named the Southern Prize winner during an awards ceremony in June 2022.

Will I have to give South Arts 10 pieces to tour for a potentially long period?

We will work with the artists and our exhibit coordinator to winnow down what expectations seem appropriate. Last year, it varied in terms of the number and scale of the work provided. A winning photographer provided the ten pieces in a series that they submitted originally; a painter who does large-scale work did not have one of his submitted images available but we exhibited one monumental piece very similar to his submission; a ceramics artist provided one set of 12-15 vessels that were collectively an installation piece, plus 3-4 separate pieces. For larger scale, or installation-based, we likely would ask for one-three pieces; while submissions that are a series, or are smaller-scale (so they don't get 'lost' visually), we would likely ask for more. We will do all we could to make arrangements that work for both parties.

Will the exhibited work be available for purchase? 

If a potential buyer expresses interest in your work during the exhibition, South Arts will connect the buyer with the artist to discuss the possibility of purchasing the item(s). Any sales and/or shipping details would occur directly between the buyer and the artist; South Arts does not take any commission from the sale. If a piece is sold during the run of the exhibition, South Arts asks that the piece remain on display until the exhibition ends.
If a piece sells prior to the exhibition, the artist must be able to supply work that is similar to the work submitted in the application process.