Southern Prize and State Fellowships for Visual Arts

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The Southern Prize and State Fellowships is open to visual artists in our nine-state region to support, expose, and celebrate the breadth, depth and diversity of artistic excellence.

Applications for the Southern Prize and State Fellowships for Visual Arts are now open and will close on January 8, 2024. 
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Detailed Program Description

The South Arts Southern Prize and State Fellowships acknowledge, support, and celebrate the highest quality artistic work being created in the American South. The program is open to individual artists living in the South Arts region: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. South Arts is committed to practices and funding that create greater cultural equity, represent the diversity of artistic expression of our region, are inclusive of diverse voices and artistic expression, and are accessible to everyone. The cohort of nine-state fellows will be selected through a two-tiered selection process by a national jury. A second national jury will select the Southern Prize Winner and Finalist. Jurors will make their selections based on artistic excellence that reflects and represents the diversity of artistic expression of the region. This program is open to visual artists in several categories.

South Arts State Fellowships: $5,000

The South Arts State Fellowship (state fellowship) is a state-specific prize awarded to artists whose work reflects the best of the visual arts in the South. A national jury will select one winner per eligible state, for a group of nine-state fellows, based on artistic excellence that reflects and represents the diversity of artistic expression of the region. Each of the nine-state fellowship winners will be awarded a $5,000 state fellowship and will compete for one of the two Southern Prizes. State fellowship recipients will be required to attend the awards ceremony in late summer 2023.

South Arts Southern Prize: $25,000 and $10,000

The nine-state fellowship recipients will compete for the Southern Prize. The $25,000 Southern Prize will be awarded to the artist whose work demonstrates the highest artistic excellence, and a runner-up will be awarded a $10,000 Prize. Both Southern Prize recipients will also receive a two-week residency at The Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences. A separate national jury 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 Southern Prize will be announced at the awards ceremony.

The Southern Prize ceremony and exhibition of state fellows’ works may be planned for fall 2024.

Important Dates & Deadlines

  • Application Available on Slide Room: October 2, 2023
  • Informational Webinar: 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. ET, November 2, 2023 | Watch the webinar recording
  • Deadline to Submit a Fee-Waiver Request: January 2, 2024
  • Application Deadline: 11:59 p.m. ET, January 8, 2024
  • Jury Review Process: January 2024 – March 2024
  • State Fellowship Award Notifications: Spring 2024
  • Southern Prize Ceremony and 2024 Exhibition Opening: October 19, 2024 at Art and Culture Center/Hollywood in Hollywood, Florida

#webinarInformational Webinar

The following webinar was recorded on November 2, 2023.


While preparing your Southern Prize and State Fellowships application, please refer to the following guidelines. 


Applicants to the Southern Prize and State Fellowships program must meet the following eligibility requirements: 

  • Be an individual artist or a collaborative team of no more than two artists creating original works of art. 
  • The applicant must be the artist whose original work is represented in the submitted work samples. 
  • Age 18 or Older. 
  • Artists must be a legal US citizen or have permission from the Department of Homeland Security to work permanently in the U.S. 
  • A permanent legal resident of the South Arts’ nine-state region for at least the prior two years (not later than January 2022). The applicant must be a current resident of the State they are applying in at the time of application and agree to maintain residency in that state until June 30, 2025. Applicant must be able to prove current state residency as requested by South Arts staff. 
  • Cannot be a high school student of matriculated student in a graduate, undergraduate program in the fine arts. 
  • Submit only one (1) complete and accurate application. 
  • Actively practicing visual artists whether full- or part-time. 
  • NOTE: Film/video/media art are not eligible; however, works can be submitted that support the Experimental or Mixed Media categories including video/film and/or sound. 
  • Employees and Board Members of South Arts are ineligible to apply. 
Residency Verification

To be eligible to apply for this grant, you must be a legal resident of the South Arts region which encompasses the following nine states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Legal residency in the South Arts region must be for at least two (2) years prior to the application deadline and the artist must maintain residence in the state of residency as submitted on the fellowship application during the entire grant period; have a permanent South Arts residential address, as listed on government issued identification or tax returns. Post office boxes may not be used as a primary address. 

To demonstrate proof of South Arts regional residency, you will be required to submit a current state driver's license or a state ID with the application. South Arts staff may request at any time during the application process additional proof of residency requirements including the submission of one or more of the following documents that establishes residency and reflects the artist’s home address(es) over the prior two-year period (January 2022). Please redact sensitive information. 

  • Utility bills with address provided on the fellowship application, and payment receipts. 
  • Proof of automobile insurance showing the applicant’s state residency address 
  • Active lease agreement, certified deed, or mortgage statement with South Arts regional state address. 
  • A valid state motor vehicle registration or state DMV identification card Valid Voter Registration. 
  • Other Commercial Correspondence that includes the artist’s home address(es).
Visual Arts Categories

The following categories describe the types of visual arts eligible for the 2024 program. South Arts encourages applications from self-taught (folk art or vernacular art) artists whose work align with the listed categories. Artists must choose only one of these categories that best correlates to the work samples that will be submitted. If work is best described across multiple categories, the applicant should select the multi-disciplinary category. 

  • CRAFTS: Craft artists have work made substantially by hand, where the skill and technique for manipulating the material is primary to the artistic process. Materials may include clay, fiber, glass, leather, metal, paper, plastic, wood. 
  • DRAWING: Drawing includes works created using techniques, materials, media, and methods of drawing, printmaking, collage, book arts, or graphic design. 
  • EXPERIMENTAL: Experimental work explores new (non-traditional) ideas and/or technology (see eligibility above if your work incorporates elements of film, video or media. Please note: a performance element is ineligible). 
  • PAINTING: Paintings are original works that involve painting of any kind on any surface. 
  • PHOTOGRAPHY: This category is for artwork in which photographic image is the primary element. This includes traditional photography, as well as works that involve digital or software manipulation of photographs. 
  • SCULPTURE: Three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining materials such as plastic, clay, wire, sound, fiber, textiles, light, stone, metal, glass, wood, or found objects. 
  • MIXED MEDIA: Artwork in which more than one medium or material is used. 
  • MULTI-DISCIPLINARY: The combination of multiple art disciplines into a single artwork except for work that incorporates film/video/media/performance (see Experimental category). 

Only one application per artist per grant cycle will be accepted. Artists who are awarded a South Arts State Fellowship are ineligible to apply to the Southern Prize and State Fellowships program for six years (not earlier than 2030). The winner and finalist of the Southern Prize may not re-apply for a period of 10 years (not earlier than 2034). 

Review Process and Criteria

Review Process 
The group of nine-state fellows will be selected through a two-tiered selection process by a national jury. A second national jury will select the Southern Prize Winner and Finalist.  

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

Awards and Notification

Artists will receive notification of the state fellowship award by late April 2024. The Southern Prize winner and finalist will be announced at the Southern Prize awards ceremony. 

The Southern Prize and State Fellowship awards are unrestricted and do not have a matching requirement. Each of the 9 competitive state fellowships include a $5,000 award. The Southern Prize winner includes a $25,000 additional award while the finalist includes a $10,000 additional award. 

Expectations of Winners

Publicity and Awards Ceremony

Winners of the South Arts State Fellowships are required to attend the South Arts State Fellowship & Prize awards ceremony, which will take place in fall 2024 to receive their cash prizes at Art & Culture/Hollywood, Hollywood, FL. Winners’ travel and accommodations for the awards ceremony will be paid by South Arts. One round-trip flight (or rental car coverage) booked by the artists and reimbursed by South Arts and one hotel room will be booked and paid for 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 opening in late Fall 2024; Art & Culture Center/Hollywood, Hollywood, FL. The majority of the work represented in the submitted work samples should be available for a touring exhibition beginning Fall 2024, lasting up to 24 months. South Arts will assume the costs of shipping. 

For works that are selected for exhibition, state fellows are required to submit complete works including all components needed for video and/or audio installations. 

Use of Funds

There is no requirement for how the state fellows and Southern Prize winner and finalist use the awarded funds. 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 1, 2024 and June 30, 2025. State Fellowship and Southern Prize winners should note that the award money constitutes taxable income and should file accordingly. Please Note: South Arts cannot accommodate any award distribution adjustments related to tax planning. Awarded artists should consult with a professional tax accountant. 

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. 

Expectations of Southern Prize Winners

Additional exposure—in the form of speaking engagements, increased publicity, and more opportunities to display work through South Arts—can be reasonably expected by South Arts Southern Prize recipients and State Fellows. 

NEW for the 2024 Application Cycle
  • Students (secondary, undergraduate, and graduate) whether half- or full-time are ineligible to apply
  • 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
Application Requirements

Applicants to the South Arts State Fellowship program must complete an online application via SlideRoom. The application will be open to receive submissions beginning October 2, 2023. The online submittal process will include the following items: 

  • Online application 
  • A $25 application fee (Please note: If the application fee creates a barrier, the applicant may request a waiver from South Arts by contacting 
  • Scanned or photographed copy of applicant’s state-issued identification or driver's license must be submitted with application 
  • Work samples   
    • Submit up to 10 high resolution images of your work (each image may be up to 5 MB). Detail images may be included in that number. A composite of multiple pieces, details or views in one image will not be accepted 
    • All work samples must have been produced within the last 2 years (on or after January 2022) 
    • For experimental or Mixed Media works that include video or sound, you may include video or sound files within your total of 10 items 
    • Applicants are encouraged but not required to include a brief explanation of concept, process, and/or technique for each piece in the ‘Additional Details’ field of each file as an opportunity to provide jurors with a context for each image 
    • Work completed while the applicant was a matriculated student in a graduate, undergraduate, or high school program is ineligible 
    • Only completed work should be submitted. Works in progress are ineligible. For the purposes of this program, “complete” is considered to be the point at which the work is ready for public presentation 
  • Documentation and Demographic Information   
    • Birth Year 
    • Gender Identity 
    • Race/Ethnicity 
  • An artist statement of up to 250 words is required. If you have not yet developed an artist statement, this article may be helpful. 
  • Professional Resumé or Curriculum Vitae  
    • This summary should include exhibitions, educational background, arts-related employment, residencies, awards, honors, teaching, publications, and/or other pertinent experience. The resumé can be as brief as one page and up to five pages and should be saved as a pdf file 
Technical Assistance and Other Resources

Make an appointment here for any questions about the requirements or application process for Southern Prize and State Fellowship program.

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Have a question about the guidelines or priorities above? It may be addressed in our Southern Prize and State Fellowships FAQ.


Application Portal

After reviewing program guidelines, log in to SlideRoom to apply for the Southern Prize and State Fellowships, edit an application in process, and submit any required reports.

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Meet the 2023 Southern Prize and State Fellowship Recipients

Congratulations to the 2023 Southern Prize for Visual Arts Winner, Victoria Dugger, and the 2023 Southern Prize for Visual Arts Finalist, Michael Webster as well as all of the 2023 State Fellows. Click on a recipient to read more about them and view samples of their work. An exhibition featuring all nine artists is on display at the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi, Mississippi, through December 13, 2023, and touring to additional locations throughout the region in 2024. 

Visit the Southern Prize and State Fellowships for Visual Arts Exhibition at the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum

Sponsors and Supporters

The Southern Prize and State Fellowships is only possible through very generous donations from many individuals, foundations, and organizations.

Recent supporters include: The Warner Fund, Southern First, Cathy Adams, Cheri Snyder, Chris Cathers, Elliot Knight, Fran and Arnold Gellman, Jerry Atnip, John T. Edge, Karen Paty, Kathleen Broda, Mary Regan, Melissa Robinson, Michael Quinlan and Mollie Quinlan-Hayes, Patrick R. and Susie VanHuss, Robert Dozier, and Susie Surkamer.


For further information about the Southern Prize and State Fellowships, contact Emmitt Stevenson.

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