Arts and Culture

One Louisville-area visual artist will win a $10,000 award through a new partnership between 21c Museum Hotels and the national nonprofit Artadia.

The 21c Artadia Award is an unrestricted grant that will be offered in each city where there is a 21c hotel, launching first in Louisville.

“We believe that artists are an integral part of our communities and need more financial support, as well as an engaged community of supporters to bring them to the next stage in their career,” Artadia executive director Carolyn Ramo told WFPL. 

“We continue to discover inspiring artists in cities large and small, across the U.S., and like Artadia, we seek to provide opportunities that allow their visions and voices to be seen and heard,” 21c chief curator and museum director Alice Gray Stites said in a news release.

The funds are unrestricted. 

Ramo said it was important to “allow the artist to make the decision themselves” on how the award money is spent, whether it be to support art making, living expenses or to pay off debt. 

“Unrestricted funds are an incredible way to ensure that artists can use the funding for whatever obstacle might be in their way in order to progress as an artist,” Ramo said. “It also is a way to tell an artist that we trust them… to remove some financial barriers that might be in their way. It also prescribes a value to their work and to who they are in our community.”

Applications for the Louisville award are open May 15 – June 15. 

It is an open call with no application fee, and available to visual artists in Metro Louisville, including the Kentucky counties of Jefferson, Oldham, Shelby, Spencer, Bullitt, Nelson, Meade, Trimble and Henry, as well as Clark, Harrison, Floyd and Washington counties in Indiana.

Ramo said they wanted to make the application process as simple as possible. 

“Artadia does recognize that it is sometimes a challenging thing to apply for grants,” Ramo said. “It usually takes time away from an artist’s practice.”

The time and resources often needed to apply for grants can be a barrier to artists even submitting an application. 

Ramo said the 21c Artadia Award application process “is fairly simple.” They ask for artists to share samples of their work and it’s optional as to whether an applicant wants to include an artist statement. 

“Ideally, the application takes around 10/15 minutes and then that’s it,” she said.

The jurors are Vincenzo de Bellis, curator and associate director of programs at Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and Harvard Art Museum chief curator Soyoung Lee.

For the artists who aren’t chosen as the grantee, Ramos hopes the process could open up other opportunities by having their work exposed to “a whole new audience,” including Artadia itself as a grantmaker and “notable curators.”

The Louisville awardee will be announced in July. 

In subsequent years, the grant will be offered in cities such as Kansas City, Mo., Durham, N.C. and Nashville, Tenn.

Stephanie Wolf is WFPL's Arts Reporter.