DCSIMG
Navigation Menu+

2017 Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship (SARF)

An Innovative Research-Based Artist Residency Program

2017 SARF Deadlines:

  • October 31, 2016 at 11:59 PM EST: Nomination Deadline
  • January 9, 2017 at 11:59 PM EST:  Application deadline
  • March 31, 2017: All applicants notified of final decision 
  • September 30th, 2018 2017 SARF Fellowships must be completed
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.

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 and submitted a complete and valid nomination form to SIOFI@si.edu by the deadline listed on the form
  • Received an email from Office of Fellowships and Internships acknowledging receipt of nomination form
  • Received an email from the Office of Fellowships and Internships inviting you to apply
  • 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 $4,000 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.

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, you need to submit a completed 2017 SARF Nomination Form and send it to SIOFI@si.edu by the deadline listed on the form. Each nominator may nominate up to two (2) artists.

If Section I of your Nomination Form is blank, you will need to:

  • 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, send that researcher your Nomination Form. The Smithsonian researcher completes Section I and returns the form to you. You complete Section II and send the completed form to SIOFI@si.edu by the deadline listed on the form.
  • Once your completed Nomination Form is received, you will receive instructions about the next steps to apply for the fellowship.

Please Note: Incomplete nomination forms, nomination forms 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

Am I eligible to apply for a SARF Fellowship?

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

  • Secured a nomination and submitted a complete and valid nomination form to SIOFI@si.edu by the deadline listed on the form
  • Received an email from Office of Fellowships and Internships acknowledging receipt of nomination form
  • Received an email from the Office of Fellowships and Internships inviting you to apply
  • Outstanding visual artists
  • 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
  • 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 an undergraduate student
  • You are not an MFA candidate
  • You are not a Smithsonian employee or contractor at the same time of your SARF Fellowship
  • If you have been employed or under contract with the Smithsonian in the previous year and have been granted approval from the Office of Fellowships and Internships to apply

 

I received a Nomination Form with Section I already filled out. What does this mean?

Some artists will receive a nomination form with the nominator section already filled out. If you have received a nomination form that already contains nominator information in the top section, you have been nominated for the fellowship. You only need to add your information at the bottom (Section II) and send the complete Nomination Form to SIOFI@si.edu by the deadline listed on the form.

 

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. You may not complete the nomination form on behalf of the nominator.

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 listed on the nomination form. What are my options?

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

 

What happens after I submit my completed nomination form?

Within 3 business days you will should receive an email at the address from which you sent the nomination form acknowledging receipt of the nomination form. If you do not receive this acknowledgement email then your nomination form was not received.  Your acknowledgement of receipt email will provide details on the next steps and the application process.

 

What is involved in the application process for a SARF Fellowship?

Once you submit your complete nomination form you will receive an email acknowledging receipt as well as details on the next steps and the application process.

 

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. One reference should be the person who nominated you for this fellowship.

 

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 for a SARF Fellowship when will I need to complete the fellowship?

All SARF Fellowships must be completed by September 30th of the year following the date on the award letter. Generally SARF Fellows have 16 months after receiving their award letter to complete their 1-2 month fellowship. Any SARF Fellow who is not able to complete the fellowship by September 30th of the year following the date on the award letter forfeits any unused stipend and allowances.

 

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.

 

I was not selected for a SARF Fellowship. Can I reapply the following year?

As long as you secure a valid nomination you may apply.

 

BlanePortraitMiami

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

Previous Smithsonian Artist Research Fellows:

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

Elaine Reichek

Dan Steinhilber

 

2007

Ghada Amer

Sandow Birk

Bjorn Dahlem

Terence Gower

Shih-Chieh Huang

Nene Humphrey

Sergio Palleroni

Tim Rollins

Sue Williamson