Traditional Arts Fellowship

This program honors Maine traditional artists who have devoted their lives to keeping a particular traditional art form alive. These arts call for a deep connection to place and local practices and play an essential role in shaping a traditional artist’s work and repertoire. In practicing these traditions, whether it is French fiddling, Wabanaki basketry or Downeast wooden boat building, the cultural identity of an entire community is celebrated and reaffirmed. 


  • Deadline: May 5, 2016
  • Maximum grant amount: $5,000
  • Funding will be available after: July 1, 2016


What are Traditional Arts?

Traditional arts are passed down through the generations, reflecting the values and practices of a shared culture based on geography, language, religion, occupation, ethnic heritage, tribal affiliation or family background.

Boat building, basket making, wood carving, chain saw carving, fly-tying, instrumental and vocal music, step dancing, canoe making, snowshoe making, quilting, hooked or rag rug making and knitting are a few examples of traditional arts that are practiced in Maine. These arts are usually learned through observation and imitation at the hands of a master practioner rather than through classes, books, the internet or academic training. 


Who is Eligible to Apply

A Maine artist, who is a practitioner of traditional art, is eligible to apply if s/he has a valid Maine address and has resided full-time in Maine for a minimum of two years at the date of application, is 18 years of age or older at the time of the application, and is not enrolled as a full-time undergraduate student and the application is not a required part of their course of study.

All applicants must have completed and filed all final reports required for previous Maine Arts Commission grants.

Artists may submit only one application in any Traditional Arts Fellowship category during a single grant period. An artist who has previously received an Traditional Arts Fellowship from the Maine Arts Commission may not apply for the next ten years. An artist may be awarded a maximum of three Traditional Arts Fellowship awards in a lifetime.


Review Process

Jurors are selected for expertise in a specific field, as well as for a broad-based familiarity with relevant fields within the genre they are jurying. Due to the competitiveness of the Individual Artist Fellowship program and to avoid conflict of interest, all jurors selected for this program reside out of state. Because the sole criterion for selection is artistic excellence, the jury may, at its discretion, decline to award a grant.

Grant recommendations will be presented at the annual meeting of the Maine Arts Commission. The approval of the review process, making the grant official, takes place at that time. Notifications are sent to all applicants following that meeting.

The review process and delivery of funds may take up to four months. This means that grant funds may be used to reimburse costs incurred for the project after the grant has been approved. Please plan accordingly.


Review Criteria

Traditional Arts Fellowship Grant proposals are reviewed on a competitive basis using the following criteria:

  • Artistic excellence.
  • Cultural significance.
  • Authenticity.
  • Artist's contribution to sustaining traditional art.
  • Role of artist in their community.



For questions before you begin the application process: Kathleen Mundell, Creative Aging and Traditional Arts Specialists, 207/287-6746,  or moc.oohay@1002secruoserlarutluc

For general questions about the application or review process please contact Kathy Ann Shaw, Senior Director for Grants and Arts Accessibility, at 207/287-2750, vog.eniam@wahs.yhtak.


Required Application Materials

Your application will consist of two steps. The first is the completion of the electronic application which will include contact information. The second part of your application will require the upload of the narrative portion of your application and application attachments.

Please review the following required materials carefully in preparing your application. Failure to comply with these requirements will result in disqualification of your application. Only complete applications will be accepted. Make copies of all application materials for your records prior to submitting them.

  • A two page biographical statement including the following:
    1. An overview of your traditional art form.
    2. A description of how you learned your art including who taught you as well as other family, tribal, ethnic, occupation influences on your work
    3. How long have you been practicing your art form?
    4. A description of the community where you practice your art. What is your role as an artist in this community?
    5. A description of why this art form important is to you? To your community?
    6. Please include a description of local, state or national recognition of your work.
  • Letters of support. Submit up to three letters of support by a community member stating the qualifications of the applicant.
  • Work Samples. See guidelines below.
  • Work Sample Description Sheet.
  • Vendor Form. To be provided by a first time applicant, or those whose contact information has changed. This is information used by the Treasury to generate a check if the grant is awarded. Applicants should be sure to indicate the address the check should be sent to.


Work Sample Submission Guidelines

Work samples are a crucial aspect of your application and it is essential that they are of professional quality and are appropriate representations of your current abilities. Samples are uploaded through the electronic submission system. Each upload will prompt the applicant to provide a description of the work sample. More instructions are provided within the electronic application system.

Represented work must be current; preferably within the past three years. Failure to submit samples in the formats outlined below will disqualify the application.



Preferred format PDF, but WORD documents will also be accepted. Manuscripts should include works of prose, not to exceed 20 pages, or up to five poems. Script and playwriting applicants should include one act or scene. Selections from a longer script or work of prose may be accompanied by a synopsis of the complete work. The synopsis is not part of the 20 page maximum. All materials must be legible in 12-point or larger type and double spaced.


Preferred format JPEG, but PDF images will also be accepted. Five samples total may be submitted. Optimal image size is 1920 pixels on the longest side (to accommodate HD viewing) at a resolution of 96 dpi and a file size under 5mb. Images can be a digital photograph or a digital scan.


Audio and Video submissions will be accepted. Five samples total may be submitted.Optimal work samples will be under five minutes in length. If the file is longer than five minutes listening/viewing points should be indicated in the description of the piece. This must explain how to view or listen to the work sample(s). The reviewer will not be expected to listen/view a larger piece in its entirety.

We recommend that contributors consider licensing their media files under a Creative Commons Attribution/Non-Commercial/Share-Alike license.

The Maine Arts Commission reserves the right to use submitted materials in the promotion of the artist and/or Maine Arts Commission programs. The material will be used in a promotional manner only and will not be used for commercial purposes.


How to Apply

Applications will be accepted until 5 p.m. on the date of the application deadline. The agency will not accept late or incomplete applications under any circumstance. 

Applications are submitted via the agency’s Grants Management System (GMS). In order to use the GMS and create your application, you must have a user account (username and password) on the Maine Arts Commission website. This is not the same account that you have used with the previous eGRANT system.

To begin your application, click HERE and enter your Maine Arts Commission username and password. After you have logged in, select the 'Read More' link at the bottom of the funding opportunity you are interested in and follow the prompts to enter your application information. Be sure to click the ‘Save and Next’ button before moving on to the next part of the application.
There’s no charge to set one up and it only takes a few minutes. At the login screen, click ‘New User?’ in the lower right corner and then key in the information as indicated. Click HERE to reach the login screen.
If you know your username but have forgotten your password, click the ‘Forgot Password’ link at the bottom middle of the login screen. Click HERE to reach the login screen.
Help with various topics is available HERE. 



Grant information is available in large print format by request. All Maine Arts Commission programs are accessible to people with disabilities. All programs funded by the Maine Arts Commission must also be accessible.


Need More Help?

For General Questions:
207- 287-2724

More Specific Help:

Grants and Website Manager
Eli Cabañas: 287-6746

Assistant Director
Julie Horn: 287-2790

Regional Development Director
Sheila Jans: 287-2750

Program Director
Khristina Kurasz: 287-2724

Program Director
Danielle Moriarty: 287-6746

Program Director

Martha Piscuskas: 287-2750

Traditional Arts Specialist
Kathleen Mundell: 236-6741