For immediate release
Dec. 17, 2020
Contact: Lisa Demer, 907-545-3555 (cell)

Anchorage, AK – Rasmuson Foundation is accepting applications for the 2021 Individual Artist Awards (IAA). Online applications will be accepted through March 1; paper applications must be delivered or postmarked by Feb. 15.

In addition to individual artists, groups and collaboratives — two or more artists working together — are eligible for Project Awards and Fellowships. A musical band, a dance company and a multimedia collective are some examples.

The awards support artistic growth and exploration of new creative ground for artists living and working in Alaska. In 2020, award recipients came from 12 different communities including Bethel, Kotzebue, Kodiak and Sitka as well as Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau.

“This program highlights the importance art has in our state and our many cultures; to tell our stories, to create a sense of identity, reflect our time and place, and to show pride in who we are,” said Enzina Marrari, a Foundation program officer who manages the Individual Artist Awards program. “Artists are storytellers, truth tellers, reflectors of culture and time, those who hold the ability to unveil that which is difficult to express and that which is beautiful.”

The Foundation recruits a panel of experts in the arts from across the country to review applications and ultimately select 10 Fellows and 25 Project Award recipients.

“We encourage artists who do not receive an award to continue applying,” said Alexandra McKay, Foundation vice president of programs. “The mix of panelists changes every year, and there are several award recipients who have applied multiple times before being selected.”

Artists can apply at for either a Project Award or a Fellowship:

Project Award: $7,500 for a specific, short-term project that clearly benefits the artist’s growth. Artists at all career stages — emerging, mid-career and mature — are eligible to apply for an award in 11 recognized disciplines.

Fellowship: $18,000 for mid-career and mature artists to focus their energy and attention on a yearlong period of creative exploration. In 2021, Fellowship categories are: Choreography, Crafts, Folk and Traditional Arts, Literary Arts/Scriptworks, and Performance Arts.

Award recipients receive a grant as well as professional development and promotion of their work, two areas that artists highlighted for attention in a 2016 survey. In 2021, professional development will be provided online by the Anchorage Museum to focus on continued skill development in marketing, finances and creation of work samples. Artists who received awards in 2020 also can take part, since planned in-person professional development was canceled due to the pandemic.

To help artists with the application process, the Foundation will offer virtual workshops and informational meetings starting in January. Follow the Foundation on Facebook or check for dates and registration information. Our toolkit for artists,, includes short how-to videos and additional resources to guide artists through creation of resumes, artist statements, work samples and grant applications.

Artists with questions can email staff at or call the Foundation at 907.297.2700. Media representatives can contact communications manager Lisa Demer at or 907.545.3555.

 “The award helps to build a community of other artists and makers and provides them the tools they need to continue pushing forward,” said Marrari, speaking as a practicing artist as well as a grantmaker. Before joining the Foundation, she was a two-time Individual Artist Award recipient. “It also brings a sense of rightness to the individual, confirming that they should keep going. Recognition from national experts means so much for Alaska artists.”

[Download: Press release_Apply now for 2021 Individual Artist Awards]

About the Foundation
Through grantmaking and initiatives, Rasmuson Foundation aims to promote a better life for all Alaskans. Main funding areas are homelessness, health care, the arts, organizational and community development, and human services including projects to address domestic violence, child abuse and services for seniors and people with disabilities. The Foundation was created in 1955 by Jenny Rasmuson to honor her late husband, E.A. Rasmuson.