The National Center for the Preservation of Democracy at the Japanese American National Museum (NCPD@JANM) announces the Irene Yamamoto Arts Writers Fellowship.

This year’s inaugural fellowship provides two $5,000 unrestricted awards to promising writers of color who are focused on art criticism and/or reporting about the visual, performing, or media arts.

Deadline is May 1. Fellowship starts July 6. To apply online, go to:

The fellowship is made possible through a gift from Sharon Mizota to honor the late Irene Yamamoto (1937-2020). This project is also supported by Critical Minded, an initiative to invest in cultural critics of color co-founded by The Nathan Cummings Foundation and the Ford Foundation.

Yamamoto was a life-long lover of the arts. Born in Los Angeles, she was incarcerated with her family during World War II in Gila River, Ariz. Upon returning to Los Angeles, she attended UCLA and had a long career as a production artist for a number of design and advertising agencies. In her free time, she loved to draw, learn new languages, visit museums, and travel.

The fellowship will be awarded to two promising writers who have demonstrated commitment to writing about the art of communities of color and whose unique perspectives or points of view contribute to arts writing. Each will receive a $5,000 award to be spent over a six-month period.

The fellowship recognizes that writers of color have knowledge and experiences that differ from dominant Eurocentric ones, and that their perspectives can give art produced by marginalized communities the depth of attention and consideration it deserves. The fellowship encourages arts writers of color to continue writing about art from their own cultural and political perspectives in order to enrich and broaden arts writing as a practice and profession. By supporting and highlighting these voices, the fellowship seeks to broaden public discourse around art and strengthen its ties to diverse communities.

All eligible applications will be reviewed by a selection panel of professional writers who cover the arts. Selection criteria are based on the following:

– Your writing ability and promise

– Your demonstrated commitment to writing about the art of communities of color

– The unique perspective or point of view you contribute to arts writing

Eligible applicants must:

– Reside in the U.S.

– Identify as a member of a community with ancestry in one of the original peoples of Africa, Asia, the Americas, Oceania, or Pacific Islands

– Have two to five years of demonstrated publication experience, which may include a blog or self-publishing

– Be at least 18 years of age

Immediate relatives of a JANM or NCPD employee, or of a review panelist or funder, are not eligible.

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