Who can apply?  

We are looking for individual women artists or women artist collaboratives (up to four individuals)  both established and emerging who are deeply engaged in artistic practices that inspire new ways of thinking, new behaviors, or new ways of engaging communities. WAFF recognizes the limiting nature of the word "woman." We welcome applications from anyone on the gender spectrum who identifies as a woman. We encourage applications from people of color and others who have been historically underrepresented in the field, including women with Black, Latinx, Asian or Native American ancestry. 

What are the eligibility requirements? 

To be eligible for the Prize, applicant must comply with all of the following: 

  • Must be an individual resident of Dane County, Wisconsin, and have resided in Dane County for more than one year at the time of application submittal. You must be a resident of Dane County at the time the awards are given. 

  • For those of you who have lived off and on in Dane County please note: If you have lived consecutively in Dane County for at least one year, within the last 3 years, before July 15, 2021 AND if you currently reside in Dane County you are eligible to apply.

  • Must identify as a woman. 

  • Must be a visual artist working in one of the mediums listed below. 

  • Must be 18 years old or older by November 1, 2021. 

  • Must be a US resident. 

  • Must not be a student at the time the award is given (November 2021). 

  • As an individual artists or artists collaborative you must not have received arts funding such as grants, prizes, or awards of $10,000 or more from any single entity from 2018 - 2020. 

What do you mean by creativity and artistic excellence?  

Creativity and artistic excellence can take many forms: asking questions in yet unexplored arenas; developing innovative solutions to perplexing problems; inventing novel artistic expression; fusing ideas from different disciplines into wholly new constructions; or producing works that broaden the horizons of the imagination. 

What are the deadlines and important dates I should be aware of?  

  • 2021 Applications will be accepted online here June 1, 2021 - midnight CDT July 12, 2021.

  • 2021 Forward Art Prize winners and Finalists will be announced in the Fall 2021.   

What do you mean by Visual Arts? 

We are looking for visual artists who work in one or more of the following media or areas of practice: 

  • Drawing

  • Painting 

  • Photography

  • Sculpture

  • Installation

  • Printmaking

  • Social Practice

  • Video

  • Mixed Media

  • Performance Art

  • Glass

  • Fiber

  • Wood

  • Metal 

  • Clay


Can I apply as an official organization? 

No, you must be an individual or collaborative. Organizations and 501(c) 3s are not eligible to apply. 

Can collaboratives apply?

Yes, if ALL members of the collaborative group meet ALL application criteria  and if the group is NOT an official organization or a registered  501 c(3). The size of the collaborative is limited to four women total.

ONE member of the collaborative MUST be identified as the primary contact and the sole fiscal receiver.  ALL supporting materials  must ONLY be  the work of the collaborative: work samples must show the work of the collaborative, resume must be the GROUP'S resume and the artists statement must be a statement that concerns the work of the GROUP. 

Do I have to apply with a particular project in mind?

No, please do not propose a specific project. The Jury will be looking at your strengths as a visual artists through your current work (visual work samples),  your artist statement and the history of your practice (resumé). 

Resources to Help Complete Your Application:

Writing an Artist Statement

The Madison Writing Assistance (MWA) program offers free, one-to-one writing support for community members, traditionally at libraries and neighborhood centers throughout the city, and now online. Their friendly, experienced instructors are happy to help people with their writing across a wide range of genres, including resumes, cover letters, application essays, grant proposals, creative writing, and various forms of life writing. Appointments, beginning June 7th can be made here

Examples of Artists Statements:

Photographing Your Work

These  Madison area photographers are available to photograph your artwork.  

Contact them directly for more information. 

Eric Baillies:

Jim Escalante:

Jason Houge:


How can I ask questions about the application or the application process?