Web design by Tsela Barr Design, Amber Westlund, Anabella Driz and Peri Coskey

Website made possible through a generous grant from Madison Arts Commission

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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. 

  • 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, 2019 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, 2019. 

  • Must be a US resident. 

  • Must not be a student at the time the award is given (November 2019). 

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?  

  • November 8, 2019  Inaugural Awards will be celebrated at the Chazen Museum of Art in Madison, WI.

  • 2020 Applications will be opening soon!

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


Can I apply as an official organization? 

No, official organizations are not eligible to apply. 

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

I may need additional support with my application. Is there somewhere I can go?  

In order to allow this award process to be available equally to women who are both established and emerging artists, we will be offering free support workshops. The workshops are intended for those emerging artists wanting to raise the level of their visual and written presentations for the purpose of applying for this prize.

For those with questions about filling in their application, we will have group assistance. For those needing help with photographing their artwork, you will have the opportunity for a photographer to take and then provide you with up to seven images of your artwork. And for those needing help with their artist statement, we will have writers available for up to 30 minutes to help you in crafting your statement. These sessions are available for emerging artists or those unfamiliar with grant application processes.

Can collaboratives apply?

Yes, if ALL members of the collaborative group meet ALL application criteria ​(identify as women, are visual artists, are over 18, non-student, resident of Dane County for at least one year, etc.) and if the group is NOT an official organization or a registered  501 c(3), the collaborative is eligible to apply for the Forward Art Prize 2019. 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. 

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, 2019 AND if you currently reside in Dane County you are eligible to apply.

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

No, a specific project is not a requirement for your application. 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). 

I want to attend a support workshop. Can I just show up?

No! You MUST sign-up at least two days in advance and we must have at least 3 participants to run a workshop. Since we are paying skilled people to help with these workshops we can't afford to hold them for only one or two participants. PLEASE sign-up by writing Bird.WAFF@gmail.com

More Questions?

Contact Us!

  • Printmaking

  • Social Practice 

  • Video

  • Mixed Media

  • Performance Art

  • Glass

  • Fiber 

  • Wood

  • Metal

  • Clay