Montana Arts Council

An Agency of State Government

Artist's Innovation Award Guidelines 2019

The Montana Arts Council (MAC) is an agency of state government that is funded by state and federal tax dollars. Artist’s Innovation Awards provide public dollars to support activities taking place within the state and the nation that benefit the citizens of the state of Montana.

Program Description

Artist’s Innovation Awards (AIA) acknowledge Montana artists who have demonstrated dedication to their creative pursuits and discovery in their artwork.

AIA supports the risk taking necessary to expand an artist’s vision and practice. This can include new methods, applications, perspectives, elements, forms, materials, technology integration, project concepts, or processes that result from study and experimentation. Innovation applies to traditional art and contemporary art.

Application Deadline

The deadline was October 1, 2019.

Review Criteria

Application materials are reviewed against the following criteria:

  • Demonstrated professionalism and artistic excellence
  • Evidence of bold exploration
  • Promise of on-going creative and professional growth

Award Amounts

AIA are $5,000 each. MAC anticipates making six awards this cycle.

Eligible Applicants

Applicants must be at least 18 years of age, U.S. citizens, and residents of Montana for at least one full year before the application deadline.


  • High school and degree-seeking students are ineligible.
  • Artists who have received a previous Artist’s Innovation Award may not apply.
  • Group applicants are not eligible to also apply as individual artists.
  • Group applicants are eligible for only one award. Each artist within the group must consent to be part of the application; however, only one person should act as the lead applicant.
  • MAC staff or members of its current governing body, or anyone connected to them by one degree of relationship ­by blood, marriage or shared household ­are not eligible to apply for this award.

Contacts and Accessibility

For questions or concerns about the application process or technical assistance, or to request a large-print or alternate format guidelines, contact Kristin Han Burgoyne at or 406-444-6449.

Application Information

Below is an overview of the information in the application, available at

What you will Need for the Application


The applicant will be required to select one primary category.

  • Literary Arts
  • Performing Arts
  • Visual Arts

Applicants will also be able to indicate as many disciplines as apply from the list below, across any category.

Literary Arts

  • Blogs
  • Fiction
  • Graphic novels
  • Literary non-fiction
  • Playwriting
  • Poetry
  • Prose
  • Screenwriting
  • Short stories
  • Writing for children and youth
  • Other

Performing Arts

  • Actor
  • Audio
  • Composer
  • Conductor
  • Choreographer
  • Costuming
  • Dancer
  • Director
  • Filmmaker
  • Instrumentalist
  • Mime
  • Musician
  • Performance artist
  • Podcast
  • Puppetry
  • Spoken word poet
  • Stage design
  • Storytelling
  • Technology
  • Technical theatre
  • Video
  • Vocalist
  • Other

Visual Arts

  • Architecture
  • Artists books
  • Calligraphy
  • Ceramics
  • Clay
  • Collage
  • Craft
  • Decorative arts
  • Design arts
  • Digital arts
  • Drawing
  • Glass
  • Graphics
  • Fashion
  • Fiber/Textiles
  • Illustration
  • Interior design
  • Installation art
  • Landscape design
  • Leather
  • Jewelry
  • Metal
  • Mixed media
  • Mosaics
  • Painting
  • Paper
  • Photography
  • Printmaking
  • Sculpture
  • Stone
  • Urban design
  • Wood
  • Works on Paper
  • Other

Artist Statement*

Provide biographic and background information. Do not duplicate material in the innovation section. (3000-character limit)


Describe how the artwork samples illustrate evolution and development in the artwork and creative process. Do not repeat the information provided in the artist statement. (3000-character limit)

Resume Upload*

Include information that reflects career advancements and professional accomplishments. Four pages or less is recommended. PDF format.

Support Materials Artwork Samples*

Support Materials may not exceed 20 uploads and may include a balance of artwork samples, promotional materials, and press. Each upload will require an accompanying inventory section to include title, date, medium, size, context, and for video a beginning video cue. Review panelists will be instructed to limit their initial support material review time to 15 minutes.

Artwork samples should support the narrative responses. Provide examples that demonstrate artistic development from different career stages. The majority of the samples should focus on artwork from within the last five years and be reflective of an innovative approach.

  • Image uploads should be pdf, jpg or tif files suitable for online viewing, no larger than 5mb.
  • Video media may not exceed twelve minutes of total time and is submitted as a link to video on another platform (vimeo, youtube, etc).
  • Literary samples for poets and prose may be up to 25 pages, pdf format.
  • Playwrights may submit up to forty pages in playwright format, pdf format.
  • Websites must submit screenshots or demo video. Panelists will not review live sites.

Review Process

If additional information is required, MAC will make contact via email. Do not submit information unless requested. Only the materials presented in the application will be considered.

A panel of arts professionals will review the applications. Panel recommendations will be presented to the full body of the MAC. The decisions of the Council are final.

All MAC review meetings are open to the public. Applicants will be identified by name, and all application materials are public information.

Applicants must refrain from contacting panel or council members, individually or as a group, before or during the panel review process. Applicants attending the panel meeting as observers will not be allowed to discuss their application.

A summary of panel comments is available to applicants upon request. Applicants are encouraged to contact MAC staff after the review to receive comments, regardless of the outcome. Panel discussions and comments provide insights about effective writing and how applications are perceived and understood.


Applicants will receive notification of funding decisions by January 1, 2020. 

Awardee Responsibilities 

Applicants will be required to provide a biography, headshot, and to sign a release allowing the submitted artwork, with appropriate credit, to be used to promote the arts.

Awardees will be required to acknowledge the governor, local legislators, and congressional representatives in writing.

All current and prior MAC reporting must be in compliance to receive funding.

Prior to January 1, 2021, awardees must present a public event that conveys the innovative nature of the artwork and acknowledges MAC’s award. Examples may include:

  • a workshop
  • a reading or performance
  • a lecture or demonstration
  • an exhibit

The activity can involve other artists or organizations and can have been planned before notification of the award. It must take place in a venue that is public or fully accessible in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The event should be designed to be of low cost to the awardee. MAC must be notified of the public event 30 days prior and provided with information to promote it.

How to Log on to the MAC Application Portal

NEW THIS YEAR: Artist’s Innovation Awards (AIA) is using a different online system and will not require a fee. This platform is the same as is used for the Strategic Investment Grant (SIG) and Montana Artrepreneur Program (MAP).

IF AIA is the only program you have applied for in the past, create a new account. If you have created an account in the past for SIG or MAP, follow the ‘Existing Users’ information below. Sorry for any confusion this may cause.

New Users: Click on “Create New Account” to complete the registration process and create your login credentials.

Existing Users: Enter your credentials and log in. If you forgot your password, use the “Forgot your Password” link to the left to reset your password.

At the top of the screen, select the red “Apply” link. Select Artist’s Innovation Awards.

Recommendations for Applying

  • Review the guidelines and contact MAC for any clarification.
  • Determine eligibility and requirements; gather the supporting documents and information.
  • Type narrative answers in a word processing document to paste into the application form. Narrative fields have a character count inclusive of punctuation and spacing. The entire application does not need to be completed in a single session.
  • Only one document can be uploaded to an upload field. Combine multiple documents into one, a series of bios, for example, for upload.
  • To maintain formatting after upload, convert word processing documents to pdf files. MAC does not recommend any particular software; Adobe and are examples of software for creating pdfs. If you are struggling, contact MAC staff (
  • Use a naming convention that identifies the applicant and the document, for example, LastName_Resume.pdf or LastName_PoemSubmission.pdf.  
  • The ‘Application Packet’ button, on the right in the application, will show how the materials will appear to the reviewers. To keep a record, save this pdf, print it, or send it as an email attachment.
  • During the final week before the deadline, many applicants are requesting assistance. Request assistance early to ensure MAC staff will be able to respond before the deadline.

For a PDF version of the application, click here. 

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