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Visual Art ,
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Kekeli Sumah

A Tale of Today: Emerging Artist Fellowship

A Tale of Today: Emerging Artists Fellowship is a six month art and design fellowship where fellows participate in a series of events, professional experiences and artistic encounters that culminates with a pop-up exhibition at the museum.

Launched in 2019 by the Richard H. Driehaus Museum, this fellowship provides emerging Chicago artists and designers with opportunities to develop the creative and professional skills needed to build a successful career in the arts.

By figuring the Nickerson Mansion as an intimate space for discussion, the Fellowship initiative provides key programs to foster mentorship, meaningful interactions with art professionals, public programming experience, career development and exhibition opportunities.


The Fellowship program is fueled and co-structured by the Driehaus Museum, the Curatorial Fellow and the Emerging Artist Fellows to guide and shape, the conversations and intended impact of the program.

To ground this process, the Fellowship is structured with the following components: regular professional development seminars, presentation lectures, community dinners, studio visits with external curators, a group panel discussion and final pop-up exhibition.

The impact of the Fellowship initiative will be expanded through attendance of museum programs and events as well as ongoing meetings and conversations with the Driehaus Curatorial Fellow, Kekeli Sumah.

All Emerging Artist Fellows will be paid a stipend for their participation.


Four Emerging Artist Fellows will be accepted into the program based on four key qualities that will be evaluated by a jury comprised of museum staff, artists and/or designers, curators as well as other relevant art and design professionals. The four key qualities we are looking for in a candidate are: a strong body of work, an interest or sensitivity to the site, generosity as a cohort member, and high impact value.

Due to the limited amount of fellows we can support, being a generous cohort member who takes initiative, is professional, responsible, communicative and easy to work with is incredibly important. Having a strong body of work and showing sensitivity to the context of the Richard H. Driehaus Museum is expected of every potential fellow, however, demonstrating how you will be a positive contributor to your cohort as well as how this fellowship will specifically impact your practice are important qualities we are looking for.


  • The Emerging Artists Fellowship is a six month commitment where you will be devoted to being present and engaged in meetings, group studio visits, giving presentations, attending openings and programming among other events. It requires ongoing contribution and communication between all involved stakeholders. Therefore to be eligible, you must reside in the city of Chicago for the duration of the initiative, not be an enrolled student, and not be engaged in any other long-term or out-of town residency programs. The typical time commitment is 2-5 hours per week.
  • Ideal candidates are emerging artists and/or designers who are unrepresented by a gallery but show significant promise and dedication to their work as a vocation.
  • Applicants must self-identify as a person of color and/or ALAANA (African, Latinx, Asian, Arab and Native American) and be at least 21 years of age by the start of the program (April 4th, 2020). There is no maximum age limit.
  • The Emerging Artists Fellowship prioritizes visual, sound, object-based or interdisciplinary artist and designers, whose work exhibits affinities with conceptual concerns, visual ideas, material interests or programmatic efforts that align with the mission of the Richard H. Driehaus Museum.
  • Eligible artists and/or designers are at a moment in their practice, where access to a supportive museum environment and its network will be particularly meaningful and impactful to their practice.

For more information on how to apply, please visit:

If you have any questions regarding submission guidelines please email the Richard H. Driehaus Museum curatorial fellow at:

Deadline: 02.14.2020
Name: Kekeli Sumah
Address: 40 East Erie Street, Chicago, IL
Phone: +1 312-482-8933