The Fields Artist Fellowship is a partnership between Oregon Humanities (OH) and the Oregon Community Foundation (OCF), aimed at investing in individual artists, culture bearers, and their communities. Designed to support emerging to mid-career Oregon-based artists, this fellowship awards individuals $100,000 over a two-year period in order to both advance their artistic practice and develop meaningful ways to address and respond to the opportunity gap in Oregon. The fellowship also includes robust professional development, networking, and community building opportunities.
The fellowship launched in 2019, with the goal of bringing increased access, community impact, and visibility to four Oregon-based artists. The second fellowship cohort, announced in 2021, aimed to support artists who were at a pivotal moment or inflection point in their careers, where the fellowship could provide meaningful impact over the two-year term. In addition to the four fellows, eight finalists each receive $10,000 in support of their work.
Fellowships are awarded every two years. The next application cycle will begin in early 2023, with a new cohort announced in summer/fall of 2023.
If you have questions about the program or would like to explore how your community or organization can partner with the fellows, please contact Crystal Akins Meneses at email@example.com.
Eligibility and Selection
To be considered for a Fields Artist Fellowship, applicants should have: 1) at least five years of professional practice in an artistic discipline or combination of disciplines; 2) at least three years of residence in Oregon (non-continuous) and the intent to reside in Oregon for the majority of the fellowship term; and 3) demonstrable evidence of artistic practice that engages with community groups and organizations and/or address community concerns.
The Oregon Community Foundation and Oregon Humanities team use an equity lens in the selection process for this fellowship, prioritizing and centering artists whose perspectives have been institutionally undervalued, ignored, generalized, or oppressed. The program aims for representation from artists in different regions of the state, as possible, and artists who will use their artistic practice to address the opportunity gap within their communities.
Exploring the Opportunity Gap
Most Americans believe that if people work hard, they will prosper. But a growing body of research makes the case that economic success is largely determined by family circumstances, neighborhoods, educational experiences, and race, and ethnicity rather than by diligence and determination. Furthermore, it is becoming harder and harder to get ahead.
In 2017, OCF published Toward a Thriving Future: Closing the Opportunity Gap for Oregon’s Kids . This report provided Oregon-specific opportunity gap data organized into three domains: neighborhoods and communities, family stability and supports, and education. The challenges faced by Oregon’s children mirror the national data: one in five Oregon children live in poverty and in a majority of Oregon’s counties, children who are born in poverty will most likely remain in poverty as adults. Further, children’s family structure and stability impact their chances for future success, and many Oregon children are raised in single-parent families and in families that lack financial security. And gaps in educational opportunity start early and persist, with low-income children and Black, Indigenous, people of color less likely to receive quality early childhood experiences or high-quality K-12 education and enrichment experiences. Cornerstones: Economic Mobility and Belonging in Oregon, a report published by OCF in 2020, demonstrates that where children grow up matters for opportunity. Children who grew up just a few miles apart in families with similar incomes can experience vastly different outcomes. Economic and racial integration of neighborhoods, levels of social capital, employment rates and school quality help explain differences seen across geographies.
More information about the opportunity gap can be found here:
Working in Partnership
The Oregon Community Foundation is dedicated to improving life in Oregon and sees arts and culture as a valuable and necessary tool for that mission. Oregon Humanities is committed to inviting diverse perspectives, exploring challenging questions, and striving for more just communities, and values innovative and imaginative ways to achieve this vision. OCF and OH believe that continuing the Fields Artist Fellowship program will advance community dialogues and both visions in a meaningful way.
About Fred W. Fields
The Fields Artist Fellowship is supported by The Fred W. Fields Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation. The fund was established in 2012 with a $150 million gift from the estate of Fred W. Fields to support education and the arts.
Born in Alexandria, Indiana, Fred Fields studied engineering at Indiana University and Purdue University. In 1947, Fields went to work for Coe Manufacturing Company, who designed and constructed machinery that milled veneer, plywood and other products. Fields purchased Coe in 1976 and headed the company until 2000, when he sold it. Fields met and married Suzanne Schoenfeldt in 1958. He and Sue believed that art stretches the imagination and drives new ideas.
“Fred’s humble roots shaped his life. He was never extravagant, though he had the means to be. He instead wanted to use his wealth to support causes that he and his wife, Sue, felt strongly about. His bequest will continue this legacy of generosity and we will be a better state for it,” said Fields estate trustee Bill Tagmyer.
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