The deadline for our Fellowships for Creative and Performing Artists and Writers is Friday, October 5th. The 2019 class of fellows will be our twenty-fourth. This initiative encourages creators of all types to come to AAS for a month and conduct research on original works of art and non-fiction related to pre-twentieth-century American history and culture. The competition applies equally to people creating many different kinds of works of art, such as musicians, painters, playwrights, poets, and fiction writers, as well as journalists, documentary filmmakers, and public historians working in museum or historic site settings. The fellowships are designed for people creating work aimed at the general public as opposed to an academic audience.
While similar programs now exist in many research facilities, the Society’s program was the first of its kind when it was established in 1995. Since that time, we have hosted 98 fellowships. Their disciplines have been as varied as their personalities and have included a performance artist, a Civil War reenactor, a radio producer, two book artists, a sculptor, a cellist, two choreographers, a doll artist, and two cartoonists, among many others.
Carol Flueckiger, a painter from Lubbock, Texas, who held a Jay and Deborah Last Fellowship in 2009, expressed the sentiments of many of our fellows when she wrote in her fellowship report: “The American Antiquarian Society Creative Artist Program is stellar. This mission is clear: come, absorb the resources in the library, bounce ideas off fellows, talk to the staff, consult the online catalogue, attend fellow lectures, and fill up on content to take back to the studio. The environment of scholarly research challenged me to confront my own field in general, the way I research imagery for my paintings, and how I define art. At first I was hesitant to leave the studio for a month, but as I got to know the staff, collections, and other fellows, my passion to integrate historic sources into my images grew as much as my passion for devising a unique painting/blueprint technique.”
Flueckiger’s latest work, an exhibition of thirty-six mixed media images called Solitude of Selfie, is on view at the Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, New York. This exhibition visually revises “Solitude of Self,” one of the most well-known speeches delivered by Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Some of the images in this collection were based on her research here at the Society.
The fellowship program, initially funded by the Lila Wallace Reader Digest Fund, is now supported by Charlotte and Robert Baron, the Hearst Foundation, and Deborah and Jay Last. For more information about the Fellowships for Creative and Performing Artist and Writers, visit our website.