Why give awards to individual artists?

What is the best way to support arts and culture in Alaska? In 2003, Rasmuson Foundation surveyed the field of artists and arts organizations to find out. The answer was nearly unanimous: Put money directly in the hands of artists. With those words as inspiration, the Foundation created the Individual Artist Awards (IAA) program.

In times of prosperity and times of uncertainty, art has the power to connect us.

Since 2004 and counting the 2021 recipients, we have awarded 588 grants topping $5.5 million, all going directly to support Alaska’s artists. That’s 17 Distinguished Artists, now a $40,000 award; 144 Artist Fellowships, currently at $18,000; and 391 Artist Project Awards of $7,500 each. Learn more about Project Awards and Fellowships here.

Workshops and informational meetings

Applications are now open for 2022 awards. The Foundation and partners will host workshops and informational sessions to help artists prepare their 2022 applications. Artists will gain skills in crafting artist statements and resumes, preparing work samples and more — useful beyond this particular award. Check back as we add more workshops with times and links. If you have any trouble with registration, please email Zulie Mason at zmason@rasmuson.org.


Fairbanks virtual workshop
 Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022, 5:30 to 7 p.m.
Register here (it’s free!): 
Who should come: 
Any Alaska artist and especially artists from the Fairbanks area
Fairbanks Arts Association and Rasmuson Foundation
Flyer to share:
 Fairbanks IAA flyer

Statewide virtual workshop
: Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022, 5:30 to 7 p.m.
Register here (it’s free!)https://bit.ly/IAAStatewide
Who should come: Any Alaska artist
Co-hosts: Alaska State Council on the Arts, Anchorage Museum, Bunnell Street Art Center, Fairbanks Arts Association, Juneau Arts and Humanities Council, Ketchikan Area Arts and Humanities Council, Kodiak Arts Council, Museums Alaska, Palmer Museum of History and Art, and Rasmuson Foundation
Flyer to shareIAA workshop flyer
Spanish-language flyerStatewide flyer in Spanish

Alaska Native Heritage Center virtual workshop
 Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022, 12:30 to 2 p.m.
Register here (it’s free!):
Who should come:  
Tailored for Alaska Native artists and open to all 
Alaska Native Heritage Center and Rasmuson Foundation
Flyer to share: 
ANHC IAA flyer

Benefits beyond the money

We are writing a new chapter. In a 2016 survey, artists told us of needs beyond financial support. They wanted help promoting their work and developing themselves as professional artists. We embrace those areas too.

[For more on how to apply and FAQs, click here.]

In 2022, we are planning virtual workshops with the Anchorage Museum to support Individual Artist Award recipients as they develop their business side and elevate artist statements.

We also are wrapping up an arrangement with 49 Writers, a nonprofit that supports a thriving community of writers and readers. The partnership was developed to produce profiles of artists, from the eyes of Alaska writers. The series began with the 2017 IAA recipients and includes 2018 recipients. Enjoy these insightful stories by clicking here.

We’ve added features to rasmuson.org to strengthen it as a venue for artists and art lovers. Explore our online gallery of artwork, stories and videos related to Distinguished Artists.

Selection of the Distinguished Artist is a separate process, explained here.

The awards first given out in 2004 are part of a strategy to support the culture of Alaska, the vibrancy of our communities and art itself.