Open Call

Merge: Nation's Best Emerging Young Artists with Disabilities

The Kennedy Center

With Funding
Free / No Costs


• Artist must be between the ages of 16 and 25 during the application window. With the 2021 extended deadline, birthdates between March 1, 1994 and April 28, 2005 are eligible. • Artist must reside in the United States for at least nine months of the year. • Artist must have a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.) This includes sensory, physical, cognitive, learning, socio-emotional disabilities and more. If selected, artist must be comfortable publicly identifying as an artist with a disability.

Number of Participants

Individual artists are invited to apply.


Selection Results (Announcement Dates)


September 15, 2021 - September 20, 2021


  • $2,000.00-20000.00 stipend (one-time)


No meals

Public Programs

Juried Exhibition, Professional Development


Visual Arts



Program Description

The VSA Emerging Young Artists Program amplifies the voices of visual artists with disabilities through career development and professional empowerment. The competition seeks excellent work from emerging artists with disabilities, ages 16-25, residing in the United States. Fifteen winning artists are selected by jury. Grand Prize is $20,000, First Prize is $10,000, Second Prize is $6,000, and the remaining Awards of Excellence are $2,000 each. For winning artists, one of the submitted artworks will be selected for a national exhibition. Artists participate in professional development activities provided by the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

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