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Since 1899, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts has awarded Traveling Fellowships (formerly called Traveling Scholarships) to select alumni. As one of the largest endowed art school grant programs in the country, the Traveling Fellowship program provides funds for artists to further develop and inform their practice.

Each year, the Tufts University Art Galleries (TUAG) and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA) at Tufts University facilitates a review process with a panel of three independent jurors to award up to ten Traveling Fellowships to selected alumni. Fellows receive up to $10,000 to pursue travel and research related to their art practice.

The program has provided critical early-career support for many notable SMFA graduates, including Nan Goldin, Mike and Doug Starn, Ellen Gallagher, Omer Fast, and recent graduates such as Evelyn Rydz, Gonzalo Fuenmayor, Daniela Rivera, Helina Metaferia, Dinorá Justice, and Che Yeh. 
 

History of the Travel Fund

In 1894, James William Paige left a bequest of $30,000 to the Museum School to establish a travel fund, among others who left bequests in the years to come. Compiled income was to be used to send SMFA students to Europe, where they would study art for a period of two years. By 1899, the first Traveling Scholar, Mary Brewster Hazelton, sailed to Europe. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, recipients typically traveled to Paris, Rome, or Florence and received $800 per year for two years. Today, SMFA Travelling Fellows journey across the globe, to places as diverse as the American West, Antarctica, and Japan, receiving grants of up to $10,000 each. Broadening the scope of travel beyond Europe is part of SMFA at Tufts commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion within artmaking practices and is an important reckoning with our institutional history.

Eligibility

  • Only SMFA graduates of the BFA, Combined Degree, Diploma, Post-Baccalaureate, MFA, MAT programs, or fifth-year degree program alumni may apply.
  • Alumni may be working in any contemporary visual art medium.
  • Anyone who previously applied, but has not yet won a Traveling Fellowship, is encouraged to reapply.
  • Those who participated in the Traveling Certificate Program are eligible to apply for a Traveling Fellowship (this is not a conflict of interest as they are different programs with similar names)

Important Dates

May 15, 2024 – Applications Opens
August 20, 2024 – Applications Close
August 20 - September 16, 2024 – Juror Review Period
September 2024 – Applicant Status Notification

2024 Jurors - TBA

Exhibition Opportunities

Traveling Fellows recipients may have the opportunity to show in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The artists selected for an exhibition will be chosen from the previous two years of Traveling Fellows' cohorts.

How to Apply

Applications will open on May 15, 2024. All Traveling Fellows applications will be processed online through SlideRoom. Requirements are noted below and in the online application

Questions regarding the application criteria and process should be directed to Meera Chauhan, Tufts University Art Galleries Exhibitions Assistant.

For technical assistance with SlideRoom, please contact support@slideroom.com.

Apply Now

Forms and Attachments 

All forms are available online as part of the application

  1. Traveling Fellows Pre-Screening Form
    You will need to indicate your SMFA degree program, year of graduation, and current email address. (Note: "@smfa.edu" email addresses are no longer active after graduation and will not be accepted.)

  2. Artist Statement
    Please provide a statement including your artistic perspective and what makes it unique;     your medium or area of artistic practice; your current research and/or current project(s); your past work and how it relates to your current practice. (limit 1500 characters)

  3. Travel Proposal
    Please tell us about your proposed destination(s) and give a detailed explanation describing why the Fellowship would contribute to your artistic development. Be specific in telling the jury why this opportunity suits your practice at this juncture and why the particular location(s) will enrich your work, either through expanding skills, research, or experiences. (limit 2500 characters)
     
  4. Provide a timeline of travel and estimated budget. Please download provided template and upload to SlideRoom. Adjust dates as needed, those provided are meant as an example.
     
  5. Media Files
    Provide digital documentation of five (5) works completed within the last three (3) years. Please note that this documentation does not need to be professional quality. Select the format most appropriate to the artistic medium or discipline representative of your work (i.e. images, video, audio, writing, modeling, etc.) that will provide context for your practice and research interests. If you are providing video or audio, work samples can be up to ten minutes in duration and writing samples should be less than 5 pages. Work samples should demonstrate the artistic merit of your work as well as relevancy to the travel proposal. Applicants are encouraged to provide descriptions for the specific work submitted but it is not required.

    File Restrictions: Slideroom can accept any media file type. However, the following formats are optimized for browser-based viewing. There are also limits placed on each file's size, noted below.
     
    Images: 10 MB; .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .tif, .tiff, .bmp, .tga
    Audio: 60 MB; .mp3, .wma, .ogg, .flac
    Video: 500 MB; .m4v, .mov, .mp4, .wmv, .flv, .asf, .mpeg, .mpg, .mkv
    Documents: 20 MB; .pdf
    3D Models: blend, .3ds, .dae, .obj, .fbx, .dwf, .osg, .osgt, .osgb, .ive, .lwo, .lws, .ply, .wrl, .iv, .shp, .stl, .bvh, .flt, .ac, .x, .dw, .3dc, .geo, .gta, .kmz, .vpk
  6. Image Release Form
    We will only ask for image release permissions from applicants who are awarded Traveling Fellowships. All materials submitted by other applicants will be used for the sole purpose of jurying and will not be used in public promotion.

FAQs

What do you mean by “contribute to your artistic development”?

SMFA at Tufts defines a contribution as a significant step in an artist’s practice that expands ways of making and articulating artistic practice. This grant is meant for artists to delve into material investigations, research threads, and social and cultural contexts that can challenge current ways of working and then sustain their practices.

Can I apply more than once?

Yes, applicants who are not selected for a Traveling Fellowship may apply again the following year. We would recommend returning applicants to review their applications a second time and make adjustments based on progress in their work.

Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to apply?

No, but the artist must have a social security number in order to receive payment of the award, and these funds are taxable.

What if I have trouble using SlideRoom?

For technical assistance with SlideRroom, please contact support@slideroom.com.

What if I have a question about the application?

Please contact Exhibitions Assistant Meera Chauhan, meera.chauhan@tufts.edu, who will answer your email within two weeks of receipt. Facilitators receive a high volume of emails concerning Traveling Fellows and require a two week period to respond. 

Does the Traveling Fellow Administration Team review applications in advance?

No, due to capacity issues, the administration team focuses on facilitating the process and cannot review applications in advance due to the number of applications the Fellowship receives. 

Can I contact the administrative team or jurors for Feedback following the application process?

No, unfortunately, the jurors do not provide written feedback, nor does the administration due to staff capacity. We do provide the jurying rubric here for reference. 

Header image: Installation view, Helina Metaferia's 2021–2022 solo exhibition, Generations, at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, featuring artwork from the By Way of Revolution series.

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