The Independent Artist Awards (IAA) program will not be offered in the FY2023 fiscal year while MSAC staff work to envision the program for FY2024 and beyond.

The existing IAA program is structured in a three-year cycle of artistic disciplines (Performing, Visual/Media, Literary). 2022 marked the completion of a full cycle, during which, MSAC received feedback from applicants, awardees, panelists, and staff about how the program could be improved. In FY2022, MSAC completed a yearlong process that resulted in a new program supporting the working and living expenses of Maryland artists, the Grants for Artists program. As the MSAC staff, Council, and public considered the needs and objectives around this new program, questions regarding the IAA program surfaced, underscoring the need for a thorough and thoughtful reconsideration of the intention, structure, and impact of the awards program. 

During FY2023, MSAC staff will seek a team of editors from the public to consider how the IAA program looks for the future. The timing of this pause will ensure we can serve all of our constituents to the best of our ability - considering new programs, funding allocations, goals, needs, and MSAC’s staff capacity. 

While IAAs will not be awarded in 2023, there are many other MSAC opportunities that support Maryland’s independent artists, including: Creativity Grants; Professional Development; Opportunity Grants; Maryland Performing Artist Touring Roster; Teaching Artist Roster; Public Art Across Maryland; Folklife Apprenticeships; Heritage Awards and; coming in early 2023 - the new Grants for Artists program!

Click here for links to MSAC programs available to independent artists

MSAC is committed to serving independent artists throughout Maryland, and it is MSAC’s goal that a comprehensive editing process will ensure we are serving as many artists as possible in the most equitable way. Be on the lookout in Fall 2022 for information on Listening Sessions and a Call for Editors. 

If you have questions, please contact Program Directors Emily Sollenberger at or Laura Weiss at

Applicants must:

  • Be a Maryland resident or a collaborative group composed of Maryland residents 

  • Demonstrate a history of producing original artwork

  • Be at least 18 years old

  • For the FY22 Independent Artist Awards, the application must be for the Literary Arts only; other artistic disciplines will not be accepted.

Independent Artists and Collaborative Groups may apply according to their discipline-specific year:

  • FY22: Literary Arts
  • FY23: Performing Arts
  • FY24: Visual/Media Arts


FY22 Independent Artist Award Information Session

Click here to watch the Information Session from May 2021 for more information on the IAA application process!

After an eligibility review by MSAC staff, each eligible application is reviewed by a panel of evaluators with a wide range of experience in the artistic category. Panelists score each applicant based on a rubric and make final recommendations for Regional and State Awards based on the combined scores and discussion of applicants’ work. Panel meetings are directed and overseen by Council staff. The panelist review period takes place from September 2021 - January 2022.

Applicants will be reviewed and awarded based on their residency within five geographic regions:

  • Western (Counties include: Garrett, Allegany, Washington)
  • Washington Metro (Counties include: Frederick, Montgomery, Prince George’s counties)
  • Baltimore Metro (Counties include: Carroll, Baltimore, Baltimore City, Anne Arundel, Harford, Howard)
  • Southern (Counties include: Calvert, Charles, St. Mary’s)
  • Eastern Shore (Counties include: Cecil, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Caroline, Talbot, Dorchester, Wicomico, Somerset, Worcester)

Review page 8 of the guidelines for a full description of the review process.

Within each Geographic Region, the following awards will be available:

  • $2,000 Regional Awards - awarded in each region to encourage the pursuit of promising work by an individual artist or collaborative group.
  • $10,000 Regional Awards - awarded in each region to recognize notable artistic achievement by an individual artist or collaborative group.

All $10,000 Regional Award winners will be eligible for the State Award(s): $15,000 State Award(s) - awarded to up to two (2) artists or collaborative groups per year to recognize outstanding artistic achievement

See the Grant Guidelines for detailed information.

Upon execution of grant agreement, payment will be processed for receipt in 6-8 weeks. Grantees are required to submit a final report at the completion of the funded project. For detailed reporting requirements, please see the Grant Guidelines.

All MSAC grants are paid on the same timeline. To learn more, click here.

Grantees are required to submit a brief report detailing the use of funds at the end of the calendar year.

See the Grant Guidelines for detailed information.