Apply Now! Arts Midwest's Midwest Culture Bearers Award

​Arts Midwest is now accepting applications for the Midwest Culture Bearers Award, which celebrates and supports the work of Midwest culture bearers and folk arts practitioners. 

Culture bearers keep their cultural traditions alive through craft, storytelling, dance, performance, visual arts, foodways, language preservation, and more. They are folk and traditional artists, folk arts and culture practitioners, taproot artists, elder artists, and ancestral knowledge bearers. They are deeply connected to their communities and share their knowledge with new generations. 

  • What is it? The Midwest Culture Bearers Award is a $5,000 award. It honors and amplifies the work of nine Midwestern culture bearers each year. 
  • Who can apply? If you have been practicing arts and culture rooted in your heritage and ancestry for over 10 years and share your practice with your community, you can apply. 
  • Where? You must live in the Arts Midwest region. This includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and the Native Nations that share this geography. 
  • When to apply? Applications close at 11:59 pm CST on July 29, 2024. The first awards will be made in September 2024. 

You can get help from someone else to complete your application. Or, you can nominate someone with their permission. ​​​​

About the Award

The Midwest Culture Bearers Award honors and amplifies the work of nine Midwestern culture bearers each year. Each selected individual will receive a $5,000 unrestricted, non-matching award. Arts Midwest will create feature stories about each awardee and their work. Awardees can also join relationship-building activities, group conversations, and other opportunities for connection and discussion. 

This award is shaped by research and conversations with folk arts and culture practitioners and stakeholders that took place between 2021-2022. We acknowledge the incredible work of our State Arts Agencies, as well as First Peoples FundMcKnight Culture Bearers Fellowship, and Tending to the Taproot. Their efforts have inspired this program and highlighted the need to support and honor culture bearers and practitioners. 

The Midwest Culture Bearers Award is supported by Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts for project management.