Joan Mitchell Foundation Grants: Exciting Opportunities for Established Artists

The Joan Mitchell Foundation Grants have an ambitious purpose. According to the Joan Mitchell Foundation’s website, their mission is as follows:

The Joan Mitchell Foundation was established in 1993 to fulfill the ambitions of Joan Mitchell to aid and assist contemporary artists and to demonstrate that painting and sculpture are significant cultural necessities. To further this mandate, the Foundation supports visual artists through a range of grant programs.

Background on the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grants

The Joan Mitchell Foundation is the namesake of Joan Mitchell, an American “second generation” abstract expressionist painter and printmaker. She was a member of the American abstract expressionist movement, even though much of her career took place in France.

Joan Mitchell Foundation Grants
© Joan Mitchell Foundation

The Joan Mitchell Foundation is an opportunity all artists should be aware of. The Foundation’s grants are awarded in multiple sectors, including a section for Painters & Sculptors, Emerging Artists, Emergency Situations, and an MFA Grant option.

Grants are dispersed annually to artists who the Foundation feels deserves a higher degree of recognition and would benefit from financial support. Grants are generous and come in the amount of $25,000 in the Painters & Sculptors Grant Program.

In addition, The Joan Mitchell Foundation has implemented a $12,000 unrestricted grant award for emergency situations in a bid to reach a larger, more diverse range of recipients than their previous efforts which focused primarily on Education and MFA programs.

Past Winners of Joan Mitchell Foundation Grants

Past Joan Mitchell Foundation Grants have been given to both emerging artists and art stars alike, with a clear emphasis on creaties who have built a solid resume.

Some notable recipients include:

Of course, these grants sound outstanding, and who wouldn’t want to be on that list?

Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant Application Details

So how can an artist apply?

Therein lies the catch: these awards are by nomination only.

According to the Joan Mitchell Foundation website, grant winners are selected “through an intensive nomination and review process.” The nominators the foundation uses are industry experts, but their names are not publicized.

Unfortunately, this means the path to winning one of these awards is not entirely clear. While these are outstanding grants if you can get nominated, we do believe the closed process tends to overlook strong artistic talent that may not necessarily have the academic pedigree to garner attention from one of the Foundation’s nominators.

Your best approach to achieving this level of success is to begin by applying for grants which offer open applications that are aimed at emerging and mid career artists, such as The Harpo Foundation, Hopper Prize, and Working Artist Org.

Build your visibility and in time, you may receive a nomination if your work finds the right audience.


  • Generous grants up to $12,000
  • Impressive list of past recipients is a who’s who of successful artists
  • Primarily awarded to painters


  • Nomination only–no open applications
  • No transparency regarding how one can get nominated
  • Unfortunately, it’s not just about the quality of your work, your resume definitely plays a part here

Connect with Joan Mitchell Foundation Grants

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