Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship (SARF)

Funding Agency:
Smithsonian Institution

The Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship (SARF) program was launched in 2007 to provide outstanding visual artists from across the world a unique opportunity to work with Smithsonian museums, research sites, collections, and scholars, conducting research that inspires new work. SARF Fellows spend one to two months in residence at the Smithsonian immersed in its unparalleled collections and multidisciplinary scholarly expertise, building connections between art, science, history and culture. The program embodies the depth and breadth of the Smithsonian.

Fellows study not only what is on view in the Smithsonian’s nineteen museums and the National Zoo, but also the vast collections in non-public areas, libraries, archives, gardens, laboratories, field sites in the U.S. and abroad as well as storage facilities. As the program’s reputation has grown, SARF has become increasingly competitive and international.

This unique residency offers creative collaboration in a dynamic environment. It brings together Smithsonian scholars and distinguished visual artists from a variety of disciplines throughout the United States and abroad to explore cross-disciplinary connections. It allows the Smithsonian a unique opportunity to see the collections and resources in different ways. It inspires new directions and creative expression for both artists and Smithsonian staff. It strengthens the arts community within the Smithsonian and broadens public interest in and understanding of contemporary art. SARF fellowships support research and do not require recipients to create or exhibit artwork. Studio space is not provided and Fellows must secure their own housing. Towards the end of the tenure SARF fellows present public lectures or informal seminars on their research. They are also asked to provide a written evaluation of their SARF experience.  

Nomination Deadline: October 23, 2019

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

  • Outstanding visual artists
  • Strong exhibition history beyond the home region
  • Demonstrated record of accomplishment
  • Previous experience with public projects or commissions is encouraged but not required
  • Ability to create a strong research proposal that utilizes Smithsonian specific resources
  • Ability to independently secure a Smithsonian advisor
  • U.S. citizens and foreign nationals with proficiency in written and spoken English
  • Ability to independently arrange accommodation and travel
  • Self-reliant and flexible

Amount Description

Stipend awards are $4,500 per month. In addition, a research allowance of up to $2,000 may be available for each artist to purchase research equipment or materials necessary for the project. One-time relocation travel costs may be covered for the artist to travel from his/her home to a Smithsonian location. If a fellow elects to split the appointment into multiple trips, he/she will be responsible for covering the additional relocation costs. The amount of the award and how it is paid out will be specified in an award letter provided to successful candidates. Artists must inform the Office of Fellowships and Internships of tenure dates in advance.  

Funding Type





Arts & Humanities

External Deadline

October 23, 2019