Independent Artist Awards recognize achievement by Maryland artists making work independent of an institution or organization.

The awards are accompanied by grants that encourage artistic growth and sustained practice. 

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.