2020 Van Lier Fellowship

Asian American Arts Alliance

20 Jay Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201


Mar 16, 2020


Jan 30, 2020

The Asian American Arts Alliance is pleased to administer, with support from the New York Community Trust, the 2020 Van Lier Fellowship. This year, the fellowship with be awarded to a theater artist for the creation of new work.

A4’s mission is to ensure greater representation, equity, and opportunities for Asian American artists and cultural organizations through resource sharing, promotion, and community building. In line with these efforts, it is the aim of the A4 Van Lier Fellowship to support an early-career individual Asian American artist living in New York City to develop new work to add to the creative discourse.

Created by the will of Sally Van Lier, the Trust carries out Edward and Sally Van Lier’s legacy of arts appreciation by supporting arts groups and training programs to provide education, training, or other support to young artists.

A4 will grant a fellowship to one early-career Asian American theater artist, age 30 or younger, whose work shows outstanding promise and who may benefit from further professional artistic development, and who is of limited financial means.

The fellowship recipient will receive an unrestricted cash stipend of $6,000 and an eight-month fellowship, beginning in May 2020 and ending in December 2020, tailored to respond to the unique needs of their practice. The fellowship includes artistic mentorship with an established or mid-career theater professional, leadership coaching, and a range of technical support.

A4 will administer an open application process.


The applicant MUST:

  • Be of Asian heritage
  • 30 years of age or younger during the fellowship (born May 1, 1989 or later)
  • Not be currently enrolled as a full-time or part-time student in a degree-granting program during the fellowship period (May – December 2020)
  • Be a resident of New York City (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, or Staten Island)
  • Be currently living in the US and primarily based in New York City during the fellowship period (May – December 2020)

The fellow will be selected through an open call and jury process. A jury composed of established professionals in the field will evaluate the submitted applications based on the following criteria:

  • Artistic merit: Clarity, imaginativeness, and uniqueness based upon body of work and work samples submitted.
  • Creation of new work: Description of the project to be developed or completed during the fellowship.
  • Community impact: Articulation of interest or hopes to make a significant impact on the Asian American and New York City artistic community as a whole, based on narrative responses in the application.
  • Potential for growth: Extent to which the fellowship will advance the applicant’s goals and career.
  • Financial need: Demonstrated need for financial support. Finalists may be asked to provide further financial documentation.

NOTE: Current A4 staff, board members, and review panelists are not eligible. Immediate family of A4 staff, board members, and review panelists are not eligible.

Application Instructions


Application questions:

  • A 750-word (maximum) statement identifying the applicant’s approach to working in theater, where the applicant is in their professional and artistic development, and how the fellowship will help them pursue their future ambitions and goals.
  • A 250-word (maximum) statement articulating how the applicant hopes to make an impact on the Asian American artistic community through their work.
  • A 500-word (maximum) statement describing the project to be created through the support of this fellowship.
  • A 150-word (maximum) statement describing how the cash stipend awarded as part of this fellowship would financially support the project and the applicant’s livelihood as an artist.
  • Letter of recommendation (from an educator or theater professional experienced with the artist’s work)
  • Resume and headshot
  • Work samples (up to three work samples total):

For actors:
- Two contrasting and recent (within the past 4 years) video work samples, no more than 4 minutes in length for each sample.
- PDF of transcript, text, or written documentation of the performances. If the work is not text-based, please provide a description or explanation of the concept.

For directors:
- PDF of a detailed proposal, text, or storyboard that explains an original work.
- Video or audio sample of a performance or reading of an original work.

For librettists/musical theater:
- PDF of a 30-page excerpt from an original book.
- Two audio tracks from the same work, limit of 4 minutes per track.

For playwrights:
- PDF of a 30-page excerpt from an original script.
- Video or audio sample of a performance or reading of an original work.

If your work does not fit into the above categories, include a sample of equivalent length and scope that clearly demonstrates your work product.

Applications must be submitted electronically by 11:59 PM EDT on Monday, March 16, 2020.
Applications must be submitted through the online form; we will not accept hard copy applications.

Application Information Sessions:
Applicants are strongly encouraged to attend the Information Session for 2020 Van Lier Fellowship Applicants on Tuesday, February 11 from 6:30 - 8:00pm OR Wednesday, February 12 from 10:30am – 12:00pm.

A4 hopes that this workshop will not only provide applicants with the nuts and bolts of a strong Van Lier Fellowship application, but also offer enriching suggestions for other fellowship opportunities. Part info session and part workshop, this 1.5-hour session will include background and logistics of the awards process and pointers on preparing a strong application.

Space is limited, so we encourage early RSVPs. You may RSVP via Eventbrite here.

To download a PDF with more info on the fellowship, full guidelines, and Frequently Asked Questions, click here.






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