Ruth Arts Mary L. Nohl Alumni Award Guidelines & Application Instructions

The original Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Mary L. Nohl Fellowships for Individual Artists program, which launched in 2003, was designed to encourage artists to stay in greater Milwaukee, to evolve as artistic practitioners, and to contribute to our community through the creation of art. In 2022, with funding from Joy Engine, we were able to deepen the support we offer to artists.

Over the course of twenty years working with Nohl Fellows and Suitcase Fund awardees across many career stages, we have developed a better understanding of the issues faced by post-fellowship artists, particularly those who want to remain in the area: a lack of career-sustaining networks and opportunities outside greater Milwaukee.

The Ruth Arts Mary L. Nohl Alumni Award offers a new layer of support for former Nohl Fellows. It does this in two ways: by providing unrestricted funds to the selected artists, and by working alongside artists to develop a network of career-sustaining opportunities to respond to their needs.

As an artist, Mary Nohl valued having the time, space, and financial resources to support her practice. She also valued travel and the opportunity to socialize with other artists through the many artist clubs and societies that existed in Milwaukee at that time. Like Mary Nohl, the Nohl alumni continue to value these things. But unlike Mary Nohl, whose later practice was essentially private, they also seek ways to get their work out into the world and to build networks that provide a variety of forms of support. In the spirit of the Nohl Fellowship--and Mary Nohl, who built the world she wanted to inhabit as an artist by creating her own clubs, convenings, and newsletters outside of established institutions and formalized spaces—we will work with Nohl alumni to build a program that centers artist self-determination and supports artist-defined forms of success.

Each year, four artists will be selected for the program: three local fellows living within the four county-area (Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee, Washington counties) and one external fellow living outside the area. The program focuses on immediate needs by distributing an unrestricted award of $25,000 to each artist. It addresses long-term career sustainability by allocating an additional $2,000 honorarium to each awardee. Working as a cohort, awardees will be expected to participate in the co-creation of an artist support network by identifying and cultivating opportunities for former Nohl Fellows. This network-building work will be facilitated by Faythe Levine (Nohl 2007, 2012) in coordination with Polly Morris, who administers the Nohl program, and Emilia Layden, Associate Director of Curatorial Affairs at the Haggerty Museum of Art, who curates the annual Nohl Fellowship exhibition.

Working with interlocutors from a national network, including former Nohl Fellows and jurors, the Ruth Arts awardees will meet regularly across the award year (July 2023-June 2024). Our goal is to share knowledge across the local, regional, and national landscape to build a network of support that can meet the evolving needs of former Nohl Fellows and the larger community of Milwaukee-based artists. As the network of opportunities is mapped out, it is our intention to provide additional stipends for Ruth Arts awardees to participate in these opportunities in the future.

Ruth Arts awardees will be selected in a two-stage process that reflects this dual focus. The application, in addition to requesting information about how an artist’s practice has evolved since their last Nohl Fellowship, also asks them to consider how they would contribute to the development of an alumni program that identifies and supports career-sustaining opportunities for former Nohl Fellows. In the first stage of selection, a panel of former Nohl Fellows who are not eligible to apply in this round will narrow the application pool to 20 finalists (15 local, 5 external) based on a blind reading of the narrative responses. In the second stage, a panel of former Nohl jurors will select the awardees based on their full applications, including work samples. All jurying will be done virtually.

Interested artists are invited to attend or view the informational workshop to find out more about the Ruth Arts Mary L. Nohl Alumni Award program and the application process. You may also submit questions during the virtual Q&A session closer to the deadline.



Applications must be submitted online no later than Thursday, June 1, 2023 at 5 pm. Late applications will not be considered. All decisions are final.


There will be a free, virtual workshop for prospective applicants and a virtual Q&A session—see Time Table, below, for details. This is the best way to get your questions answered. If you have additional questions, please contact Polly Morris at (414) 446-8794 or (email preferred). If leaving a voice message, be sure to leave a time and phone number at which you may be reached. If using email, please put “Ruth Arts Alumni Award” in the subject line.


In 2023, the Ruth Arts Mary L. Nohl Alumni Award is open to all former Nohl Fellows, emerging and established, who are professionally active visual artists and who received their last Nohl Fellowship between 2003 and 2015. A professionally active artist is not required to support themselves through their artmaking, but should be able to demonstrate a commitment to their practice through ongoing production/activity, artistic exploration, and participation, as appropriate, in the discipline and local, regional, or national arts community. It is our intention to expand the eligibility by one year each year.

You are not eligible to apply in 2023 if:
• You received a Nohl Fellowship between 2016 and 2023.
• You received your fellowship as a member of a collective that is no longer in existence (ongoing collectives are welcome to apply).
• You are a full-time or part-time student pursuing a degree in the visual arts, film, or an art-related field at the time of application. Participation of full- or part-time students in a collaborative group will disqualify the group from consideration.

An applicant who receives a Ruth Arts Alumni Award is not eligible to apply for the Nohl Fellowship in the same cycle (e.g., if you receive the alumni award in 2023, you will not be able to apply for the regular fellowship in fall 2023). However, you may resume applying for the Nohl Fellowship the following year if you are eligible. The Ruth Arts Alumni Award is a one-time opportunity; we do not foresee being able to award these more than once to the same artist.


Monday, May 1, 2023
Ruth Arts Mary L. Nohl Alumni Award application and guidelines available at 11 am.

Friday, May 12, 2023, 12-1 pm (CST)
Virtual workshop for prospective applicants. Click here to watch a recording of the virtual workshop.

Friday, May 19, 2023, 12-1 pm (CST)
Virtual Q&A for prospective applicants. Click here to watch a recording of the virtual Q&A.

May 2023
Applicants compile their application materials, including narrative responses, artist biography, and work samples.

Thursday, June 1, 2023
Applications are due. Please note that online submissions are due at 5 pm. Paper applications must be postmarked no later than June 1. Late applications will not be accepted.

Early June
Staff reviews applications for completeness and eligibility.

June 5-23, 2023: First Round of Jurying
A panel of former Nohl Fellows will select 20 finalists (15 local, 5 external) based on their narrative responses.

June 24-July 14, 2023: Second Round of Jurying
A panel of former Nohl jurors will review the full applications of the 20 finalists on their personal devices. At the end of this period, a conference call will be held during which all finalists in each pool (local and external) are discussed. Three awardees will be selected from the local pool, and one awardee will be selected from the external pool. Please note: unlike the Nohl Fellowship, this round will not be an anonymous review.

Wednesday, July 19, 2023
Public announcement of 2023 Ruth Arts Mary L. Nohl Alumni Awardees.
A grant agreement will be executed between each recipient and Lynden Inc. Awards are disbursed. The Internal Revenue Code states that the full amount of this award is taxable income. Recipients should consult the IRS or their tax advisors for more information.

July 2023-June 2024
An orientation will be scheduled for the second half of July. At that time, awardees will agree to a schedule of convenings.

July 2024
Final Reports are submitted. The report will detail activities undertaken during the Award period and the impact of the Award on the recipient. Final report forms will be available in May 2024.

September 3, 2024
The application for the 2025 cycle of the Nohl Fellowship opens. Artists who have received Ruth Arts Alumni Awards in 2023 are not eligible to apply.




1. At the bottom of this page, you will find a link labeled “Click here to submit.” Click this link to begin the application process.

2. You will If you do not already have one, create an account for your online application with Submittable. When you click the button at the bottom of this page, it will take you to the Submittable “Sign In/Sign Up” page. You will be prompted to create a Submittable account or to log in if you already have an account.

To create your account you will need to provide your email address, a password, and your first and last names. Once you create your account, you will be taken to the “Welcome to Submittable” page. This page contains information about Submittable. Click "Continue" to access Lynden's open applications page. If multiple applications are available, select "2023 Ruth Arts Mary L. Nohl Alumni Award."

If you already have an account, once you sign in you will be taken directly to Lynden's open applications page. If multiple applications are available, select "2023 Ruth Arts Mary L. Nohl Alumni Award."

Please note that the application will only appear on Lynden's open applications page during the specified application period, May 1, 2023 at 11 am to June 1, 2023 at 5 pm.

3. Organize your application materials. We strongly recommend that you assemble all of the application components prior to beginning your application. Detailed instructions are below, under “Application Components.”

• Contact and eligibility information
• Narrative Responses: Responses to three narrative questions are required.
• Artist Biography: Up to 5 pages highlighting work since last Nohl Fellowship.
• Work Sample: Up to 4 images AND/OR up to 5 minutes of video. The work sample is intended to familiarize the second-round jurors with your current work. (Please note: this differs from the Nohl Fellowship application.)

4. Upload your application materials. Required fields are marked with an asterisk. When you are finished, do not forget to click the “Apply” button to submit your application. You must agree to the Terms of Use by checking a box prior to submitting.


Saving and Returning
Once you set up your Submittable account you can preview all the application questions. You can then log in and out of the application as many times as you wish before the deadline to add or edit materials. If you return using the link at the bottom of this page, you will be taken directly to the application once you sign in. If you return by signing in through, you will find your saved application in the upper left corner (depending on your device) under “Submissions.” Click on the “Saved Drafts” tab.

Please be sure to save the information you have entered before logging out (there is a “Save Draft” button at the bottom of the application form). You do not have to complete the application in one session; however, once you have submitted your application it is final. When you submit your application, you should see a screen that says “Success” and you should receive a confirmation email from Submittable. If you do not receive an email, log back into your account and try submitting again. Although you will not be able to alter your application once you have submitted, you will continue to have access to your application materials via your Submittable account.

Partnerships and Collaborative Groups
If you are applying as a partnership or collaborative group, the application will be submitted by a single lead applicant. Please submit contact and demographic information for the lead applicant; we will contact you directly for information on other members of your group. If a partnership/collaborative is named as a finalist, it must submit a letter outlining the nature of the working relationships, with a commitment to work together through the fellowship period (July 2023-June 2024), signed by all members of the group. Additional instructions for collaboratives appear below, under “Application Components.”


Artist Information
You will be asked to provide your contact information (name, address, phone, email). You will also be asked to answer a few eligibility questions regarding your residency and student status.

Demographic Information
We collect demographic information solely for research and grant reporting purposes. Information submitted is completely anonymous and will have no effect on individual fellowship award decisions.

Narrative Responses
The Narrative Responses may be prepared in advance and pasted into the application, however, any formatting will be lost. Because the first round of jurying is anonymous, your name must not appear anywhere in these responses.

Narrative Response 1
Briefly describe your goals, needs, and aspirations at this stage of your career. How do you support your practice now? (600 characters)

Narrative Response 2
In light of these needs, how do you see yourself contributing to the co-creation of an alumni program that identifies and supports career-sustaining opportunities for former Nohl Fellows? How do you see yourself participating in this network once it is formed? (1200 characters)

Narrative Response 3
How has your practice developed since your last Nohl Fellowship? What are some highlights from the past three years that capture the way you view your practice now? (1800 characters)

Artist Biography in Résumé or List Form
The jurors are most interested in your work and activities since you last won the fellowship. Include, in list form, and as relevant, your education, awards or grants and year received, exhibitions/screenings (including art in public spaces or community-based projects), commissions, publications, reviews, and other milestones that demonstrate that you are a practicing artist, highlighting your most recent accomplishments.

The Artist Biography is prepared in advance and uploaded into the online form as a PDF file. It should be typed in a standard 12-point font with 1” margins on all sides. Please do not exceed five (5) pages. Please label the file “Artist_Biography.”

Present all information in list form, as you would in a résumé or CV. Do not submit a narrative biography.

Partnerships and collaborative groups should prepare a single document that includes information on all participating artists, with an emphasis on ongoing collaborative work, not to exceed five (5) pages. Identify individual members as “Artist A” (the lead applicant), “Artist B,” etc. Provide a history of your collaborative work since you last received a Nohl Fellowship using the heading “Collaborative Work.”

Work Samples
General Requirements

Work Samples should be of good quality, with well-focused and well-lit images, or with clear video recordings. Jurors are most interested in recent work. For those submitting paper applications, please do not send originals. We handle your work samples carefully but cannot accept liability for damage or loss. Jurors will review all submissions (electronic images, videos) on their personal devices. No application will be considered complete without work samples.

• You must possess primary aesthetic responsibility for the work submitted.
• For partnerships and collaborative groups: samples must reflect collaborative projects.
• Electronic images must be uploaded as JPGs.
• Film or video must be uploaded as mp4, mov, avi, mpg, 3gp, flv, webm, wmv, mkv, or m4v files.

The Work Sample portion of the form is divided into two sections: one for electronic images and the other for time-based media. You are welcome to submit both kinds of work samples, but are only required to submit one type. Work Samples within each category should be uploaded in the order you would like them to be viewed. Given the structure of the application, it is likely that if you submit both kinds of work, jurors will view still images (JPGs) before time-based media.

You will be asked to provide metadata (additional details about the works submitted): title, year, materials, and dimensions for electronic images; title, year, run time of excerpt, total run time of piece, and whether there is sound for time-based media. Be clear and precise; terms like “mixed media” do not help jurors understand your work.

You may also submit additional contextual information for each work sample. This information is optional, and responses must be limited to 60 words. For electronic images, you may discuss how the work was made, the materials, the scale, or any other information that the jury may not be able to understand by viewing the image or reading the metadata (identifying information) you provide with it. For time-based media, you might explain the relationship of the excerpt to the whole. For both kinds of samples, you can briefly explain how the work relates to your practice. Do not repeat information that is in your narrative responses or repeat information from one sample to the next.

As you edit your application in Submittable, you may change the order of your Work Samples within a category. Once you have uploaded at least two samples, arrows will appear to the left of each thumbnail that enable you to move samples up or down the list. Identifying information will remain with the image or video as it moves. Before submitting your application, check that all individual work samples are in your preferred order.

Preparing Your Work Samples: Electronic Images (JPGs)
You may submit up to 4 images.
• Images must be in JPEG format.
• Individual files should not exceed 5 MB.
• Upload files in the order you would like them to be viewed.
• Name files with the title of the work.
• Do not incorporate multiple images within a single frame.

Preparing Your Work Samples: Time-Based Media
Film and video includes experimental, animated, and narrative works. It does not include works having a primary corporate, industrial, or educational audience.

Do not use time-based media to document static work. Two- and three-dimensional work must be documented in still images. If you are documenting your own performance, it must be performance within a visual art context.

You may submit up to 5 minutes of video (maximum 4 videos).

• Videos and films will be accepted as mp4, mov, avi, mpg, 3gp, flv, webm, wmv, mkv, or m4v files.
• Upload each film/video excerpt or video/media installation separately, as one work sample, and in the order you would like them to be viewed. Avoid compilation reels and trailers. Please leave ample time for the upload.
• Name files with the title of the work.
• Indicate whether or not there is sound.

If you have any questions about the kind and amount of work you can submit, please contact Polly Morris at (put “Ruth Arts Alumni Award” in the subject line) or at (414) 446-8794.


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