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Irene Yamamoto Arts Writers Fellowship

2024 Irene Yamamoto Arts Writers Fellowship

Apply beginning February 1 for the 2024 Yamamoto Fellowship. Through this fellowship, the Democracy Center will award two emerging writers of color who write critically about theater, dance, and/or performance art for $5,000 unrestricted awards.

Submission period: February 1 – March 17, 2024; Virtual Information Session: February 12; Fellowship starts: June 2024

See below and the Criteria page for more details and to apply.

 

About

The Daniel K. Inouye National Center for the Preservation of Democracy (Democracy Center) invites applications to the second annual Irene Yamamoto Arts Writers Fellowship (Yamamoto Fellowship). Beginning this year, the Yamamoto Fellowship will focus on a different artistic discipline each year. The 2024 Yamamoto Fellowship grants two $5,000 unrestricted awards to two emerging writers of color who write critically about theater, dance, and/or performance art.

Irene Yamamoto (1937–2020) was a lifelong lover of the arts. Born in Los Angeles, she was incarcerated with her family in the Gila River concentration camp in Arizona during World War II. Upon returning to Los Angeles, she attended UCLA and had a long career as a production artist for several design and advertising agencies. In her free time, she loved to draw, learn new languages, visit museums, and travel. 

The Yamamoto Fellowship is made possible through a gift from Sharon Mizota to honor her late aunt. This project is also supported by Critical Minded, an initiative to invest in cultural critics of color cofounded by The Nathan Cummings Foundation and the Ford Foundation. 
 


Purpose

The Yamamoto Fellowship encourages emerging arts writers of color to write about works from their own cultural and political perspectives, enriching and broadening cultural criticism as a practice and profession. Theater, dance, and performance art were selected for 2024 because these art forms are still struggling in the wake of setbacks from the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Award 

The Irene Yamamoto Arts Writers Fellowship will be awarded to two (2) emerging writers of color, each of whom receive a $5,000 award to be spent over a six-month period. The awards are unrestricted. Funds may be used for any purpose that helps the fellows advance their careers, including paying themselves to write. 

In addition to the cash award, the fellows have the opportunity to write about an exhibition for the Preserving Democracy blog and deliver a talk about their work at the Democracy Center.

A brief, written report in the form of a letter accounting for the use of funds is required at the end of the fellowship period. No receipts or other documentation are required.

 

Organizations

Established in 1985, the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) promotes understanding and appreciation of America’s ethnic and cultural diversity by sharing the Japanese American experience. Located in the historic Little Tokyo district of downtown Los Angeles, JANM is a center for civil rights, ensuring that the hard-fought lessons of the World War II incarceration are not forgotten. A Smithsonian Affiliate and one of America’s Cultural Treasures, JANM is a hybrid institution that straddles traditional museum categories. JANM is a center for the arts as well as history. It provides a voice for Japanese Americans and a forum that enables all people to explore their own heritage and culture.

The Democracy Center is a place where visitors can examine the Asian American experience, past and present, and talk about race, identity, social justice, and the shaping of democracy. It convenes and educates people of all ages about democracy to transform attitudes, celebrate culture, and promote civic engagement; educates and informs the public and public officials about important issues; creates strength within and among communities to advocate for positive change; and explores the values that shape American democracy. The Democracy Center looks for solutions that engage communities in self-advocacy, explore the evolving idea of what it means to be an American, and result in actions that bring everyone together.
 

Press Releases

Democracy Center Announces the Second Annual Irene Yamamoto Arts Writers Fellowship for Emerging Arts Writers of Color

JANUARY 19, 2024

Democracy Center Announces the Second Annual Irene Yamamoto Arts Writers Fellowship for Emerging Arts Writers of Color

The Daniel K. Inouye National Center for the Preservation of Democracy (Democracy Center) at the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) announces the second annual Irene Yamamoto Arts Writers Fellowship (Yamamoto Fellowship) 

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Democracy Center Announces Recipients of the Inaugural Irene Yamamoto Arts Writers Fellowship

August 1, 2023

The National Center for the Preservation of Democracy (Democracy Center) has awarded the first annual Irene Yamamoto Arts Writers Fellowship to Raquel Gutiérrez and Chrystel Oloukoï, two emerging cultural critics of color who are making outstanding contributions to the art world.

NCPD@JANM Announces the Irene Yamamoto Arts Writers Fellowship for Emerging Writers of Color

March 27, 2023

The National Center for the Preservation of Democracy at the Japanese American National Museum (NCPD@JANM) announces the Irene Yamamoto Arts Writers Fellowship (Yamamoto Fellowship).

The Yamamoto Fellowship will be awarded to two emerging writers of color who have demonstrated commitment to writing about the art of communities of color and whose unique perspectives or points of view contribute to arts writing. Each writer will receive a $5,000 award to be spent over six months.

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The Democracy Center explores the rights, freedoms, and fragility of democracy, helping to build bridges, and find common ground between people of diverse backgrounds and opinions.

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