Call-for-Proposals: Sixty’s Midwest Arts Writers Fellowship

March 4, 2024 · News, Projects + Collaborations, Sixty Regional

What are the unique working conditions and challenges facing arts workers in the Midwest? Sixty is launching a Midwest Arts Writers Fellowship for two writers to explore these issues and more. Applications are now open!

Image: A graphic with a rainbow background with black text that says: "Midwest Arts Writers FELLOWSHIP / Deadline to apply: 11:59pm CST on March 27, 2024."
Image: A graphic with a rainbow background with black text that says: "Midwest Arts Writers FELLOWSHIP / Deadline to apply: 11:59pm CST on March 27, 2024."

Deadline to apply: 11:59pm CST on March 27, 2024
APPLY HERE (to preview the application questions, click here)

Sixty Inches From Center is inviting applications for our Midwest Arts Writers Fellowship, a 6-month opportunity for two writers to develop, refine, and publish writings on topics that are resonant and relevant to Indigenous, trans, queer, diasporic, and/or disabled artists and arts workers in our region. 

Fellows will be invited to consider and reflect on the complexities of Midwest life and the artists who help define and articulate its culture. With this fellowship we want to support writers whose work elevates the ways that artists are thinking about the defining dynamics of the Midwest, from their distinct vantage point. During the fellowship each writer will publish two long-form and related articles (1,200+ words) that offer a deeper understanding of the cultural ecosystems of the Midwest and explore how their topic/s intersect politically, culturally, and regionally. 

This Fellowship is remote and virtual with possible in-person opportunities and travel to Chicago.

Fellowship Offerings:

This 6-month fellowship includes the following:

  • A $3,000 unrestricted award for each fellow.
  • Dedicated editorial mentorship and support throughout the fellowship period.
  • Dedicated support from the editor of Sixty Bilingual, our network of Spanish-language translators, and our transcription services, if needed. 
  • Participation in a public discussion between you and a guest speaker of your choice, hosted by Sixty.
  • Invitations to writer-focused gatherings and events hosted by Sixty during and beyond the fellowship period.
  • Post-fellowship access to paid opportunities and resources offered only to Sixty’s network of past and present artists, writers, and arts workers.

Purpose and what we’re looking for:

Many of us at Sixty were born, raised, or spent formative years of our lives in Midwest cities other than Chicago. We know and believe in the value of hearing and connecting experiences from all parts of the Midwest and how it can be a strategy for building stronger regional relationships and understanding. 

Additionally, as an organization that prioritizes Indigenous, trans, queer, diasporic, and disabled communities within the Midwest, we can’t ignore the sharp increases in how our communities and defining aspects of our communities’ culture are threatened, erased, and attacked systemically and socially. Within artists communities, we are aware of the continued need for advocacy and education around unsustainable working conditions in the arts. It is our hope that this fellowship will uplift writers who will use this opportunity to explore topics that challenge and counter those efforts. 

We also hope this fellowship will be an opportunity for a writer who has the desire to build an ongoing relationship with Sixty and will continue to write for Sixty after the Fellowship ends.

We welcome applications and pitches that are experimental in form and in how they define arts writing. We also seek applications that show a clear understanding of Sixty’s values and the type of writing Sixty publishes. Final writings may also be translated from English to Spanish.

We’re looking for applicants who are interested in exploring the following questions: 

  • What are the unique working conditions and challenges facing arts workers in the Midwest?
  • What are the methodologies and artistic strategies that anchor regional practices or address pressing issues?
  • What artist-led community organizing and advocacy work is happening in your city, state, or region?
  • What are the complex relationships between and/or misconceptions of life, opinions, culture, and arts ecosystems within bigger cities and smaller towns?
  • What are the historic or contemporary ways that the arts are used to amplify and dream up solutions to economic, political, and social concerns of Midwest artists and residents?
  • Who are the Midwest artists, collectives, or organizations whose work addresses any of the topics mentioned above?


To be eligible for the fellowship, all of the following must apply to you:

  • You have an active writing practice. We welcome applicants at all stages of their writing career, from emerging to seasoned, and everything in between. Publishing experience is a plus (this includes Substack, personal website, or other self-publishing platforms).
  • You are based in the Midwest. This means you are a current, full-time resident of the region. Sixty defines the Midwest as the interconnected Native lands and diverse communities overlapping the arbitrary colonial boundaries of North Dakota, South Dakota, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
  • You have not been a contributor to or commissioned artist for one of Sixty’s special projects within the past year. This includes Chicago Archives + Artists Project, Art Design Chicago, Bemis Critic-in-Residence, etc.
  • You have a clear and demonstrated commitment to the topic you are writing about. This includes things such as previously publishing writings on these topics, having a creative practice that explores these topics, being a member of the community that is centered in your topic, or having a deep relationship across communities.

Since Sixty is a Chicago-born organization and publishes a significant amount of Chicago writing, priority will be given to applicants from outside of the Chicago area. For Chicago-based writers interested in applying, you are welcome to do so, but priority will be given to Chicago-based writers who also have roots in other parts of the Midwest and seek to bridge a conversation between those two areas of the region specifically. Priority will also be given to those writing from the perspective of and for Indigenous, trans, queer, diasporic, and/or disabled communities of the Midwest.

More Information: Please send all questions to with “Midwest Arts Writers Fellowship” in the subject line. 

This fellowship is made possible with support from Arts Midwest. Arts Midwest supports, informs, and celebrates Midwestern creativity. They build community and opportunity across Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, the Native Nations that share this geography, and beyond. As one of six nonprofit United States Regional Arts Organizations, Arts Midwest works to strengthen local arts and culture efforts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, state agencies, private funders, and many others. Learn more at