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Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship (SARF)

The Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship (SARF) program was launched in 2007 to provide outstanding visual artists from across the world a unique opportunity to work with Smithsonian museums, research sites, collections, and scholars, so they may conduct research that inspires new artwork. SARF Fellows spend one to two months in residence at the Smithsonian immersed in its unparalleled collections and multidisciplinary scholarly expertise, building connections between art, science, history and culture. The program embodies the depth and breadth of the Smithsonian. Fellows have studied not only what is on view in the Smithsonian’s nineteen museums and National Zoo, but also the vast collections in non-public areas, libraries, archives, gardens, laboratories, storage facilities and field sites in the U.S. and abroad. You can find additional information and video recordings from the 10th Anniversary Symposium here


You are eligible to apply for a SARF Fellowship if the following applies to you:

  • Secured a nomination by the deadline listed above.
  • Received an email from the Office of Academic Appointments and Internships inviting you to apply a week or two after the nomination period closes. 
  • Outstanding visual artist
  • Strong exhibition history beyond the home region
  • Demonstrated record of artistic accomplishment
  • Ability to create a strong research proposal that utilizes Smithsonian specific resources
  • Ability to independently secure a nomination and a Smithsonian advisor
  • U.S. citizens and foreign nationals with proficiency in written and spoken English
  • Ability to independently arrange accommodation and travel
  • Self-reliant and flexible

You are NOT eligible to apply for a SARF Fellowship if the following applies to you:

  • Undergraduate students and MFA candidates
  • Smithsonian employee or contractors if the Smithsonian Fellowship would coincide with their employment
  • Any person who has been employed or under contract with the Smithsonian in the previous year is ineligible for a Smithsonian Fellowship unless he/she is given approval from the Office of Academic Appointments and Internships.
Access to Application and Process for Nominees

After the nomination period ends on November 7, 2022, instructions and guidelines for the application process will be emailed to the nominees within a few days. Applications will be due Monday, January 16, 2023, at 11:59 PM EST


Tenure dates at the Smithsonian can be divided into multiple visits, but must total a period of one to two months, depending on the specifics of each fellow’s award letter. Proposed dates must be between July 1, 2023 and May 31, 2024.

Any changes to tenure dates must be approved in advance by 1) the advisor and then 2) the Office of Fellowships. If changes to tenure dates reduce the number of months the fellow is on residence the stipend will be prorated.


$4,500 per month

Stipends are prorated according to a Fellow’s exact length of tenure.

In addition, a Travel Allowance, exclusively for a Fellow’s one-time relocation cost (average cost of a round trip coach seat on a train or airplane at the time of tenure) from his/her home to the Smithsonian, may also be provided. If a Fellow elects to split the appointment into multiple trips, he/she will be responsible for covering the additional travel costs.

Research Allowance of up to $2,000 may be available for the artist to purchase research equipment or materials necessary for the Fellowship. Any travel related specifically to a Fellow’s research (e.g., non-local travel from one Smithsonian location to another to conduct research) falls into the category of research. 

Notification Date

Notifications will go out in the month of April.


Office of Fellowships


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