Headlands Center for the Arts

Bay Area Fellowship

The Bay Area Fellowship Program (BAF) represents a radical departure from Headlands’ traditional modes of working with artists. The BAF will engage each artist as a full collaborator in designing and producing their own Fellowship engagement, bringing them into the Headlands community as thought partners while developing an experience tailored to their specific needs. Applicants should come with a desire to work closely and deeply with their Fellowship cohort and Headlands staff to thoughtfully and iteratively design the vision, aims, schedule, scope, and allocation of resources for their own Fellowship. In short, Fellows will partner with Headlands to produce the nature of its support.

This program aims to deepen support for Bay Area artists; engage artist Fellows as partners in collaboration with Headlands; center Bay Area Fellows among Headlands’ national and international artist cohorts; and demonstrate Headlands’ commitment to supporting creative practitioners holistically through provision of financial support, time, space, and community. The program will also evolve over time, as Headlands continues to learn how best to work with and support future Fellows.

Fellowships are intended to last two years and will be planned in close collaboration with participants on annual timelines. The program will initially support three Bay Area artists, and is open to artists and writers working in any discipline. In addition to providing access as needed to Headlands resources such as studios, meeting spaces, and staff expertise, support includes an annual stipend of $15,000 and additional financial resources to cover the tax burden of that stipend, health insurance, and potential Fellowship activities and resources, such as professional and project development, fabrication, or travel.

Program Goals

  • Support and engage Bay Area artists at key moments in their careers
  • Build meaningful connections between the Bay Area arts community and Headlands’ visiting Artists and Fellows 
  • Challenge and rethink traditional power dynamics between arts nonprofits and artists by engaging with artists as full partners
  • Connect Fellows to each other through cohort building processes

Award and Support

Annually per Fellow:

  • $15,000 stipend
  • Tax burden on stipend and health coverage reimbursement (estimated at roughly $14,000)
  • $8,000 to support Fellowship activities designated by the Fellow
  • Additional available resources, such as studio space, convening space, staff time and expertise, and/or other resources as determined by Fellow in collaboration with Headlands

Application and Fellowship Period

The inaugural one-year Fellowship period is expected to begin in Fall 2021. The Fellowship is fully expected to be renewed for a second year by mutual agreement between Headlands and the Bay Area Fellow.

The Bay Area Fellowship application process will take place as follows:

  • Headlands will solicit short applications through an open call process. Those applications will be evaluated by outside evaluators and Headlands programming staff. A limited number of applicants will be invited to submit full applications.
  • Applicants invited to complete full applications will be offered a $1,500 stipend to produce full BAF applications.
  • Evaluators will select three Bay Fellows from the pool of full applicants to begin Fellowships in the fall of 2021.

To receive email communications, including an announcement of the open call, sign up here: Headlands Email Newsletter Signup

Program Details

  • Fellowship is awarded for a duration of one year, with an additional year renewal by mutual agreement
  • A list of Headlands resources available will be given to BAF full applicants
  • The Fellowship will initially serve three Fellows per cohort
  • Fellows will be asked to participate in Headlands’ Open Houses and internal artists “Show and Tell” presentations
  • Fellowships will occur in phases with an initial visioning and design phase, mid-point check-in, and annual review


Bay Area Fellows must be able prove current and continuous residence in the Bay Area, beginning no later than July 1, 2019. The Bay Area is defined as the following nine counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma. Applicants will be asked for proof of residence if invited to the full application stage.

Bay Area Fellows can work in any artistic discipline, including arts professionals and all writing disciplines.

We welcome artists at all stages of their careers, but preference will be given to mid-career and established artists in developing the inaugural (2021-22) Fellowship cohort.

Selection Criteria

  • Strength of artistic work, pushing the boundaries of the discipline
  • At a pivotal moment in their practice
  • Capacity and desire to envision and collaborate with Headlands on the development of an impactful Fellowship year
  • Desire to connect to other artists and the wider Bay Area community