Headlands Center for the Arts

Graduate Fellowships

Graduate Fellowships provide meaningful support to recent, promising studio art MFA graduates, in partnership with esteemed Bay Area academic institutions. The program is unique in the country for addressing this critical juncture in an emerging artist’s career, giving aspiring post-grads opportunities for professional development and a chance to define their practice outside of the academic context.

Graduate Fellows receive private studio space; chef-prepared meals in the Mess Hall; public presentation opportunities, including participation in a culminating curated exhibition; and discounts on Headlands’ public events. Graduate Fellows are active participants in Headlands peer-to-peer-driven creative community and benefit from engagement with local, national, and international artists participating in Headlands artists’ programs.

Award Period

  • July 1, 2019 – June 23, 2020Program Goals
  • Support recent MFA graduates as they transition from art school into professional life
  • Help ensure that the Bay Area remains a supportive and vital creative home for emerging artists
  • Create a thriving cultural center for Bay Area artists to participate in a national and international creative community

Program Details

  • 100- to 250-sq.-foot studio
  • Participation in Headlands Graduate Fellow exhibition
  • Facilities access:
    – Basic woodshop
    – Artists’ library with computers, scanner, and printer
  • Up to seven artists in the program at a time
  • Engagement with Headlands Artist community
  • Chef-prepared meals in our Mess Hall five nights per week, March to December
  • Participation in monthly “Show and Tell” nights
  • Participation in three seasonal Open Houses
  • Discounts on Headlands Public Events
  • Become part of Headlands Alumni Network


  • Application by nomination only
  • Graduating MFA students affiliated with the following co-sponsoring institutions: California College of the Arts; Mills College; The San Francisco Art Institute; San Francisco State University; Stanford University; UC Berkeley; and UC Davis
  • Candidates must be enrolled in the institution’s studio art department to be eligible

Selection Criteria

  • Merit of past work.
  • Readiness to engage with and benefit from the experience at Headlands (see program goals)
  • Potential to develop creative practice and impact the community at Headlands and beyond
  • Ability to be present on-site and to contribute to the dynamic community of Headlands Artists

Selection Process

  • Candidates are nominated by their department or school
  • Nominees submit application materials
  • Submissions are reviewed by a jury of knowledgeable and esteemed artists and arts professionals
  • The jury evaluates each artist’s materials and selects finalists
  • Finalists are invited to present their work in a 20-minute, in-person interview to determine the final award selection