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The 2020-21 U.S.-Japan Creative Artists Fellowship Program

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The 2020-21 U.S.-Japan Creative Artists Fellowship Program
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The Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission is a U.S. federal government agency. The Commission was established as an independent federal government agency by the United States Congress (P.L. 94-118)  in 1975 to strengthen the U.S.-Japan relationship through educational, cultural, and intellectual exchange. The Commission is a grant-making agency that supports research, education, public affairs and exchange with Japan. Its mission is to support reciprocal people-to-people understanding, and promote partnerships that advance common interests between Japan and the United States. The Commission also serves to maintain expertise on Japan Studies throughout U.S. academic and professional institutions. It generally does not operate its own programs. It supports academic and non-profit organizations that conceptualize and execute U.S.-Japan training, research and exchange programs.

The Commission operates its grant-making activities in four areas: Arts and Culture; Education and Public Affairs; Exchanges and Scholarship; and Global Challenges.

The Commission receives no funds from general revenues from the United States budget. It operates entirely from the Japan-United States Friendship Trust Fund. The Fund originated from payments by the Government of Japan for post-war assistance provided by the United States. These funds remain in the U.S. Treasury in a separate account. The United States Congress established the Commission to manage this Trust Fund.

The Commission’s enabling legislation allows it to accept gifts and in-kind contributions, which it may disperse at its own discretion within its approved budget authority.

A board of 18 Commissioners makes decisions on the expenditure of the Commission’s earnings. The Commissioners are a group of nine private citizens and nine U.S. government officials who meet annually to consider all institutional grant proposals submitted to the Commission. Among the government officials are four bi-partisan Members of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives who serve in a non-voting capacity.
Pursuant to the enabling legislation, the Members of the House of Representatives who serve on the Commission are appointed by the Speaker of the House per 22 USC §2903 (a) (2). Senators who serve on the Commission are appointed by the President Pro Tempore per USC §2903(a).

Application Deadline: March 1, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time
Please Note: This is an electronic submission process and there are two deadlines. Please review the Program Guidelines closely before applying.

March 1, 2020 11:59 p.m. ET – Submit writable pdf cover sheet to JUSFC[dot]creativeartist[at]arts[dot]gov

March 23, 2020 – Receive Login information to begin submission of narrative application and work samples.

March 29, 2020 11:59 p.m. – Deadline for the complete submission of the narrative application, letters of recommendation and work samples. This is a firm deadline and applications submitted after midnight on March 1, 2020 will not be considered.

Application Guidance: When answering the application questions, keep in mind that you will benefit from a focused description of your planned residency. Be as specific as possible in outlining why you wish to pursue a residency in Japan, and how you might be able to achieve your objectives during the Fellowship period. If you have made preliminary contacts with Japanese counterparts, please include documentation that indicates their interest in your work.

We recognize each artist’s experience may prove to be profoundly different from what he or she anticipated as an applicant. However, applicants who demonstrate serious prior thought about how they plan to achieve their artistic goals in Japan have in the past proven to be the candidates most likely to benefit from the international experience. Successful fellowships reflect a balance between expectations of accomplishing specific goals and being open to new processes and opportunities.

How to Apply
Please submit only one application. If you are applying as a team or as a company, please list the names of all artists who are expected to travel to Japan.

There are several components to the application submission. All information and work samples are submitted as PDFs through a web-based process.

STEP 1: Complete the Creative Artists Program Application (COVER SHEET) and submit it by March 1, 2020 as an attachment to an email to: JUSFC[dot]creativeartist[at]arts[dot]gov

Please complete the form using Adobe Reader (be sure to hit the “Save” button). Mac users: Be sure you are using Adobe Reader and not Preview to work with the form. Please change the name of the form file to your name (<first> <last>) before emailing it to us You must send a saved copy of the original form. Scans of printed copies of the form will not be accepted.

STEP 2: The written application and work samples must be prepared and submitted electronically for a separate deadline by March 29. To upload the written application and work samples, you will access the NEA’s applicant portal. You will receive an email with a userID and password that will enable you to access the electronic work sample site, along with instructions on how to upload your application to the applicant portal.

The applicant portal is optimized for use with the following web browsers: Chrome 58+, Firefox 54+, or Microsoft Internet Explorer Version 11+.

Submitting the written application:
It is recommended you prepare your work samples and written application well in advance of the deadline and have them fully ready to upload once the applicant portal becomes available to you. Samples submitted by mail will NOT be considered.

Create a new page and answer the questions that follow (12-point font, three pages maximum): Type the question and provide your answer.

Type the question and provide your answer:

What motivates you to travel to Japan?
What do you propose to do in Japan in the three to five-month period?
How do you anticipate that your time in Japan will advance cross-cultural understanding?
What kinds of preparation would you anticipate making in advance?
What resources do you need?
What were the dates and purpose (s) of any previous stays in Japan of longer than one month?
Give a concreted example of a time when your expectations did not match the reality of the situation. How did you address the situation, and what was the result?
Scan two (2) signed letters of recommendation from professional colleagues, on letterhead if possible. Copy and paste letters in application document. If the letters are submitted separately from the application, please send them to JUSFC[dot]creativeartist[at]arts[dot]gov

DO NOT SUBMIT MORE THAN TWO LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION. Additional letters will be discarded. Letters should be written within the last two calendar years, and should address each of the following:

The artistic quality and evolution of your work
How your work would benefit from interaction with Japanese arts and cultural life
How you would adapt to the challenge of living and working in another culture
The application answers and your resume should be in one PDF and your letter of recommendations in a separate PDF. Both of these PDFs should be uploaded onto the REACH system. Applications without letters of recommendation will be rejected.

If letters are in Japanese, please provide an English translation. Do not send reviews or articles. They will not be considered.

Submitting Work Samples: To be uploaded electronically.
The work sample is a critical factor in panel deliberations. Your application will be considered incomplete without work samples. Please determine the type of sample(s) that best represents your work. As a collaborative team, your work samples should be reflective of the collaborative process. Given the large amount of material and the limited amount of time available for panel review of work samples, please prepare a well- organized presentation. Your application will benefit by including recently created work (i.e. within the last three to five years). The work that you present should help the panel understand your interest in pursuing artistic inquiry in Japan.

The following will NOT be accepted as work samples:

Slides or other non-electronic images
Original artwork in physical form
Work created as a student for an undergraduate degree-granting program
Critical reviews
Promotional materials
Below you will find information on the electronic submission of work samples. Requirements vary by discipline. Please read the instructions carefully and give yourself plenty of time to complete the submission process.

Video Samples (Choreographers, theater artists, media artists, and other visual or performing artists who feel they would benefit from an audio-video presentation)

Select two video clips for a total not to exceed 250MB. You will be able to upload samples in the formats described below. There is a limit of 250 MB for all of your work samples combined. Each selection should not exceed five minutes. Video samples must be uploaded directly to the applicant portal.

Please read the section relevant to your art form.
Choreographers: Submit an ensemble selection unless your project involves a solo. Do not send promotional work samples (e.g., highly edited booking tapes). Do not send dark work samples or samples with poor visibility. Acceptable file types are avi, flv, mov, mp4, mpeg, rm, and wmv. Your video sample must be in one of these acceptable file types. File types such as VIDEO_TS.BUP, VIDEO_TS.IFO, and VIDEO_TS.VOB will not work.

In order to be uploaded, videos must meet the following minimum requirements:

Resolution: At least 480 x 360
Frames per second (fps): At least 12
You can often check the resolution of a video as follows. In Windows environments, find the file on your computer, right click it, and select “Properties.” On a Mac, hold the Control key, and click on the file name. Select “Get Info” and the information should display. Most videos are a standard 29 frames per second. While the above requirements are the minimum, submitting your video in the mp4 (H.264) format at 640 x 480 with mp3 audio will allow for efficient uploading while showing your clips to best advantage. There is a file size limit of 250 MB. (Note, however, that there is a limit of 250 MB for all of your work samples combined so choose your video samples carefully). If your video does not meet the minimum resolution requirements above, there are a number of software programs you can use to convert your video, such as the free MPEG Streamclip; DV Kitchen for Mac, which has a free trial; and www.mediaconverter.org, which allows for five free conversions. Please upload each of the two video samples in a separate file.

Videos on Websites: Please submit a PDF with a link to the website. If you are including more than one website, submit no more than three and list them all on a single PDF. For each site, list the URLs for pages to be shown; include any necessary information on required plug-ins, passwords, or navigation paths.

Work Sample Information for choreographer samples: For each work sample that you upload electronically, you will find a descriptive field into which you will enter the following information, as appropriate:

Title box: The title of the work. Title each work sample with a unique name. This title must not contain an apostrophe.

Description box:

Name of the organization that performed, produced or presented the work
Title of the work (if different from title box above).
Name and field of the creative artist who authored the piece
Date the work was completed
Date the work was performed
Length of the sample. (Five minutes is the maximum)
Applicants submitting multiple websites should include the relevant information from above with each website in the PDF. The descriptive field for the file should provide a brief overview of the group of websites as a whole.

Media Artists
Audio (Composers) Audio Samples

You may upload an audio sample directly to the applicant portal, or you may submit a link to an audio sample. If you upload directly to the applicant portal, please upload each selection in a separate file. Each file has a size limit of 20 MB. Acceptable file types are mp3, wma, wav, aac, mid, midi, mpa, and ra. Note: Do not upload audio files that have a variable bit rate.

If you submit a link, please submit a PDF with a link to the website(s). If you are including more than one website, list them all on a single PDF. For each site, list the URLs for pages to be shown; include any necessary information on required plug-ins, passwords, or navigation paths.

For each work sample that you upload electronically, you will find a descriptive field into which you will enter the following information, as appropriate:

Title box: The composer and title of the work. Title each work sample with a unique name. This title must not contain an apostrophe.

Description box:

Name of composer and the artist/ensemble performing
Title of the work (if different from title box).
Date the work was completed
Date the work was performed
Length of the sample. (Five minutes is the maximum)
Applicants submitting multiple websites on a PDF should include the relevant information from above with each website in the PDF. The descriptive field for the file should provide a brief overview of the group websites as a whole.

Images (Visual artists, architects, designers, and other artists who feel they would benefit from a visual presentation without an audio component). You must electronically submit up to 20 digital images to the applicant portal as detailed below.

Acceptable Formats
You will be able to upload samples in the formats described below. There is a limit of 250 MB for all of your work samples combined.

Digital images: Submit up to 20 images in a single PDF file. Image size should be consistent; 800 x 600 pixels is suggested. Each image/file has a size limit of 5 MB.

Include image descriptions:

Artist’s Name
Medium
Date of work/activity
Dimensions of artwork
Applicants submitting multiple images on a PDF should include the relevant information from above with each image in the PDF. The descriptive field for the file should provide a brief overview of the group of images as a whole.

Manuscripts
Applicants may submit one or more writing samples as their manuscript; but the total pages cannot exceed 15 pages. Your manuscript sample may be published work, unpublished work, or work in progress. All manuscripts must be in typescript and clearly readable. Your name and page number should appear in the upper right hand corner of each page. Use a 12-point font and margins of at least one inch at the top, bottom, and sides of all pages. Do not submit more than the maximum number of pages that are allowed; excess pages will be removed and not reviewed. Manuscripts must be submitted as a separate PDF attachment to the email in which you attach your application narrative. Do not create a PDF of your document by scanning.

Fiction, and Creative Non-fiction (Creative writers of poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction; librettists, playwrights)

Your manuscript sample must be a maximum of 15 typescript, double-spaced pages of: fiction (e.g., short story, short fiction, vignette, graphic fiction, novel excerpt, hypertextual fiction, or creative nonfiction (e.g., essay, memoir, creative nonfiction, literary journalism)

Poetry
Submit a manuscript containing previously published work, unpublished work, or work-in- progress. Your manuscript should be in 12-point font and include one of the following:

10 typescript, single column pages of poetry or one long poem (or section of a long poem) not to exceed 15 pages in length; or
15 typescript double-spaced pages of short fiction, short stories, or creative non- fiction; or
15 typescript double-spaced pages of an excerpt from a novel
Playwrights and Librettists
Submit a manuscript of a 15-page typescript excerpt from a play, libretto or work-in-progress in 12-point font. On your work sample information sheet, please provide a brief description explaining the context of the excerpt, i.e. stage setting, theme, period, etc.