Applications are now open for the Guilford Performing Arts Festival’s (GPAF) third round of Artists’ Awards, which commission new works by Connecticut artists in dance, drama and music. As many as six $2,500 grants will be awarded for the creation of new work to be premiered at the 2023 festival.

The festival has granted a total of $20,000 since 2018 to eight performing artists, who have created or completed new work—three in dance, three in drama and two in music. The grants have enabled the festival to bring innovative new works to Shoreline Connecticut audiences, helped bolster the careers of Connecticut performers and, in 2020, provided six artists with a small amount of income at a time when the Covid-19 shutdown prevented them from performing. Previous Artists’ Awards recipients are listed here: 2018-19 recipients; 2020-21 recipients.

Applications are being accepted for awards in music, dance and drama (which will include all forms of spoken word). Awards will be given on merit in each genre. All professional performing artists who live in Connecticut are eligible. Recipients must use the grant to develop original, new work and premiere it at the next biennial Guilford Performing Arts Festival, scheduled for September 21-24, 2023.

Award criteria, rules and an online application can be found here. Applications will close on July 31. Recipients will be announced in late summer this year.

GPAF created the Artists’ Award program in 2018 as a way to support the creation of new work by Connecticut performing artists and to provide a vehicle for premiering original material at the festival. The grants are possible because of the generosity of donors through the Community Foundation of Greater New Haven’s Great Give and other festival supporters.

The 2023 festival will feature four days of live music, drama, dance and spoken word, performing arts workshops and arts-based community-service projects. Events will take place on the historic Guilford Green as well as in various other locations downtown. It will be the fourth Guilford Performing Arts Festival staged; it started in 2017 with the goals of enlivening the Connecticut Shoreline, providing innovative performing arts education, fostering cultural diversity, provoking thought, and supporting and showcasing the work of Connecticut performing artists.

The 2019 festival presented 73 shows featuring 540 performers, drew a total audience of nearly 6,000 people, reached 400 students and had an estimated local economic impact of $567,000. Covid limited the 2021 festival to performances by the six Artists’ Awards recipients and nearly a dozen public and in-school workshops.