The Artist Programs demonstrate the Joan Mitchell Foundation’s commitment to understanding the needs of visual artists throughout their lives, through awarding individual artist grants, administering aid programs, and funding arts organizations.
Since 1994, artists have been selected through an intensive nomination and review process for the Foundation's Painters and Sculptors Grant Program. Nominators are asked to recommend candidates who they feel deserve more recognition and would benefit from the financial support. The Foundation currently awards twenty-five grants in the amount of 25,000 each, based on the quality of the applicants’ work. Recognizing the needs of emerging artists graduating from MFA programs across the country, the MFA Grant was later established with the first round of artists funded in 1997. Since 2002, MFA Grant recipients have been included in an annual group exhibition at the CUE Art Foundation and an accompanying catalogue.
In response to artists impacted by the tragedy of 9/11 in 2001, the Foundation expanded to provide emergency grants to individual artists in communities affected by man-made and natural disasters. In 2008, the Foundation administered a Career Opportunity Grant for New Orleans based projects, providing Gulf Coast area artists with assistance for specific career opportunities. Since 2007, the Foundation’s Creating A Lasting Legacy (CALL) Program has sought to educate and support artists in the creation of a comprehensive archiving system to document their artwork and careers.
While primarily focused on the support of individual artists, the Foundation began in 1995 to fund arts organizations that work directly with artists in their communities. Grants to organizations are in the following areas: professional development programs, residency programs, publications, exhibitions, and organizational operating expenses. The Foundation’s focus in organizational granting is the promotion of diversity and expanding opportunities to under-recognized artists. Organizational support has focused to a large extent on the New Orleans arts community post-Katrina. The Foundation is currently expanding its commitment to the city through the formation of the Joan Mitchell Center on Bayou Road, a residency program and arts center. Programs are slated to begin in 2012.