J.J. Reneaux Emerging Artist Award

The J. J. Reneaux Emerging Artist Award provides $1,500 to a storyteller of major and unique performing talent who has not yet received wide public recognition. Please note that this is not primarily an achievement award: candidates must have a well-considered need and desire to improve their storytelling skills and must present a convincing plan for how they will use the grant funds for artistic development.

Criteria for recipients:

  1. You should not yet have received national public recognition (such as being featured at major festivals or theaters).
  2. Your professional storytelling career should be at an early stage, though you should already show a distinctive voice and style.
  3. Your current performances should reflect exceptional talent and potential for development.
  4. You should have a clear awareness of how you need to improve your skills and a plan for using the award funds to accomplish this.
  5. You should intend eventually to gain a significant part of your annual income from professional storytelling performance.

What the award will and will not fund:

The award may be used only to pay for activities that will advance your storytelling skills: for instance, workshops, specific courses of study, coaching or work with a director, mentoring by senior tellers, relevant conference attendance, and other forms of training.

Awards cannot be applied to research, marketing, promotional materials, recordings, props, costumes, etc.

Application Process

CLOSED: All applications and supporting materials were required to be submitted no later than midnight (CT) September 3, 2019. The application period is now closed.

How to apply to the J. J. Reneaux Emerging Artist Award

Items needed for your JJR submission:

  1. Your complete contact information: Name, mailing address, phone numbers, e-mail address.
  2. A letter (no longer than 1000 words) including:
    – Your personal and artistic background
    – Your sense of what is distinctive about the path you are on as a performer
    – The additional skills you need in order to enhance the effectiveness of your storytelling (this is very important—think carefully)
    – Your plan for using the grant money to improve these necessary skills. (Please check the information about what the award will and will not fund.)
    – A brief description of the performances on the recording(s) you have submitted, including titles, dates, and settings of the performances, and reflections about the relationship of these pieces to your complete repertoire.
  3. A 10-20 minute video recording of your storytelling that will demonstrate your present strengths and performance characteristics. At least one
    performance should have been recorded live before an audience. The recording should include samples of two different pieces of work (if possible, one complete). Include the URL(s) in your application in the appropriate section. It is the responsibility of the applicant to make sure that these videos are easily accessed through common platforms and browsers. Please ask several people with different browsers and platforms to test the accessibility of your videos before you submit the URL(s) to the committee.
  4. Your resume (no longer than two pages).
  5. A list of names and contact information for three people who will send letters of recommendation.

REQUEST Letters of Recommendation:

  1. Three (3) letters of recommendation emailed to NSN directly by the writers of the letters. (Please give your references the NSN recommendation instructions, or direct them to download the instructions.
  2. Your references should include:
    – One (1) person who can describe your performance in a particular venue
    – Two (2) professional storytellers who can describe your storytelling in detail

All submissions and recommendation letters must be in the NSN office by midnight (CDT) Tuesday, September 3, 2019. The award announcement will be made by December 31, 2019.

J.J. Reneaux Emerging Artist Award – Presentation Recommendation

A reference by someone who has seen the applicant perform in a particular venue.

To the writer of the recommendation: You have been asked to provide a recommendation for a storyteller who has applied to receive the J.J. Reneaux Emerging Artist Award from the National Storytelling Network.

This award provides funding to help a storyteller develop performance skills (through, for instance, workshops, specific courses of study, coaching or work with a director, mentoring by senior tellers, relevant conference attendance, and other forms of training). In honor of its namesake, the J.J. Reneaux Emerging Artist Award seeks to recognize artists who already possess the considerable talent and the potential to advance the storytelling art, although they have not yet received wide public recognition (such as featuring at a major festival or theater).

NSN would appreciate your help in evaluating this candidate for the award. In particular, we would like you to describe, as specifically as possible, the candidate’s presentation of stories at an event at which you were present. Please feel free to answer the following questions individually, or to incorporate this information into a single letter.

  1. What was the event you witnessed? (Where and when did it take place? By whom was it sponsored? How large was the audience, and what was its composition?).
  2. What brought you to the event? (Were you, for instance, a planner or sponsor? A friend of the storyteller? An audience member drawn to attend by some other connection?).
  3. Please describe the storyteller’s presentation – its length, what stories/kinds of stories were told, whether other performance media (e.g. music, song, mime, dance, puppetry) accompanied the stories, etc.
  4. What were the distinctive qualities of the performance? How would you describe, for instance, the storyteller’s style, language, physical presence?
  5. How did the storyteller relate to the audience, and how did the audience respond?
  6. How did this performance compare with the performances you have attended by other storytellers?

Please e-mail your letter directly to jjr@storynet.org  with “Recommendation for [name of applicant]” in the subject line. Please include in your letter the applicant’s name, as well as your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address. Thank you very much for taking the time to help us with this project.

Download Instructions

J.J. Reneaux Emerging Artist Award – Professional Storyteller Recommendation

A reference from a professional storyteller who can describe the applicant’s storytelling skills.

To the writer of the recommendation: You have been asked to provide a recommendation for a storyteller who has applied to receive the J.J. Reneaux Emerging Artist Award from the National Storytelling Network. This award provides funding to help a storyteller develop performance skills (through, for instance, workshops, specific courses of study, coaching or work with a director, mentoring by senior tellers, relevant conference attendance, and other forms of training). In honor of its namesake, the J.J. Reneaux Emerging Artist Grant seeks to recognize artists who already possess the considerable talent and the potential to advance the storytelling art, although they have not yet received wide public recognition (such as featuring at a major festival or theater). NSN would appreciate your help in evaluating this candidate for the award.

In particular, we would like you to describe, as specifically as possible, the candidate’s distinctive skills as a storyteller. Please feel free to answer the following questions individually, or to incorporate this information into a single letter.

  1. On what occasions, and under what circumstances, have you seen the applicant perform as a storyteller?
  2. NSN wants to encourage the development of tellers with their own special voice. How is the applicant’s style unique and distinctive?
  3. How do you assess the applicant’s achievements, talent, and (if possible) potential as a storyteller?
  4. In your view, what kinds of training or mentoring opportunities would be useful in helping this candidate develop further as a storytelling artist?

Please e-mail your letter directly to jjr@storynet.org with “Recommendation for [name of applicant]” in the subject line. Please include in your letter the applicant’s name, as well as your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address. Thank you very much for taking the time to help us with this project.

Download Instructions

Past Recipients of the J.J. Reneaux Emerging Artist Award

2020 April Armstrong

Sufian Zhemukhov

2018 Baeletsi Tsatsi

Cooper Braun

2016 Carolina Quiroga-Stultz

2014 Sally Perkins

2012 Robin Bady

2010 Kirk Waller

2008 Regi Carpenter

2006 Tim Ereneta

2005 Alton Chung

 

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