The McKnight Foundation’s Distinguished Artist Award


Nominations due for 2017 Distinguished Artist Award


The McKnight Foundation written logo-white letters, red background.

The McKnight Foundation invites nominations for its 20th Distinguished Artist Award. Deadline for submission is May 19, 2017.

The annual McKnight Distinguished Artist Award recognizes artists who have made a lifelong commitment to creating art that is locally, regionally, and/or nationally significant. These artists have chosen to make their lives and careers in Minnesota, thereby making our state a more culturally rich place. First and foremost, they have made creatively incisive art reflecting their particular and extraordinary point of view. McKnight Distinguished Artists have also inspired younger artists, attracted acclaim from audiences, patrons, critics, and other arts professionals, and some have founded and strengthened arts organizations. (See the current and previous Distinguished Artists.)


The McKnight Foundation invites nominations recognizing long-established, known artists whose lifetime of art-making can be characterized as extraordinary, illuminating, inspirational, influential, innovative, creatively incisive, uniquely expressive, and significant to others.

  • Nominees must have made an artistic career in Minnesota.
  • Nominees will have already experienced extraordinary accomplishment, accolades, and achievement in their artistic field.
  • Nominees may work in any artistic field or discipline.

The Distinguished Artist Award goes to one Minnesota artist each year. The award is $50,000. Nominations are open.

If you would like to nominate an artist that meets the eligibility criteria, please submit a nomination online. Please do not create campaigns of support for one artist. It will not increase an individual’s likelihood of winning to be nominated several times. No one may receive the award more than once. No posthumous awards will be made.

Review Process

The panel that selects the recipient consists of five people who have a depth of familiarity with Minnesota’s artistic community. The panel will review the nominations and select one Distinguished Artist for 2017. The panel will not accept letters of support or other campaign materials. Staff will remove from consideration those nominations that do not meet eligibility requirements.

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