Grants to Artists



Sierra Arts Foundation established the Grants Endowment when an anonymous donation of $140,000 was gifted to solely award funds to arts organizations and artists. Available funding varies year to year based on the amount of interest earned on monies in the program and Grants Endowment. Sierra Arts began awarding grants in fiscal year 1986-1987, when it awarded a total of $32,208 to arts organizations and artists. In fiscal year 1993-1994, the Board of Trustees voted to change the program to award monies, free of obligation, to professional and student artists of all disciplines living within a 100-mile radius of Reno.

The Grants to Artist program currently provides resources to artists with the intention to encourage artist growth from concept to completion. SAF offers $1,000 grants to professional artists at any stage in their career and $500 to high school and college artists through the John and Rose Ascuaga Grant and the George Hutchison Grant. These grants support artistic excellence, creative development, and the pursuit of new concepts. Occasionally, an artist is chosen to receive the Rosemary MacMillian Award for lifetime excellence in the arts in the amount of $5,000. Funds may be used in any manner that will help support artists in their endeavors. Artists receiving grants may reapply every three years unless they’ve received the Rosemary MacMillan Award, at which time they become ineligible for future grants.

The 2016 Grants to Artists is partially funded through the generous support of The Dolan Automotive Group and Paterson Pacific Parchment Company.

To Apply2017 GRANTS TO ARTISTS APPLICATION will be available October 2017.   Application submission deadline is Monday, November 20, 2017.

Applications are taken once a year during our open call for submissions. For more information about the Grants to Artists program, contact Tia Flores, Program Director at or

Our 2016 Grants to Artists Recipients

Katie Lewis, visual arts recipient

Katie Lewis was born in 1977 in Reno, Nevada. She received her BA from Colorado College and her MFA from California College of the Arts. She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally at venues such the Museum of Modern Art Luxembourg, Museum Rijswijk – The Netherlands, Stanford University, San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, San Francisco State University, and the Patricia Sweetow Gallery. In 2010 she was awarded a Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant. She has also been included the publications The Map as Art: Contemporary Artists Explore Cartography and Cartographies of Time both published by Princeton Architectural Press.


Jaime Lynn Shafer, visual arts recipient

Jaime Lynn Shafer is a 2014 Corcoran College of Art + Design MA Art & the Book graduate. A native of Pennsylvania, Shafer graduated from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in 1999 with a B.F.A. in Fine Arts/Ceramics and a certification in art education. She spent thirteen years teaching art in the Pennsylvania public school system and traveled internationally with her students, offering them an opportunity to experience the global community. Shafer’s work has been exhibited in the US and abroad and is a part of the permanent collections of Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, George Washington University’s Gelman Library, and UCLA Biomedical Library among many others. Shafer is the 2014-2016 recipient of the Nell J. Redfield Fellowship in Book Arts at the University of Nevada, Reno.


Erika Paul, performing art recipient

College of San Mateo A.A. and San Jose State University B.A. degrees in general music, classical and jazz theory and jazz performance. Credential coursework and student teaching at San Francisco State University. Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) member first in California (1990) then in Nevada, state and local branches, (NMTA & NNMTA) since 1992. MTNA permanent national certification in private music teaching since 2007. Member of American Federation of Musicians (AFM) since 1988, Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) artist-publisher and Harry Fox Agency (HFA) publisher since 1994, resident music artist for the Nevada Arts Council and Sierra Arts since 1998, Recording Academy Grammy Foundation member since 2002.


Gailmarie Pahmeier, literary arts recipient

Gailmarie Pahmeier has been a Nevadan for over 30 years. She teaches creative writing and contemporary literature courses at the University of Nevada, where she has been honored with the Alan Bible Teaching Excellence Award and the University Distinguished Teacher Award. She is also on the faculty of the low residency MFA Program at Sierra Nevada College.


Nathaniel Benjamin, recipient of the John and Rose Ascuaga Student Grant in visual arts

“Printmaking allows me to spend extended time sitting, contemplating, working the chaotic unconscious into a coherent composition. Through a process of sketching, photographing, drawing, transferring, redrawing, and then carving, the composition evolves into a flowing, expressionistic story. The images are of myself and my loved ones, stripped and placed in abstracted space. They reveal their relationships through body language and the interactions which develop between them and the personas of the psyche. They vibrantly pursue the tipping point between self and other. By representing this search, I interpret the world around me. My hope is that these images illuminate our dependence on one another and revive the mystical aspect of every particle we see.”

To make a donation to the Grants to Artists Program call Tracey Oliver (775) 329-2787