Harvardwood AAPI Artist Fellowship

Ruth Mulan Chu Chao Harvardwood AAPI Artist Fellowship


Harvardwood is pleased to announce the inaugural Ruth Mulan Chu Chao Harvardwood AAPI Artist Fellowship for artists who are Harvard University alumni (or students expecting their degree in May 2023) and identify as Asian American Pacific Islander. The purpose of the Fellowship is to develop, elevate and amplify AAPI voices and stories. The gift, generously donated by Angela Chao (AB ‘95, MBA ‘01) in honor of her mother, Ruth Mulan Chu Chao, will support one or more artists as they pursue their creative projects over the course of a year.

Mrs. Ruth Mulan Chu Chao was a philanthropist, mother of six daughters, and lifelong advocate for equitable education. Like her namesake, Chinese folk heroine Hua Mulan, Mrs. Chao faced adversity with extraordinary grace, courage, and determination. In 2016 she became the first woman and Asian American to have a building named in her honor at Harvard University.

Angela Chao, Mrs. Chao’s youngest daughter and CEO of Foremost Group, states: "My mother was an inspiration to my sisters and me. She worked very hard and made many sacrifices to support her daughters' educations and potential in life. It is my hope that this fellowship will help honor her legacy and inspire others to embrace her values and generosity.  She would have been proud to support a cause that provides opportunities for AAPI students to make their voices heard and break down barriers as an important step toward celebrating and protecting our heritage and the Asian American Pacific Islander community.”

The inaugural Chao Harvardwood Fellow(s) will be announced by May 31, 2023, and the Fellowship will run from June 1, 2023 through May 31, 2024. The total amount of grant funding for the year is $10,000 (more than one Fellow may be named, and individual award sizes may vary). Grant funds can be used at the grantee’s discretion in support of their creative work for the duration of the Fellowship period. Applicants may be at any stage of their career, and there is no restriction on the artistic discipline; musicians, dancers, visual artists, actors, comedians, writers, filmmakers and artists/creators in all mediums are encouraged to apply.

Each Fellow will receive additional guidance and assistance through Harvardwood via programs, resources, and access to the wider Harvardwood network during their fellowship year.

Harvardwood Founder Mia Riverton Alpert (AB ‘99) said, "Angela Chao has long been a champion for the arts and the AAPI community. This generous and impactful Fellowship in honor of her mother, Mrs. Ruth Mulan Chu Chao, continues a legacy of extraordinary leadership and demonstrates a deep commitment to supporting AAPI artists, bringing their rich and diverse stories to global audiences."

The Fellowship selection committee is comprised of Harvardwood board members, other industry professionals, and/or Harvard University staff with expertise in various artistic disciplines.

2023-24 Eligibility

To apply, individuals must identify as AAPI, be Harvard University alumni or expect to receive their degree in May 2023 (i.e. in their final few months of an undergraduate or graduate program), complete the application form, provide a resume, a work sample or portfolio, an introductory video, an artist statement (in written, audio, or video format), a letter of recommendation, a creative plan with an overview of envisioned projects to be completed or substantially developed during the term of the Fellowship, and a projected budget indicating how grant funds would be used for the term of the Fellowship. The finalist round may include a virtual interview. Individuals who have previously been beneficiaries of Harvardwood grants or scholarships or have participated in Harvardwood programs are eligible if they meet the other terms of eligibility.

Applications will be accepted starting on March 1, 2023 and will be due April 30, 2023, with the recipient(s) announced in May 2023. Unless Fellowship funds need to be utilized at a particular time for project-related expenses, funds will be distributed quarterly to the Chao Harvardwood Fellow(s) beginning in June 2023 and ending in May 2024.


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