Patio / Photo: Todd Gray

Villa Aurora Artist's Grants

The Villa Aurora was established in 1995 as an artist residence and venue for international cultural encounters in the former exile home of Lion and Marta Feuchtwanger in Pacific Palisades.

Lion Feuchtwanger is considered one of the most read authors of the 20th century. His novel Die Geschwister Oppermann was described by Pulitzer Prize Joshua Cohen as one of the last masterpieces of German-Jewish culture. Marta Feuchtwanger played a significant part in Lion's literary success, acting as his critic and editor, while also appearing as an activist and salon artist.

The residency program

As an interdisciplinary residence, Villa Aurora carries the memory of the artists and intellectuals who found refuge in California during the Nazi era and who had a significant influence on cultural life on the American West Coast. Since 1995, more than 400 artists have been granted scholarships at Villa Aurora. They were inspired by the dynamic US culture, the unique Californian landscape, the numerous traces of German exiles in Los Angeles, and the many other artists who lived and worked with them at Villa Aurora.

General information

Every year, Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House e. V. awards up to twelve fellowships to visual artists, composers, authors, and film makers. Grant recipients reside at Villa Aurora in Pacific Palisades for three months.

  • During the fellowship, artists work on a specific project.
  • Two artists may apply for a joint fellowship to work on a project together. However, each artist must complete a separate application form and mark it as an application for a joint fellowship.
  • Fellowships are awarded per calendar quarter.
  • Accommodating family members for an extended period of time cannot be guaranteed due to limited space.
  • Villa Aurora staff provides assistance with the implementation of projects and corresponding research as well as networking opportunities with individuals and partner institutions.
  • Up to 6 additional scholarships for Villa Aurora will be awarded directly through our partner organizations in separate selection processes.

A Villa Aurora Fellowship entails:

  • a non-repayable basic monthly stipend of EUR 2,500 including project funds,
  • a round-trip travel allowance of EUR 1,275 and a monthly mobility allowance of EUR 600,
  • if applicable: child allowances (EUR 400 per month for the first accompanying child, EUR 100 for every subsequent accompanying child),
  • free lodging at Villa Aurora in a room with private bathroom. All Fellows have access to two shared kitchens, numerous spaces, and a garden area for interaction with other Fellows and guests.

Application Process

Eligibility

  • Eligible applicants are artists who have already made public appearances with their own works or publications and are active as independent artists.
  • Applicants must have their center of life and work in Germany; however, German citizenship is not necessary.
  • It is expected that the applicants contribute to creating a social and productive living and working atmosphere at Villa Aurora and Thomas Mann House.
  • Students are excluded from applying. Applications from doctoral candidates are possible.
  • Applications can be submitted in the fields of film, literature, and composition.
  • In the field of visual arts, applications are only possible by invitation; unsolicited applications in this area will not be considered.

Please find the application details below:

Film

  • Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House e. V. encourages applications from freelance artists whose work has been presented to the public at a festival, in movie theatres, or on television.

Application

  • Please access the application form via the link at the bottom of this page.
  • The following work sample is required: Submission of a streaming link to a film in which the applicant was involved. Please select a maximum of one work or excerpts from it and insert a low-barrier streaming link (i.e. no streaming providers such as Netflix, Amazon Prime etc., password-protected links are of course okay) in the field provided.

Literature

  • VATMH encourages applications from freelance authors whose work has been presented to the public in form of a book publication (No self-publishing, no anthologies, no editorship, no scientific or non-fiction books).

Application

  • Please access the application form via the link at the bottom of this page.
  • The following work samples are required: Upload of a text sample (already published or in progress / *.pdf, no length restrictions). The upload link will be provided by e-mail after submitting the online application.

Composition

  • VATMH encourages applications from professional musicians and composers whose work has been presented to the public at renowned venues and concert halls.

Application

  • Please access the application form via the link at the bottom of this page.
  • The following work samples are required: Upload of a total of three work samples (*.mp3 and *.pdf). Video material can only be submitted by PDF with links to streaming platforms. The upload link will be provided by e-mail after submitting the online application.

Visual Arts

  • Visual artists and performance artists may apply by invitation only. They cannot submit unsolicited applications or be recommended for a fellowship by curators or institutions. Artists in this category are invited to apply by curators who are selected by Villa Aurora on an annual basis.

Application

  • The documents for an application in the field of visual arts will be sent to the nominated artists.
  • Due to the presence of English-speaking members on our jury, we kindly request that applications be submitted in English.

Procedure

  • The applications are reviewed by VATMH’s office for completeness of the documents.
  • Independent juries decide on the granting of fellowships.
  • There is no legal entitlement to the award of a fellowship.
  • The decision is usually communicated to the candidates by e-mail or mail, but no reasons are given.
  • Upon acceptance, all selected candidates will receive a contract. The fellowship is only legally valid after the fellows have signed the contract.

Deadline

The application deadline for residencies in 2025 is February 29, 2024.

FAQ

May I specify a preferred period of stay?

 

  • It is not necessary to specify a period of your stay in your application. If you have been selected, we will ask you for your preferred residence periods.
  • In principle, we try to meet all preferences, but with up to 20 scholarship holders per year, there may be scheduling conflicts.
  • It is therefore necessary that you can switch to another period in the same year if necessary.
  • Residencies are generally bound to quarters.
  • The scheduling of the residency periods is decided in the summer of the previous year.
How often can I (re)apply?

 

  • There is no limit to reapplications. However, we recommend taking a few years off after multiple rejections to wait for a new jury appointment. 
May I apply in a category different from that in which I normally work?

 

  • Yes. A filmmaker, for example, may apply for a literary project in the category of literature.
  • In that case, the applicant needs to supply work samples from the category chosen.
Can I apply if I am still a student now, but would have completed my studies in the year of the scholarship? I am about to graduate – can I apply?

 

  • Provided that you meet the other criteria and your studies are completed by the time you start the scholarship, you can apply for a scholarship.
May I apply in a genre different from that in which I normally work?

 

  • Yes. A journalist, for example, may apply for a novel project.
  • In that case, the applicant needs to provide work samples relevant for the actual project.
May I specify a preferred room or workspace?

 

  • The layout of bedrooms and workrooms depends on the composition of each group.
Can I bring my family along?

 

  • Visits can be arranged for stays of up to two weeks.
  • Due to the Conditional Use Permit (CUP), which regulates the land use permit for a specific location and limited space, accommodating family members for an extended period of time cannot be guaranteed. VATMH will of course be happy to advise you on renting additional living space for family members and will always endeavor to find flexible solutions for families within the scope of the institution's possibilities.
Does VATMH pay for the external accommodation of the family?

 

  • VATMH provides child allowances (EUR 400 per month for the first accompanying child, EUR 100 for every subsequent accompanying child).
  • No additional funding for renting external living space for family members can be provided.
Still have questions? Feel free to reach out to us!

 

Application Guidelines