The Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge has created the Michael Crespo Visual Artist Fellowship.

The $5,000 fellowship is funded by Cary Saurage and intended to recognize the quality and breadth of work by a visual artist who has established his or her personal and professional lives as longtime contributing members of the Baton Rouge community.

The fellowship is named to commemorate the life, work and dedication of Michael Crespo, internationally recognized painter and professor at LSU, who maintained an exceptional professional career while staying rooted in the Baton Rouge community.

Crespo was beloved for putting his students first and selflessly sharing with them his advice and expertise. He was a member of the LSU faculty for nearly 40 years, having received the university’s Distinguished Faculty Award in 1999 and an endowed Alumni Professorship in 2000. Crespo died of cancer in November 2010.

Artists eligible for consideration for the fellowship must be residents of East Baton Rouge Parish and have maintained that residency for a minimum of 20 consecutive years. They must have maintained an active professional career that has been acknowledged locally, nationally and/or internationally through reviews, awards, exhibitions and other indications that speak to their artistic excellence and level of accomplishment.

Artists must also be active members of the Baton Rouge community and have demonstrated their commitment to and support of improving the quality of life in Baton Rouge.

The fellowship will be awarded annually through nominations made by a group of distinguished cultural advisors designated by the Arts Council. Individuals who are nominated will be unaware that they are being considered for the fellowship and the recipient will be announced annually in January at the Arts Council’s Laurel Street Palooza celebration.

For more information, call (225) 344-8558.