Kahn Career Entry Awards

The Esther B. and Albert S. Kahn Career Entry Award Fund was established in 1985 with an endowed contribution of $1 million from Esther Kahn (Wheelock’55, Hon.’86). Each spring, students completing their last semester of graduate or undergraduate studies are eligible to compete for the award. 

Past recipients of the award include opera stars Stephen Salters (CFA’91,’94) and Dominique Labelle (CFA’89), TV and theater scene designer Antje Ellermann (CFA’94), and actor Russell Hornsby (CFA’96). Find a complete list of recent finalists and winners below.

2024 Kahn Awards

The CFA and Boston University community celebrated six outstanding students at the 2024 Esther B. and Albert S. Kahn Career Entry Award reception on Monday, April 22, 2024 in the CFA Student Lounge. 

Read More

Winners & Finalists


Eligibility for the Grants

Boston University College of Fine Arts undergraduate or graduate students in the performing and visual arts completing their last semester of study prior to graduation (and not continuing in other programs of study) are eligible to compete for the Kahn Career Entry Fund award.

Number and Size of Grants and Other Conditions

The number and size of grants awarded each year are determined by the available income from an endowment fund managed by Boston University. It was the intention of the donor, Mrs. Esther Kahn, to award one-year grants. This year’s awards will total $32,500. Six final candidates (two per school) will be chosen and will each receive $2,500. The final award winner will be chosen from the final candidate pool and will receive an additional $17,500.

The awards are based on a combination of talent, artistic accomplishments, strength of application and presentation.

Selection Process

Each School will select two final candidates for the consideration of the Selection Committee. Each finalist will be asked to deliver a brief (10-12 minute) presentation in which they provide an overview of the written application, share examples of their work in the visual and performing arts.The strength of the presentation will play a role in the overall evaluation process.

Application Process

Candidates are asked to submit the following (in this order) to your School Director:

  • A two page proposal, outlining your career entry plans and how the Kahn Award will assist your transition from student to arts professional.
  • Your curriculum vitae/resume.
  • A one page personal statement discussing your role as an artist in contemporary society, including an illustration of your concern for social issues, as well as how the award funds will be of particular benefit to you at this time.
  • A one page general budget outlining anticipated expenses as you begin your career.
  • Your nomination letter.
  • A completed and signed application.
  • Your work, submitted according to the requirements described on submission form.