“The artist cannot and must not take anything for granted, but must drive to the heart of every answer and expose the question the answer hides.”

- James Baldwin from “The Creative Process” 1962


A summer intensive for artists at the beginning of a lifelong commitment to making art

CAM Summer Fellowship
Program 2022

Gain access to the world of Contemporary Art through exposure and instruction. Learn how to establish a studio practice. Build a network of like-minded peers. And chart a course for your educational plans for college and beyond.

Applications for young Memphis-based artists will open Fall 2021. Share your email for updates!

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Turn your talent into a lifestyle.


Our four week schedule is a combination of teacher-led learning opportunities, specialized workshops from industry professionals and peer-focused group discussion. Independent learning and discovery is possible during individual studio hours. And experiential learning is possible through studio and gallery visits.


Our instructional model places inspiration on par with information. It is essential to the artist and the bedrock of our program. In addition to structural learning opportunities, the program features one week of travel designed to stimulate the ambition of our fellows. Through visits to artists studios, world class museums and leading contemporary art galleries, we center experiential learning: no filter and no editorializing — just your perspective and your point of view.


We provide access through discourse, instruction and experience. Discussions around the many possible solutions to living a life centered around creativity, assessing which college experience is best suited for you and the opportunity to pose questions to working professionals are a few examples. Beyond the world of information available online, we aim to make information a living resource with a priority on the active exchange of ideas.

The CAM Summer Fellowship Program provides a full scholarship to all Summer Fellows regardless of financial background. This includes all fees for instruction, lodging, food, supplies, and travel. There are no out-of-pocket expenses.

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Support access for young artists.

Contemporary Art Memphis is the region’s first organization focused on identifying and nurturing the next generation of contemporary artists. Through a competitive screening process, we aim to identify and develop exceptional creative talent in the visual arts.

Founded by Memphis native and New York-based artist Derek Fordjour, CAM Summer Fellowship is designed to empower artists early in their development in ways that expand their thinking, inspire ambition and expose them to experiences that inform better decision making. CAM Summer Fellowship is an effort to demystify the creative journey and to make the art world more accessible.

Advisory board
A C Wharton
Lisa Opoku
Edward Stanton III
Lisa Jackson
Artemis Peppa Williams
Lester Merriweather
Elliot Perry
Victoria Jones
Bryant Terry
Corinne Jones
Stephanie PierceMiska Clay Gibbs

Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.

- Seneca

Better to see something once than hear about it a thousand times.

- Anonymous

Derek Fordjour

Derek Fordjour, founder of CAM Summer Fellowship Program, was born in Memphis, Tennessee to parents of Ghanaian heritage. His work has been exhibited in numerous venues including The Whitney Museum of American Art; BAM, Brooklyn; and Josh Lilley Gallery, London. He has received commissions for public projects including a permanent installation for Metropolitan Transit Authority of New York City at 145th Street Subway Station and The Whitney Museum Billboard Project. He was awarded 2016 Sugarhill Museum Artist-in-Residence, the 2017 Sharpe Walentas Studio Program in New York City, and named the 2018 Deutsche Bank NYFA Fellowship Award. He is a graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta Georgia, earned a Master’s Degree in Art Education from Harvard University and an MFA in painting at Hunter College. His work has been reviewed in The New York Times, Financial Times, The Los Angeles Times, and Hyperallergic. He has also been featured in several publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair and Forbes Magazine. He was recently appointed The Alex Katz Chair at Cooper Union and serves as a Core Critic at Yale University School of Art. His work also appears in several collections including The Studio Museum of Harlem, Brooklyn Museum, Perez Museum, Dallas Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum and LACMA.

Frequently Asked Questions

On what criteria do you base acceptance to CAM Summer Fellowship Program?

CAM Summer Fellowship Program identifies fellows through a competitive process, which considers many factors: an evaluation of the student portfolio with clear examples of original artwork, in person interview, grades and recommendation. The greatest weight is given to examples of original artwork.

I do not have a good art program in my school. How do I make art to show?

Bring what you have. Make drawings, sculptures, prints, video or digital work to review. Find a space to create and document your work. Check out sample portfolio’s here.

Can I attend sessions and not live on campus?

CAM Summer Fellowship Program is an on-site, sleep away intensive experience. Fellows are discouraged from leaving campus during the four-week program.

I was rejected last year, can I apply again next year?

Applicants may re-apply up until the summer entering the Senior year in High School.

I have my favorite art supplies that I love to work with. Can I bring them?

Yes, please bring the tools and materials you enjoy working with most!

My art is good but my grades are not. Should I still apply?

Yes! In our application process, the greatest weight is given to your original artwork. You may offer an explanation of your academic record in the written portion of your application and at your in-person interview.