The Center for Life Beyond Reed

Kaspar T. Locher Summer Creative Scholarships

Proposal Overview

The Kaspar T. Locher Summer Creative Scholarships provide $1800 to support independent work in creative writing, visual arts, theater, dance, and music. Recipients will present the results of their summer projects next fall.


The competition is open to all current Reed students, except graduating seniors. Finalists must be available for a Zoom interview on April 12, 2024 from 9AM-12PM. It is expected that recipients be in residence in the fall after the funded summer in order to present their work. Students who expect to transfer from Reed next year should not apply.

Application Deadline

Application materials, including letters of recommendation, must be submitted by Friday, March 29th, 2024 at 12 PM noon.

How to Apply

All application materials need to be submitted by email to Charlie Wilcox ( by the application deadline. The application must include the following:

  1. A 500-750 word description of your proposed project and an additional 500 word statement on your previous work and experiences that has prepared you for carrying out this project. Submit the proposal and statement as a single PDF document.
  2. At least two recommendations from persons, one of them a member of the Reed faculty, who can comment on the merits of your project and your ability to carry it out. These letters should also be sent via email with your name in the subject heading.
  3. Examples of previous work you have done within the area of your proposal. The number of works may vary according to media, but creative writing submissions (a collection of poems, two or three short stories, or an excerpt of a longer work) should not exceed 25 pages; no more than twenty examples of visual art work; no more than 15 minutes of music or video works. Creative writing examples must be submitted as a single PDF document, and visual arts examples on a single PDF document, each image no larger than 1900 x 1000 pixels. Each image should be labeled with title, medium, size and date of creation. Music examples may be submitted as MP3 files or linked to a website. Video examples may be submitted as MOV files, or linked to YouTube or your own website.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who was Kaspar T. Locher?

Kaspar T. Locher was a literary scholar and professor of humanities and German at Reed College for nearly 50 years. Locher was born in St. Gall, Switzerland, on December 15, 1920, and came to the U.S. in 1946 under the auspices of the Institute of International Education after studying medicine at the University of Geneva and literature at the University of Zurich. He received a Ph.D. in comparative literature in 1949 from the University of Chicago. He taught there and at Vanderbilt University before coming to Reed as an instructor in German. Locher wrote a number of books and articles on German literature that were published in the U.S., Germany, and Switzerland. He received research and travel grants from the American Philosophical Society, the American Council of Learned Societies, and other institutions. He was visiting professor of German at the University of Washington in 1963 and at the University of Oregon in 1978. He was granted emeritus status at Reed in 1988. Locher, an active supporter of the arts in Portland, collected numerous works by Northwest artists. Locher established the summer creative scholarship competition in the late 1980s and chaired the selection committee until shortly before his death in 1998.

Should one be a major in one of the arts to qualify for a scholarship?

Awards are based on the quality of the proposal and evidence that the student is able to carry it out. Over the years scholarships have been awarded almost equally to majors in the arts and non-majors.

How do recipients of the scholarship present what they have accomplished over the summer?

On an evening in mid fall they exhibit, give a reading, or perform their work in the Performing Arts Building, Vollum Lounge or the Studio Art gallery, or in another location on campus. Dance compositions have been performed in the Winter Dance Concert in December.

What kinds of proposals are funded?

Scholarships have been awarded for work in the visuals arts (painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, artist books, photography, film, video, installation, performance art), creative writing (poetry, short and long fiction, non fiction), and composition and performance in dance, theater and music.

Who are the members of the selection committee?

The committee is composed of representative faculty in the departments of Art, Music, Theater, Dance, and English/Creative Writing.

How may the scholarship money be spent?

It may be used to "buy time" for creative work that might otherwise be spent in summer employment, for the purchase of art supplies and other materials relating to the project, for rental of equipment, for professional services related to the project, on travel for creative research, and for participation in summer art workshops (ie: programs that do not involve academic credit). Regarding the latter, it is expected that the projects be essentially extra-curricular, independent work, and should not be done within a structured course here or elsewhere.

How many examples of work should I submit?

It varies across disciplines, but they usually number 10-12 poems; 4-5 short stories totaling 25 pages in length or an excerpt of similar length from a longer work; 5-6 recordings of music or videos, amounting to no more than twenty minutes; 15-20 images of paintings, photographs, sculptures, etc.

May I ask a member of the Locher committee to write a recommendation for me?

You may ask Locher committee members to write for you, and may discuss your ideas for a proposal with them, but you should not ask them to help you formulate it.

Are there examples of previous proposals that one might consult?

No. Simply write a proposal that suits your interests and abilities, and that leaps off the page as the best of all possible creative ways to spend the summer.

When will the scholarship recipients be determined?

Application files are read by the committee members for a couple of weeks after the application deadline. The committee then decides which applicants to meet for personal interviews. The awards will be announced around the fourteenth week of the semester.

For further questions, please contact Charlie Wilcox at