Zelma H. Weisfeld Award in Costume Design

Candidates for the Zelma H. Weisfeld Award in Costume Design must display a strong design aesthetic competency in a variety of areas. The successful entrant will demonstrate clear execution regarding artistic and technical choices, process, and product. 




Award winners will receive:

  • A complimentary full conference registration for the 2024 Annual Conference & Stage Expo
  • $2000 Cash Award
  • Commemorative Certificate
  • Invitation to an award luncheon, which includes a chance to meet other award winners as well as the award sponsor.


Nominees must be an undergraduate or graduate student, or a recent graduate (within the past two years).

Nominees must have a current individual type (e.g. student, early career) membership at the time of submission.

An individual may self-nominate OR be nominated by faculty or another non-student professional who is a current USITT member.

Awards are open to all ages and recognize promising newcomers in each award area.


Award will be presented at the Annual Conference.

The 2024 Annual Conference will take place from March 20-23 in Seattle. Award Presentations are scheduled for Thursday, March 21 at 9 AM.


Nominations Open: September 1, 2023

Nominations Close: November 2, 2023 (11:59 PM EDT)

Review Period: November - December 2023

Award Notifications: January 2024

Award Presentation: March 21, 2024


The entry fee for each nomination is $25 (US Currency).

This fee must be paid by credit card by the nominee at the time of form submission.

All entry fees are non-refundable.


Read all guidelines carefully before submitting your application.

All applications must be submitted via the USITT Awards Portal to be considered.

Nominators must begin the nomination by filling out a brief nomination form. Nominees may self-nominate or be nominated by a faculty or professional. Nominator must be a current USITT member.

Upon receipt of a complete nomination form, USITT will email the nominee a link to complete their submission.

Required information:

  • Nominee Contact Information: Name, email address, mailing address
  • Nominee’s school attended or currently attending
  • Graduation date (or anticipated graduation date)

Submission Materials:

  • Resume (PDF Format)
  • Letter of recommendation from a faculty member.
    • The faculty member may include a design instructor, an instructor or supervisor in the shops, acting and history professors, department chairs, and other faculty mentors.
    • Nominee will provide recommender’s name and email address. The recommender will receive instructions via email to upload their letter directly into the submission portal. Nominee will not be able to upload or view the letter.
  • Letter of Support
    • Letter of Support may come from fellow collaborators, directors, choreographers, production team members, faculty members, or other in the entertainment industry.
  • Personal Artistic Statement (Max. 300 words)
    • The personal artistic statement articulates who nominee is as an artist. What is their creative working philosophy? What their personal approach to costume design?.
  • Five (5) digital image plates.
    • A Plate refers to a single image or a collage of images, much like one page in a portfolio.
    • Maximum size and resolution is 18 x 24 inches, 300dpi, 20MB.
    • All plates must be in PDF format.
    • Event/play/piece title, scene and character clearly labeled with an appropriately sized and colored, easy-to-read, well-placed font.
    • Recommendation of three (3) realized shows across all submitted plates
      • There should be one (1) show/project per plate; however, multiple shows or projects may be placed on a single plate with proper organization.
      • One (1) production/project may be represented on multiple plates.
    • Consider a way to organize the plates so that the process is shown in a clear, concise, and thoughtful manner. Quality should be stressed over quantity.
    • On each plate, there must be one (1) full-stage photograph of a scene or moment featuring multiple characters in costume under stage lighting.
    • Should a production only have a single character/performer, than one (1) full-stage photograph of a scene or moment of the performer in costume under stage lighting is acceptable. Please note in the written component that the piece features a single character/performer.
    • Paper work should be legible, labeled, and be examples that best reflect process.
    • The plates should be organized to show the process of design creation and implementation within the production process. It is recommended that the applicant submit materials for at least one (1) character’s design development and execution. These may include (but are not limited to):.
      • Conceptual research and/or visual inspiration
      • Sketches, drawings, renderings, and/or working drawings
      • Sketches, drawings, renderings, and/or photographs of character design evolution
      • Color palette information and/or imagery
      • Computer applications
      • Fabric swatches
      • Effective use of resources
      • .
      • “Process” photographs of costume fittings, costume builds, and/or crafts “in-progress”
      • Productions photographs: featuring characters onstage and under stage lighting
  • Statement of Conceptualization for each realized production. (Max 800 words per show)
    • Statement of collaboration articulates he design process, collaborative process within the production team and shop, research and development, communication with the run crew and others in the team and the ability to work within the parameters of the production as whole.
    • May include but is not limited to:
      • Demonstrate an artistic analysis of the event content (script, dance, music, etc.) and a discussion of the use of design elements to support the analysis.
      • Synopsis of the overriding themes, motifs or elements as presented by the director/choreographer/musician.
      • Explain the research and development process, and analysis/usage of other designer materials (scenic, paint, props, sound, lighting, projections, dramaturgy, etc.).
      • Explain how collaboration was achieved with director, choreographer, other production and design team members, actors/dancers, costume shop staff, run crew, etc.
  • Secondary Support Materials
    • An additional three (3) plates of material may be submitted for a maximum of eight (8) plates total.
    • May include projects from other areas of sound technology, entertainment technology, or artistic work.
    • This work may be produced or classroom projects, realized or conceptual, and should showcase the range of the applicant.

All USITT award nominees are required to submit a Professional Conduct Disclosure Form. This form will not be visible to the award jury and will only be reviewed by the USITT Ethics Officer.

This form is part of the submission and your submission will not be considered complete if it has not been submitted.

For more information, please review the USITT Honors and Awards Policy.


All nominations for the Young Designers’, Managers’, and Technicians’ Award will be reviewed by selected members of the USITT Commissions.

No current USITT staff member may serve as a juror. Any reviewer with a conflict of interest is required to recuse themselves.

All submissions will be scored on a scale of 1-10 using the following criteria:

  • Illustration and explanation of process: analysis to research, research to design, design to execution, and execution to production
  • Content and organization of plates and photographs (image size & quantity, labeling, legibility, and clarity)
  • Demonstration of costume rendering/communication skills.
  • Quality, complexity, and appropriateness of design choices
  • Adherence to the submission guidelines: plate size, format, and parameters. Submissions not adhering to the format listed will be considered ineligible.
  • Written materials: clarity, articulation, and thoughtfulness

Judging process is overseen by the USITT Awards Committee and results are approved by the Board of Directors.


Nominees will be notified in early 2024 of the outcome of their requests via email after the Board of Directors has approved the results.

Award winners will be required to submit additional information via the submissions portal, including a W9 form and RSVP to any Conference events. Failure to submit this information promptly may delay award processing.

USITT will publicize award winners utilizing official channels including (but not limited to): website, social media, weekly newsletter, Technically Speaking podcast. Winners may be contacted for additional information for publicity .