We recently checked in with the Rema Hort Mann Foundation when it announced a round of emerging artist grants. The foundation, which supports young and developing artists in New York and LA, awarded $10,000 unrestricted cash grants to promising visual artists in the greater New York metropolitan region.
But as we noted in a supplemental piece on the foundation, Mann's emerging artist grants are just the tip of the grantmaking iceberg.
Take the foundation's YoYoYo 2015 Artist Grants. This program was established in 2013 with the goal of encouraging meaningful engagement between LA-based artists and their surrounding communities. As the foundation notes, "Artists don’t live in a bubble—through this kind of support, our hope is that this special project's fund will promote artists to share their practice and new ideas with a broader community, shed light on relatively unknown issues, and expand the artist’s reach beyond the studio and the gallery."
In May, the evaluation committee announced the 12 winning artist proposals that received funding ranging from $750 to $2,000. Projects ibclude walking tours, discussions, and the production of publications and documentary film.
Needless to say, the program was a success and raised the inevitable follow-up question: Why not offer a similar program for New York-based artists? That's exactly what the foundation did—albeit under a different program name.
The foundation launched the Artist Community Engagement (ACE) Grant in 2015 with the eerily familiar-sounding goal of encouraging meaningful engagement between New York-based artists and their surrounding communities. Like their LA-based counterparts, the 10 winners received funding ranging from $750 to $1,500 to carry out their projects.
Here are a few of the winners:
- Camel Collective, (Anthony Graves and Carla Herrera-Prats), "Something Other Than What You Are." A multi-channel video that focuses on the hidden labor of theater. It is also a narrative about the production of light and the physiological and social cause-and-effect dynamics of light and affect, labor, and love.
- Stacie Johnson, "Seniors Visit Local Artists in the Studio." Senior citizens in Bushwick and Ridgewood areas of NYC are invited to participate in a weekly studio visit series. Small groups of seniors will visit artists' studios to expand the relationship between artists and their neighborhood.
- Amber Hawk Swanson, "Five Dolls." A performance and online experience that brings contemporary feminist art online while revising representations of doll subcultures. Five Amber Dolls, based on the original RealDoll commissioned in Hawk Swanson’s likeness in 2006, will be distributed to participants, who will join her in a yearlong interactive performance and culminating exhibition.
If the grant's underlying premise—encouraging artists to engage with their communities to catalyze change—sounds familiar, it should. It's a guiding principle that underlies other new and exciting grant programs, including the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation's "Artist as Activist" Fellowship and Surdna Foundation's Artists Engaged in Social Change grants.