OVERVIEW: A Blade of Grass seeks social change through the arts, including support of out-of-the-box artistic thinkers and implementers through fellowship programs.
IP TAKE: A Blade of Grass’ fellowship program supports artists who are not only socially conscious, but socially active. If you’re a journalist looking for a fellowship here, your pursuit of journalism should be art-immersive, as well as socially progressive.
PROFILE: A Blade of Grass “nurtures socially engaged art.” It’s a brief statement, but it encapsulates what this organization is about. That nurture includes funding. Its current program is its Fellowship for Socially Engaged Art, which supports individual artists and artist collectives with one-year funding of $20,000, as well as capacity-building tools, such as strategic support, assessment tools, and video documentation of the artists’ work.
And, yes, A Blade of Grass views journalism as art—that is, if your journalism takes a form of immersive, collaborative, out-of-the-box creation and dissemination.
A browse through its recent fellowship recipients speaks volumes to A Blade of Grass’ expectations for social engagement, backing up its statement that it supports those "who are working in leadership roles and in partnership with communities, in ways that are relevant in everyday life, at ambitious scale, to enact social change.”
Perusing A Blade of Grass’ recent fellowship recipients will also give you a strong sense of how this funder views and pursues its support of journalism: not only with output that's artistic, but also that wholly engages those who might traditionally only be viewed as the subjects of the journalism.
Recent Fellowship for Socially Engaged Art recipients include Nigel Poor, whose "The San Quentin Prison Report Radio Project" is an ongoing collaboration with incarcerated men at San Quentin State Prison that creates original audio pieces about life inside prison for broadcast on public radio. Laura Chipley received support for "The Appalachian Mountaintop Patrol," a collaborative, environmental watchdog multimedia education initiative that trained people in Boone County, West Virginia, to document environmental contamination resulting from coal and natural gas extraction in the Appalachian Mountains.
Unlike many journalistic fellowship opportunities, this one is an open application. The deadline is in November.
- Deborah Fisher, Executive Director