A Blade of Grass: Grants for Visual Arts

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 offers a fellowship program to support artists who are not only socially conscious, but socially active. If you’re looking for a fellowship here, your pursuit of art should be similarly conscious and active. In the visual arts realm, the artists it supports are typically multi-disciplinary in their work.

PROFILE: A Blade of Grass “nurtures socially engaged art.” It’s a brief statement, but it neatly encapsulates what this organization is about.

A Blade of Grass’ nurturing 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.

A browse through its recent fellowship recipients speaks volumes to A Blade of Grass’ expectations for an artist's social engagement, backing up its statement that it supports “artists 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 artists will also give you a strong sense of how this funder views and pursues its support of the visual arts: immersive, multi-disciplinary, collaborative, often simultaneously making use of other artistic forms.

Recent Fellowship for Socially Engaged Art recipients who express their work through visual arts include:

  • Sol Aramendi, whose project "Apps for Power" links the struggle for immigrant workers’ rights to the concept of community accountability.
  • Brett Cook, whose project "Reflections of Healing" promoted health equity through participatory public art installations and wellness clinics.
  • Mary Mattingly, whose project "Swale," a mobile food forest, was grown on a 50-foot diameter floating platform that docked at different piers around New York City’s harbor for months at a time.

Unlike many artist fellowship opportunities, this one is an open application. The deadline is in November.

PEOPLE: