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 supports artists who are not only socially conscious, but social active. If you’re looking for a fellowship here, your pursuit of art should be similarly conscious and active. In the theater realm, the artists it supports trend towards performance art that actively engages community.
PROFILE: A Blade of Grass “nurtures socially engaged art.” It’s a brief statement, but it eloquently 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 the organization's recent fellowship artists will also give you a strong sense of how it views and pursues its support of theater: not just for the people, but by the people. Theater artists who have received this fellowship create performance pieces with the community whose social need is at stake. And while these performances are theater, they typically take place in public forums and spaces, unquestionably trending towards the performance art end of the theater spectrum, and often simultaneously making use of other artistic forms.
Recent Fellowship for Socially Engaged Art recipients who express their work in a theater format include:
- Suzanne Lacy, whose project “De tu puño y letra: Diálogos en el ruedo” addressed violence against women in Quito, Ecuador.
- Laurie Jo Reynolds, whose project “Honey Bun Comedy Hour” created a variety show with currently and formerly incarcerated people and their family members in order to depict everyday realities of prison life.
- Dread Scott, whose project “Slave Rebellion Reenactment” re-staged and reinterpreted Louisiana’s German Coast Uprising of 1811.
Unlike many artist fellowship opportunities, this one is an open application. The deadline is in November.
- Deborah Fisher, Executive Director