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 for 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. Its support of film artists trend towards those who pursue digital and multimedia work.
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 A Blade of Grass’ recent fellowship artists will also give you a strong sense of how this funder views and pursues its support of film: multimedia, digital, collaborative and immersive are all on-trend.
Recent Fellowship for Socially Engaged Art recipients who express their work through film include:
- Laura Chipley, whose project "The Appalachian Mountaintop Patrol" is 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.
- The Plug-In Studio, whose project "The Street Arcade" used the medium of videogames as a platform for young artists to explore social issues important to them, with the games ulimately projected in storefront windows where they were played by passersby.
- Laurie Jo Reynolds, whose project "Honey Bun Comedy Hour" was a variety show co-created with currently and formerly incarcerated people and their family members to depict everyday realities of prison life. Individual segments were filmed for use in campaigns to advocate for prison reform andcurated into complete episodes for galleries, screenings, and cable-access television.
Unlike many artist fellowship opportunities, this one is an open application. The deadline is in November.
- Deborah Fisher, Executive Director