A Blade of Grass announced the recipients of the 2016 ABOG Fellowship for Socially Engaged Art, including Black Quantum Futurism (Leeway board member Rasheedah Phillips and Camae Ayewa (LTA ’15, ACG ’07) and our Community Partners Courtney Bowles and Mark Strandquist of the People's Paper Co-op. Other fellows include: Xenobia Bailey, Chinatown Art Brigade, Joseph Cuillier, Simone Leigh, Rulan Tangen and Frances Whiteheadt.
A Blade of Grass is committed to supporting individual artists via its fellowship program for the next three years. Over this time frame the program will amass fifty case studies that will serve a larger discourse about the value of socially engaged art—how it works, what it looks like, and what can be accomplished. “These are artists who are changing what art is, who it’s for, and what it does,” said Deborah Fisher, Executive Director of A Blade of Grass. She continued: “We nurture these artists in a way that is specifically geared toward increasing the effectiveness and visibility of their work, and understanding its value both within the contemporary art discourse and the broader culture.”
Each fellow will receive a one-year fellowship that pairs $20,000 in unrestricted project support with strategic assistance, assessment tools, video documentation, and other tailored resources. Fellows applied via a nationwide open call that yielded 457 initial applicants and were chosen for their artistic excellence, the innovative and ambitious quality of their proposed projects, and the viability of their projects in everyday life. Two independent selection committees made up of a diverse group of arts professionals with administrative, artistic, community organizing and curatorial experience evaluated applicants’ proposals and made respective first and second round selections.
Through active training, incubator-style workshops and professional consultations, the Fellows will be given tools to assess their own progress, as well as gain feedback from peers, stakeholders, and an ABOG field researcher dedicated to developing understanding about their project. A Blade of Grass will also continue its FIELDWORKS films series and produce a three-to-five minute documentary on each project. The films will be accessible on www.abladeofgrass.org and at public screenings, extending the experience of these works beyond their immediate communities and illustrating some of the distinct challenges and advantages presented by socially engaged art. This documentation will complement the online debates, studies and resources that make up ABOG’s online forums, public programs, and publications.