upcoming grant deadline: 03/01/2018

upcoming grant deadline: 03/01/2018

Bernice Johnson Reagon

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2000 Leeway Laurel Award – $100,000

To The Ancestors' Voices We Take Heed

Spirits of history, our views, values, aspirations given life through past deeds, are always about us in ways unknown, sometimes mysteriously troubling, other times shimmering invitingly before us, until they are given voice in the present.

Bernice Johnson Reagon is a spirit voice who speaks to us in the intimate language of our personal selves, stirring feelings of pains and joys past, stimulating tempting, decisive present moments - the promise of a secret tomorrow - hope for making a just public future in our national and world communities.

She brings to us her special gifts - a voice of beauty and power whose memory chords are laden with inquiries into our histories: the sounds (hums, moans, grunts, floating melodies), the emotions (courage, love, peace), the striving of a woman, of children, a community, a people, a nation, a world that will not rest in the struggle for freedom until it comes.

In her signature voice, she writes, sings, teaches and lives her call to us about the new world coming out of the voices of our many songs sung, our odes to defeats and victories, our reads traveled to the present. To which we, individually and together - in concert halls and auditoria, churches and synagogues, spirited rallies and daring protest lines, classrooms and lecture halls, viewing television documentaries and big screen cinema, on jogging paths and in bedrooms, respond to her like the poet Sterling Brown responded in the people voice to Ma Rainey: "Git way inside us, keep us strong."

We acknowledge and thank you Sister Bernice for reminding us of the ancestor's call. In paying tribute to your creativity, your artistry, your contributions to the beauty we know and feel, we also honor and heed the many ancestors of your spirit: our lives, our families, our communities and the beauty and justice in the world we will make.

In love and respect, we salute you my Sister,

James Early
Director of Cultural Heritage Policy
Smithsonian Institution Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage

On occasion of The Leeway Laurel presented to Bernice Johnson Reagon in Philadelphia, April 27, 2000.


Leeway grant?

Art and Change Grant

The Art and Change Grant provides project-based grants of up to $2,500 to women and trans* artists in the Delaware Valley region to fund art for social change projects. 2018 applications will be available in January, 2018. [read more]

deadline 03/01
Upcoming events
10/2811:00 am - 5:00 pm

awQward Talent Camp Philly: A Weekend Workshop by Trans & Queer Artists of Color

This 12-hour workshop over the course of two days will make space for artists of all disciplines to strengthen their work through writing. Artists J Mase III (ACG '07), Brooklyn Dreamwolf (YaliniDream & Jendog Lonewolf), Dane Figueroa Edidi, and Regie Cabico will facilitate workshops on performance, hip hop lyricism, writing and more. 

[learn more]

12/031:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Conversation and Workshop with Kameelah Janan Rasheed

On Sunday, December 3, join Institute of Contemporary Art for a conversation and workshop with Kameelah Janan Rasheed—an artist whose work is featured in the exhibition Speech/Acts—co-presented with the Leeway Foundation.

[learn more]