Philadelphia—9 artists representing six counties in the Delaware Valley have been named 2010 Leeway Transformation Award recipients, the foundation announced today.
The Transformation Awards are granted annually to women and trans artists who have a demonstrable practice of art and social change. The 2010 awards were made to a diverse group of artists working in a wide range of disciplines including puppetry, painting, and fiber arts. The $15,000 award is unrestricted—no project is required.
“This group of Awardees, along with the 60-plus who have come before, reflects the remarkable scope of ingenuity among women and trans artists and activists in the greater Philadelphia area,” says Leeway Executive Director Denise M. Brown. “These individuals are deeply committed to using art for social change and exploring the intersections therein contributing to our cultural landscape in profound and impactful ways. This award program was designed to offer an extra measure of independence and encouragement.”
The inaugural cohort of Leeway Transformation Awardees was named in 2005. Including this year’s awardees, 75 people, ranging in age from 23 to 82 at the time of their selection, have been recipients of the award since the inception of the program six years ago.
The goal of Leeway's Transformation Award is to recognize women and trans artists who create art for social change that impacts a larger group, audience, or community; and have been creating art for social change for the past five years or more, indicating a commitment to this work.
A national panel consisting of artists and cultural workers convened to review applications and work samples in two stages. The 2010 panel consisted of activist and cultural worker Amalia Deloney; dancer, vocalist, and choreographer Germaine Ingram (LTA '08); spoken word poet Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai; multi-disciplinary artist kt shorb; and painter and installation artist Yasmin Hernandez. Highly-regarded artist, producer, and cultural strategist Anasa Troutman facilitated the second stage.
The 9 Transformation Awardees, selected out of 70 applicants, are:
Beth Nixon of West Philadelphia, Multi-disciplinary
Catzie Vilayphonh of South Philadelphia, Performance & Literary Arts
Cindy L. Burstein of Port Richmond, Media Arts
Deborah Caiola of South Philadelphia, Visual Arts
Fatimah Lorén of West Philadelphia, Multi-disciplinary
Frances McElroy of Narberth, Media Arts
Marta Sanchez of Mt. Airy, Folk Arts & Visual Arts
Mary DeWitt of Media, Visual Arts & Media Arts
Ra’sheeda Bey of Germantown, Crafts and Textiles & Folk Arts
The selection process begins with an open application. Hundreds of women and trans artists throughout the surrounding six counties submit applications, which are then reviewed by a panel of nationally-known artists, activists, and cultural workers, representing a variety of artistic and cultural practices. The panel meets in the summer and makes selections for a group of finalists to move on to the second stage application, which is by invitation only. In the winter, the panel reviews the second stage applications and makes final recommendations for the Transformation Award to a group, who as emerging, mid-career, and established artists, fully embody Leeway’s mission to create art for social change. The number of awardees selected each year is not fixed; typically, it varies between 9 and 15.
The Leeway Foundation's grant making programs honor women and transgender artists for their ability to create social change through their artistic and cultural work. The foundation is committed to art making as an integral part of social change, movement building, and anti-oppression work where Leeway is accountable, accessible, part of, and governed by the communities Leeway's programs support.
Applications are made available on the Leeway website and outreach events are held throughout the year. The next Leeway Transformation Award deadline is May 15, 2011.
Foundation staff members are available (by appointment) to provide support to potential applicants via workshops and advisory sessions. Applications may also be obtained by calling (215) 545-4078 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.