SURNDA FOUNDATION ARTISTS ENGAGED IN SOCIAL CHANGE AWARD - JOAN OSATO, RICHARD MONTOYA AND SEAN SAN JOSE FOR "NOGALES"
Building on its commitment to supporting artists and culture bearers in low-income communities and communities of color who nurture, sustain, and grow our communities’ cultural traditions, the Surdna Foundation announced today the recipients of its Artists Engaged in Social Change grant awards. The grants are designed to support individual artists, culture bearers, and nonprofits whose work is embedded in community and either helps to inform, engage, or challenge people around specific social issues or helps to increase our awareness of cultural diversity.
Fifteen project grants were awarded from more than 1000 applications received in response to a national request for proposals. Projects receiving funds were selected for the quality of the artistic practice; for making visible communities that are too often invisible or exploring critical themes that arise from, or impact a community; and finally, for the project’s capacity to enable social change. The grants will enable artists and culture-bearers to work with their organizational partners to support community processes, and to create and disseminate new work. The one and two-year awards, ranging from $37,000 to $157,000 and totaling $1,345,000, support artists and culture bearers working in places from Haines, Alaska and Brooklyn, New York to LaConner, Washington and Long Beach, California. These projects are addressing contemporary issues including incarceration, cultural heritage, and immigration, among many others. In addition to the diverse geographic, ethnic, cultural, and gender communities addressed by the artists’ projects, awardees’ work spans a broad range of artistic activity, aesthetics, genres, and artistic disciplines.
Surdna Foundation’s President Phil Henderson said, “In an era of accelerated and often dramatic social and demographic change, artists and culture bearers play critical roles within our communities helping us understand and challenge pressing issues. Their visions, communicated through film, performance, text, spoken word and other forms can help communities achieve a sense of connectedness and common purpose.”
In commenting on the breadth of artistic practices and broad segments of society represented in the grant awards announced today, Henderson continued, “By acknowledging, valuing, and supporting artists representing a diversity of communities—including those whose work is often ignored, silenced, or marginalized—we are investing in building stronger, more just and sustainable communities."
“The proposals have helped us to understand the expanding definition of American culture and identity in very different ways,” said Judilee Reed, Director of Surdna’s Thriving Cultures program. “We learned how artists are addressing issues ranging from immigration to criminal justice to economic equality and practically everything in between. And through their creative practice, we as a society are finding pathways of empathy and understanding, and subsequently are emboldened to action, each on our own terms.”
About The Surdna Foundation
The Surdna Foundation seeks to foster sustainable communities in the United States -- communities guided by principles of social justice and distinguished by healthy environments, strong local economies, and thriving cultures. For over five generations, the Foundation has been governed largely by descendants of John Andrus and has developed a tradition of innovative service for those in need of help or opportunity. The Foundation’s support arts and cultural projects through its Thriving Cultures grantmaking program which is based on a belief that communities with robust arts and culture are more cohesive and prosperous, and benefit from the diversity of their residents. Surdna believes that artists and cultural organizations can help us explore shared values and spark innovation, imagination and advancement for our communities.