19 Apr I,TOO: RACIAL EQUITY THROUGH ARTS
An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times. – Nina Simone
Artists and organizations have long played a critical role in catalyzing change around the most pressing issues throughout our community. They are organizers, conveners, and truth-tellers, using their platforms to illuminate, cultivate understanding, and breathe empathy. Too often, however, they operate under-resourced and overworked, a reality that is augmented for organizations and artists of color and that has been further exacerbated since the outbreak of COVID-19.
During our recent State of Black Philanthropy, we announced a $1 million dollar gift from Facebook to our Racial Equity Fund to support five key priorities, one of which includes the arts. Understanding how crucial Black Artists and Arts organizations are to progressing issues around racial equity, social justice, and cultural identity, our first round of arts funding was aimed to swiftly deploy resources in this space to advance the work of both organizations and individual artists within this vital intersection. With this initial funding, we had three main objectives:
- Support increased capacity for Black organizations and leaders who are working in this space with the goal of understanding how we can help artists and organizations do more.
- Begin to develop a brain bank and framework to address systemic barriers for these organizations and artists.
- Support artists and organizations with increased connectivity through intentional conversations and partnerships.
Our first group of grantees for this round represent a diverse array of nonprofits and artists leading important work throughout our community. The five non-profits include Art Prevails Project, Diaspora Vibes Cultural Arts Incubator, M Ensemble, MUCE 305, and Opa Locka CDC’s arts and culture program. Each organization will receive an unrestricted grant of $15,000, as well as a series of Facebook marketing trainings and ads credits, valued at $20,000 for each grantee.
Moreover, we wanted to create space to recognize and support individual artists in Miami, who are equally as important in this movement for change, but often do not have access to Foundation dollars without a 501c3 status. We invited an incredible group of leaders within our community to each identify artists they believed were using their work as a platform for social justice and racial equity. This yielded a list of five stunning artists, who will each receive a prize of $5,000. They include:
- Chire Regans aka VantaBlack | Visual Artist | Activist| Nominated by Melissa Hunter, Sugarcane Magazine
- Symone Titania Major |Documentary photographer | Choreographer | Poet | Nominated by Valerie Riles, The Adrienne Arsht Center
- Morel Doucet|Multi-Disciplinary Artist | Educator | Nominated by Marshall Davis, Sr., African American Heritage Cultural Arts Center
- Arsimmer McCoy | Spoken Word Artist | Educator| Writer |Nominated by Nadege Green, Community Justice Project
- Loni Johnson | Visual Artist |Arts Educator | Nominated by Maria Elena Ortiz, Pérez Art Museum Miami
Looking ahead, we are exploring ways to tackle the issues facing many artistic organizations of color, including additional grants for general operating and capacity building and support for cultural incubators who are integral to providing physical and community space for Black and Brown artists to create, rehearse, learn, and engage.
We are continuing to do extensive research to identify the broad range of nonprofits engaged at this intersection and look forward to more conversations in this space. Please reach out to Kunya Rowley, manager of music access, arts and culture, to share a group that we should know about.
Kunya Rowley is the Manager of Music Access, Arts, & Culture at The Miami Foundation.