Eighteen arts organizations founded by, with and for communities of color are selected for national arts initiative funded by The Wallace Foundation

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Eighteen arts organizations founded by, with and for communities of color are selected for national arts initiative funded by The Wallace Foundation

NEW YORK, May 26, 2022 – The Wallace Foundation today announced 18 arts organizations of color 1 will participate in the first phase of a new five-year arts initiative, part of the foundation’s efforts to foster equitable improvements in the arts. Each organization will carry out an individual project to address a strategic challenge they are facing. Researchers will document their work with the aim of developing useful insights about the relationship between community orientation, resilience, and relevance.

Following an open call for submissions in 2021, the 18 organizations were selected from more than 250, and represent a diverse range of artistic disciplines, geographic locations, and communities served. Each selected organization will receive five years of funding totaling approximately $900,000 to $3.75 million to develop and pursue individual projects.​A brief description of each organization is available here. They include:

  • 1Hood Media (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
  • Arab American National Museum (Dearborn, Mich.)
  •  BlackStar (Philadelphia, Pa.)
  •  Chicago Sinfonietta (Chicago, Ill.)
  •  EastSide Arts Alliance, Black Cultural Zone, and Artist As First Responder (Oakland, Calif.)
  •  Esperanza Peace and Justice Center (San Antonio, Texas)
  •  Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture (Charlotte, N.C.)
  •  Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico (San Juan, Puerto Rico)
  •  PHILADANCO!The Philadelphia Dance Company (Philadelphia, Pa.)
  •  Pillsbury House + Theatre (Minneapolis, Minn.)
  •  Pregones/Puerto Rican Traveling Theater (Manhattan and Bronx, N.Y.)
  •  Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project (San Francisco, Calif.)
  •  Ragamala Dance Company (Minneapolis, Minn.)
  •  Rebuild Foundation (Chicago, Ill.)
  •  Self Help Graphics & Art (Los Angeles, Calif.)​
  •  Theater Mu (Saint Paul, Minn.)
  •  The Laundromat Project (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
  •  The Union for Contemporary Art (Omaha, Neb.)

Wallace considered applications submitted from organizations across the visual and performing arts fields, media arts, and community-based organizations focused on artistic practice. The foundation sought to create a group of funded organizations serving a variety of communities, focusing on projects that leverage community orientation, and addressing different kinds of strategic challenges.

Originally announced in July 2021 as a $53 million endeavor involving about a dozen organizations, the initiative has expanded to include additional grantees and planned funding up to $100 million across five years. While Wallace’s support will not eliminate the need for other funding that sustains these organizations, it will give them time and resources to explore new approaches to urgent challenges.

Brigitte McQueen, Executive Director of The Union for Contemporary Art noted: “Our organization has had the good fortune of experiencing astronomical growth in the last five years but in that time, we haven’t had a moment to pause and develop a strategic plan to support true sustainability. This opportunity to work with Wallace has given us the freedom and space to reflect on how far we’ve come, where we’d like to go next, and how we can contribute to the bigger picture with insights that may help other organizations thrive.”

“Historically, arts organizations created by and for communities of color have been overlooked and underfunded,” said Bahia Ramos, director of arts at Wallace. “We hope to support their vision, elevate their contributions, and learn with them in ways that benefit other arts organizations of color along with a broad range of other nonprofit arts organizations interested in how community orientation can contribute to an organization’s relevance and resilience.”

The initiative builds on research going back to the 1970s suggesting that community orientation, along with high-quality artistic programming, may be foundational to organizational health...

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