Open Society Foundations Announce Inaugural Soros Arts Fellows
The Open Society Foundations are pleased to announce the first recipients of the Soros Arts Fellowship, a new initiative to support innovative mid-career artists using art and public space to advance pluralistic, democratic, and just societies. The eight fellows selected will each receive an $80,000 stipend to realize an ambitious socially engaged art project over the next 18 months.
With a long history of supporting arts and culture to advance social change, the Open Society Foundations today recognizes the importance of artists’ contributions and the necessity of using creativity as a response to increased repression across the globe. As spaces for public engagement are shrinking, the arts are often the last refuge of collective imagination.
“Whether in democracies with longstanding traditions of supporting freedom of expression or in countries undergoing political transition, artists working in public spaces can contest oppression, make hope tangible, and create momentum for change,” said Rashida Bumbray, senior program manager of the Open Society Foundations’ Arts Exchange. “This fellowship acknowledges the critical role that the arts can play in confronting obstacles to open society, and we are delighted to name these eight remarkable artists as our first cohort of fellows.”
The 2018 Soros Arts Fellows originate from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Haiti, Morocco, Romania, Sudan, and the United States. Each is pursuing projects of their own design—including an arts-based organizing campaign against public conviction registries in the United States; a citizen perspective film on life in the historically overlooked municipality of Lubunga, in the Democratic Republic of Congo; and a cultural resistance movement against the privatization of natural resources in the Moroccan Benslimane forest...