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Influential Social Practice Art Fellowship Program Shuts Down Because of Covid-19 – ARTnews

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The New York–based nonprofit A Blade of Grass, which has supported the production of socially-engaged artworks through funded fellowships, has announced a significant restructuring of its operations and program as a result of financial challenges precipitated by the pandemic. In a sign of the health crisis’s impact on small arts nonprofits, the organization will end its fellowship program, with the artist fellows named in March 2020 representing the final cohort in the program.

A Blade of Grass also announced that it will lay off its current five-person full-time staff in October and cut salary and benefits for its executive director, Deborah Fisher. During the 2021 fiscal year, the nonprofit will launch a commissioning model through which it will support the creation of a selection of artworks and related public programs. In addition, the nonprofit will organize “listening sessions” with artists to discuss their needs and formulate new modes of meeting them.

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The organization’s annual Fellowship for Socially Engaged Art had awarded individual grants of $20,000 to eight artists during each cycle. Those funds went toward the development of artworks that address social, political, and economic issues across different communities.

Since the fellowship program was launched in 2014, it has been considered one of the top initiatives devoted to social practice art, which relies on outreach, conversations, and activism, and often does not take the form of physical objects. Major artists and groups, including Simone Leigh, Black Quantum Futurism, Ras Cutlass, Monica Sheets, Chinatown Art Brigade, Suzanne Lacy, and Dread Scott, have been named A Blade of Grass fellows in the past. The organization’s 2020 cohort includes Cannupa Hanska Luger, Taja Lindley, the theater collective Papel Machete, and others.

“In a moment when socially engaged artists have a particularly critical role to play, we are also being faced with the reality that arts funding, in its current form, is precarious precisely because the arts are perceived as serving too few,” Fisher said in a statement. “While we could not have predicted these circumstances, we have to deal with the moment as it exists and make the difficult but necessary decisions now to establish a more sustainable model that will allow the organization to continue to fulfill its mission and the commitment it made to supporting socially engaged art and the artists who create it.”

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Ingersoll Creative Arts Centre to host annual Christmas art show – Hanna Herald

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The Ingersoll Creative Arts Centre is encouraging people to shop local this holiday season and is hosting a craft show next month featuring local artists.

The Ingersoll Creative Arts Centre is hosting a Christmas arts sale in November, with attendance by ticketed appointment to control crowds. (Ingersoll Creative Arts Centre)

The Ingersoll Creative Arts Centre is encouraging people to shop local this holiday season so is hosting a craft show next month featuring local artists.

The Deck the Halls craft sale will feature original paintings, pottery, photography, jewelry and quilted items, and run for three days from Nov. 20 to Nov. 22.

To accommodate crowd size limits and safe social distancing, people are asked to register for a ticket and attend during a designated 45-minute time slot. Tickets are free, and masks are mandatory.

After the three-day sale, many goods will be available in the gallery during regular hours.

Find more information and tickets at creativeartscentre.com.

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Red Deer city council opts to leave public art selection to a commission – Red Deer Advocate

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Red Deer city council quadrupled the size of municipal projects that would trigger the one-per-cent budget spending on public art — raising the threshold from $250,000 to $1 million.

But most councillors refused to takeover decision-making authority on public art installations from the public art commission.

This last suggestion was floated by Coun. Vesna Higham, who mentioned two controversial Calgary public artworks that were largely derided by taxpayers as a waste of money. One of them was a large metal hoop, costing $400,000.

Higham said she didn’t feel right allowing non-elected officials on a commission to have the authority to spend taxpayer money. People elect city council for that purpose, added Higham, who wanted an art committee to make recommendations to council, who would have final authority.

But other councillors refused to wade into the thorny area of second-guessing what a group made up of art experts, as well as general citizens, decides.

Coun. Tanya Handley said art is subjective. Contradicting a committee’s opinion would not only be awkward but would indicate little respect for the group members’ time or expertise, she added.

Three years ago, council decided to upgrade a former art committee to the present art commission specifically to give it the authority to adjudicate art without having to get council’s approval.

Two un-elected citizens are appointed to serve on the Municipal Planning Commission, entrusted with making major development decisions — so why not trust un-elected citizens with the selection of public art, a councillor noted.

Coun. Lawrence Lee said having an art selection commission has worked well, with few people taking issue with installations such as the bronze statues of young hockey players and a referee in front of Servus Arena. “We have to trust in the process.”

Coun. Dianne Wyntjes did not favour raising the threshold for when one per cent of a municipal construction project’s budget would need to be put aside for public art. It used to be when projects hit $250,000. Administration had recommended this be raised to $500,000.

But most councillors eventually voted to raise the threshold to $1 million after hearing that only once in the last decade had a project worth less than $1 million triggered a public art component.

While the regional economic slump was one rationalization given for this change, Lee also reasoned that a certain amount of money would be needed to pay the artist for a quality artwork that was substantive and meaningful.

Wyntjes believes that public art adds so much to a community’s public spaces that it’s one of the most important legacies for any city council.

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Ingersoll Creative Arts Centre to host annual Christmas art show – Cochrane Times

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The Ingersoll Creative Arts Centre is encouraging people to shop local this holiday season and is hosting a craft show next month featuring local artists.

The Ingersoll Creative Arts Centre is hosting a Christmas arts sale in November, with attendance by ticketed appointment to control crowds. (Ingersoll Creative Arts Centre)

The Ingersoll Creative Arts Centre is encouraging people to shop local this holiday season so is hosting a craft show next month featuring local artists.

The Deck the Halls craft sale will feature original paintings, pottery, photography, jewelry and quilted items, and run for three days from Nov. 20 to Nov. 22.

To accommodate crowd size limits and safe social distancing, people are asked to register for a ticket and attend during a designated 45-minute time slot. Tickets are free, and masks are mandatory.

After the three-day sale, many goods will be available in the gallery during regular hours.

Find more information and tickets at creativeartscentre.com.

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