Our final feature in this month dedicated to Arts and Social Justice highlights the work of a collaborative grant program that supports and promotes the work of artists of color.
In 2019, Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) and the Boston Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture (MOAC) became re-granting partners selected by the Surdna Foundation to bring Radical Imagination for Racial Justice to Boston. The goal was to award grants in various amounts to support ALAANA+ / BIPOC artists “in radically imagining racial justice in their communities.” (ALAANA+ includes African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, Native American, Indigenous, First Peoples, Black, African American, Multi-racial, and Caribbean. BIPOC means Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.) The grant administrators believe that “artists of color know what is essential for the freedom and liberation of their communities.”
In May 2020, RIJR announced the grant opportunities. Boston-based artists age 14 and older, and working in any arts discipline, were eligible. Artists were also asked to consider the themes of Radical Imagination, Racial Justice, Community + Collaboration, and Well-Being + Joy.
After receiving over 300 applications, RIJR awarded 10 grants of $1,000 and 6 grants of $40,000. The recipients include visual artists, performance artists, poets and other writers, musicians and audiovisual artists, filmmakers, game designers, fashion designers, healing artists, interdisciplinary artists, and artist activists.
Artists participated in a public opening celebration in January 2021; a closing celebration is planned for December 2021. Throughout the year, artists will engage in conversations about racial justice in Boston, and they’ll share how their projects are evolving.
We commend all of the partners involved in funding, administrating, and promoting the program; and we congratulate the first round of grantee artists.