|Photo courtesy Walker Art Center.
In an effort to better support and engage with artists and our community in the Twin Cities, the Walker has committed to diverting $120,000 of its acquisitions funds this year to support Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) artists working in all disciplines. This initiative came about amid the process of institutional reckoning following the murder of George Floyd and in response to the compounding public health and economic crises due to COVID-19 that continue to disproportionately impact communities of color.
The Walker is partnering with 10 Twin Cities-based BIPOC arts organizations, who will each select two artists to receive individual grants in the amount of $5,000. The Walker invited organizations that represent a diversity of artistic disciplines and cultural communities. We value these organizations for their role in developing artists’ careers, as well as their expertise in community building. Grant recipients can use the funds to support their artistic practices or for any other financial needs; no post-grant report will be required. Each partner organization will also receive $2,000 as compensation for their expertise, time and labor.
Henriette Huldisch, chief curator and director of curatorial affairs, says, “Over the last few months, artists in the Twin Cities have been working tirelessly on healing and recovery, creating artworks, and taking care of their communities. Most of this labor has been unpaid. We wanted to take a small step towards remunerating artists for their powerful work, and towards being a better partner to our community. We’re deeply appreciative of our collaborating organizations and their vital help in this effort.”
Although we acknowledge that these one-time grants will not do enough to sustain the hurting arts ecosystem, this is one concrete action the Walker can take to support artists in our community. As we examine our own history of engagement with the local arts community, the Walker is committed to creating space for more dialogue and mindful, reciprocal partnerships within the Twin Cities. We will work with the artists and collaborating organizations to create opportunities that are equitable and sustainable, and see this as the first of many steps to further these efforts.
The partnering organizations are: All My Relations Arts, Black Table Arts, Catalyst Arts, CLUES (Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio), Juxtaposition Arts, Maia Maiden Productions, Mizna, Pillsbury House, Public Functionary, and The SEAD Project (Southeast Asian Diaspora Project). Descriptions of the organizations are listed below.
All My Relations Arts
All My Relations Arts honors and strengthens relationships between contemporary American Indian artists and the living influence of preceding generations, between artists and audiences of all ethnic backgrounds, and between art and the vitality of the American Indian Cultural Corridor. allmyrelationsarts.com
Black Table Arts
Black Table Arts located in Minneapolis Minnesota gathers black communities through the arts towards better black futures. BTA makes bold the connection between art and grassroots organizing by providing programs that invite local artists to see themselves as change makers and organizers of their collective liberation. blacktablearts.com
Catalyst Arts is an Arts Incubator working at the intersection of ART+ ACTIVISM alongside Artists Changemakers driving areas of change in systemic equity for those traditionally marginalized. catalystarts.mn
Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servico (CLUES)
CLUES programs are designed to provide access to resources and opportunities for Latino families and individuals to be healthier, prosperous and engaged. clues.org
Juxtaposition Arts (JXTA) is a teen-staffed art and design center, gallery, retail shop, and artists’ studio space in North Minneapolis. JXTA develops community by engaging and employing young urban artists in hands-on education initiatives that create pathways to self-sufficiency while actualizing creative power. juxtapositionarts.org
Maia Maiden Productions
Maia Maiden Productions provides an equitable and engaging platform for Hip Hop, people of color (BIPOC), women, and youth through performing arts. maiamaiden.com
Mizna is a critical platform for contemporary literature, art, film, and cultural programming centering the work of Arab and other Southwest Asian and North African artists. mizna.org
Pillsbury House + Theatre is a cultural landmark at the crossroads of four historic and diverse Minneapolis neighborhoods. PH+T unites innovative human services with professional arts experiences for 30,000 residents who call the area home. pillsburyhouseandtheatre.org
Public Functionary (PF) creates space and opportunity for culture producers, artists and arts organizers to build autonomy and community. Currently, PF’s practice-based programs (Studio 400 and PF Studios) provide accessible and supportive studio workspace for emerging BIPOC + marginalized artists. publicfunctionary.org
The SEAD Project
The SEAD Project (Southeast Asian Diaspora) grows social empowerment ecosystems through cultural organizing, critical language, and just storytelling. theseadproject.org