The Contemporary is pleased to announce the third round of grantees of the Grit Fund. In 2017, the Grit Fund received over 70 applications and awarded $55,250 to 11 projects with grants ranging from $3,000 to $6,000. Awards were determined by a five-person jury of local and national arts leaders: Cameron Shaw (New Orleans, LA), Carolyn Lazard (Philadelphia, PA), Khadija Nia Adell (Baltimore, MD), Kris Kuramitsu (Los Angeles, CA), and Melissa Webb (Baltimore, MD). The Contemporary would like to congratulate this year’s grantees: A Revolutionary Summer Publications; Baltimore’s Gifted Shop & Sip Exhibition; Blush + Brews; Close Up Baltimore; Extant Arts; Kidult Presents: Outside the Box with Abu the Flutemaker; LabBodies Performance Art Review III: Freedom; NONUMENT 01: The McKeldin Fountain; Refugee Youth Publishing Workshops; Secret Psychic Cinema’s Season 3 Programming; and WOO Windows.
The Grit Fund supports unincorporated and collaborative artist-organized activity that contributes significantly to Baltimore's arts landscape but seldom qualifies for traditional funding. Established with generous support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and bolstered in round two with additional support from the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation, the Grit Fund encourages projects that generate opportunities and create platforms for artists to engage with each other and with the public. Funded activities could include but are not limited to: exhibitions, publications, public events, public art, film screenings, the ongoing work of an existing arts venue or collective, and the founding of a new arts venue or collective.
About the Grantees
A Revolutionary Summer Publications
A Revolutionary Summer Publications by Andria N. Cole and Malene Bell; funded $5000. A Revolutionary Summer is an intensive critical reading and writing workshop series dedicated to the dissection and production of womanist literature and art. A Revolutionary Summer exists to keep young Black girls whole, to balance the scales, to offer up a Nobel Laureate, radical painter, love song, and afro picked to perfection for every stupid, shallow representation of her. The Grit Fund supports the production and online publication of seven to nine issues of an interactive vocabulary acquisition magazine and a printed literary journal.
Baltimore’s Gifted Shop & Sip Exhibition
Baltimore’s Gifted Shop & Sip Exhibition by C. Harvey; funded $4800. Baltimore’s Gifted is an art & e-commerce initiative for black youth artists. Youth artists will learn the basics of merchandising, product presentation, and invoicing. The Grit Fund supports two ‘Shop & Sip’ Pop-Up Exhibitions to showcase and sell original artwork and art-derived products. The events will bring exposure to often overlooked gifted black youth in the city while generating alternative income based on their own creative merit.
Blush + Brews
Blush + Brews by Jacob Marley, Alejandra Nunez, Ashley Chambers, and Jeffrey Crowell; funded $5000. Blush + Brews is a monthly free dance party inspired by and for women in Baltimore and the surrounding cities. With help from the Grit Fund, Blush + Brews will expand and improve their platform for female identifying artists in Baltimore by hosting additional events outside of the monthly dance parties including an all ages free event in Station North specifically for high school students. The event will showcase the musical and visual talents of the city’s younger artists.
Close Up Baltimore
Close Up Baltimore by Emma Fesperman, Elsa Haarstad, and Meryam Bouadjemi; funded $3000. Launched after the national media reacted to the events of April 2015 by portraying the city as a troubled, violent, and impoverished place that is best avoided, Close Up Baltimore is a project that aims to put Baltimore in the spotlight on its own terms. The Grit Fund supports the online platform’s general operating and the ongoing work of commissioning local photographers from ten different neighborhoods to gather the stories of their neighbors and showcase these perspectives from across the city.
Extant Arts by Hannah Brancato, Alanah Nichole, Kafi D’Ambrosi, Robin Marquis, Sabeau Rea, Saida Agostini, Samantha Black, Serena Anderson, Shanti Flagg, Sophie Hess, and Sreyashi Tinni Bhattacharyya; funded $6000. Extant Arts is a day long survivor-centered and survivor-led arts festival that celebrates the complexity of survivor voices and histories. The Grit Fund supports workshops, a zine, and the realization of the festival including: ritual drummings and parades, musical and poetry performances, and a visual arts exhibition to showcase the creative work of over fifty local artists. Hosted in Rosemont, FORCE’s Gather Together in collaboration with WombWork Productions, Extant Arts aims to energize and activate local communities to affirm survivors.
Kidult Presents: Outside the Box with Abu the Flutemaker
Kidult Presents: Outside the Box with Abu the Flutemaker by Diedra Dawkins, Abu the Flutemaker, Malaika Clements, Papa Dame, Theresa Columbus, and Tracie Jiggetts; funded $6000. Kidult Presents: Outside The Box with Abu the Flutemaker is a multimedia performance piece that incorporates visual arts, music and performance to bring generations together to co-create and make stories come to life. The Grit Fund supports a free three-week intensive workshop for youths between the ages of 11 and 16 and two public performances.
LabBodies Performance Art Review III: Freedom
LabBodies Performance Art Review III: Freedom by Ashley DeHoyos, Ada Pinkston, and Hoesy Corona; funded $6000. LabBodies Performance Art Review III: Freedom will be the third iteration of LabBodies annual performance art festival. This program began in 2015 when organizers saw a need to create a space for local artists to examine the socio-political pressure that comes from the boundaries of race, class, gender, and power in the United States of America. The festival provides a platform for artists that exist on the margins to present their work in a supportive environment. The Grit Fund supports general operating and the production and presentation of the third year of the festival.
NONUMENT 01: THE MCKELDIN FOUNTAIN
NONUMENT 01: The McKeldin Fountain by Lisa Moren, Jaimes Mayhew, Martin Bricelj Baraga, and Neja Tomšič; funded $5950. NONUMENT 01 showcases performance artists who will recreate historical art interventions, protests, and events that have taken place in Baltimore’s only downtown free speech zone. The story of the Fountain is an example of the escalating privatization of public spaces worldwide, a trend that diminishes access to free and full participation for ordinary people in everyday urban life. The Grit Fund will support the production of the event and the development of an augmented reality app for audience members to recreate the demolished McKeldin Fountain on a smartphone or tablet.
Refugee Youth Publishing Workshops
Refugee Youth Publishing Workshops by Kimi Hanauer, Bokeum Jeon, Bomin Jeon, and Valentina Cabezas; funded $3600. Press Press (PP) is an interdisciplinary publishing initiative that defines publishing as the act of gathering a public. With a focus on immigrant and refugee communities in Baltimore, PP uses publications to deconstruct hierarchical structures and foster collaborative relationships. Through a partnership with Refugee Youth Project since 2014, PP hosts weekly, publishing workshops with teen refugees in an immigrant and refugee only space. The Grit Fund provides funding for facilities and to hire youth leaders to take the role of organizing their community around an artistic project.
Secret Psychic Cinema’s Season 3 Programming
Secret Psychic Cinema’s Season 3 Programming by Meredith Moore, Herb Shellenberger, Margaret Rorison, and Siobhan Hagan; funded $4800. Secret Psychic Cinema is a film series created in 2015 by Meredith Moore. Originating in the Bromo Arts District at the venue Psychic Readings, the series has brought inspired and provocative programming to a diverse and growing audience and over time has expanded to other venues in the city. With help from Grit Fund, Secret Psychic Cinema will continue to evolve and expand, providing the funds necessary to bring in outside artists and curators. The series will host seven different events for the third season.
WOO Windows by Sarah Marriage; funded $5100. A Workshop of Our Own, or WOO, is a 6400 square foot woodshop located in the Woodberry neighborhood of Baltimore city. WOO's mission is to create a professional woodworking environment which cultivates and promotes the careers of women and gender non-conforming craftspeople in the field. In doing so WOO aims to: amplify our voices, be a collaborative space for professionals, train all skill levels in a supportive environment, and provide apprenticeship opportunities. The Grit Funds supports general operating of the space and WOO Windows, an art and architecture design competition and public art project.