Rema Hort Mann Foundation

Artist Community Engagement Grant

Julia Norton

Norton’s work tells stories of regenerative life cycles from animal, geological, ecological, and spiritual – working with materials as meaningful to the content as the imagery. Color is produced from natural materials – such as earth/mineral pigments and inks – considered as a form of time travel bringing together old and new, dead and alive, and a place in between.

Norton is a multidisciplinary artist, educator, and color material researcher who will work with teens from the 5 boroughs of NYC, recruited through non-profit organizations and institutions. The project entails two workshops that consider personal connection to the color spectrum and highlights natural pigments and inks – and their technical, cultural, and sociological backgrounds that have impacted color perception as we know it today. We will look at the unique qualities of these materials and explore them through art making, as well as examine their histories and uses ranging from 200,000 year old cave paintings to works by contemporary artists.

The Rema Hort Mann Artist Community Engagement Grant provides project-based funds to artist projects that foster community engagement, dialogue, and cultural exchange.

The grant makes possible a wide range of project formats, including panel discussions, artist talks, public presentations, workshops, web-based activities, lectures, screenings, publications, and other public events or cultural exchanges. We support projects that encourage cultural or traditional sharing locally or across borders as well as projects that broaden audiences in a specific community.

In 2013, the YoYoYo Grant was established in Los Angeles to encourage meaningful engagement between LA-based artists and their surrounding communities. After enthusiastic reception among artists, we replicated the grant in New York City in 2015. 

The ACE Grant provides financial support—individual grants up to $1,500 for artists’ community-based projects annually. Artists based in the Greater New York Metropolitan Area who are not enrolled as a full time student are invited to apply. 

In 2022 ACE grants were awarded to Elsa Ponce, Erica Morales, Julia Norton, Julia Rooney, Hidemi Takagi and Candace Kwan.

Elsa Ponce, The Corner. Digital platform and prototypes for the worker’s hiring site. Spring 2022

Ponce’s project proposes a Community Arts as Activism Workshop with the day laborers from the Worker’s Justice Project in Williamsburg. By exploring art-making and its ongoing meaning and role in justice, our goal is to develop leadership, self determination, and cultivate a cultural identity for gig workers whose workplace comprises the city streets.

The project will empower low-wage immigrant workers to build strong and economically sustainable communities through training, organizing, leadership development, and the growth of grassroots economic alternatives.

Erica Gemenese Morales, Untitled v1, 2022

Morales project will focus on exploring the stories of LGBTQX people of color through the lens of family and love within the community. The goal is to celebrate the many different forms of family that LGBTQX people of color have created for themselves.

In collaboration with ArtCrawl Harlem @artcrawlharlem whose mission is to support and promote Harlem’s creative community and promote emerging New York City artists, an exhibit and a community discussion around the intersections of race, sexuality, love and family will occur during the month of pride in June 2023. The event will be held at Governors Island at ArtCrawl Harlem house. Three to four artists who identify as LGBTQX will be selected to participate in the exhibit and discussion, reflecting the LGBTQX experience through a multigenerational lens.

Nicole Rademacher, “Safe Water Workshop”

A hands-on series, teaching the community to make homemade water filtration systems. This workshop incorporates reflection and conversations around water’s critical role in the human experience, and the process of water purification as a metaphor for an adopted person’s identity construction. This workshop is specifically designed for adult adoptees, foster alum, and families with adopted, foster, or surrogated children.                                                                                    

“The International Expanded Field” by Jimena Sarno, collaborator: Gelare Khoshgozara

By taking a critical look at the solidarity movements of the late 1960s and early 1970s, artist Jimena Sarno will foster an extended dialog amongst artists and educators of color living in Los Angeles who have immigrant backgrounds from various countries in the Global South. During this three-day event, participants are invited to present some of their work as it pertains to the topic of the day’s event, share personal stories, and bring their families into the discussions. In a culminating event, participants will build a long table in the center of the space at the Human Resources Gallery in Los Angeles, around which artists, educators, and their families will eat, engage in discussion, and foster solidarity around cultural meals.

“Queer Elder Archive,” by Samantha Nye, Collaborator: Emily Wells

As the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots approaches, artist Samantha Nye intends to create a collective of oral histories of queer elders, or members of the LGBTQ community older than 65. The artist will interview members of the LGBTQ community who have lived in New York City since 1969, and alongside recollections of Stonewall and the LGBTQ community at that time will be asked to relay personal memories to highlight the richness of queer life. To memorialize the lives of those who are at risk of erasure, the artist will publish the collective, which will consist of not only interviews but photo journals as well, as a free podcast to maximize accessibility.

An independent, city-specific selection jury reviews and scores applications. The jury, comprised of arts professionals and artists, rotates annually. Applications are scored based on the following criteria:

  • Artistic merit
  • Project feasibility
  • Potential for community impact
  • Diversity 

Rema Hort Mann Foundation is committed to maintaining diversity in its grant programs in terms of cultural background, geographic distribution, and areas of expertise. Jurors are not appointed to represent particular geographic areas or special interests, but are expected rather to use their knowledge of the arts in their deliberation and recommendations across media and genres.