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Rema Hort Mann Foundation

Artist Community Engagement Grant

“In Conversation: The Black Aesthetic, 1971-2019” by Rebecka Jackson

Through the lens of the seminal text, “The Black Aesthetic,” first published in 1971, Rebecka Jackson will lead a community forum consisting of several panels and interviews about the progress and future of black artists in contemporary society. Of the several interviewees, one of the original authors of “The Black Aesthetic,” Ron Karenga, is among them. The panel discussions will grapple with understanding what black art is in modern times, what is the “black aesthetic” now, the lengths to which society has progressed in its acceptance or understanding of black art, and the lengths to which it is regressed.

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, we established the YoYoYo Grant 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. Consolidating these two initiatives, we now offer the Artist Community Engagement (ACE) Grant in Los Angeles and New York City.

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. Past projects include:

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.