photo of colorful fabric wallhanging on left with window on right streaming light into the room
Photo from STUDIOHOUSE Baltimore Instagram account.

The Peale, Baltimore’s Community Museum, announced nine Baltimore winners of the 2023 Grit Fund Awards.

The awards will be given to nine individual art projects to fund community-based works and research efforts. The amount of the awards ranges between $5,000 and $10,000. In total, $60,000 in 2023 Grit Fund Awards will been given to creative visionaries and culture keepers with support from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

The Peale is a nonprofit corporation established to retore the historic Peale Museum building and create a center to celebrate the unique history of Baltimore, its people, and places. It aims to maintain an inclusive cultural record of the city and help people see Baltimore in a new light.

The Andy Warhol Foundation supports vibrant, under-the-radar artists through partnership with leading cultural institutions around the country. It helps informal, non-incorporated artist collectives and their alternative gathering spaces, publications, websites, events, and other projects.

“Baltimore’s creative community constantly inspires. This year’s grant recipients include projects designed to engage the citizens of Baltimore in public spaces, an artist residency’s community programs, and an exploration of mothers’ experiences raising black and brown boys in Baltimore City. Baltimore’s creatives strive to raise awareness of social issues, using their practice while focusing on community engagement,” said Krista D. Green, Program Officer of Grit Fund at The Peale. “Best of all, people across the area will have the chance to see the exhibitions, watch performances, and participate in these amazing projects.”

The press release describes the 2023 Grit Fund Award recipients:

  1. Baltimore Futures ($10,000) — a series of public art installations enhanced by Augmented Reality (AR) technology, produced in collaboration with youth in three Baltimore City communities. This series of public art projects will be designed and installed in collaboration with Baltimore youth ages 14-21 and an elder resident over 65. Each project will be enhanced by AR content, creating a mixed reality experience with both a physical artwork and an interactive, virtual, 3D version of the artwork. AR content will be accessible by internet-connected devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.) and will leap off the installation surface, with the potential for viewers to interact with photos, video, sound, music, animation, and gamified elements. 
  2. STUDIOHOUSE Baltimore ($10,000) — a residency for self-directed artists that emerged in December 2021. The project is open throughout the year, with a pause in programming from November through January. STUDIOHOUSE hosts free and open-to-the-public artist talks and workshops in the Spring, Summer, and Fall. A rotating group of three to four artists is in residence at any time, with stays ranging from two weeks to one, three, or six months and a maximum stay of a year.  STUDIOHOUSE is a dynamic incubator for artists to live, commune, and work. The project is in a 4-story corner row home in East Baltimore, Maryland, across from Lake Montebello, in the Coldstream Homestead Montebello community.
  3. My Journey is the Garden: Mothering City Boys Who Grow Towards the Sun ($8,000) — the brainchild of Nicola Uatuva, a mother, multidisciplinary artist, and organizer. The project is a visual and cinematic exploration of the experiences of mothers raising Black and brown boys in Baltimore City. It is a creative strategy for celebrating and affirming motherhood while navigating the conflating pressures of inflation (to maintain stable households), as well as the pressures of society’s adultification of black boys into sustainable empowerment. This project centers and lifts the experience and aspirations of seven mothers through portrait photography by Kirby Griffin, a future visioning workshop catered to black mothers, and a short documentary film utilizing interview audio and b-roll from the workshop by Sha-Shonna Rogers. The public-facing components are the opening and closing exhibitions. The latter will include a showing of the short film, and both will consist of a portrait gallery and panel discussions with participating mothers.
  4. REINSTATED: LIVING LEGACIES ($7,000) — an event series that brings back cultural events of recent Baltimore history, highlighting their cultural legacy and impact. The curatorial focus will be on social gatherings, happenings, and special occasions—each hosted on a single night to frame some of the significant contributions made by individuals through an experimental means. Through this event series, the stories of community and gathering will impact how observers imagine themselves as architects of the next 20 years and how they can build and influence lost histories and work on their preservation. This series will occur at various venues and sites across the city.
  5. BRUSH Mural Fest – Programming and Events ($5,000) — whose mission is to cultivate community and show how resilient and vibrant Baltimore is while highlighting the talent and skills of the artists who live and work here. The culminating day-of BRUSH Mural Fest event will be held on October 21st at the Lexington Market Plaza. The festival’s goals are: (1) to be Baltimore City-focused; (2) to provide opportunities for muralists to showcase their artwork and have creative freedom; and (3) to advocate for the value of murals and provide education on how to run a mural business. Community engagement is crucial to creating strong, long-lasting public art projects. Thus, plans for community engagement have been crafted for each mural and will take various forms ranging from publicly accessible Community Paint Days to Community Input Meetings.
  6. Hot Bits Film Festival ($5,000) — a queer erotic film festival centered around QTIBIPoC (queer, trans, intersex, Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color) self-determined desire, joy, and pleasure as an act of collective liberation. The festival seeks to highlight underrepresented bodies to celebrate anti-oppressive queer/trans erotica tailored towards experiences, acts, and stories often deemed marginal by mainstream society. Grit Fund will support Hot Bits at the Creative Alliance in May 2024 with a new lineup of films and performers and expanded programming and partnerships while increasing support for our artists, curators, and collaborators.
  7. Manifesting the Metaphysical: Beyond Black Grief ($5,000) — The Black community has and continues to face disparities in mental health treatment due to trauma, stigma, access to healthcare, oppression, racism, and more. It is incredibly important to intentionally generate safe, welcoming spaces to have impactful conversations on these relentless issues. “Manifesting the Metaphysical: Beyond Black Grief” is a curatorial community engagement project inviting Black and Afro-Indigenous creators to a series of intentional programming, including Zoom discussions, healing through artmaking workshops, community gatherings, activities, and an exhibition. Our goal is to provide intentional discourse to educate, learn, and inform our community and allies alike about the intersections of struggles within the Black experience, and emphasize the importance of access, support, creative outlets, and community.
  8. Naughty: Burlesque Documentary (working title) ($5,000) — a feature-length documentary from two performers in Baltimore’s burlesque community. This film investigates the world of Burlesque through the lens of two performing troupes in the DMV. It seeks to highlight and educate audiences about burlesque and the art form’s vital role in Baltimore’s queer performing arts landscape. Naughty celebrates Baltimore’s burlesque community and its vibrancy within the performing art world. Producing this film, as community members, and with the participation of others within its subculture, will show an entirely new perspective toward burlesque—something that has yet to be seen in the industry. Burlesque’s campy quality and DIY charm feel authentic to Baltimore, and Naughty not only shows audiences the value behind building community spaces but celebrates its rich and diverse participants, shifting our social perceptions of the performing art at large.
  9. Invisible Architectures: Radical Archives for Future Institutions ($5,000) — a multi-year, interdisciplinary container designed to create avenues for projects and programs that reinscribe the voices of Black, brown, indigenous, and immigrant populations. Grit Fund will support an interdisciplinary art festival. The theme for the curated show at Current Space will be Social Contracts, which are relevant to the state of our relationship to art, education, and the roles that people play in society in holding one another accountable. What happens when the contract is broken? What happens when considering the possibilities beyond a social contract? The creators will invite artists to respond to these questions. A co-edited publication will accompany the exhibition/festival.

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