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The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta today announced $1.15 in grants through the Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund to help organizations impacted by Covid-19.

More than 90 percent of the funds will go to organizations founded or led by people of color. Of the 28 recipients, 18 are first-time recipients of a competitive cash grant from the Arts Fund.

The Foundation faced criticism in March when an initial round of $580,000 in grants did not include any money for Black-led organizations. That omission received strong pushback from 30 Black-led arts groups, which pointed out that only 10 percent of Arts Fund grant monies have gone to Black-led organizations since the fund was established in 1993.

After meeting with leaders from those groups, the Community Foundation changed its criteria and application process to make it more accessible. 

Frank Fernandez of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

Frank Fernandez, Community Foundation CEO and president, said a task force will be created to help the fund become more inclusive.

“With this grant cycle we prioritized Black-founded and led organizations, and those that have been thoughtful and innovative to continue to provide artistic education and expression to the community during the pandemic,” Lita Pardi, Community Foundation vice president, said in a press release. “The program changes were spurred by honest and unflinching feedback given to us by those we seek to serve. As a part of our organizational commitment to equity, we embrace truth-telling. In this situation, the truth — and the data — told us we needed to change.”

Frank Fernandez, the new president and CEO of the Community Foundation, said the organization will form a task force of Black arts leaders to help drive racial equity in funding and boost groups that focus on creative expression of the Black experience. “This can be a model for more collaborative grant-making moving forward,” he said in the press release.

Heather Infantry, an arts advocate who helped organize Black-led organizations to demand changes in the foundation’s funding, called the announcement a “major win” for racial equity in Atlanta arts.

“The Foundation received 23 applications from white organizations but chose to only support five [18 percent of grantees] while giving the lion share of funding to Black groups [79 percent],” Infantry said in a press release. “That’s real equity. I applaud Frank Fernandez for taking this bold first step less than a month on the job and for setting a historic precedent of philanthropic reparations. I’m eager to see how this unfolds with their other grant-making programs.”

The grants announced today are for general operating support and give recipients the discretion to put resources where they’re needed most. The recipients and individual grant amounts are:

  • Abel 2 Inc. ($21,600) — Abel 2 uses music and performing arts, with Atlanta’s jazz culture at the center, to foster inclusion across racial and ethnic groups and eliminate stigma around people with disabilities. 
  • Alternate ROOTS ($85,000) — Alternate ROOTS supports the creation and presentation of original art in all its forms, whose genesis is a community of place, tradition or spirit. In 2019, 28 member artists working for social justice and positive change in the South received direct financial assistance for professional or project development. 
  • Amario’s Art Academy for the Gifted and Talented ($32,400) — Amario’s Art Academy promotes artistic integrity and arts education for students in grades 3–12, primarily in South Fulton.  
  • APEX Museum ($50,000) — APEX, Atlanta’s oldest Black history museum, displays and interprets history from an African American perspective so that patrons can learn about and appreciate African and African diaspora contributions to world history.  
  • AREA: Atlanta’s Resource for Entertainment and Arts ($80,000) — AREA is a Black-led and majority Black-serving organization that creates opportunities for all to participate in and appreciate the performing arts. 
  • ART Station ($75,000) — ART Station is a professional, multicultural and multidisciplinary arts center and theater company that produces the visual arts, literary arts, performing arts, arts education and community arts outreach.
  • ARTiculate ATL ($10,000) — ARTiculate ATL promotes and markets various forms of traditional and modern artistic expression, giving exposure to artists and an opportunity for them to sell their work and earn 100 percent of the proceeds.
  • ArtsXchange — ArtsXchange, also known as the Southeast Community Cultural Center, is an inner-city arts center that creates a multicultural, multidisciplinary space for metro artists to engage. 

Calvin Gentry in Ballethnic Dance Company’s “Meet the Animals of the Leopard Tale.” The company received an emergency grant of almost $85,000.

  • Atlanta Music Project ($85,000) — AMP serves 350 students at five sites in metro Atlanta, providing intensive, tuition-free music education for underserved young people.
  • Ballethnic Dance Company ($84,842) — Ballethnic classically trains culturally diverse young people and adults by providing education, performances and community programs that blend ballet with modern, jazz, African and other ethnic dance forms. Ballethnic was created 30 years ago and was Atlanta’s first African American-founded professional ballet company.
  • ChopArt ($40,000) — ChopArt provides dignity, community and opportunity to middle- and high-schoolers experiencing homelessness. It does so through multidisciplinary arts immersion and mentorship. ChopArt, founded by a young woman who had experienced homelessness,  works intensively with 25 young people through a six-month targeted multidisciplinary arts instruction that includes painting, voice, dance or theater. 
  • City Gate Dance Theater Company ($11,550) — City Gate Dance endeavors to unite communities through powerful, dynamic and relevant works and professional dance education that celebrates a diverse society.
  • Clark Atlanta University Art Museum ($25,000) — The on-campus CAU Art Museum maintains and cultivates a representative collection of American and African diaspora art, and encourages scholarly research giving special attention to the development of African American artists. 
Temporary art, strips made with shredded silk flowers on a road, by Gyun Hur.

Flux Projects, at the forefront of public art in Atlanta, received a $20,000 grant. This temporary art by artist Gyun Hur is made from shredded silk flowers.

  • Dance Canvas ($40,000) — Dance Canvas provides opportunities and venues to promote professional dance in metro Atlanta through choreographer career development, youth outreach, and leadership and community engagement. It provides a platform for emerging professional choreographers to create new work. 
  • Flux Projects ($20,000) — Flux Projects produces temporary public art projects that connect artists and audiences through the creative power of place. Through more than 120 projects engaging more than 600 artists, Flux has connected community through free public art, expanded arts accessibility to diverse audiences, presented artists working in all media and transformed public space with projects that lasts from a few hours to a few months.
  • Giwayen Mata ($18,000) — Giwayen Mata celebrates the lives of women and uplifts communities and the planet, while perpetuating the cultures of Africa and the African diaspora through dance, rhythm, songs, poetry and prose around the world.
  • gloATL ($20,000) — gloATL offers free public performances in schools, urban environments and rural communities at venues ranging from Ponce City Market in Atlanta to historic sites in Walker County. The performances engage audiences that may not have access to other arts opportunities and are structured so that audience members can actively participate.  
  • Hammonds House Museum ($83,000) — Hammonds House, in Atlanta’s historic West End, explores the cultural diversity and legacy that artists of African descent have made on world culture. 
  • How BIG Is Your Dream Foundation ($10,000) — The foundation provides young singers, dancers and musicians with usable, real-world knowledge through interaction and performances with music educators and industry professionals.

Giwayen Mata, which weaves American tales into African culture, received an $18,000 grant. (Photo by Seve Adigun, the Savvy Studios)

  • Manga African Dance ($21,000) — Manga African Dance is dedicated to preserving and teaching indigenous African arts through dance, drama, songs, games, fashion, drum and adornment.
  • Murmur Media ($10,000) — Murmur Media supports and exhibits do-it-yourself and emerging contemporary art and media that inspires a more open and engaged world. 
  • PushPush Theatre Company ($16,000) — PushPush advances the South’s cultural discourse through original work and 21st-century ideas for collaboration, inclusion and advancement. 
  • re:imagine ATL ($85,000) — re:imagine/ATL equips the next generation of storytellers by providing mentorship, training and career exposure within the film and digital media industry. 
  • Soul Food Cypher ($15,000) — SFC celebrates the voices of Black men, using the power of freestyle rap and lyricism to transform individuals and communities through events and outreach in a safe and nurturing environment. 
  • Staibdance ($25,000) — Staibdance uses contemporary dance to promote healing, unity and discourse among multiple cultures and countries, incorporating Iranian Armenian music and movement to engage people and diverse perspectives. 
  • T. Lang Dance ($10,000) — T. Lang combines contemporary dance instruction with performances that are grounded in founder T. Lang’s framework of “Black Endurance.” The organization nurtures Black dancers through instruction and workshops, providing audiences with professional artistic programming while supporting an environment that fosters liberation through dance students and performers across the African diaspora. 
  • Trey Clegg Singers ($20,000) — The singers make music to promote healing, justice, reconciliation, equality and unity. Founded in 2016 by Clegg, a Spelman College faculty member and choral director, the organization was created as a multicultural and inclusive chorus that performs music from a various genres and cultures, regularly performing works by African American composers.  
  • True Colors Theatre Company ($85,000) — True Colors, founded in 2002, works with African American playwrights and productions that tell stories for and about the African American experience. Each season is a culmination of three plays, a play-reading series and education programs including community conversations that create pathways for community discussions.

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