Mar 30, 2016


From left to right: Edgar painting on the ledge and grabbing the window of Carmen's house. Photo: Thais Llorca Lezcano; #dalitwomenfight tour. Photo: Thenmozhi Soundararajan; Interior Rendering of the School on Wheels. Credit: Deanna Van Buren and Julia Grinkrug; 1Hood Media Academy Class of 2015. Photo: Njaimeh Njie; People’s Climate March, Hurricane Sandy Survivors, 2014; Floating lanterns carrying the written memories of project participants in Chile.


Chosen from a pool of over 600 artists, the 2015-16 Artist as Activist Fellows were selected for their commitment to tackling social and political issues through their creative process. Over the past year, these artists pursued new opportunities to advance their work and convened in Captiva for a week of networking and skill-sharing at the SEED Summit.

As they prepare to move ahead with year two of their fellowship, they reflect on how the Artist as Activist grant provided them with the resources to continue their work in addressing important global challenges:

CHEMI ROSADO-SEIJO | PUERTO RICO | EL CERRO

Chemi Rosado reports that the Fellowship allowed the EL Cerro community project to evolve and become self-sustainable. “The longer the project goes on, the more houses are painted which causes a chain reaction influencing more residents to become involved and thereby expanding the reach of the project into new areas of the barrio.” Read more about El Cerro and watch an interview with Chemi discussing his work >

THENMOZHI SOUNDRARARAJAN –DALIT DIVA | BROOKLYN, NY AND INDIA | #DALITWOMENFIGHT

The Artist as Activist fellowship helped Dalit Diva launch a massive solidarity tour across ten cities. Of her work, Dalit Diva states “[t]hese are the projects where you risk everything from personal safety, connections to people you care about, to even your notion of self. In risking these things, you pursue art as a form of inquiry that remakes you as it destroys you; creates as it redefines the very notion community.” Learn more about #DalitWomenFight and watch a video with the Dalit Diva discussing the goals of the project>

DEANNA VAN BUREN | SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA, CA | POP-UP RESOURCE VILLAGE

For artist Deanna Van Buren, this fellowship made it possible for her to finalize a design for the mobile education bus, Pop-Up Village, and  “to position art, design, and beauty as a priority instead of just re-creating the institutional environments most of our stakeholders are exposed to every day of their lives.” Read about The Pop up Resource Village project and watch an interview with the artist >

JASIRI X | PITTSBURGH, PA | 1HOOD MEDIA ACADEMY

The Artist as Activist fellowship helped Jasiri to define future goals for his work and his project 1Hood. To him, “[a]ctivism is not trendy, though it may seem as so. In my opinion, it is borne of a merging of action, love, and hope. Similarly, an artist’s existence is intertwined with an innate desire to create.   As if without choice, we must create, or suffer the consequences. “ Learn more about year one of Jasiri X’s Fellowship and watch a video interview with Jasiri discussing 1Hood >

PEOPLE’S CLIMATE ARTS (PCA)  | BROOKLYN, NY | PEOPLE’S CLIMATE ARTS SPACE & MOVEMENT

With the Artist as Activist fellowship, People’s Climate Arts (PCA) worked on labor, immigrant, housing, racial and climate justice campaigns. PCA states that their work has progressed because by “[h]aving space for artists and workers in our community to work in conjunction makes the movement stronger...." Read more about year one of PCA’s fellowship and watch a video interview with PCA on Arts Space and Movement >

SUSAN MCALLISTER AND NAOMI NATALE | ALBERQUERQUE, NM AND CHILE | EN LA LUZ

During the first year of the Artist as Activist Fellowship, the Art of Revolution, (formed by Susan McAllister and Naomi Natale) worked with Chilean partners on En La Luz, a project aimed at gathering the untold stories from the 1973 coup in Chile. Read more about the Art of Revolution and watch an interview with Mcallister and Natale on the goals of this project >

The next group of Artist as Activist fellows, focused on racial justice through the lens of mass incarceration, will be announced this spring.