The Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts announced today the 2017 recipients of its Artist Project Grants, an initiative in its second year which seeks to further Mike Kelley’s philanthropic work and honor his legacy by supporting innovative projects with artists at Los Angeles nonprofit institutions and organizations.
Benefitting both artists and organizations, the grants support compelling and inventive projects in any medium, particularly work that is lesser-known or has proven difficult to make or fund. This year’s grantees are Human Resources/356 S. Mission Rd.; The Industry; La Plaza de Cultura y Artes; REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater); The Society for the Activation of Social Space through Art and Sound (SASSAS); University Art Museum, California State University, Long Beach; Vincent Price Art Museum, and Pasadena Arts Council/Volume.
“These artists and organizations exemplify the ambitious and imaginative spirit of this grant,” said Mary Clare Stevens, Executive Director of the Foundation. “From new works—such as Liz Glynn’s sculptural stage set of fire and steel—to the first-ever performance of the late composer James Tenney’s magnum opus, to critical examinations of art history, the projects reflect the remarkable scope and variety of artistic and curatorial practices in Los Angeles.”
The recipients include a diverse range of small and mid-size organizations, which will highlight a mix of individual practices, collaborations and group exhibitions. Regeneración: Three Generations of Revolutionary Ideology, a research-driven exhibition at the Vincent Price Museum, explores three generations of Los Angeles artists engaged in the exchange of revolutionary and anarchist ideas between the U.S. and Mexico and will also feature new works by four artists.
“It is especially poignant at this moment in American and Mexican history to place Los Angeles’s lineage of social movements into context,” said participating Regeneración artist Patricia Valencia. “The grant will extend both the cultural scholarship and grassroots awareness of these histories. By realizing the project at the museum, which is part of East Los Angeles College, and in a predominantly Mexican-American community, I hope that the question of ‘What comes next?’ will be raised to a new generation.”
Conceptual artist lauren woods uses history as a lens through which to view the social politics of the present. In her hybrid media projects, which incorporate film, video, sound, public intervention, and site-specific work, she creates ethno-fictive documents and explores how traditional monument-making can be translated into new models of commemoration. Her exhibition at the University Art Museum, California State University, Long Beach will be part of a long-term focus conceived of by the newly appointed director of the museum, Kimberli Meyer, which concentrates on artists practicing outside hegemonic systems.
“When the news came in that this vision would be supported by the Mike Kelley Foundation, I felt tangible relief to know that despite the radical, almost overnight shift in the political climate of our country, there are people and institutions in the arts—allies—willing to not only continue to engage and call attention to the sociopolitical issues that my practice is deeply invested in addressing, but also to push forth an agenda that commits to the protracted struggle to end structural injustice,” noted woods.
The 2017 cohort of grantees were selected through a competitive application process by a panel of artists, curators, and art writers, which included Charles Gaines, Gene Moreno, Frances Stark, Astria Suparak, and Jan Tumlir. Totaling $319,000, the grants cover project-related expenses, allow for a modest portion of the organization’s overhead costs, and recognize the participating artists with a dedicated fee. The grant-funded projects will take place throughout 2017–2018, and the Foundation will share updates on performances and exhibitions on its website.
“When Mike Kelley established the Foundation in 2007, he aimed to encourage expansiveness and fearlessness in all disciplines. As funding for the arts is shrinking, this charge is more vital than ever. It is an honor to be able to support and celebrate the artists and the arts organizations that will present these remarkable projects,” said Stevens.
For organizations interested in applying for the next round of Artist Project Grants, updated information for the 2018 cycle will be posted later this spring on the Foundation’s website (last year’s guidelines remain there for reference only).
For more information about Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts, visit www.mikekelleyfoundation.org.