Foundations to Support US Latino Artists with Cash Grants


Two major foundations have joined forces to make unlimited cash donations to artists of Latin American or Caribbean descent born or living in the United States.

The initiative is supported by Latinx Artist Fellowships, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Ford Foundation, and aims to correct imbalances in national funding patterns while emphasizing the diversity and cultural contribution of these artists’ work.

The first 15 scholarship recipients announced on Monday will receive $50,000 each. Over the next five years, 75 artists will receive $3.75 million, with further support planned for museums and academic projects.

Scholars include artists at different stages of their careers, from Celia Álvarez Muñoz, 84, to well-known names like Coco Fusco and Elia Alba, mid-career artists like Carolina Caycedo and rafa esparza, and young artists like Carlos Martiel.

Rocío Aranda-Alvarado, a program officer at the Ford Foundation, and Deborah Cullen-Morales, a program officer at the Mellon Foundation, said in a phone call that they think direct support to artists, not organizations, is not typical for large funders, but necessary. now, especially in light of the challenges of the pandemic.

“There is an urgent need to immediately support artists who continue to work and contribute to our community,” said Cullen-Morales. Aranda-Alvarado added: “We think we can help change the landscape by reinvigorating artists and their work.”

They said that support for Latino artists suffered from a double deficit. They said overall philanthropic support for Latino recipients was small relative to their share of the population, including limited art-focused funding. By Hispanics in PhilanthropyLatino arts and culture grants, an advocacy group, fell from $40.2 million in 2013 to $13.4 million in 2019.

Meanwhile, in the art world, Latino artists in the United States are often grouped with artists living in Latin America, reducing opportunities to express the US Latino experience.

“This community of artists tends to fall between and between the two,” said Adriana Zavala, associate professor at Tufts University. USA Latinx Art Forum, the organization that administers the grant program.

Recipients did not apply, but were selected by a jury of major Latino curators. Awardees also include Miguel Luciano, Guadalupe Maravilla, Adriana Corral, Michael Menchaca, Delilah Montoya, Christina Fernández, Yolanda López, Vick Quezada and Juan Sánchez.

In a phone interview, Maravilla said he would use the grant to hire a studio assistant for the first time. “An award like this really empowers artists,” he said. “The money will go fast, but it will allow me to improve, to take a giant step forward.”


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