July 9, 2020
Art Matters has awarded Artists and Allies a 2020 fellowship. Artists and Allies is an alliance of four artists/scholars: Stamps Associate Dean for Research, Creative Work, and Strategic Initiatives Jane Prophet, Professor Rebekah Modrak, Professor Silvia Lindtner, and community-based Detroit artist Halima Cassells. Art Matters is a non-profit foundation in New York with a history of being a proponent for new forms of art, and of supporting artists whose work breaks ground in exploring social issues.
Artists and Allies came together as makers and activists to respond to the health disparities experienced by residents and healthcare workers in Detroit, Michigan. The acutely high rate of mortality — over 1438 deaths in Detroit as of June 25 — is a result of long-term systematic racism impacting residents’ access to safe and adequate housing, food, water, and medical care. Artists and Allies has earmarked some of the Art Matters funding to provide personal protective equipment to the Brightmoor Connections Food Pantry, which provides food and water security to families as well as advocating for social justice and changes to water policy.
The Art Matters funding is in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on artists and their communities, and was an effort to support eight artist-led mutual aid efforts. Art Matters wrote:
Collectively these eight represent the diversity of national, regional, and local responses artists are making within their communities to the COVID-19 pandemic. The projects address the disparity of access to support and care for the most vulnerable: incarcerated populations, Indigenous communities, undocumented, immunocompromised and/or disabled people, and Queer/Trans/Black/Indigenous/People of Color. The range of actions we’ve recognized resonate with our values and our mission, demonstrating what we’ve always known to be true: artists are often among the first to respond to their communities in times of crisis.
Thank you for your work:
As well as one group that has requested to remain anonymous.