On June 20, The Chronicle of Philanthropy released an exclusive announcing the Art for Justice Fund’s Activating Art and Advocacy grants. These groundbreaking new grants bring together at least one artist or arts organization and at least one criminal justice activist or organization to create work that challenges the narrative around criminal justice reform.
The Activating Art and Advocacy program includes 11 projects involving 28 grantees from cities all across the United States. These projects include innovative partnerships such as the pairing of grassroots advocacy organization Voice of the Experienced (VOTE) with renowned playwright Liza Jessie Peterson to stage her one-woman show The Peculiar Patriot, which tells the story of a woman who visits a loved one who is incarcerated, at Angola Prison in Louisiana.
Helena Huang, the Activating Art and Advocacy project director, says seeing artists and activists work together “helps us all imagine a world that is not dependent or overly reliant on a punishment culture.” The project is starting with a $300,000 grant. Huang says Art for Justice will re-evaluate the project at the end of the year to decide if it will increase funding.
Since its founding in 2017, the Fund has made significant progress working with other collectors to follow in the footsteps of its founder Agnes Gund in selling art and donating the proceeds to social justice programs. The grantmaking initiative is also in the process of developing a plan for artists to sell work and donate the proceeds to assist in funding the important work of its grantees.