Press Release

The Art for Justice Fund launches Activating Art and Advocacy Grant

New York City, NY – Today, the Art for Justice Fund announced its latest round of 18 grants, including 11 new partnerships formed through its newly launched Activating Art and Advocacy Initiative.

Art for Justice believes that art has the power to change the world by exposing injustice, offering new insight and raising the voices of communities not always heard. And it believes that this is best achieved by leveraging art and advocacy together.  Activating Art and Advocacy, a supplemental awards program available to existing grantees, will accelerate learning between and among artists and criminal justice activists, build lasting alliances and relationships and seed unique collaborations designed to disrupt mass incarceration.

Through Activating Art and Advocacy, Art for Justice funded 11 projects, involving 28 current grantee partners that integrate at least one artist or arts organization and at least one criminal justice activist or organization. For example, Mural Arts Philadelphia, a public art program that employs therapeutic practices to reduce recidivism, will join forces with Fair and Just Prosecution, a network of prosecutors committed to reducing incarceration, to create a new artist-in-residency at the Philadelphia Office of the District Attorney to explore the human toll of incarceration and the importance of creating alternatives to our current system. These collaborative projects represent opportunities for Art for Justice to leverage its initial investment, promote unlikely collaborations and expand the impact of the Fund.

A full list of grantees can be found here.

“At Art for Justice, we believe that art and advocacy together have the power to open minds and create new possibilities. It is only through a shift in culture, bolstered by the contributions of our newest grantees, that we can hope to see true, meaningful and lasting change,” said Helena Huang, program director for the Art for Justice Fund. “We see rare and timely opportunities before us. This is why the Art for Justice Fund exists: to support the work of artists and advocates to seize this moment and to accelerate the momentum.

“Art and advocacy are better together. This truth undergirds our new grants that bind artists and advocates in stamping out mass incarceration,” said Art for Justice founder Agnes Gund. “Artists envision for us a nation we’ve never known – one without a criminal justice system that preys on Black and brown people – and inspires us to work alongside advocates toward a new way forward. This is what Art for Justice and our new grants are all about.”

With Art for Justice’s support, grantee partners will work to close youth prisons and create community alternatives for young people, raise awareness of the needs of women in prison, support and organize children of incarcerated parents and advance campaigns designed to eliminate legal barriers to employment post incarceration at the state and local levels.

This is the fourth cohort of Art for Justice grantees. Since it was established in 2017, the Fund has awarded more than $43 million in grants to 101 extraordinary grantees.

About Art for Justice: The Art for Justice Fund is a five-year initiative created by philanthropist Agnes Gund in partnership with Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and the Ford Foundation. The Fund is dedicated to combating the injustices of mass incarceration through the collective action of artists, advocates and philanthropists.

Art for Justice grantee partners passed a  successful ballot measure campaign in Florida last November to restore voting rights to more than 1.5 million people with felony convictions, produced an award winning one-woman play bringing to life the impact of mass incarceration on individuals, families and our larger society, and opened a museum exhibition designed to tour the country confronting the human toll of our system of cash bail.