The Platforms Fund awards $30,000 in grants to nine artist-driven projects.
The Platforms Fund, a regional re-granting program developed by Press Street, Ashé Cultural Arts Center, and Pelican Bomb with support by the Andy Warhol Foundation, is excited to announce the 2015 inaugural class of grant awards. We had an overwhelming response with 107 applicants and we were humbled and impressed by the creativity of the projects that applied. This year’s jury of five panelists narrowed the field to 23 finalists and, of those, selected 9 projects to fund, considering the many facets that were carefully presented by the applicants. In addition to $30,000 in total grants awarded, we’ve teamed up with Kickstarter in a Lagniappe Partnership program to assist all 23 finalists with developing Kickstarter campaigns to build additional support for their projects.
Blights Out $5000
Blights Out is a collaborative and creative approach to neighborhood development using visual art, architecture, and performance in order to see, experience, and act on issues of blight, divestment, and housing. Using an experiential method of “performing architecture” the group asks: “what are the sensibilities of place; where is the soul of a home?”; “what is community; what inspires people to unite in action?”; and “how do we meet the needs of a neighborhood outside of a profit-driven framework?” These themes will guide Blights Out in the transformation of a blighted structure into a cultural resource center qua public work of art.
Artists, architects, and skateboarders have developed a collaborative experimental venture with city government to design, build, and maintain New Orleans’ newest public park called Parisite (under Interstate 610 at Paris Avenue in Gentilly). The group will continue to expand the project by building skateable sculpture and developing a public mural project on the concrete pillars throughout the park.
ThisPlaceMeant/Home will bring together diverse communities in New Orleans around the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina to share and create innovative stories and art work that engages with the themes of displacement and home. Through the lens of Land of Opportunity, an interactive experiment in documenting post-disaster community (re)building in America, the group along with interdisciplinary artists and community groups will facilitate a series of multimedia storytelling and journalism workshops and site-specific artwork that will unite starkly different perspectives: public housing residents, urban planners, community organizers, and those in the Katrina diaspora-around powerful shared themes.
Chess Communité $3500
Chess Communité brings local New Orleans artists and volunteers together to create safe and educationally-stimulating environments for at-risk children, youth, and the greater community in strategically selected communities in New Orleans by creating and installing permanent, artistic installations which function practically as chess tables. Each table is uniquely designed to honor the creativity and individuality of public art in New Orleans. We believe by building a chess infrastructure throughout New Orleans that serves as public art, we will make public spaces more attractive and accessible, as well as encourage the entire community to engage in a non-violent form of competition.
The Land Memory Bank and Seed Exchange intends to create a community-built record of the unique coastal cultures and native ecology present in the climate-challenged wetlands of southeast Louisiana. The exchange will encompass a multi-platform experiential project dedicated to inspiring and actualizing Mississippi River Delta preservation, restoration, and adaptations. This experience will be produced in three forms: cultural happenings, strategic installations, and as a digital archive.
NOYOM Anthology $3000
The New Orleans Youth Open Mic (NOYOM) provides a stage and space for young people to explore themselves as writers/performers, to share their work and experiences with peers, and to support one another in their artistic endeavors while receiving support from local artists. This year NOYOM will broaden their program by having participants collaborate with young visual artists to develop a two part publication of written works, art, visual poems, and photography.
Soul Ties $2500
Soul Ties is a community-based art and story-making endeavor that will take form as a series of “making days” with pop-up stations at several host locations throughout New Orleans over four months. Facilitated by designers, tailors, photographers, artist educators, and story-gathering community collaborators, the project will engage a diverse cross-section of New Orleanians to create Soul Ties—bow ties fashioned from, celebrating, and carrying on the personal (hi)stories of our city. With the creation of each Soul Tie a community story will be told, given form, and documented in a collection of photographs and text to showcase online.
In Louisiana, the earnings of female workers is just 66% of the earnings of male workers—the worst wage disparity in the US. 66<100 is a month-long pop-up shop created to raise awareness of this issue while promoting the work of women artists and business owners. The shop’s pricing will mirror Louisiana's current wage gap: male shoppers will be charged 100% of the retail price of any item, while women will be charged 66% of this price. Throughout the month, 66<100 will also host lectures, workshops, and performances designed to connect and empower local women and girls.
The New Orleans Comics and Zine Festival (NOCAZ) is a celebration of self-published comics and literature. NOCAZ showcases zines, comic books, poetry, journalism, handmade items, photography, and more. NOCAZ exists to encourage longtime creators and those who have never felt like artists to share their work and experience. The organizers of NOCAZ are independent artists and writers, who are excited about DIY publishing and fostering communities of support and education around it.
WHAT IS THE PLATFORMS FUND?
The Platforms Fund is a collaborative effort of Press Street, Ashé Cultural Arts Center, and Pelican Bomb to provide support for the development and presentation of self-organized artistic projects. The Platforms Fund seeks to emphasize New Orleans’ historical characteristics of creativity, collaboration, and resiliency, while pushing the boundaries of where community engagement and the dissemination of creative ideas can intersect. It is our hope that projects that receive support from the Platforms Fund expand the arts ecosystem of the New Orleans region (Orleans, St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. Tammany Parishes, or within a 50 mile radius of New Orleans in Louisiana) by charting unmapped territory in the structures and production of artistic projects.
PART OF A NATIONAL NETWORK:
The Platforms Fund is one of nine in a growing national network of regional re-granting programs supported by the Andy Warhol Foundation—including Alternative Exposure (San Francisco, California), The Idea Fund (Houston, Texas), The Precipice Fund (Portland, Oregon), The Propeller Fund (Chicago, Illinois), Rocket Grants (Kansas City, Missouri), WaveMaker Grants (Miami, Florida), the Kindling Fund (Portland, Maine), and the Grit Fund (Baltimore, MD). The Foundation aims to support the independent creative activity of artists by partnering with leading artist-centered, visual arts organizations across the country. Collaborations like the Platforms Fund allow them to reach a sizable population of informal, non-incorporated artist-initiated endeavors. More on these programs can be found at the Andy Warhol Foundation.
In addition to the collaborative partnership with the Warhol Foundation and its national network of regional re-granting programs, the Platforms Fund has developed a unique partnership with Kickstarter to enhance its work within the New Orleans region. And like Lagniappe, this partnership is that little something extra that can make a big difference. For the 2015-16 grant cycle, Kickstarter staff will provide direct assistance to a select group of Platforms applicants and assist in the development of Kickstarter campaigns for their projects. With so many big ideas in the New Orleans region and limited Platforms resources, this partnership is a great way to help even more artists to develop their projects. All projects shortlisted during the Platforms review process, whether they receive a Platforms grant or not, will have an opportunity to get direct focused assistance and support from Kickstarter staff.