New York, NY — June 17, 2020
In a world of pervasive injustice, dreaming is a privilege. The MAP Fund has shared the responsibility of building a more just arts practice by centering artists’ imaginations and supporting their capacity to dream, enact, and construct their work for more than 30 years.
Today, MAP is honored to announce $1.3 million in grants to 171 performing artists and arts organizations, more than four times the usual number of grantees. For the first time, these grants will be unrestricted, in recognition of the unprecedented challenges performing artists are facing across the country and globe.
Grantees were selected by 45 reviewers from across the United States who felt these projects, organizations, and communities strongly aligned with MAP’s mission to challenge ableist, cis, heteronormative, and white cultural dominance in the performing arts.
The subject matter explored in this these works include a defense of Indigenous salmon fisheries against corporate extraction in Alaska; the reinvention of Lhotshampa community identity in Akron, Ohio; Black skating artists taking to the ice for renewal; South Bronx senior citizens becoming the architects of their own well being; and the establishment of guerrilla voting stations complete with Voting Kits for the Disenfranchised, among many more.
Works will touch thousands of community members from San Diego to Lenape lands, from multiple islands of the Caribbean to Appalachian Ohio, and beyond. They explode the very concept of performance, manifesting as block parties, housing reconstruction, online discussion groups and land reclamation strikes as often as script, composition or choreography. We believe that even in their dream shapes, each offers a profoundly urgent narrative as the nation–and arts philanthropy–approaches a long overdue turning point.
“Through our work to support artistic practices at MAP Fund, we see that artists have long been responding to the kinds of crises we are now witnessing,” said MAP Fund Board President Reuben Tomás Roqueñi (Yaqui/Mayo/Chicanx). “It is the artist who rises to the moment, who connects and leads, who stewards the imagination when the future is uncertain.”
MAP’s grant selection process took place amidst a catastrophic global health crisis that is disproportionately devastating Black and Brown communities. Rightly, it prompted us to reckon with our own institutional privileges and hierarchical structure. We are an organization of white executive leadership and our merit-based grant program necessitates applicants compete with each other for a limited pool of resources. In increasing the grantee pool to include all 90 finalists and 81 semifinalists, who will each receive unrestricted grants of $12,500 and $2,500 respectively, we believe we are taking a step in the right direction. At the same time, we acknowledge that these actions are a long way from the systemic revisions being called for in the arts, philanthropy and the world at large. We will continue to examine MAP’s organizational complicity in white supremacist culture and commit to those actions driving change.
Please join us in celebrating the spirit and tenacity of performing artists who continue to transform our world in revolutionary ways.
The MAP Fund gratefully acknowledges our funding partners, including lead support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, who help us remain nimble and direct our resources to best meet this and future moments of radical humanity and change.