Here at ArtsMemphis, we recognize that visual artists are a magnet for creative, entrepreneurial talent throughout our City. That's why, in 2013, we established ArtsAccelerator – a grant program for Shelby County artists in every discipline. These incentive grants are for artists at a critical juncture in their careers. Decisions are made by a rotating panel of experts, and they award five ArtsAccelerator Grants of $5,000 each, totaling $25,000 annually. The funds are intended to advance each recipient's artistic and professional practice.
We administer ArtsAccelerator in partnership with our Artist Advisory Council – a dedicated volunteer group comprising artists, collectors, and curators. Thanks to the Council's hard work, we've attracted a record number of ArtsAccelerator applications in each of the last two years: we drew 96 applicants last year and an incredible 107(!) applicants this year. (That's an increase of roughly 80% over our 2016 numbers.)
In other words, this was our most competitive round of ArtsAccelerator funding ever! And so, without further ado, here is the list of winners:
This year's grant panelists consisted of three distinguished members: Allison Glenn (Associate Curator at Crystal Bridges), Senga Nengudi (world-renowned installation and performance artist), and Wassan Al-Khudhairi (Chief Curator at the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis). ArtsMemphis values equity and inclusion in our grant-making; with that in mind, it's worth noting that the five grantees named above are all artists of color. This speaks to the tremendous creative capital within our city's historically under-represented communities.
Since its inception in 2013, our ArtsAccelerator program has awarded 24 grants, totaling $100,000. Recipients have used their grants for a variety of meaningful projects, including: paying for childcare in order to spend more time making art, and acquiring new studio space to create larger works. ArtsAccelerator Grants are made possible by donations from generous individuals and foundations. Click here to help us sustain this vital program for visual artists.