The Verdant Fund is proud to announce the results of its inaugural re-granting cycle for projects born of and within Alabama. In 2021, Verdant Fund is awarding over $60,000 in grants to artists creating and presenting outward facing, community-based projects.
From a highly competitive group of applicants, projects we reviewed by a panel of professionals that ultimately selected the following nine artists to receive up to $7,000 in funding each, for a grant total of $60,125.00 dispersed in the State:
Alex Alvarez, The Voice of the Past
Douglas Baulos, Things Shouldn’t Be So Hard
Tony Bigham, Flow Tuscaloosa- Shadow Stories for Riverside Elementary
Jasmine Cannon, Black Southern Woman
Wendy DesChene, Ohtipaymsowak/”People who own themselves” in the Michif/Métis language Carey Fountain, The Black Cherry Tree Project
Allison Grant, Our Air
Tyler Jones, In the Praise House
Chintia Kirana, Temporal Spectra
Each project will be tracked and documented over the course of the year so stay tuned to the VerdantFund.org website and social media accounts for project updates. The Verdant Fund Project Grant is an annual opportunity for Alabama-based artists with proposal deadlines in the spring of each year.
2022 Artist Bios:
I am an Indigenous Artist focusing mainly on engraving various types of shell by hand. Shell art was created for ceremonial and social purposes throughout the regions of the Caribbean, Central America, and present-day Southeastern United States. I take a lot of pride in not only rekindling the amazing iconography of my ancestors, but also reconnecting other descendants to art/jewelry that helps them reclaim part of their identity. I use a combination of rotary tools to carve imagery in relief-form. My favorite pieces to create are those that combine ancient motifs with my perspective of native flora and fauna. I have shown my work at many juried shows as well as worked with several museums to conduct a variety of educational programming.
Douglas Pierre Baulos is a queer artist living in Irondale Alabama. Their drawings, collages, and installations have been exhibited/published both nationally and internationally. Doug’s current works are explorations (visual) and meditations (poetry) centering on their ideas of spirituality, love, death, shelter, and hope.
Multi-disciplinary artist Tony M. Bingham lives and works in Birmingham, AL. Bingham received his B.A. in Communications from Antioch College, an MA in Film and Community Media from Goddard College, and an MFA from Georgia State University. Bingham’s research and resulting work explore communities and public space – sites of enslaved, extractive, or industrialized labor – throughout Alabama including Fairfield, Helena, Panola, Tannehill, and Titusville. Through his sculptures, large scale photography, and found audio work, Bingham makes reference to unmarked burial sites and vernacular headstones and calls into question where, how, and who we collectively remember. Bingham currently teaches humanities and studio art at Miles College in Fairfield, Alabama. “I hope to be in conversation with like-minded people who incorporate ancestral spirits in their thoughts and art making.”
Jasmine Cannon is an award-winning filmmaker and documentarian from Alabama. She began her career in 2015 when she completed her first documentary, “Through Our Eyes.” Jasmine studied documentary storytelling at the Medill School at Northwestern University where she focused on social justice and sports stories before beginning her career as a video producer at one of the world’s largest magazine companies. Jasmine has worked in numerous capacities in the film and television industry on a number of projects including Disney’s “Black is King,” Netflix’s “AMEND,” and ABC and Hulu’s “Soul of a Nation.” Jasmine holds a MS in Journalism from Northwestern and a BA in Broadcast Journalism from The University of Alabama. Jasmine is passionate about telling stories about Black people in and from the American South. She hopes to inspire kids from her home state and the greater South to dream big and go after their dreams.
Wendy DesChene is a Canadian-born artist of indigenous Métis heritage working in Alabama. Earning an MFA from Tyler School of Art, she immediately incorporated methods supporting activist works that resisted definitions. Weary of the limitation’s institutions embraced, she created installations formed by audience participation that allowed ideas to be experienced. The outcome was a collaborative community exhibition titled WYSIWYG that toured eleven different communities, including Art League Houston, Minnesota State University, Art Academy Cincinnati, and The Henry Street Settlement New York. Other collaborative projects have been exhibited at the Soap Factory MN, Tomio Koyama Gallery Japan, and the Drawing Center NY. Her recent work focusing on environmental education, a collaboration called PlantBot Genetics, has been awarded National Endowment for the Arts and Pulitzer Foundation Grants for programming at the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Goethe Institute Egypt, the Bach Modern Austria, the New Gallery Canada, and Marfa Dialogues St. Louis.
My artistic journey began with writing songs at the age of 11 and composing music soon after. I began experimenting with visual art during my student years at the University of Alabama as a means to express ideas in a more concrete way. I am inspired by art’s ability to create community by challenging perspective and creating conversations that can extend transgenerationally. I have been heavily involved in the Birmingham art community over the last seven years as a multidisciplinary artist and community organizer. My multifaceted approach allows for exploration, community collaboration, and a shared, co-developed language.
Allison Grant makes artwork about ecological issues and visual storytelling. She is also a writer, curator, and Assistant Professor of Photography at the University of Alabama. She has exhibited at venues including the High Museum (Atlanta), DePaul Art Museum (Chicago), Edelman Gallery (Chicago), and the Weston Art Gallery (Cincinnati), among others. Her participatory public art piece “Conversations Over Beer” was presented at the 2019 Terrain Biennial Block Party (Chicago). Works by Grant are held in collections at the High Museum (Atlanta), DePaul Art Museum (Chicago), Cisco Corporate Art Collection (Durham), Columbia College Chicago, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Research Foundation collection, and the King County Portable Works collection (Seattle). Grant has curated exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago); Photoforum Pasquart (Biel, Switzerland); Filter Space (Chicago); and Atlanta Contemporary. Essays by Grant have been published in Minding Nature, INCITE: Journal of Experimental Media, and numerous artist publications and exhibition catalogs.
Tyler is a filmmaker and founding member of 1504, a narrative studio. He specializes in narrative strategy and cultural heritage projects, working across the South on stories for HBO, NPR, and the National Endowment for the Arts. He has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Alabama where he taught multimedia storytelling and worked with Pulitzer-Prize winner Rick Bragg as lead researcher of the biography of Jerry Lee Lewis (Published by Harper, 2014; New York Times Bestseller). He currently lives in Birmingham.
I am a Chinese-Indonesian-American artist and educator (occasional curator). My interest in light’s ability to simultaneously reveal and distort, in the mundane yet sublime, allows me to examine a multitude of visual artistic expressions from drawing and painting to installation and site-specific art. Thematically my practice explores identity, memory, language, and the passage of time. Since relocating to Montgomery, Alabama, my practice expanded into socially engaged and community-based projects. These projects explore themes of collective identity.