The Grit Fund 2023 Grant Recipients have been announced. Grit Fund awards money to collaborative, artist-led projects—up to $10,000. It focuses on projects that bring artists and community members together to explore a sense of place and shared space.
- Baltimore Futures, $10,000 – Baltimore Futures: A series of public art installations enhanced by Augmented Reality technology, produced in collaboration with youth in 3 Baltimore City communities. This award will fund the creation of a series of public art projects, designed and installed in collaboration with Baltimore youth ages 14-21 And elder resident over 65. Each project will be enhanced by augmented reality (AR) content, creating a mixed reality experience, where there is both a physical artwork and an interactive, virtual, 3D version of the artwork. AR content will be accessible by Internet connected devices (smart phones, tablets, etc.). and will literally leap off the installation surface, with the potential for viewers to interact with photos, video, sound, music, animation, and gamified elements.
- Studio House Baltimore, $10,000 – STUDIOHOUSE is a residency for self-directed artists that emerged in December 2021. The project is open throughout the year with a pause in programming November through January. STUDIOHOUSE hosts free, and open to the public artist talks and workshops in the Spring, Summer, and Fall. A rotating group of 3 – 4 artists are in residence at any time, with length of stays ranging from 2 weeks, to 1, 3, or 6 months, and a maximum stay of a year. The mission of STUDIOHOUSE is to be a dynamic incubator for artists to live, commune, and work. The project is situated in a 4-story corner row home in East Baltimore, Maryland across from Lake Montebello, in Coldstream Homestead Montebello.
- My Journey is the Garden: Mothering City Boys Who Grow Towards the Sun, $8,000 — “My Journey is The Garden: Mothering City Boys Who Grow Towards the Sun” is the brainchild of Nicola Uatuva, a mother, multidisciplinary artist and organizer. The project is a visual and cinematic exploration of the experiences of mothers raising black and brown boys in Baltimore City. It is a creative strategy for celebrating and affirming motherhood, while navigating the conflating pressures of inflation (to maintain stable households), as well as the pressures of society’s adultification of black boys into sustainable empowerment. Through portraiture, film, a workshop and public facing exhibition, this project centers and lifts up the experience and aspirations of 7 mothers through portrait photography by Kirby Griffin, a future visioning workshop catered to black mothers, and a short documentary film utilizing interview audio and b-roll from the workshop by Sha-Shonna Rogers. The public facing components are the opening and closing exhibition which the latter will include a showing of the short film and both will include portrait gallery, and panel discussions with participating mothers.
- REINSTATED: LIVING LEGACIES, $7,000 — REINSTATED: Living Legacies is an event series that brings back cultural events of recent Baltimore history with an emphasis on highlighting their cultural legacy and impact. The curatorial focus will be on social gatherings, happenings and special occasions…each hosted on a single night to frame some of the significant contributions made by individuals through an experimental means. Through this event series we want the stories of community and gathering to have an impact on how we imagine ourselves, as architects of the next 20 years, how we can build and influence lost histories and work on their preservation. This series will occur at various venues and sites across the city.
- BRUSH Mural Fest – Programming & Events, $ 5,000 — Our mission at BRUSH Mural Fest is to cultivate community and show how resilient and vibrant Baltimore really is, while highlighting the talent and skills of the artists who live and work here. The culminating day-of BRUSH Mural Fest event will be held on October 21st, at the Lexington Market Plaza. There are several goals for this festival: (1) to be Baltimore City-focused; (2) to provide opportunities for muralists to showcase their artwork and have creative freedom; and (3) to advocate for the value of murals and provide education on how to run a mural business. We also believe that community engagement is a crucial part of creating strong, long lasting public art projects. Thus, plans for community engagement have been crafted for each individual mural and will take various forms ranging from publicly accessible Community Paint Days to Community Input Meetings.
- Hot Bits Film Festival, $ 5,000 — Hot Bits is a queer erotic film festival, centering QTIBIPoC (queer, trans, intersex, Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color) self-determined desire, joy, and pleasure as an act of collective liberation. We highlight underrepresented bodies in celebration of anti-oppressive queer/trans erotica that shares experiences, acts and stories often deemed marginal by mainstream society. Grit Fund will support Hot Bits in Baltimore in 2024, with a brand new line up of films, performers, expanded programming and partnerships while increasing support for our artists, curators, and collaborators.
- Manifesting the Metaphysical: Beyond Black Grief, $5,000 — The Black community has and continues to face disparities in mental health treatment due to trauma, stigma, access to healthcare, oppression, racism, and more. It is incredibly important to intentionally generate safe, welcoming spaces in order to have impactful conversations on these relentless issues. “Manifesting the Metaphysical: Beyond Black Grief” is a curatorial community engagement project inviting Black and Afro-Indigenous creators to a series of intentional programming, including Zoom discussions, healing through artmaking workshops, community gatherings and activities, and an exhibition. Our intended outcome with this project is to provide intentional discourse to educate, learn, and inform our community and allies alike about the intersections of struggles within the Black experience and emphasize the importance of access, support, creative outlets, and community.
- Naughty: Burlesque Documentary (working title), $ 5,000 — Naughty: Baltimore’s Burlesque Scene (working title) is a feature-length documentary from two performers in Baltimore’s burlesque community. This film investigates the world of Burlesque through the lens of two performing troupes in the DMV. It seeks to highlight and educate audiences about burlesque and the art form’s vital role in Baltimore’s queer performing arts landscape. Naughty celebrates Baltimore’s burlesque community and its vibrancy within the performing art world. We believe producing this film, as community members, and with the participation of others within its subculture, will show an entirely new perspective toward burlesque—something we have yet to see in the industry. Burlesque’s campy quality and DIY charm feel authentic to Baltimore, and Naughty not only shows audiences the value behind building community spaces but celebrates its rich and diverse participants, shifting our social perceptions of the performing art at large.
- Invisible Architectures: Radical Archives for Future Institutions, $ 5,000 — Invisible Architectures is a multi-year, interdisciplinary container designed to create avenues for projects and programs that reinscribe the voices of Black, brown, indigenous and immigrant populations. Grit Fund will support an interdisciplinary art festival. The theme for the curated show at Current Space will be Social Contracts. Social Contracts as concept is one that is relevant to the state of our relationship to art, education, and the roles that we all play in society to hold ourselves accountable to one another. What happens when the contract is broken? What happens when we consider the possibilities beyond a social contract? We will invite artists to respond to these questions. The exhibition/festival will be accompanied by a co-edited publication.