$60,000 of project support for Chicago-area artists
The Ignite Fund, supporting the creation and public presentation of new visual arts-based projects by Chicago-area artists and artist-led collectives, has announced its 2023 cohort of grantees. Ten artists and two artist-led collectives are receiving a combined total of $60,000 toward Project Grants of $3,000 to $6,000 to support the creation and implementation of new, public-facing works; and Research & Development Grants of $1,500 that support the early stages of new projects in development.
Open to artists in Chicago’s six-county metropolitan area, Ignite Fund received 74 applications that were reviewed by a national jury panel. The jury’s selections align with the Ignite Fund’s goal of prioritizing projects that center the visual arts, promote collaboration, raise awareness around social justice issues, engage local communities, and incorporate accessibility services in public presentations. Complete descriptions of this year’s grantee cohort and jury panel are available on the Ignite Fund website: www.ignitefund.org.
The 2023 Ignite Fund grantees and projects are:
Keyierra Collins (she/her)
How I Found My Feet Again
How I Found My Feet Again is a ritualistic activation for self-care, self-alignment, and peace. The piece is an exploration of Collins’s self as a dancer and performing artist through the lens of her mental health practice. She will utilize video, projection, costuming, and performance installations to create a more nuanced experience.
Silvia Inés Gonzalez (she/her)
La Sala invites artists, cultural workers, and civically minded people to discuss liberation, education, and organizing practices toward healing from the perspective of artists’ and their artistic process. The series includes a range of 15-20 artists in Chicago who will reflect on their practices within the context of our city’s local history and contemporary approach to the arts.
Eric Hotchkiss (he/him)
Cultivating Community aims to activate a vacant lot in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood by turning it into an outdoor kitchen/restaurant. The project encourages open dialogue, cultural exchange, and community engagement through cooking demonstrations and communal meals. Emphasizing sustainable practices, it showcases culturally relevant food from the African diaspora, fostering appreciation, understanding, and a strong sense of belonging within the neighborhood.
Ariella Granados (she/they)
Chroma Key After Me
Chroma Key After Me is a body of work that is imagining a disabled utopia. Through the creation of soundscapes, sculpture, and video Granados will explore themes of identity centered around family history, socioeconomic status, and disability in relation to utopia. In this project, Granados will create miniature ceramic dioramas that reference places of childhood reconstructed from memory.
Cathy Hsiao and Nestor Siré (she/her), (he/him)
Made in Taiwan
Made in Taiwan imagines alternative models of technology based on open-source economies and community-led, environmentally sustainable approaches. The project addresses the digital divide between north and south from the perspectives of Taiwan and Cuba as contested sites of technological production and access.
Hai-Wen Lin (they/them)
Send Them Their Flowers
Send Them Their Flowers is a gathering that celebrates queer diasporas and lives within the great expanse of the sky. Existing at the intersection of public art, sculpture, and fashion installation, a small collection of kites will be designed using clothing patterns made to fit trans and nonbinary Chicagoans as a means of liberating the body.
Marimacha Monarca Press
Piñata Pollination is a popup art-making series centering queerness and migration, grief and relief, death, and rebirth, engaging the outdoors as a community art studio. They will offer seed-papermaking, piñata-making, and printmaking workshops to connect their collective histories to the environment.
Cecil McDonald, Jr. (he/him)
Joy Ride: An Odyssey in Black
Joy Ride: An Odyssey in Black is an activation that will involve designing a rickshaw and riding it through Chicago’s Bronzeville community as it makes its way to significant spaces of nightlife and religious and creative culture in the neighborhood.
Nathan Miller (he/him)
Macro, Micro: Altgeld Gardens
Macro, Micro: Altgeld Gardens documents the landscape and community of the far South Side Chicago public housing project of Altgeld Gardens. Using aerial drone photography and large format portraiture, Miller’s work will reveal the scale and contributors of air pollution contrasted with the stories and likenesses of the people most directly affected by it.
Bun Stout (they/them)
Ten Love Poems
Ten Love Poems is a mixed-reality fashion collection presented as a multimedia runway involving drag performance, poetry, and live augmented reality. The collection of multi-person garments explores chosen family relationships, inspired by Chicago’s radical trans art scene, and its complex web of romantic, friendly, sexual, and kin-like connections within a community where self-creation is a survival art practice and relationship norms are intentionally subverted or experimented with.
Research & Development Grants
Euree Kim (they/them)
Memoryscapes Series is a transnational, multimedia/disciplinary project about militarism, disability experience, and remembrance. Originating from “Hileah,” which means “beautiful prairie” in the Muskogee language, it meditates the simultaneous process of translation, reproduction, replication, and disruption of war memories and disability representation.
Yiwei Wang (he/they)
Reflections of a Fleeting Utopia
Reflections of a Fleeting Utopia is a multi-faceted exploration of the complexities and contradictions inherent in clubbing culture. This undertaking seeks to bridge the gap between visual arts and experiential performance, creating a dialogue about the dual nature of nightlife as both a refuge from, and a cage within, societal norms. The project will use a variety of materials—synthetic fabrics, bright colors, and ready-made items—to create a series of installations that reflect the visual language of the millennial generation.