Antenna’s Platforms Fund provided six implementation grants of $10,000 and ten research & development grants of $1,500 to New Orleans based individual and collective artists, and collaborative art groups in support of new and innovative artistic commissions that take place outside the museum or gallery walls, within the public realm, or in a non-traditional exhibition environment. Grants were awarded to projects that exemplified an attention to the histories, communities, and ecologies of the region and their (trans)national implications, while reimagining visual artmaking for social change.
2023-24 Platforms Fund Jurors
TRADING CHAOS FOR CREATIVITY:
DISCOVERING THE MINDFULNESS OF MURAL MAKING
by Artists Journey Allen
“Trading Chaos for Creativity: Discovering the Mindfulness of Mural Making”
is a 12 week course that provides youth detained at the Juvenile Justice
Intervention Center with a creative outlet that not only strengthens the
skills of those who are interested in being visual artists and muralists,
but that also welcomes them to explore the practice of mindfulness
accompanied by holistic methods that encourages self-discipline and
self-discovery. Led by Artist Journey Allen and a team of mindfulness
practitioners, students will explore the text, The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh in an effort to connect with principles and techniques that will support youth in becoming lifelong students of mindfulness. In preparation for the mural project that will be painted on the upper level of the JJIC chapel room, youth will explore church/cathedral beautification methods that have been revered through the genre of High Renaissance Art as Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel, while also featuring the works of prominent African American artists such as Kehindi Wiley, Faith Ringgold, Kerry James Marshall, and Jean Lacy, each whose works have captured astonishing depictions of African American experiences and religious practices through the creation of stained glass compositions. In addition to developing new skills and being introduced to unique creative practices, this full circle experience will empower youth towards making positive changes in their lives through the lens of compassion and forgiveness, furthermore inviting them to imagine a triumphant existence for themselves beyond the walls of the Juvenile Justice Intervention Center.
SO, SO PRETTY: AFRICAN-AMERICAN MASKING QUEENS OF NEW ORLEANS
By Karen Celestan
“So, So Pretty: African-American Masking Queens of New Orleans” is a womanist book project detailing the Queens and their artistic, ceremonial rituals through a cloistered, yet public entity borne out of enslavement and communal rebellion that is found in only one American city – New Orleans. The Queens, ages 15 to 88, tell their own stories as specific culture-bearers. This book will offer a detailed overview of how African-American women battle racial and sexual dehumanization and subjugation to re-define beauty, customs and folkways on their terms through visual and performance art while maintaining a distinct, revered cultural tradition.
SPACE TO BREATHE
by Walidah Imarisha, Jordan Faherty and Juicebox Burton
We are a collective of filmmakers making a short film called Space to Breathe, an abolitionist science fiction hybrid documentary, filmed in New Orleans and set in a future where there are no prisons or police. The year is 2070 and Sojourner is a young filmmaker who sets out to understand how abolition came to be by throwing themselves into the archives of history – and learning from the movements of 2023.
by paris cyan cian and Trécha Gay Jheneall
soil+soul is the collective pseudonym for the transnational artistic fusion between paris cyan cian and Trécha Gay Jheneall. Our work blends diasporic rituals and experimentation across moving image, text, sound, performance, and digital creation. watabodies explores collaboration, curation, and diasporic archival practices, with a focus on water bodies and ecosystems of the Gulf South and Jamaica. We engage, preserve, and document the water rituals, histories, and landscapes of Afro-Indigenous and Jamaican Maroons through various forms, including oyster shell mounds, set design, sculpture, photography, video, performance and an interactive digital archive.
THE PLAGUE DOCTOR OF NEW ORLEANS: TRAUMA IN MY BONES SUIT
by Cherice Harrison-Nelson
The Plague Doctor of New Orleans: Trauma in my Bones suit is a multi-disciplinary project that was began during the COVID-19 stay-at-home mandate. The current iteration brings together narrative beadwork, ceremonial attire, spoken word, ancient Kongolese rhythms, maternal perspectives, and contemporary Bounce inspired chants to make social commentary on the theme of Black Lives Matter. The project honors the future through Big Chief Brian, the present through Queen Cherice Harrison-Nelson, maternal guidance of 86 year-old Herreast J. Harrison and the living legacy of the late Big Chief Donald Harrison, Sr.
By Tyrone “Pie” Stevenson
Monogram Hunters are at the roots of the Black Masking Culture founded by Alfred Montana in the early 1900s. In 1972 Yellow Pocahontas Big Chief Tootie introduced 12-year-old Spy Boy Tyrone “Pie” Stevenson, who masked for 23 years before being given Monogram. In 1992 Pie masked as Big Chief, and was joined by son Jeremy, family, and friends. The tribe thrived, but Pie stepped away in the 2000s. He taught at The Porch until returning in 2014 with the tribe’s first Big Queen Denice Smith. Mardi Gras 2024 they hope to hit the streets with more than 20 members.
RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT GRANTEES
by Keni Anwar
A sound and light ceremony celebrating and visioning onward the legacy of Maroon communities: sites of stewardship and interdependence between the environment, people of the African diaspora and people indigenous to this land during its early colonization. The location will be activated in 2025 through ritual, musical sharing, oration and the continuous rhythms of drums.
by Edward Buckles Jr.
New Orleans, Louisiana lies within a global environmental crisis and is at risk of being completely submerged underwater by 2050, simultaneous with rapid gentrification drastically displacing its predominantly Black population. With the charged power of ceremonial gathering as resistance in the face of rising rent and sea levels, KINFOLK captures the beauty, roots, and sanctity of Black New Orleans culture as filmmaker Edward “Buck” Buckles Jr. embarks on a mission to preserve its traditions.
MEKONG, MISSISSIPPI: A VIETNAMESE DELTA TO DELTA MUSICAL EXCHANGE
by Marion Hill
Two ensembles of Vietnamese musicians – one in the Vietnamese Mekong, and one in the Louisiana Mississippi – reunite through musical conversation in a transnational performance on their respective delta waters.
I DREAMT OF YOU LAST NIGHT
by Makayla Howard
“I dreamt of you last night” is a field research endeavor in understanding ancestral dream work and ritual. Community activations in the form of dream sharing and ritual performances will be offered as a way of enacting collective healing. This project will culminate in a public showing of the experiences gathered over the course of a year.
RELIQUARY OF THE BAYOU
by Edna Lanieri
“Reliquary of the Bayou” reveals the vulnerabilities of Southeast Louisiana’s native species, many on the brink of extinction from mounting environmental threats. Through innovative photography techniques, such as Polaroid manipulations and chemical interventions, this project offers a stark representation of Louisiana’s biodiversity. Developed in collaboration with ecological experts, it ensures a scientifically informed perspective. Beyond mere visual documentation, “Reliquary of the Bayou” intertwines art and science, underscoring the critical role of ecological stewardship.
NEEDLE AND THREAD II
by Jamell Tate
8 canvases of Black Masking Indians with custom frames that have led lights in them to luminate to images from the back so they appear to glow. The idea is to have to canvases in a dimly lit room to create an immersive experience.
by Caroline Thomas
The giant puppet collective, Whatchamapuppet, seeks funding to host a series of community workshops in which the public will learn about the region’s ecology amd build custom lanterns to accompany the collective in a lantern parade during Luna Fete 2023 in Gretna.
by Brianna Thompson
Brainbow is a sculpture that acts an access point into memories. Visitors will be able to sit in front of a sculpture depicting a Brainbow using a series of aluminum panels, which will be plasma cut and painted to depict layers of the brightly colored cell imaging. Guests will be able to view illustrations of memories in the space in AR. Not only will guests be able to view others’ memories, they will be able to submit their own for rendering and adding into the memory bank for others to experience.
STITCHED NARRATIVES: TRANS VOICES UNVEILED
by Emery Kate Tillman
“Stitched Narratives: Trans Voices Unveiled” is an inspiring project merging personal stories, intricate artistry, and community engagement. Local trans individuals share their experiences through heartfelt essays, collaboratively transformed into captivating embroidered artworks by artist Emery Tillman. These embroidered pieces, accompanied by portraits and essays, converge in a thought-provoking gallery exhibition and a poignant published book. By amplifying diverse voices and fostering empathy, the project strives to bridge understanding, challenge biases, and celebrate the resilience of the transgender community. Through the visual arts, it weaves a powerful tapestry of human connection, inviting audiences to embrace authenticity and inclusivity.
THE DESCENDANTS 2024
by Ivan Watkins
An epic tale of an age old Spiritual War where the Tree of Life may be used for Enlightenment or for Dark Powers, The Descendants are 10 Chosen African Warriors of Light who are chosen by the Ancestors to Guard the Sacred Weapons of Light.Decades of research inform the new Art Series, Storyboard/Graphic Novel, and Multi-Media Stage Production that will launch this project into Mass Media Production. Magical Realism and Afro-Futurism are featured in this mult-media Artistic Collaboration that has blown all audiences away!2024 Will mark a new era of Epic African Martial Arts Storytelling!