Museum of the African Diaspora expanding its Emerging Artists Program with grant from IMLS

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Museum of the African Diaspora expanding its Emerging Artists Program with grant from IMLS
Richard-Johnathan Nelson, Treat me like I treat me. H 82” x W 90”. Handweaving, Jacquard weaving, dyeing, digital collage.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- The Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco has recently been awarded one of 33 Museum Grants for African American History and Culture from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

The two-year grant will support the expansion of MoAD’s signature Emerging Artists Program (EAP), a juried competition that selects four local Black artists per year for a solo exhibition at the Museum. Since 2015, EAP has been an incubator for Black Bay Area emerging artists who are at critical junctures in their careers, providing them with financial and professional support to help promote their work, better establish their careers, and expand their visibility. Since EAP was established, MoAD has worked with 20 emerging artists, the majority of whom have gone on to successful careers.

The IMLS funding allows MoAD to increase the honoraria and benefits for EAP artists; to develop an annual fellowship for a graduate level student interested in pursuing a career in curatorial practice and/or arts administration; to create professional development workshops for all emerging artists who apply; and to design a digital publication to showcase EAP artists.

“One of the great successes of EAP has been that it offers institutional support and access to local artists who face a multitude of barriers at a formative stage of their careers,” says MoAD Executive Director Monetta White. “The importance of an institutional exhibition for any artist cannot be underscored enough. Unless you are represented by one of a handful of major galleries in NY and LA, you can have a very hard time making it into a U.S. museum, especially as an artist of color. That problem is exacerbated in the San Francisco Bay Area, where opportunities are limited, and it is so difficult for artists to make a living at all. MoAD is always striving to amplify the work of contemporary Black artists, and EAP is a centerpiece of that effort. We are so grateful to IMLS for supporting and deepening our commitment to affording Black Bay Area artists wider audiences and recognition.”

The impact of EAP on the local art community has been profound since the program launched, with many selected artists reaching new milestones in their careers after showing at MoAD. Indira Allegra (EAP 2019-2020) was announced as the inaugural winner of the Museum of Art and Design’s Burke Prize; Andrew Wilson (EAP 2017-2018) was selected as a part of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts’ triennial exhibition Bay Area Now 8 and was the 2018 Carr Center Independent Scholars Fellow, mentored by Carrie Mae Weems; Angela Hennessey (EAP 2019-2020) won the San Francisco 2019 Artadia Award, a 2021 Joan Mitchell Award, and in November 2021 she gained representation by Pt. 2 Gallery in Oakland, CA; and most recently, Sydney Cain (EAP 2019-2020) won the San Francisco 2021 Artadia Award and gained representation by Rena Bransten Gallery in San Francisco, CA.

MoAD’s current EAP exhibition, Interlacing distributed intelligence/noir care, is a solo exhibition of the work of multidisciplinary textile artist Richard-Jonathan Nelson. Through the hybridizing of traditional craft practices like embroidery, weaving, and quilting along with digital art, Interlacing distributed intelligence/noir care reimagines the Black body as a place for futuristic progress. It is on view through September 18, 2022. It will be followed by Excavation: Past, Present and Future by Trina Michelle Robinson (October-December 2022), and 10/27/03 by Ashley Ross (December 2022-March 2023).

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