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Re:Imagine Artist Fund Relief Grants Announced

Portland Art Museum and Northwest Film Center announce recipients of Re:Imagine Artist Fund relief grants and support for artists totaling over $200,000

In the fund’s first phases, the Museum and Film Center are providing grants to 45 artists to provide economic relief and sustain their creative practices during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Portland Art Museum and Northwest Film Center have selected recipients for their Re:Imagine Artist Fund, an expanded initiative to support visual, cinematic, and new media artists during the coronavirus pandemic. The Museum and Film Center provided relief grants of $2,000 for 25 artists demonstrating severe economic need and $5,000 sustainability grants to 20 artists who are pivoting their practices toward greater impact and innovation during this challenging time.

Announced in July as an initiative both to provide immediate assistance to artists during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as to sustain their creative practices long-term, the Re:Imagine Artist Fund is providing emergency relief grants and longer-term sustainability grants, as well as increasing programming stipends to artists from across Oregon and Clark County, Washington. 

“At this critical moment, it is crucial to the health of our arts ecosystem to sustain artists, and the Portland Art Museum and Northwest Film Center are pleased to be able to be a leader in these important relief efforts,” said Portland Art Museum Director Brian Ferriso. “Art and creativity are fundamental to our community’s recovery from this pandemic, and we recognize our responsibility.”

The first phase of the artist relief initiative, the Re:Fresh Fund, distributed $50,000 in relief to address artists’ immediate economic needs. The Museum and Film Center selected 25 visual, cinematic, and new media artists as recipients of unrestricted grants of $2,000 as emergency COVID-19 relief funding to those whose livelihoods have been severely impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic. Relief funds were distributed in late August, and the identities of recipients are kept anonymous to preserve their privacy. 

The second phase, Re:Imagine Fund, focuses on supporting visual, cinematic, and new media artists as they reimagine their practices and pivot towards the post COVID-19 future. The Artist Fund panel awarded 20 artists with grants of $5,000, evaluating applications for both innovative potential and future impact. The review panel sought out the applicants who showed resilience and creative exploration in the face of a public health crisis, racial justice unrest, and great community need. 

“We received applications from many strong artists from across the state and Southwest Washington,” said Sara Krajewski, PAM Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art and Artist Fund team member. “What consistently stood out were those artists who defined the current difficulties and challenges as catalysts for new thinking around their creative practices, artists who are able to deepen their work and engage with communities and audiences in new ways.”  

The Artist Fund initially planned to award $100,000, but thanks to generous contributions from supporters, the Museum was able to more than double the funding to over $200,000 for the Re:Imagine Fund. In the second phase, this funding also allowed the Museum to double the number of artists receiving sustainability grants, to a total of 20.

Portland filmmaker Dawn Jones Redstone, a recipient of a Re:Imagine Artist Fund sustainability grant, spoke in the Portland Art Museum’s virtual members meeting about adapting her artistic practice during the pandemic.

“I’m really honored and grateful to be one of the recipients of the Re:Imagine Sustainability grant,” said Portland filmmaker Dawn Jones Redstone in a video message for the Museum and Film Center’s virtual members meeting on October 7. Redstone, who has had several short films featured in the Northwest Film Center’s Portland International Film Festival, continued, “I was planning on making a feature film this year, and as you know, it’s not the best year to embark on something like that. It’s hard enough to make a feature, and it’s particularly hard to do it in the middle of a pandemic and racial justice reckoning. … I’m grateful to get to use the money to continue to develop and plan for 2021, and use art as I always do, which is to help me make sense of the world.” 

Portland multidisciplinary artist Anthony Hudson received a sustainability grant from the Portland Art Museum’s Re:Imagine Artist Fund. Hudson’s performance art alter ego, the drag clown Carla Rossi, appeared in an Artist Talk at the Museum in 2018.

Anthony Hudson, another sustainability grant recipient, is a Portland multidisciplinary artist who has frequently performed as the drag clown Carla Rossi—before the pandemic forced performance venues across the country to close indefinitely. “My entire industry has died,” Hudson said in another video message last week. “I make visual art and theater and interdisciplinary performance, and there’s no way to share it with audiences anymore except online, and I wasn’t equipped to be able to do that. But now, thanks to this grant, I’m going to be able to actually start to be able to create scripts and videos and digital performances that are actually made for the screen, rather than just using Zoom because we have it. So this really means a lot to me.”

Major funding for the Re:Imagine Artist Fund is made possible by the Museum’s Art Gym endowment, a restricted endowment established with support from the Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Foundation, and grants from Tim and Mary Boyle, The Collins Foundation, and longtime artist advocate Sarah Miller Meigs. While much of the Museum’s endowment is restricted and cannot be used to support staff and general operations, the Art Gym endowment is specifically for regional artists. As admissions and earned revenue remain low due to the pandemic, these forward-thinking donors make it possible for the Museum and Film Center to continue our direct support of artists at this pivotal time.

The PAM/NWFC’s Artist Fund team was joined by six panelists to ensure a diversity of perspectives were brought to the review of both grants. The panel includes artists Sky Hopinka, V Maldonado, and Melanie Stevens, as well as writer Jon Raymond, producer Anish Savjani, and writer and curator Ashley Stull Meyers. 

The upcoming third phase of the Artist Fund, Re:Imagining Our Work, will focus on artist-driven programs, services and support, which have been integral to Museum and Film Center work for decades. Each year, the Museum allocates on average $100,000 to pay artists stipends for collaborating with PAM/NWFC, and this program ensures our capacity to continue providing direct support to artists and recognize their role as the primary creators of a reimagined cultural sphere in Portland and beyond. Cultural organizations are responding as the coronavirus pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement call upon them to make long-needed changes towards greater inclusivity. Through this initiative, PAM/NWFC asks artists and community partners to envision alongside us what new ways of presenting their work and expanding dialogues can look like. Re:Imagining Our Work supports artists as we invite them to collaborate with us to create future models of engagement.  

The Artist Fund initiative was developed with attention given to the Museum and Film Center’s equity statement: commitment to equity means including, serving, resourcing, validating, and centering our BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and colleagues and neuro-diverse communities and community members with disabilities. Submissions to the grant program reached nearly 40% of individuals who identified as such, many with intersectional identities. For the Re:Fresh relief funds 23 of the 25 recipients self-identify as BIPOC, LGBTQ+ or as living with a disability, many with intersectional identities. For the Re:Imagine sustainability grants 18 of the 20 self-identify as BIPOC, LGBTQ+ or as living with a disability, many of these folks have intersectional identities.

For the final phase of the initiative, we will focus on artists who are currently less represented in the collection and in programs, specifically Black artists and filmmakers, those who identify as women and LGBTQIA+.  will include a new visiting artists program, expanded commitment to our community partners through residencies, a reimagined artists talks series, guest curated screenings and exhibitions,  and other programmatic collaborations that will go beyond the walls of PAM/NWFC. This program will engage artists through an invitation process led by our curatorial and learning departments in conjunction with our existing community partners.

If you are interested in supporting PAM/NWFC to continue this work, please contact Director of Development Karie Burch, karie.burch@pam.org, 503-276-4240.

New media and moving image artist Sarah Turner is a recipient of a Re:Imagine Artist Fund sustainability grant. Through the Mobile Projection Unit, an artist group she leads with Fernanda D’Agostino, Turner uses mapped video projections to transform spaces such as the Museum and Film Center’s recent exhibition Venice VR Expanded 2020.

Recipients of Artist Fund Re:Imagine Sustainability Grants

manuel arturo abreu (Portland; Interdisciplinary visual art)
Weston Anderson (Portland; writing, storytelling, new media)
Del (Portland; visual art)
John Furniss (Washougal, WA; visual art)
ruben garcia marrufo (Portland; interdisciplinary, film, moving image)
Sabina Zeba Haque (Portland; Multimedia artist working in time-based, public art)
Dru Holley (Ridgefield, WA; filmmaker)
Anthony Hudson (Portland; Performance art and visual art)
Dawn Jones Redstone (Portland; filmmaker)
Vaughn Kimmons (Portland; Interdisciplinary storytelling and new media)
Kanani Koster (Portland; filmmaker)
Dana Lynn Louis (Portland; visual art and community-based practice)
maximiliano (Portland; performance, time-based art)
Laura Camila Medina (Portland; visual art and new media)
Christine Miller (Portland; visual art)
Shaudey (Dey) Rivers (Portland; visual art, community-based artist)
Karina Lomelin Ripper (Portland; filmmaker)
Artist Michael Bernard Stevenson Jr. (Portland; Visual Art, interdisciplinary, community-based artist)
Sarah Turner (Portland; new media, moving image and installation art)
Vo Vo (Portland; visual art)

Del, a recipient of a Re:Imagine Artist Fund sustainability grant, presented tactile art at the Museum’s free public event Getting a Feel for Art: Tactile Art Pop-Up Gallery in October 2019.

About the Re:Imagine Artist Fund Team:

The Re:Imagine Artist Fund was developed by a team of Portland Art Museum and Northwest Film Center staff: Amy Dotson, Director of NWFC & Curator, Film & New Media at PAM (she/her/hers, identifies as white); Jaleesa Johnston (she/her/hers, identifies as Black), Programs Lead in the Learning and Community Partnerships Department, Grace Kook-Anderson (she/her/hers, identifies as Asian), The Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Curator of Northwest Art, Sara Krajewski (she/her/hers, identifies as white), the Eichholz Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art of the Portland Art Museum, Ben Popp (he/his/him, identifies as white) Head of Artist Services, NWFC.

The PAM/NWFC’s Artist Fund team was joined by six review panelists to ensure a diversity of perspectives were brought to the review of both grants. The panel includes artists Sky HopinkaV Maldonado, and Melanie Stevens, as well as writer and curator Ashley Stull Meyers,writer Jon Raymond, and producer Anish Savjani.

Sabina Zeba Haque, a recipient of a Re:Imagine Artist Fund sustainability grant, presented a pop-up multimedia installation and artist talk at a Portland Art Museum community free day in 2018.