On Wednesday, April 22, the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts announced the recipients of the 2020 Artist Project Grants. Among this year’s nine grant awardees is the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT).
Established in 2007 by the late CalArts alum and former faculty member Mike Kelley (Art MFA 78), the foundation offers support to “Los Angeles nonprofit institutions and organizations for projects with visual artists” through annual Artist Project Grants.
This year, REDCAT was awarded a $50,000 grant for artist Nao Bustamante’s work The Wooden People, a multimedia exploration of Mayan myth and “the familiar melodrama of the telenovela while grappling with ideas of queer existence, love, and a connection to the cosmos.” The project involves a series of 360/VR films, each of which will culminate in “live” rituals and performances, in order to heighten Bustamante’s storytelling in a manner that can be viscerally experienced by audiences.
Another 2020 grantee is arts nonprofit Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), which was founded in 1978 by 13 artists, including School of Art faculty Harry Gamboa Jr. and Nancy Youdelman (Art BFA 73). LACE was awarded $50,000 for Intergalactix: against isolation/contra el aislamiento, an exhibit curated by Daniela Lieja Quintanar that investigates “violence generated from physical and conceptual borders, and severe immigration policies,” particularly at the Mexico-Central America and US-Mexico borders. Artists Beatriz Cortez (Art MFA 15), Tanya Aguiñiga, and Cog•nate Collective will be commissioned to create new works for the exhibition.
In the face of COVID-19, the foundation elected to be more flexible in this year’s grant cycle. In the official release, Executive Director of the Mike Kelley Foundation Mary Clare Stevens noted the following:
Every year it is a tremendous honor to support the vital work of artists and arts organizations in Los Angeles. In the midst of a global crisis that is putting an unprecedented strain on our cultural community, grantmaking in the arts has a heightened sense of urgency. While our grants in the past have primarily supported project-related expenses, this year, we will be more flexible. We will work closely with each grantee and find the best ways to buoy their work during this time. As a start, we will extend the timeline of the public presentation of the projects and make any other modifications deemed appropriate for public health considerations and the project’s intentions.
The 2020 awards offered a total $400,000 to small and mid-sized LA art organizations. The other 2020 grantees are the Armory Center for the Arts; Fulcrum Arts/homeLA, Human Resources LA, Los Angeles Filmforum, Pieter, Vincent Price Art Museum Foundation, and Visual Communications Media.
Check out the other grantees’ projects here.