Projects Building Cultural Diversity
Erie Arts & Culture project grants may be used to support new, existing, and emerging organizations whose mission, staff, programs, and board represent culturally diverse communities. Awards may fund projects that celebrate communities’ unique arts and culture or preserve culturally significant artistic traditions or practices.
Examples of Projects Building Cultural Diversity:
Mining the Museum | Maryland
African-American artist Fred Wilson’s exhibition project, “Mining the Museum,” presented the Maryland Historical Society's collection in a new, critical light. Working with objects in the collection of the MHS, Wilson unsettled the museum’s comfortably white, upper-class narrative by juxtaposing silver repoussé vessels and elegant 19th-century armchairs with slave shackles and a whipping post. Texts, spotlights, recorded texts, and objects traditionally consigned to storage drew attention to the local histories of blacks and Native Americans, effectively unmaking the familiar museological narrative as a narrow ideological project.
Joffrey Ballet's "The Nutcracker"
Now in its third season, Tony Award-winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon’s “Nutcracker” was envisioned specifically with Chicago viewers in mind. Wheeldon reimagined the classic production by bringing in a new socio-economic plotline. Instead of the family central to the story being wealthy and privileged, they are an immigrant, laboring-class family run by a single mother.
Projects Improving Accessibility
Organizations may use Erie Arts & Culture project funding to make accommodations for patrons and artists with disabilities. Awards may support one-time accommodations such as American Sign Language interpretation, audio description, captioning, or materials in alternative formats; or the purchase of durable equipment. This funding is not intended for physical space accessibility improvements.
Examples of Projects Improving Accessibility:
Please Touch the Artwork | Chicago
Curator Emma Stein created a multi-sensory, contemporary art exhibit that made art accessible to the visuallyimpaired. The exhibition, titled Please Touch the Artwork, demonstrated the diverse methods employed by contemporary artists to branch out of the visual realm and utilize feasible curatorial methods to ensure accessibility. Emma's work helped set a precedent for accessibility reform in American art institutions and sent an important message to the visually impaired community that engagement with art objects is not limited to the sighted.
The Laundromat Project | New York
A laundromat is a neighborhood's meeting place. It is a place where community members gather weekly, and in 1999 Rise Wilson decided to help bring art education to her Harlem neighborhood laundromat. Setting up folding tables in front of the storefront, she extended passersby with a unique opportunity to make a piece of art. Nearly 15 years later, The Laundromat Project has served a number of communities throughout New York City, and offers low-income people of color a chance to learn and make art together thus, strengthening their communities.