This is the third edition of BA’s new biweekly digest of Southern contemporary art news-in-brief. Submissions for items to be included in future editions may be sent to the editor.
ATLANTA—Independent arts funding group Idea Capital has announced the nine recipients of its 2018 artist grants: filmmaker Ebony Blanding, documentary filmmaker Phoebe Brown, artist Ben Coleman, photographer Jarrett Christian, theatrical director Elizabeth Dinkova, puppeteers the Shadow Box Collective, artist Jason Kofke, artist Yanique Norman, and theatrical director Cydnei Prather. The amount of funds awarded totals nearly $18,000. For some artists, the award will serve as seed money to ensure the launch of a project, and other awards will be used to fund a project’s final steps.
Artist Yanique Norman, the recipient of Idea Capital’s inaugural Antinori Visual Artist Grant, will use the awarded funds to create The Bedroom Suites: An Elegy to Last Lady Sally Hemings, a series of paper sculptures exploring the legacies of racism, sexism, and hypocrisy in America through the historical figure of Sally Hemings. Ebony Blanding, a former WonderRoot Hughley Fellow, will use funds to produce a narrative film, And so they rested, centered on an imagined “Festival of Naps” where Black Southerners can finally rest after decades of hardship and racial strife. Other projects include a hip-hop-infused adaptation of Hamlet, a Southern tall tale combining puppets and marionettes, and a site-specific installation riffing on the British foods section of American supermarkets.
Now in its tenth year, Idea Capital is a grassroots initiative for funding the work of Atlanta-based artists through donations from the community. Grant recipients were selected by Idea Capital Steering Committee members Chanel Kim, Cinqué Hicks, Felicia Feaster, Jess Bernhart, Jody Fausett, Oronike Odeleye, Louise Shaw, Mary Stanley, and Sam Romo, as well as guest adjudicator Jamie Steele, owner of Camayuhs gallery.
Disclaimer: The Idea Capital Steering Committee includes BURNAWAY board member and contributor Felicia Feaster.
EAST POINT, GA—Following its relocation from Atlanta’s Grant Park neighborhood last year, the nonprofit organization ArtsXchange (formerly known as the Arts Exchange) celebrates the opening of its new East Point location at a ribbon-cutting ceremony set for Thursday, January 10 at 11 am, followed by a tour of the building and reception. The center will include private art studios as well as a gallery, dance studio, theater, and multi-use space for meetings, performances, and classes.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—In the wake of the government shutdown that began at midnight on December 22, federal arts organizations including the National Endowment for the Arts, Smithsonian American Art Museum, and Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington have ceased operations. As was reported by Art News, the National Gallery of Art—which is not part of the Smithsonian but receives significant government funding—had previously remained opened through Wednesday, January 2 but is closed as of Thursday, January 3.
Exhibitions affected by these closures include “Between Worlds: The Art of Bill Traylor,” the first museum exhibition by an American artist born into slavery, at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. At the National Gallery of Art, exhibitions by Black photographers Gordon Parks and Dawoud Bey are temporarily closed today due to the shutdown. In an email, via Mary Boone Gallery, to Art News, Bey wrote, “How unfortunate that this administration that has already created havoc in the lives of so many has now caused the shuttering of the nation’s great museums… Access to culture is just as much a right as any other, and the president seems intent on scuttling this right too. Shameful…”
Mexican-Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, whose exhibition “Pulse” at the Hirshhorn has also been closed, told Art News, “As a Mexican, it’s ironic that the shutdown happens because of Trump’s insistence on building an unnecessary wall—one which according to his promises was going to be paid for by Mexicans. I look forward to the end of the shutdown and hope my exhibition can ‘build bridges’ between our countries.”
McCOMB, MS—Following an investigation by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Pike County Juvenile Holding Center in McComb, MS—located approximately halfway between Jackson, MS, and New Orleans, LA, along Interstate 55—closed in 2013. The building will now house the Pike School of Art, a local nonprofit that recently signed a 10-year lease for the building. The Pike School of Art was founded by McComb native Calvin Phelps, who who studied art and worked as an artist in Chicago and Los Angeles before returning to Mississippi in 2015. Phelps hopes the center will eventually contain a local history museum, exhibition space, living quarters for an artist-in-residence, and space for community workshops and events.