Point 'Em Out is an editorial series where Blavity explores the latest and the greatest in Black art. Thanks to modern-day technology, we get to be virtual consumers of yesterday's icons and today’s most innovative Black artwork, and — if we're lucky — the Black geniuses who produce them.
Malcolm Gladwell, the notable Outliers author, has convinced many people that it takes 10,000 hours to become a master at their craft. But what happens when a Black artist of any discipline rarely has the time or opportunity to produce? I bet there's an epic novel buried in some writer's keyboard. I'm sure there exists a master shooter who has yet to imagine the photographic concepts floating in the mind's eye. What about the painter, the sculptor, the musician who has yet to birth their masterpiece? Perhaps these are more Black dreams deferred.
Opportunity is everything in creative milieus, especially for Black creators navigating spaces where the numbers are clearly stacked against them.
For example, the art industry reflects racial disproportion, particularly in museum settings. A research study published in March found "85% of artists are white and 87% are men." The publishing industry is no different. In 2015, Lee & Low Books conducted a study that revealed "80 percent of those surveyed who worked in publishing self-identified as white." As imagined, those findings affected Black production.
Thus, Black creatives benefit from spaces and opportunities that are geared and tailored for them to hone their skills and eventually prosper. Here are nine Black-led fellowships and residencies designed with Blackness in mind.
1. Studio Museum Harlem
The museum's Artist-In-Residence program has been integral to pushing Black art forward. It has been well-attended by artists who went on to be incredibly successful: Xenobia Bailey, Kehinde Wiley, Louis Delsarte and Abigail Devalle. It’s application submission period usually runs from January to April.
2. Gordon Parks Foundation
The Gordon Parks Foundation Fellowship was established in 2017 and awards creatives, whose work is a reflection of Gordon Parks's humanitarianism. Fellows are selected during a closed voting process.
View this post on Instagram
Today we announce our Gordon Parks Foundation 2019 fellows: Guadalupe Rosales and Hank Willis Thomas. The artists have each been awarded $20,000 to support new or ongoing projects that reflect and draw inspiration from the themes of representation and social justice in Parks’ creative work. Each project will culminate in exhibitions in 2019 at the foundation’s exhibition space in Pleasantville, NY. For details follow link in bio! (Photo of Guadalupe Rosales is a self portrait by the artist, photo of Hank Willis Thomas was taken by Andrea Blanch)⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #gordonparks #gordonparksfoundation #fellowship @veteranas_and_rucas @map_pointz @hankwillisthomas
3. La Maison Baldwin Writer-in-Residence
The program takes place at a writers colony in Saint Paul de Vence, France, the last home place of James Baldwin. La Maison Baldwin’s ‘20-’21 application process is announced after September 1.
4. Jack Jones Literary Arts
Founded by Kima Jones, Jack Jones targets women of color and nonbinary writers of color. The program selects a writer-in-residence annually, and presents a yearly two-week writing retreat in Sante Fe, Mexico, during the Fall. It provides fellowships for writers who may need financial assistance to attend.
5. James Weldon Johnson Foundation
This residency is open to artists, writers and scholars "whose work exemplifies the values that James Weldon Johnson dedicated his life to: social equity, creative expression, erudition, social justice and community," according to its website. Residents can choose a one or three week stay, during the summer. The foundation selects five residents, each year and applicants can email the website with any questions.
6. Black Rock Senegal
Kehinde Wiley founded this program located in Dakar, Senegal, and seeks to not only amplify other creatives, but also shift the global narrative and perspective of Africa. Application updates are posted to the website, early in the year.
7. Rebuild Foundation
Theaster Gates created the foundation, located on the South Side of Chicago, to be a hub of Black creation. The core values lie on the principle that Black people matter, Black spaces matter and Black objects matter. The initiative offers a collective of resources, including studio space, housing and residencies in multiple disciplines.
8. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
The Schomburg offers scholar-in-residence fellowships for research and writing on the "study and interpretation" of Black history and culture. There are long and short-term opportunities, and fellows receive a one to three months or six-months stipend, office space and access to research assistants and resources.
9. Diversifying Art Museum Leadership Initiative
The program is funded by the Ford Foundation, but facilitated by several Black institutions, such as Dusable Museum of African American History, Clark Atlanta University, Fisk University Galleries and Studio Museum Harlem, to provide fellowships to Black creatives and other creative people of color who are interested in art museum leadership roles.
Hopefully, this 4-1-1 is useful to aspiring and emerging Black creators, to ease the burden that comes with a lack of opportunity, resources and time, which prevents growth.