2017 Rocket Grants Award Winners Announced!

The Charlotte Street Foundation and Spencer Museum of Art at KU are delighted to announce the winners of 2017 Rocket Grants Awards: Ten innovative and public-facing projects were chosen from among an extremely competitive pool – all with a reach towards audiences outside of traditional arts venues and some with a specific focus on stimulating and sustaining the regional arts community. Rocket Grants continue to engage the region with experimental forms and ideas, support exciting new directions for artists, and amplify marginal voices

The selection panel was composed of four jurors – two national and two from the region: Alberto Aguilar, Chicago; Imani Jacqueline Brown, New Orleans; Tim Hossler, Lawrence, KS; and Jessica Borusky, Kansas City.

A total of $60,000 was awarded to the selected artists and artist teams, bringing the program’s total awards to regional artists to date to $392,000. A public Awards Ceremony will be held on June 8, 2017, 6-8 PM at the Healthy Rivers Partnership in Kansas City’s West Bottoms – at which the new awardees will make 3-minute pecha kucha presentations about their projects.

Map to the venue.  (please note that the Woodswether bridge is closed for repairs, so you will need to travel north from 12th Street). Please RSVP on our Facebook event page for more details and so that we can cater for you!!

Rocket Grants are in their eighth round of funding, regranting generous support from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

The ten recipients funded this year bring the total number of cross-disciplinary projects supported to 81, which together have directly involved at least two hundred and nine artists. Hundreds of others have been integrally and peripherally included in the performances, publications, workshops, artist-run spaces, videos, public installations, events and websites that the awards have funded.

In the brief descriptions below the lead artist is identified in bold type. For more information, please click on the project name.

R& D Awards ($2,000 up front with an option for $4,000 implementation)

Leonard Gayden, This is our scene: A multimedia exploration of street dance and contemporary art’s spatial and networking paradigms. The project involves a 7-part web-series made available for free on-line, a mockumentary film co-produced by 31st&Brklyn, and documentation of a street dance performance/battle/jam.

S.E. Nash, Garden Variety Soda Fountain: A sculptural and public engagement project taking the form of a mobile soda fountain. A community garden site will be used in year one to grow the ingredients for the fermented sodas, which will be served to the public at the garden and other locations in the summer of 2018. Programming for the project will include workshops and activities for all ages about growing, fermentation, art, and the civic and political issues raised in the piece.

Full Project Awards ($6,000)

Solomon Bass, BLACK & BLUE: A documentary that will be aimed at building a bridge between black police officers and the black community during this time of racial tension. The video will be premiered at a community gathering at the Southeast Community Center, with the police and the community in attendance together – opening the door for dialogue and providing opportunities for building better relationships.

Bo Hubbard & Boi Boy, Alter: Art Space: A collaborative, multidisciplinary, artist-run space that seeks to connect a variety of creative disciplines through interactive environments and unexpected programming. Sited in Kansas City, Alter will bring installation, performance, and painting together with diverse musicians, actors, and dancers, expanding traditional notions of theater, gallery, and night-life, and providing a variety of inclusive programming.

Connie Fitzpatrick & Marylin Hinojosa, Nedra Bonds, Wak’ó Mujeres Phụ nữ Women Mural (Kanza, Spanish, Vietnamese, English): A project that will collect stories and histories about women of color and translate them into a public mural in Lawrence, KS. The mural will be made made by artists and others who are also women of color. The written, audio and video stories collected for the mural will also be presented on the project’s website.

Kendell Harbin, The Roaming Center for Magnetic Alternatives (RCMA): A lending library of over 500 VHS tapes and video technologies traveling Mid-America to connect with outlying LGBTQIA populations, exploring the correlation between queer culture, video history, and a medium on the edge of obsolescence. By providing a media center for screenings, dialogues, artist-led videography workshops, and equipment access, the immediate aim is to empower communities who wish to uncover and tell their own stories.

Brian Hawkins, Asiminier: Folklore of the Missouri French Creoles: A feature-length documentary celebrating a distinctive culture in Missouri, that will include interviews describing the historical and cultural context in which the Creoles’ folkways were preserved for 300 years. Folktales specific to the region will be included as cut-paper animations with narration in the original French dialect. The finished documentary will be made available to Missouri schools, and screened at local libraries.

Rodolfo Marron III, Paz En El Barrio (Peace In The Hood): A publication preserving and celebrating the rich Latinx culture within the Westside of Kansas City, chronicling important historical events, members of the community, businesses, etc; through photo, video and audio documentation. The resulting publication will be made available in surrounding public schools, libraries and community centers, and at a special celebration in partnership with the Guadalupe Center.

David Wayne Reed, Eternal Harvest: A short film about the cycle of life – depicted by the growing season on the Reed family’s rural Kansas farm – that will be projected on the side of a large, hilltop barn. Using drones to film site-specific dance, mandalas made from heirloom quilts and agricultural machinery, and seasonal footage of the surrounding farmland, the video will cross-pollinate disparate communities in artistic collaboration, and create meaningful ‘town and country’ exchanges.

Ryan Tenney, The Art + Agroecology Project: AgroArt: A residency program designed to sustain and host creative practices and socio-ecological interventions. Artists will be immersed in a live/work residency on a 22-acre organic farm in Kansas City, MO over two seasons. A community-focused Black agrarian production model will provide resources to creatively investigate and address community food injustice. The project will culminate in a free publication providing remedies for historical land injustices and celebrating the future Black imagination.

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