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PRESS RELEASE: City of Jackson Awarded $1.2M From Surdna Foundation to Advance Racial Justice through Art

Posted on May 1, 2020

(JACKSON, Miss.) – The City of Jackson announced today that they received a $1.2M award from the Surdna Foundation to work with the Community Aid & Development Corporation as part of a regranting and municipal partnership, to invest in artists from communities of color. The award will be distributed in equal parts over the course of three years.

This grant award will fund the Live. Impact. Create. Initiative, which is geared toward empowering people of color to use their artistry and voice to address social justice radically through the arts. The initiative will financially support fellows and offer training to develop leadership and social injustice resolution skills. Fellows will be tasked with curating projects which shed light on community needs and will partner with young creative people of color to cultivate unorthodox solutions to community problems. The project will launch in two phases. The first will be dedicated to gathering valuable community impact, followed by the selection of fellows and individual project implementation.

The award is part of a three-year artist regranting initiative through Surdna’s Thriving Cultures program, which will support up to 260 projects by artists of color working with their communities around the country to imagine and practice racially just systems and structures. Through this award, regranting partners, such as the Community Aid & Development Corporation, will distribute Surdna’s funds to artists, artist collectives and small artist organizations and will provide direct, on-the-ground support and technical assistance.

“Art has been a means of influencing culture and speaking to social concerns for generations. And so, we’re happy for this partnership that allows us to continue a necessary conversation about how we confront issues of racial justice and inequity,” said Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba.

“As communities across our nation work together to survive COVID-19, artists are uniquely positioned to help us imagine and build a more just future in which we all can thrive,” said F. Javier Torres-Campos, Program Director of the Foundation’s Thriving Cultures program. “We are proud to partner with organizations that provide direct, on-the-ground support and technical assistance to artists of color. Our artist regranting cohort invests in the leaders and communities most impacted by injustice because they bring the necessary lived experience, strategies, and creativity to realize racially just societies.”

The City of Jackson joins a diverse cohort of 11 regranting partners, which are national and regional in focus, and include several learning clusters of organizations attempting to impact prevailing inequities in arts grantmaking in specific ways. Among the clusters are organizations focused on the U.S. South, local cross-sector partnerships between municipal governments and local arts nonprofits, and culturally specific intermediaries serving Latinx and Indigenous communities. The City of Jackson is a proud member of both the U.S. South learning cluster as well as the Cross-Sector Partnership learning cluster.



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