Area artists among recipients of feminist enrichment grants

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ0 – The Kentucky Foundation for Women awarded 36 Artist Enrichment grants totaling $165,207 to Kentucky feminist artists and arts organizations committed to creating positive social change throughout the state.

KFW’s Artist Enrichment grants provide opportunities for feminist artists and arts organizations to develop new skills and share art that advances social justice in Kentucky.

Applicants may request funds to participate in artist residencies, explore new areas or techniques, and/or build a body of work.

Arts-based organizations and artists at all stages of their careers who demonstrate artistic skill and an understanding of the power of feminist art to enact social change were welcome to apply. The grant program drew 43 applications from throughout the state.

The Artist Enrichment grants awarded in Kentucky went to a diverse group of artists working in a variety of disciplines across the state.

Their projects address vital concerns and highlight the contributions of women to Kentucky’s rich artistic and cultural heritage.

They included grants centered on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Kentuckians, the Asian American experience, environmental stewardship and white privilege. By developing their skills and building community, these grantees are at the forefront of spurring positive social change that will better the lives of all Kentuckians.

“These grants focus on vital issues that separate communities and leave women without a voice. Their projects will build community as these artists grow their expertise and create new paths to social change. This work will lead us to a more equitable, just Kentucky,” said Sharon LaRue, executive director of the Kentucky Foundation for Women.

Recipients include:

Amelia Martens (Paducah): $3,188 to attend a creative nonfiction workshop to develop her skills as a poet writing across genres and to secure a week-long residency to create and revise work for a hybrid collection. Deepening her knowledge of craft and setting aside time to write will allow her to complete a hybrid collection of prose poems and brief essays that examines female experiences.

Michelle Eigenheer (Louisville): $7,175 to create a podcast centered on stories of Asian American individuals and communities in the South and Midwest, whose lives, victories, and hardships are often left out of narratives of these regions and of Asian America. This project will allow her to strengthen her skills as an audio and multimedia storyteller, connect with other creators for collaboration, and explore under-reported stories.

Gabriela Castillo-Miranda (Louisville): $6,700 to develop her capabilities as a performing artist by devising a magical feminism play inspired by the role of women within Afro-Caribbean religions. The play will bring attention to the cultural multiplicity and intersections that inform 21st-century Latin@ identity and invite spectators to examine how their own spirituality is affected by their assigned sex and culture.

Michelle Donahue (Hebron): $1,941 to allow time to research and complete a novel manuscript, an environmental dystopia that loosely reimagines “Gilgamesh” and “Moby Dick” from a feminist perspective. This will further her career as a writer and professor, so that she can raise awareness about the importance of women’s stories and female agency in environmental conservation efforts.

Carrie Brunk, Clear Creek Creative (Disputanta): $7,500 to support a writing and research project focused on the critical moments and relationships in her life that have shaped Carrie’s understanding of race, ethnicity, privilege, and white supremacy in the U.S. This project will bridge creative and functional writing with curriculum design and group facilitation in the development of learning labs to support others’ journeys in building an authentic sense of self and allyship.

Kiana Mahjub (Richmond): $6,775 to create bold, feminine pieces with woodblock prints on handmade paper that portray the dissonance between her ethnic identity as a biracial Iranian woman and her “regional identity” as a printed paper quilter. Her goal is to expand her understanding of how she fits into her community, family, and region, and how that sense of belonging will create social change.

Jennifer Hart (Lexington): $6,958 to capture the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Kentucky women, she will execute ten portraits of women with a particular focus on women from vulnerable populations, including economically disadvantaged, racial, and ethnic minorities, the uninsured, the elderly, the homeless and LGBTQIA. This process will allow her to create a body of work that pushes her artistic development further.

KFW will provide applications and guidelines for its next grant cycle by August 2021.

The Kentucky Foundation for Women is a private foundation formed in 1985 by Louisville writer Sallie Bingham. Its mission is to promote positive social change by supporting varied feminist expression in the arts.

KFW Executive Director Sharon LaRue and selected grant recipients are available for interviews/appearances. Contact Ms. LaRue for further information and to schedule interviews.  A complete list of the grants awarded statewide follows.

KFW 2021 ARTIST ENRICHMENT GRANTS

CD 1 $4,688

Amelia Martens (Paducah): $3,188 to attend a creative nonfiction workshop to develop her skills as a poet writing across genres and to secure a week-long residency to create and revise work for a hybrid collection. Deepening her knowledge of craft and setting aside time to write will allow her to complete a hybrid collection of prose poems and brief essays that examines female experiences.

Stefanie Graves (Paducah): $1,500 to create watercolor paintings of women at work or in activities in which they excel, culminating in a future exhibition. “You’re So Pretty” will be a critical view of our culture’s reaction to women’s pictures, especially in social media, regardless of setting or achievement. 

CD 3 $75,379

Bryn Silverman (Louisville): $7,140 to begin research and development for a documentary series about thyroid health and the ways this small and very important organ intersects with feminism, public health, and patient advocacy. The activities will enable her to engage this conversation on a much deeper level, exploring intersectional feminism, healthcare and art through film.

Cheyenne Mize (Louisville): $4,200 to create and distribute “Can You Hear Me?” a singalong radio program which will highlight the voices of older adults in the Louisville area and provide creative support for people with dementia and their caregivers, a disproportionate amount of whom are women. She will reimagine and integrate skills in sound recording, editing, and group facilitation to produce this project.

Claire Krüeger and Joyce Barbour (Louisville): $1,200 to create and launch four episodes of “Dig In!” a web-series that encourages curiosity and inclusion. The series makes Kentucky’s natural world more accessible while allowing youth to explore their role in environmental health. This project will strengthen their approach to teaching about the environment in a compelling way.

Emily Albrink (Louisville): $1,754 to professionally record and produce an album of American music by living composers. For this project, she will commission three composers, two of whom are female. This recording will increase awareness of contemporary female art song composers and poets and will enrich her capacities as a singer and artist as well as those of her pianist.

Gabriela Castillo-Miranda (Louisville): $6,700 to develop her capabilities as a performing artist by devising a magical feminism play inspired by the role of women within Afro-Caribbean religions. The play will bring attention to the cultural multiplicity and intersections that inform 21st-century Latin@ identity and invite spectators to examine how their own spirituality is affected by their assigned sex and culture.

Divinity Rose (Louisville): $6,500 to develop “Adventures in Herstory,” a mobile story app where child time travelers are sent on a mission through time to gather objects from a diverse collection of amazing women for a futuristic society responsible for capturing the world’s stories. This will allow Divinity Rose to develop her skills to share an interactive story experience for young girls ages 9 to 12.

Joan Brannon (Louisville): $7,496 to upgrade her shooting gear and produce a fundraising trailer for a full-length film featuring Black women drummers who are preserving Indigenous drumming traditions focused on ritual, healing, and ceremony. Making this trailer will further develop her technical and creative skills and expand her body of work as a media artist.

Katie Knudsen (Louisville): $7,500 to purchase an etching press and materials for collaborative art projects designed to promote critical thinking with an emphasis on women in leadership roles, sexuality in art, and the history of printmaking. Her goal is to awaken and develop dormant printmaking skills bringing her closer to master printer status.

Kristen Renee Miller (Louisville): $6,086 to translate into English CHAUFFER LE DEHORS (HEATING THE OUTDOORS), a new collection of poetry by award-winning Indigenous poet Marie-Andrée Gill. In translating this work, she is committing to a long-term journey of radical empathy. This process will increase her skills as a translator, writer, and feminist.

Looking for Lilith Theatre Company (Louisville): $3,800 to explore a horizontal leadership model within the Looking for Lilith ensemble. Utilizing the research and performance art they have created around Suffrage history in Louisville, ensemble members in artistic teams of 2 will each create an outdoor performance in a location significant to the Suffrage movement, to be performed in a Covid-safe progressive driving tour.

Michelle Eigenheer (Louisville): $7,175 to create a podcast centered on stories of Asian American individuals and communities in the South and Midwest, whose lives, victories, and hardships are often left out of narratives of these regions and of Asian America. This project will allow her to strengthen her skills as an audio and multimedia storyteller, connect with other creators for collaboration, and explore under-reported stories.

Natosha Via (Louisville): $4,603 to collaborate with Feed Louisville to document their outreach to the houseless of Louisville using photography to tell the stories of houseless folks through long form documentary photography, environmental portraits, and interviews. This will develop her ability to photograph sensitive subjects and create photojournalism that disrupts our inequitable social order.

Sarah Hoskins (Louisville): $3,700 to complete “Regarding Sandra Bland,” a series of photographic portraits of 28 women taken in the driver’s seat of their cars, with each woman bringing their experience of what it feels like being pulled over, often for no other reason than the color of their skin. This grant will allow Hoskins to concentrate on developing her portraiture skills. Showing these images publicly will create a strong message of social change and feminism.

Tatiana Rathke (Louisville): $2,625 to take an online course with Forest Collective, a Berlin-based organization working to embody ecosystems thinking, a poetic outlook, and art thinking/making. The course will aid her in developing a new body of feminist nature artwork and connect her with a community of artists interested in more sustainable relationships with nature.

Terri Gilmore (Louisville): $3,700 to expand on her education/skills as a sculptor while finalizing the larger-than-life size bronze bust of Elmer-Lucille Allen, an African American artist, community activist and relentless advocate and mentor for girls and women artists in our community. This project will help establish her abilities as a sculptor and feminist social change artist.

Valentina Ashurova (Louisville): $1,200 to travel the Appalachian trail, to create and publish a book of poems on the humanistic nature of how trees communicate. The book will include photos representing change, growth, community, and perseverance that is a correlation of femininity and nature. This grant will allow for the development of her skills in multimedia art.

CD 4 $4,911

Michelle Donahue (Hebron): $1,941 to allow time to research and complete a novel manuscript, an environmental dystopia that loosely reimagines “Gilgamesh” and “Moby Dick” from a feminist perspective. This will further her career as a writer and professor, so that she can raise awareness about the importance of women’s stories and female agency in environmental conservation efforts.

Sydney Greene (Union): $2,970 to forage the raw materials necessary to create a series of paintings that visually note the similarity between the exploitations of women’s bodies and the earth. This project will shift her practice towards being completely eco-friendly. She will gain experience in pigment making to understand its limitations and to master the technique.

CD 5 $17,700

Amy Le Ann Richardson (Olive Hill): $5,000 to write a book of poetry centered on the connections between Appalachian mothers and their children and the land. This book will illustrate the importance of both women and nature in Appalachia and the ecologies cultivated by maternal bloodlines, all of which are often overshadowed, ignored, or even blatantly mocked.

Carrie Brunk, Clear Creek Creative (Disputanta): $7,500 to support a writing and research project focused on the critical moments and relationships in her life that have shaped Carrie’s understanding of race, ethnicity, privilege, and white supremacy in the U.S. This project will bridge creative and functional writing with curriculum design and group facilitation in the development of learning labs to support others’ journeys in building an authentic sense of self and allyship.

Kristen Bailey Preston, Stephanie May Rose, Melanie Turner, Coaltown Dixie (Pikeville): $5,200 to develop the Mountain Grrrl Experience, an experiential event to feature and promote the creativity, artistry, power, and strength of women in Appalachia in a safe and supportive environment. Being the coordinators and host band for the event will allow the members of Coaltown Dixie to grow as artists by moving beyond performing to inspiring social change in their area of East Kentucky.

CD 6 $62,529

Cecelia Rhoden (Berea): $6,134 to teach herself to sew and create a collection of clothing from mostly salvaged materials by working in textiles in accordance with her eco-friendly waste minimization lifestyle. This will allow her to expand her skill set while continuing to nourish her passion for preserving the fading skills historically kept in the living libraries of womankind.

Hannah D. Markley (Nicholasville): $1,562 to research and instruct a discussion-based course using Kentucky and Appalachian women/non-binary writers of nonfiction, poetry, and fiction. This work will enhance her understanding of feminism in Kentucky, making her writing and pedagogy more inclusive, while forming a curriculum where participants will explore their own identities.

Jennifer Hart (Lexington): $6,958 to capture the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Kentucky women, she will execute ten portraits of women with a particular focus on women from vulnerable populations, including economically disadvantaged, racial, and ethnic minorities, the uninsured, the elderly, the homeless and LGBTQIA. This process will allow her to create a body of work that pushes her artistic development further.

Joanna Badagliacca (Lexington): $1,200 to develop a first draft of a novel grounded in a feminist discourse about the fortitude of the women as they face sexual misconduct. Writing this novel draft will allow her to develop further as a feminist social change artist from outside of academia and reach a wider audience than academia allows.

Joanna Thornewill Hay, Joanna Hay Productions (Frankfort): $7,500 to create “Sound Capitol,” a sound art installation composed of oral history clips, instrumental music, and environmental sounds to tell the story of women organizers in Dr. King’s 1964 March on Frankfort. This public art installation will have an impact on families, legislators, and tourists and will increase the feminist impact of her sound art practice.

Josephine Sculpture Park (Frankfort): $7,500 to fund a female Kentucky artist to support the creation and exhibition of new work at JSP while encouraging them to take creative risks, resulting in artistic and professional growth and a significant cultural shift. This program foregrounds women, BIPOC, Kentucky, and emerging artists’ voices traditionally missing in contemporary sculpture and public art.

Kiana Mahjub (Richmond): $6,775 to create bold, feminine pieces with woodblock prints on handmade paper that portray the dissonance between her ethnic identity as a biracial Iranian woman and her “regional identity” as a printed paper quilter. Her goal is to expand her understanding of how she fits into her community, family, and region, and how that sense of belonging will create social change.

L. A. Watson (Frankfort): $6,200 to purchase printmaking supplies to create new work inspired by ecofeminist author and activist Carol J. Adam’s book, “The Pornography of Meat.” Using printmaking as a process will benefit her artistic development, allow her to create a new body of work for this exhibition, and obtain a permanent tool for activism in her life-long practice.

La’Shelle Allen a.k.a. Sistah LaLa (Lexington): $4,200 to create “Spirituals in Motion,” a fully completed album that speaks directly to her voice, ancestry and her purpose as an artist of African descent. This grant will provide her the opportunity to create a body of work that addresses a variety of topics related to social change using music to inspire and galvanize the world.

Leah Naomi (Berea): $1,200 to create artwork that connects generations and individuals using Morse code in abstract images that encourage curiosity and contemplation. The collection will feature pieces to be shown in Kentucky and will explore the intersections spirituality, technology, and next-wave feminism. It will be her largest collection of work produced for the purpose of a single show.

Regina “Abegunde” Harris, Grupo Balanca Capoeira (Lexington): $4,200 to provide 6 months’ worth of classes to participants as they learn the strength of women through a traditional dance called Muelele. This will provide the participants with knowledge of female power and importance and empower them, as well as help improve her understanding of choreographing and instructing a younger group of people.

Robin “Osunnike Anke” Scott-Manna (Lexington): $5,700 to produce “Tapestry of My Soul,” an interactive Black feminist multi-media memoir, and to explore new production skills by collaboratively engaging with local musicians, dancers, and performing groups. This grant will provide the structure and resources to build her body of work and allow her to share her artistic work with a broader community.

Vanessa Becker Weig, Voices Amplified (Lexington): $3,400 to further her training as a movement and theatre artist, choreographer, deviser, and director. This training will utilize movement education and performance to empower and unite intergenerational female identifying artists and individuals with dynamic cultural backgrounds, with a keen focus on diverse body types that is inclusive of all shapes and sizes.

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