The Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts announced today the recipients of the 2019 Artist Project Grants, marking the fourth year of the organization’s successful initiative. The grants reflect artist Mike Kelley’s longstanding commitment to inventive and groundbreaking work and support dynamic collaborations in any medium between artists and Los Angeles nonprofit organizations—including projects by under-recognized artists or those that have proven difficult to undertake or fund due to their content, complexity, or other factors. In the 2019 cycle, $400,000 will be awarded to ten organizations: 18th Street Arts Center, California State University Dominguez Hills (CSUDH), Dirty Looks Inc., Echo Park Film Center (EPFC), Equitable Vitrines, Ford Theatre Foundation, IF Innovation Foundation, Los Angeles Poverty Department (LAPD), Pomona College Museum of Art (PCMA), and The Huntington Library, Art Collection and Botanical Gardens.
The 2019 projects will be presented by small, midsize, and large arts organizations and universities, and include film, performance, installation, and sculpture. The projects funded range from solo, group, and collaborative exhibitions to interactive workshops and related publications. “This year’s recipients of the Artist Project Grants exemplify the innovation, rigor, and daring that the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts supports,” said Mary Clare Stevens, Executive Director of the Foundation. “It will be exciting to see the culmination of multi-year efforts from artists such as Sharon Lockhart, whose film emerges from her collaboration with young girls in Poland, or Todd Gray, who will be mining his archives of photographs from West Africa and Europe for a large-scale exhibition at Pomona College Museum of Art. Other projects are in earlier stages of development, such as The Newsreel Project at the Echo Park Film Center, which encourages filmmakers to create works that explore place, identity, and inclusion; and Edgar Arceneaux’s live stage production, Boney Manilli, which will take place during the artist’s five-month residency at the Ford Theatres. There is such depth and breadth to Los Angeles’s artistic and curatorial practices, and it’s an honor to help realize these adventurous projects.”
Six of the grant-supported projects involve multiple artists, including that of 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica, now celebrating its 30th anniversary as the largest artist residency in Southern California. The Center will organize Commons Lab: Place and Public Life, a series of five new artist commissions anchored by live events, which will examine the ways institutional architecture and cultural policy determine the social life and civic engagement of American communities. Using the organization’s rapidly changing Pico neighborhood as a test case, the participating artists will engage art audiences and local communities in a dialogue about the role art should play in the public sphere. “The award from the Mike Kelley Foundation empowers 18th Street Arts Center to develop 2019–20 programs that consider the future of artistic practices, our growth in Santa Monica, and the ever-present demand for innovative cultural experiences by directing artists and other creative thinkers to focus on how the built environments of cultural spaces encourage or inhibit social connection with and through the arts,” said Anuradha Vikram, Artistic Director, 18th Street Arts Center.
The Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts seeks to further Kelley’s philanthropic work through grants for innovative projects that reflect his multifaceted artistic practice. The Foundation also preserves the artist’s legacy more broadly and advances the understanding of his life and creative achievements. The artist established the nonprofit foundation in 2007. For additional information about the Foundation, please visit www.mikekelleyfoundation.org.