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A Blade of Grass Names 2016 Fellows for Socially Engaged Art

This year's fellows. COURTESY A BLADE OF GRASS

This year’s fellows.


A Blade of Grass, the organization devoted to art that promotes social change, has named its 2016 ABOG Fellows for Socially Engaged Art. Each fellow will now receive $20,000, which can be used in any number of ways to support their respective projects. They range from Simone Leigh’s Home Economics, a series of workshops intended to foster critical thinking for black girls in New York City, to Xenobia Bailey’s Paradise Under Reconstruction, which combines elements of design and urban planning.

This is the third group of ABOG Fellows; the first was in 2014. The 2016 batch of fellows sees the introduction of the ABOG-David Rockefeller Fund Joint Fellowship in Criminal Justice, which is specifically awarded to artists whose work is involved with the criminal justice system. That fellowship’s winners are Rebecca Mwase and Ron Ragin, for Freedom Chamber, their collaboration with New Orleans organizations that allows for the production of sound sculptures that reflect the experiences of incarcerated people.

“These are artists who are changing what art is, who it’s for, and what it does,” Deborah Fisher, the executive director of A Blade of Grass, said in a statement. “We nurture these artists in a way that is specifically geared toward increasing the effectiveness and visibility of their work, and understanding its value both within the contemporary art discourse and the broader culture.”

Below is the list of fellows and winning projects.

  • Xenobia Bailey, Paradise Under Reconstruction
  • Black Quantum Futurism, Community Futurisms: Time & Memory in North Philly; individual artists: Camae Ayewa and Rasheedah Phillips
  • Courtney Bowles and Mark Strandquist, People’s Reentry Think Tank
  • Chinatown Art Brigade, Here to Stay; individual artists: Tomie Arai, ManSee Kong, and Betty Yu
  • Joseph Cullier, The Black School
  • Simone Leigh, Home Economics
  • Rebecca Mwase and Ron Ragin, Freedom Chamber
  • Rulan Tangen, Redgeneration
  • Frances Whitehead, Fruit Futures Initiative Gary

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