The New York–based nonprofit Queer|Art has launched a new prize, the Black Queer|Art|Mentorship Award for Artists and Organizers, the first of which will go to poet and artist Pamela Sneed. The organization’s fifth annual Prize for Sustained Achievement has also been awarded to photographer Lola Flash. Both artists will receive a cash prize of $10,000 each.
“Together, these awards represent a natural outgrowth of Queer|Art’s work and values by honoring LGBTQ+ artists both within our immediate community and within the wider community of queer artists that exists throughout the U.S.,” Queer|Art’s executive director Travis Chamberlain said in a statement. “The tremendous scope of their contributions to queer culture, queer wellbeing, and uplifting Black queer community and excellence cannot be overstated and resounds ever-more loudly with each passing year.”
The new mentorship award is meant to acknowledge Black artists and organizers “who uplift critical histories of Black queer mentorship and exemplify steadfast commitment to values shared by the QAM community,” according to a press release. Sneed has long served as a mentor through Queer|Art’s fellowship program, and among the works in her expansive practice a recently published memoir—Funeral Diva, about coming of age during the AIDS crisis—that won the Lambda Award for Lesbian Poetry.
Sneed was selected by a jury that included Maria Bauman, Felicita (Felli) Maynard, and Saeed Jones. In a statement, the jury said that new prize is meant to acknowledge that “mentorship itself is as beautiful, gorgeous, and vital as any other artistic discipline” and that they chose Sneed because of “her brilliance and accomplishments in the field of literary arts [and] her longstanding commitment to nurturing younger Black queer voices.”
Flash is best known for her various series of portraits showing queer and Black artists. She was chosen for the sustained achievement prize by Jonathan González, Ryan Inouye, and Nancy Rodrigo. In a statement, Rodrigo said, “We need to elevate Lola Flash right now, this year. … With their portraits of the queer community and of people of color, Flash’s photography is a legacy to our history, this time rewritten and inclusive.”
Queer|Art also named four artists as finalists of its Prize for Recent Work: Anaïs Duplan, Heesoo Kwon, Le’Andra LeSeur, and Moises Salazar. The winner of that prize will be named at the organization’s annual party next month.