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New Fund To Pay Fort Worth Artists To Make COVID-19 Visual Art


by Jerome Weeks 27 Apr 2020 2:05 PM

A new $100,000 initiative, called The New Normal, will help Fort Worth’s creative economy and its wider community by paying artists to address our current pandemic.

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A new $100,000 initiative will help cash-strapped Fort Worth-area artists by awarding grants to them to create visual artworks addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. The grants of $2000 or $5000 will be awarded by a panel of eight judges made up of directors and curators from such institutions as the Kimbell Art Museum, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame.

Called “The New Normal,” the fund is intended to help both Fort Worth’s creative economy and the city’s wider community by providing income for local artists and by culturally processing the current crisis. Ninety-five percent of American artists have lost income because of the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic — while two-thirds of artists have lost their jobs, period.  According to the American for the Arts research group, this means artists are one of the hardest-hit professions in the country — with some $4.8 billion lost to date in terms of economic impact.

Lauren Childs of Fort Works Art gallery is administering The New Normal. Photo: Hady Mawajdeh

The grants are designed to jumpstart Fort Worth’s “economic and emotional recovery through both service and art” — says the official press release — “by providing a highly focused support structure that helps its artists to get back to work, while also bringing the Fort Worth community together to share, process and heal through art that truly speaks to what members of the community are experiencing.”

The New Normal is the brainchild of Sasha Bass, wife of Fort Worth magnate Edward P. Bass, The Bass’ Fine Line Group is working in partnership with the Alice L. Walton Foundation —  of the Wal-Mart family — the North Texas Community Foundation and Kit and Charlie Moncrief.

There will be three application cycles with the first deadline May 11th, the second May 26th and the third June 10th. In addition to outlining the proposed artwork, the application needs to include a portfolio of the artist’s current work, along with a statement of need demonstrating loss of income caused by COVID-19. Up to 40 artists will be awarded grants – with the possibility of more. There is no application fee, and the application process is already up and running.

The creators of The New Normal hope their model of ‘healing through art’ and ‘helping sustain the creative experiences” will be adapted by other cities — discussions are already underway with three cities. According to Lauren Childs, executive director of Fort Work Arts and the administrator of the program, selected artworks from The New Normal will be put on exhibition — sometime, once museums and galleries can open again.

 

The full press release:

Fine Line Group in partnership with Gallery of Dreams Launch

THE NEW NORMAL: An Artist’s Response to COVID-19

First of its kind funding initiative helps Fort Worth artists get back to work and support community healing from the COVID-19 crisis

FORT WORTH, TX (April 28, 2020) – Today, Fine Line Group, the Family office of Sasha and Edward P. Bass, announced the launch of a $100,000 artist initiative to support Fort Worth area artists. THE NEW NORMAL: An Artist’s Response to COVID-19challenges local visual artists to create works that reflect their experience living through the pandemic as members of the Fort Worth area community.

Led by the Fine Line Group, in partnership with the Alice L. Walton Foundation, the Donny Wiley Memorial Fund at the North Texas Community Foundation, and Kit and Charlie Moncrief, this innovative program is designed to support Fort Worth’s economic and emotional recovery through both service and art and will culminate in the creation of an important and profound body of work that interprets and documents the uniquely Fort Worth experience, during these uncertain, surreal, and often worrisome times.

A recent survey commissioned by Americans for the Arts found that as many as two-thirds of artists in the U.S. are without income due to the pandemic, making it one of the hardest-hit professions in the country. THE NEW NORMAL initiative is the first of its kind in the U.S., aiming to jumpstart Fort Worth’s creative economy by providing a highly focused support structure that helps its artists get back to work, while also bringing the Fort Worth community together to share, process, and heal through art that truly speaks to what members of the community are experiencing.

“Throughout history, artists have responded to major catastrophes and provided the world with visual interpretations of a reality that captures and preserves the human experience of the time,” commented Sasha Bass, the initiative’s founder. “Ed and I, along with our partners, are thrilled to launch this program, which will provide much-needed income to our talented local artists and sustain the creative experiences essential to our communal spirit. Even in this age of social distancing, coming together through art is possible.”

“We always envisioned THE NEW NORMAL as an open-source model,” continued Mrs. Bass. “We believe this is a powerful antidote to the isolation, fear, and uncertainty communities may be experiencing during this time. Through the lens of the artist’s eye, we can heal together as one.”

THE NEW NORMAL model will be made available via open-source to any community interested in adopting it in support of their local artists. “We are already in discussions with leaders from three other cities who are working to implement a program like ours,” said Mrs. Bass. “All our efforts so far have been focused on getting THE NEW NORMAL up and running in Fort Worth as quickly as possible, because our artists need help now, but we expect to have a platform for information sharing up and running soon.” In the meantime, interested parties are welcome to reach out via phone or email.

The program’s founders and partners also share a commitment to diversity and inclusion. “Fort Worth is a culturally rich and diverse community, and this program will reflect the unique perspectives of its many talented artists,” said Rose Bradshaw, president and CEO, North Texas Community Foundation. “The Donny Wiley Memorial Fund supports women artists in Fort Worth and we’re thrilled to join forces with Sasha and Ed, and our partners in THE NEW NORMAL. This program fulfills Donny’s legacy by providing local artists the resources they need to respond to this unprecedented disaster… helping our community process, understand and heal from the experience.”

THE NEW NORMAL is administered by Gallery of Dreams, a Fort Worth nonprofit arts organization established by Lauren Childs of Fort Works Art.

Applicants are asked to submit a written proposal including a personal statement sharing their views on how this opportunity will help them create, an overview of the COVID-19-related work they intend to create, and an idea on how their art can support others in our city. Examples of the artist’s current work, along with a statement of need demonstrating loss of income due to the COVID-19 crisis, are also required. The full application info is available here. There is no fee to apply.

A panel of eight influential leaders from Fort Worth’s most prestigious museums, including the Kimbell Art Museum, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, and the Sid Richardson Museum, will manage the selection process. Panelists will review candidate applications and award grants—in increments of either $2,000 or $5,000—to Fort Worth artists based on the strength of their proposal, portfolio, and demonstrated financial need.

Application Open: Now

Application Deadlines:

Cycle 1: Now–May 11th

Awards announced May 16th

Cycle 2: May 12th–May 26th

Awards announced May 31st

Cycle 3: May 27th–June 10th

Awards announced June 15th

SELECTION PANEL

Maggie Adler

Amon Carter Museum of American Art

Curator of Paintings, Sculpture, and Works on Paper

Mary Burke

Sid Richardson Museum

Former Director

Lauren Childs

Gallery of Dreams and Fort Works Art

Director and Curator

Alison Hearst

Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

Associate Curator

Patricia Riley

National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of

Fame

Executive Director

George Shackleford

Kimbell Art Museum

Deputy Director

Sasha and Edward P. Bass

Fine Line Group

Principals

 

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