Arts and Culture

Twenty-eight Louisville-based Black artists and arts groups will receive $2,000 from Fund for the Arts.

The philanthropic nonprofit announced the grants Thursday. The Black Artists Fund awardees, which represent a variety of artistic disciplines, were selected out of 88 applicants, and the artists will be able to use the funds to support a new art project to “celebrate, build awareness, and amplify the creations of the many talented Black artists in Greater Louisville”, according to a statement from the Fund.

“As an artist that just began her career under two years ago, this grant will allow me to make a consistent body of work,” visual artist and Black Artists Fund grantee Ton’nea Green said in the release. “I will not have to use whatever materials I have on hand, but will be able to get exactly what I need.”

The 27 other artists and arts groups to receive grants are Albert Shumake, Alonzo Ramont, Ansyn Banks, Charles Rice, D.E.S.T.I.N.E.D. Dance Company, Darren Harbour, DéQuan Tunstull, Descendants (by 1200 LLC), Ed White, Erica E Rucker, Fairen Kia, Harlina Trumbo, Janelle Renee Dunn, Jasmine “Jazzy J” Reed, Joan Brannon, Kenneth Coleman aka Nipsey Green, Kiana Benhoff, KY Elite Step Team, Larry Muhammad, Minda Reves aka Minda Honey, Norman Spencer, Paula O. Lockhart, Producing A Kind Generation, Rheonna Nicole for her Lipstick Wars Poetry, Slam/Louisville Literary Arts Collective, The Griot Project, Tomisha Lovely-Allen and Toya Northington.

Fund for the Arts also announced that five Black-owned restaurants will receive COVID-19 Relief Grants of $15,000 each to help these eateries cover operating costs during the pandemic. Those restaurants include Big Mommas Soul Food Kitchen, Hip Hop Sweet Shop, Six Forks Burger Company, Superchefs and Virtue.

Both the arts and restaurants have been particularly hard-hit industries during the pandemic. 

“We are really appreciative of being chosen for this grant,” Darnell Ferguson, founder and chef of SuperChefs, said in the release. “It gives us a lifeline that can help us make it through these challenging times.”

Fund for the Arts president and CEO Christen Boone noted the deep bench of Black talent in the arts and restaurant industries in Greater Louisville. 

“All of the artists and culinary institutions receiving these grants have already done so much great work in our community and I can’t wait to see what they do next,” Boone said.

Last month, Boone announced that she would leave Fund for the Arts in the summer 2021 at the conclusion of this fiscal year. Following some online criticism about the application process for the Black Artists Fund, she told WFPL that the Fund has developed a task force to dig further into issues of arts funding and equity within the arts. Boone hopes to offer more opportunities for Black artists moving forward. 

Stephanie Wolf is WFPL's Arts Reporter.