In light of the severe impact that COVID-19 is having on creative people and the arts sector, a fund of US$320,000 from the Open Society Foundations has been granted to the American Friends of Jamaica, in collaboration with Kingston Creative and The Fresh Milk Art Platform, in support of artists, creatives and cultural practitioners across the Caribbean region. This grant acknowledges the current global pandemic, a crisis disproportionately impacting the creative sector in Small Island Developing States (SIDS), many of which lack the resources to provide adequate support to those working in this vital sector.
Caron Chung, Executive Director AFJ stated, “Many are facing threats to their basic existence today and uncertainty for the future as we are contending with unprecedented challenges. This is a time when we need to work together to offer some semblance of stability to the Arts. Collaboration is at the core of the mission of the AFJ and we are pleased to facilitate the Catapult project.”
CATAPULT | A Caribbean Arts Grant will target participants living and working across the Dutch, English, French, and Spanish speaking regions. This five-month comprehensive arts programme includes funding online creative events, art writing, digital skills training, residencies and virtual discursive salons.
CATAPULT is particularly interested in working with arts and cultural practitioners who are exploring the broad critical themes of Culture, Human Rights, Gender, LGBTQIA+ and Climate Justice from Caribbean perspectives. The team especially welcomes applications from those who do not have permanent employment at this time.
Kingston Creative’s Co-Founder and Executive Director Andrea Dempster-Chung commented, “It has been very exciting to develop this project. It is aligned with our mission to support creative people and is also our first opportunity to work across the region. COVID-19 has had a very serious impact on artists within Jamaica and throughout the Caribbean and this grant will provide the critical financial support, visibility and capacity-building that creatives need to navigate the future.”
CATAPULT will increase the capacity of Caribbean-based artists to navigate the digital space and learn new ways to connect with diverse global audiences. It will also promote the visibility of cultural practitioners by expanding the pool of online content from the region, enabling artists to engage wider audiences while increasing the potential to earn beyond their borders.
The collaboration will support the following projects:
Fresh Milk’s Founding Director Annalee Davis expressed enthusiasm regarding the partnership. “Fresh Milk is pleased to have the opportunity to partner on this critical project nurturing Caribbean artists. With little support available at the state level for so many cultural practitioners working across this vulnerable region, having an opportunity to facilitate Stay At Home Residencies and Virtual Salons means that more artists can safely remain in their studios and do what they do best-make art!”
About the Partners:
American Friends of Jamaica | The AFJ has a near 40 year history of funding charitable organizations in Jamaica in the fields of Education, Healthcare and Economic Development. A registered 501 c 3 nonprofit headquartered in New York City, AFJ relies on individual and corporate contributions made by donors who believe in our work and will advocate on our behalf. Part of the AFJ’s mission is to facilitate donor directed contributions which enables donors to support registered charitable organizations aligned with their own goals for philanthropy.
Kingston Creative is a registered non-profit organization founded in February 2017. Its mission is to enable creatives to succeed so that they can create economic and social value, gain access to global markets and have a positive impact on their community.
Fresh Milk is an organisation whose aim is to nurture, empower and connect Caribbean artists, raise regional awareness about contemporary arts and provide global opportunities for growth, excellence and success. Fresh Milk supports excellence in the visual arts through residencies and programmes that provide Caribbean artists with opportunities for development and foster a thriving art community.