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The Contemporary announces the Grit Fund, a $50,000 grant initiative

Baltimore, MD– The Contemporary is pleased to announce the Grit Fund, a grant initiative that supports unincorporated and collaborative artist-organized projects, events, publications, and independent spaces in Baltimore, MD. Established with generous support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Grit Fund expands Warhol’s Regional Regranting Program to the Mid-Atlantic, creating a new resource for innovative and collaborative artist-initiated activity that exists outside of traditional frameworks of support. Through this program, The Contemporary is committed to supporting this vital layer of Baltimore’s arts landscape.

“The Grit Fund grows out of The Contemporary’s experience working with independent artist-run galleries to invite artists to Baltimore for our Speaker Series, CoHosts. Their input, feedback, support, and willingness to collaborate have been crucial to the development of our inaugural programming. In the same spirit, the Grit Fund emphasizes collaboration and encourages projects that generate opportunities and create platforms for artists to connect with each other and with the public. The Contemporary is excited to formalize our support for the contributions of Baltimore’s alternative arts community and to be a resource for self-organized artistic activity in the area,” says Lu Zhang, Business Manager of The Contemporary, who will be coordinating the fund.

The Contemporary’s mission is inspired by three guiding principles: artists matter, collaboration is key, and audience is everywhere. In keeping with this mission, the Grit Fund values risk-taking, encourages collaboration, and seeks to expand points of access to contemporary art. The Grit Fund will accept proposals from non-incorporated, artist-organized initiatives that work collaboratively and reside in Baltimore City or Baltimore County. Projects may be located in Baltimore City or Baltimore County and must deliberately engage a general public via process, presentation, production, or publication. The fund strongly prioritizes projects that present the work of multiple artists. Preference is given to projects and spaces that are unlikely to be funded through conventional sources of support. Funded activities may include but are not limited to: exhibitions, publications, public events, public art, film screenings, the ongoing work of an existing arts venue or collective, and the founding of a new arts venue or collective.

“We at The Contemporary believe that grit and perseverance are key measures when determining success. It is a notion that has kept our organization alive for nearly 25 years and an outlook that I’ve seen echoed throughout Baltimore’s arts community,” remarks Deana Haggag, Director of The Contemporary. “There is no lack of creative activity but, as is often the case, there is little funding to help artists maintain their existing and vital ventures or take risks to realize something new. It is with this in mind that we founded the Grit Fund, with the Warhol Foundation’s generous support, and view it as a much-needed asset and one of several ways we see ourselves operating as a resource for activity happening at the artist-organized level. We are actively working on building a public viewing library, equipment loaning program, and exploring ways to continue to facilitate studio visits between local and visiting artists.”

The Grit Fund will officially launch in January 2015 and will offer grants between $1,000 and $6,000. The fund will support 8-12 projects, awarding a total of $50,000 in grants annually. The Warhol Foundation has committed to two years of the re-granting program, with the potential for continued support. The Foundation’s longest running regional re-granting program, administered by San Francisco’s Southern Exposure, has been in operation since 2007. With the formation of the Grit Fund, The Contemporary joins eight re-granting programs in San Francisco, CA (Southern Exposure); Kansas City, MO (Charlotte Street Foundation and Spencer Museum of Art); Chicago, IL (Threewalls and Gallery 400); Houston, TX (Diverse Works, Aurora Picture Show, and Project Row Houses); Portland, OR (Portland Institute for Contemporary Art); Miami, FL (Cannonball); Portland, ME (SPACE Gallery); and New Orleans, LA (Press Street, Ashé Cultural Center and Pelican Bomb).

Rachel Bers, Program Director for the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, states, “the Warhol Foundation is very excited to be working with The Contemporary to expand our re-granting efforts to Baltimore and we look forward to seeing the dynamic projects from the city’s artists that the Grit Fund will support.”

“The Contemporary is honored to be participating in the Warhol Foundation Regional Regranting program. We are thrilled to be joining this national network and working alongside other established and emerging Warhol Regranting programs to support self-organized artistic activity,” comments Karen Stults, Trustee of The Contemporary and Grit Fund Committee Co-Chair.

Grantees will be selected by a panel comprised of local and national artists and arts professionals. The staff of The Contemporary will not influence the granting decisions. Full application details, guidelines, and timeline will be available on November 24, 2014. The online application will open for submissions on January 12, 2015 with the first round of awards announced on April 22, 2015. Further details will be provided as the program is fully implemented. Please visit gritfund.org.

Please direct all inquiries to Lu Zhang at [email protected].

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