The Chicago Artists Coalition, a nonprofit organization based in the Windy City, has revealed the 15 Chicago-based artists who will receive its first-ever SPARK microgrants, which come with unrestricted purses of $2,000 each.
The 2019 awardees are Alexandra Antoine, Gregory Bae, Rose Blouin, Laksha Dantran, Coriama Davis, Kevin Demery, Ashley Freeby, Jacquelyn Guerrero, Candace Hunter, Liang Luscombe, SaraNoa Mark, Meida McNeil, Carlos Barberena de la Rocha, Dorian Sylvain, and Chunbo Zhang.
According to a release, the new initiative provides funding to local emerging artists who identify as African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, or Native American; are disabled; have “acute financial need” (with individual income less than $44,450 per year or family income less than $63,200 per year); or are self-taught in their respective mediums and do not hold a degree from an art program. The SPARK microgrants are supported by the the Joyce Foundation in Chicago.
The inaugural cycle was juried by artists Rashayla Marie Brown and Sky Cubacub, filmmaker Pemon Rami, and Vincent Uribe, founder of the artist-run exhibition space LVL3 in Chicago.
Caroline Older, the executive director of the Chicago Artists Coalition, said in a statement, “We are grateful to be collaborating with the Joyce Foundation to create a program that directly supports and acknowledges artists as a vital part of the city’s arts ecosystem.”
Tracie D. Hall, director of the Joyce Foundation’s culture program, added, “We have truly visionary artists living and working in every neighborhood across the city. We hope that this new line of support will help bring some of their visions to life, for their individual benefit and that of their broader communities.”