The Charlotte Street Foundation has announced winners of its prestigious Rocket Grants.
Eleven projects, selected for innovation and their aim to reach audiences outside traditional arts venues, were awarded a total of $60,000.
Here are the $6,000 full project awards:
Cat Mahari, The Floor: A multimedia work that explores the Great Migration of American blacks from the South to the North and West, at 31st & Brklyn, a new performance venue for emerging and adventurous contemporary artists of color.
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Laura Isaac, Arts Dojo: A venue inside an active aikido dojo will be an incubator for visual, literary, musical and performing arts, a place where artists can take it to the mat and throw down.
Jarrett Mellenbruch, Haven Hive Monitor: A prototype solar-powered monitor installed inside a living beehive sculpture, continuously streaming hive data to a website and converting the data into accessible, visual graphics.
Randall Jenson, Transforming Resiliency While Queering Violence: SocialScope Productions, an LGBTQ multimedia organization, will create an online video healing project, lifting up the voices of transgender and gender-nonconforming youths and trans people of color.
Lara Shipley, The New Rural: A project investigating rural communities near Kansas City, using audio interviews and photographs to document the realities of individual youth experience, and resulting in a publication and website.
Jared Macken, Two Strangers Meet Alone in a Vacant Parking Lot: Two small-scale architectural structures orchestrating the face-to-face meeting of two strangers in a former Dillon’s parking lot in Topeka, with a publication featuring artist prints of the architectural drawings.
The $4,000 modified full project award:
Don Wilkison, Cut Your Hair in the Socialist Style: A salon-within-a-salon that takes place in the culminating months of the 2016 U.S. presidential election cycle, creating safe zones for public debate about contentious issues.
The $2,000 modified full project award:
Melaney Mitchell, Informality Radical Public Programming: A yearlong series of public interventions designed to grow a more dynamic audience through public programs like Pop Up Guerrilla Docents and a new video criticism series.
Full R&D awards ($2,000 upfront with an option for $4,000 implementation):
Paul Donnelly, KC Urban Potters Project Space: A cooperative exhibition space providing an environment to create, educate and engage, sparking dialogue between makers and non-makers about the importance of handmade pottery in our daily lives.
Emily Sloan, The ToTLuck: A series of three one-night-only cross-disciplinary installations, including photography, music, dance and spoken word in and on a 1960 Airstream trailer with public “potluck” meals.
The Modified R&D award ($4,000 upfront with option for $2,000 implementation):
Anthony Rea, Where We No Longer Gather: Liberty Memorial, Penn Valley Park and Public Queer Looks: A photographic, site-specific, public engagement piece documenting an unrecorded history of a displaced community and asking questions about community removal and the lack of a public queer space.
In seven years, Rocket Grants have awarded $332,000 to 71 projects by regional artists.
A public awards ceremony will be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. June 2 at the new KCAI Gallery (formerly Grand Arts), where awardees will make three-minute slide presentations about their projects.
Rocket Grants are supported by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and implemented in a partnership between Charlotte Street Foundation and the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas.
“From a celebration of ‘stepping’ at a new contemporary dance venue, to an artist’s political salon within a hair salon, work on the cutting edge of art-science, interactive architectural sculpture, guerrilla docents, and healing histories within our queer and trans communities of color, Rocket Grants projects continue to engage the public with experimental forms and ideas, seed new artist-run spaces and amplify marginal voices,” Rocket Grants program coordinator Julia Cole wrote in a statement.
The selection panel was made up of four jurors: Rosten Woo of Los Angeles, Cameron Shaw of New Orleans, Benjamin Rosenthal of Lawrence, and Lisa Cordes of Kansas City.