It began with a vision: to build a community of Black artists who collaborate on projects and work together to lift the talents of fellow creatives across all mediums. This past summer, the Black Artists Fund was launched to much acclaim, awarding more than $15,000 in grants to local Black artists. Founder Faith McKinnie, as well as other Black creatives, started BAF to address the stark inequity they experienced in arts funding by raising money through a GoFundMe campaign to help Black artists sustain their careers.
BAF completed its second round of applications in December, raising $22,000 that was awarded to 26 artists in $500 to $2,000 grants.
“We had everything: a nail artist, a few artists that draw on shoes, a lot of fashion and clothing designers, makeup artists and a lot more dancers this time,” McKinnie says. “Going through the apps, I just realized how many really creative people are living in our community.”
With the success of the first two rounds, the next application process for grants is set for June. In the meantime, the BAF board looks forward to hosting workshops that will teach Black artists how to write about their work, create grant proposals, build websites and, most importantly, continue to foster the growing community BAF has brought together. “I think what’s important for me is to continue to grow and build our community,” says McKinnie. “For 2021, I want to foster these relationships and introduce this artist to that artist. I want to be able to take the 130 artists that have applied and get us all together, whether that’s through Zoom, and build on what first started with an application.”