Queer/Art posts call for Black trans women/trans femme visual artists


“I Looked Up at the Sky and I, Imagined All of the Stars Were My Sisters” by inaugural Illuminations Grant recipient Keijaun Thomas in 2020. (Photo by Charles Rice via Queer-Art.org.)

To commemorate Transgender Day of Visibility, Queer|Art, NYC’s home for connecting and empowering generations of LGBTQ+ Artists, announced Thursday the judges for its third annual Illuminations Grant for Black Trans Women Visual Artists: interdisciplinary artist Jonathan Lyndon Chase; writer, curator, and activist Kimberly Drew, and model, performer, and fashion illustrator Connie Fleming.

This annual $10,000 grant is awarded to draw attention to under-recognized contributions of Black trans women visual artists and provides critical support to their continuing work. The first of its kind, the Illuminations Grant for Black Trans Women Visual Artists aims to correct the exclusion of Black trans women from the larger art canon and uplift profound lineages of Black trans women artistic practices, mapping avenues for future generations of Black trans women artists.

The Illuminations Grant is made possible entirely through support provided by visual artist Mariette Pathy Allen, whose body of photographic work over the last 40 years has been squarely focused on expanding cultural consciousness around gender and transformation. The development of this grant was stewarded by consultant and writer Aaryn Lang, working in collaboration with Mariette Pathy Allen, Serena Jara and Queer|Art.

“The Illuminations Grant not only highlights the lacking representation of Black trans women in the visual arts,” Aaryn Lang stated, “but also seeks to confront the systemic barriers that deny them artistic opportunities and a sustainable craft. By supporting this grant, Mariette Pathy Allen challenges herself and the art industry to see Black trans women as more than mere subjects, while forging a new pathway for visual artists within this community to thrive.”

Applications are now open through June 30, 2022, and the grant will be awarded in September 2022.

Queer|Art staff will also provide the winning artist with consultations and further access to many of the tools they have developed in conjunction with the organization’s cornerstone creative and professional development program, Queer|Art|Mentorship.

Qualified artists must be self-identified Black trans women and trans femmes working in visual art and based in the United States.

Queer|Art announced that the grant will also provide a $1,250 award to four finalists, in addition to the $10,000 awarded to a winner each year. The winning artist will receive professional development resources, including a studio visit with each participating judge, to bolster their creative development in the field.

Questions about the grant can be directed to Dani Brito at [email protected]

Founded in 2009, Queer|Art was born out of the recognition of a generation of artists and audiences lost to the ongoing AIDS crisis, and in a profound understanding that one of the many repercussions of that loss has been a lack of mentors and role models for a new generation of LGBTQ+ artists.

From staff reports



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