Well, hello my donor activist friends! Welcome to another week of exciting feminist philanthropy news, as well as my weekly discussion of happenings related to gender equality at large.
This week I took a deep excursion into literary culture and read Assembly by Natasha Brown. This novel caught my eye because it was by an author who had a background in financial services and math, yet when I picked up the book and read a few lines, I felt a deep sense of kinship with the words.
I don’t want to give away any spoilers about this book because it’s really a wonderful process to absorb the story without any preconceptions in mind. The story takes a narrative path that I can only describe as an anti-romance, and yet it felt strangely rich and satisfying to me as a reader.
Wavelength Productions has opened submissions for the WAVE grant, which will award five women and non-binary filmmakers of color.
Submissions for the WAVE grant are now open. From Wavelength Films, the production studio behind titles such as Isabel Bethencourt and Parker Hill’s “Cusp” and Ekwa Msangi’s “Farewell Amor,” the initiative supports first-time women and non-binary filmmakers of color. The Wave Grant stands for “Women at the Very Edge” and includes a $5,000 grant and mentorship program.
The WAVE grant was launched to support directors with the production of their first short documentary or narrative film. A press release from Wavelength announced that “the program has been so successful that they will be awarding the mentorship program and grants to the top five filmmakers this year.”
Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Favianna Rodriguez, President of The Center for Cultural Power, a national organization investing in artists and storytellers as agents of positive social change.
What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?
I wish I’d known more about the racial and gender barriers that exist for women of color leaders in the non-profit sector, particularly the arts and culture space. I knew how to pitch my ideas and raise money, but I lacked information on how to navigate situations in which I was experiencing unequal treatment due to my gender and racial identity. I was in many spaces where the safety of women was not prioritized. Unfortunately, over the last 20 years of being an institutional leader, I’ve experienced numerous uncomfortable situations including sexual harassment, the theft of my ideas by male leaders, being bullied by men when I challenged sexist assumptions, and being trained to lead in a boy’s club type of approach. Before, I didn’t have the language or tools to navigate these situations. But that has since changed, and I’m incredibly thankful for that because it gives me the opportunity to create safe spaces for other female and gender non-confirming leaders to thrive.
Ten Ringling College of Art and Design students have created spectacular biographical illustrations of the lives of ten great women artists.
Ten Ringling College of Art and Design Illustration students created a series of biographical sketches for the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) based upon the lives of ten women artists whose work is featured in the Museum’s collection. With aligned missions to inspire creativity and provide platforms for professional experience, the project was a collaboration between SAAM and Ringling College’s INDEX program. As winners of the INDEX competition, the ten students created short comics comprised of 12 to 16 frames apiece to convey the story of each of the ten women artists, some of whom may not have received the attention they deserved in their lifetimes.
Editor’s Note: This dual interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Bridgit Antoinette Evans and Tracy Van Slyke, who are, respectively, the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Strategy Officer of the Pop Culture Collaborative, a philanthropic resource and funder learning community.
1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?
Bridgit Antoinette Evans: I wish that I’d been introduced to Octavia E. Butler much earlier in life. Octavia wrote about this concept of “positive obsession,” which she described as “not being able to stop just because you’re afraid and full of doubts.” My mother and her siblings were leaders in the Civil Rights movement in Savannah, and while she fiercely believed that her daughters could be anything we wanted to be in the world, she was very clear that we needed to be improving the world while doing it. I wanted to be an artist, and so, as a teen, I became obsessed with one question: “What is the relationship between a great story and widespread cultural change?”
For a group of self-described “theater kids”, putting away onstage personalities and shutting the door may have been more difficult than most. But as we move closer to “normal”, one of the first returns we’re eager to see is the return to the stage — and not just the return of the classics, but the start of something new and incredible building its way out of the pandemic.
At The Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival, held this July and August in Salt Lake City, Utah, the return to the stage is more than just a celebration of live performance. Fringe, as an arts movement, is known for themes and stories on the edges — and this year, the rise of marginalized directors, all-female casts, and feminist narratives is more apparent than ever.
Editor’s Note: Sometimes art can be restorative and help us, as donors and activists, to see the world in a new light. The following exhibition by Vickie Pierre provides much-needed artistic attention to issues related to women, people of color, and other marginalized communities.
The Divine Feminine Interventions of Vickie Pierre
Vickie Pierre: Be My Herald of What’s to Come
On View June 9 through September 5 at the Boca Raton Museum of Art Like the town crier in a fractured fairy tale, “Be My Herald of What’s to Come” rings in Vickie Pierre’s premiere solo museum show at the Boca Raton Museum of Art. Grounded in the Arts and Crafts movement, her installations have a storybook feel. A fractured fairy tale is, after all, a new twist on an old story, reimagined and restructured for a contemporary sensibility. Just as fractured fairytales can be more subversive than the traditional fables, the playfulness and whimsical flourishes of Pierre’s assemblages are underscored by her pull towards the beautifully grotesque.
Spotify, one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing music streaming platforms, believes that music and audio have the power to change the world. As a catalyst for that change, Spotify aims to empower women creators by giving them a place to share their content globally. The company is committed to fostering equity for women and has recently launched two new campaigns, Frequency and EQUAL. These new campaigns will work to amplify the voices of emerging female creators who in the past have been under-appreciated and underrepresented.
Raising the Frequency
Frequency is an extension of Spotify’s ongoing commitment to and investment in Black voices. The new global initiative cultivates a holistic destination for celebrating Black art, entertainment, creativity, culture and community both on and off-platform. Through a rollout of new content, cultural partnerships and an ambassador program, Frequency aims to further connect the Black community to established and emerging Black artists, all while fostering community and appreciating the culture that has made an impact across fashion, tech, business, and music.
In an ongoing series, the fashion brand HEX aims to highlight the work of female photographers.
The video series, entitled Women in Focus, tells the stories of five female photographers at different stages in their careers. The content spotlights their individual stories, challenges, workplace practices, and advice that they offer about their experiences as women in a predominantly male field.
HEX themselves are responsible for producing various photography bags that feature innovative technologies, antimicrobial fabrics and patented designs ideal for the photographer at work. They wish to support creators in the field through this series by connecting women creatives through hearing each other’s stories.