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Rocket Grants, a program of Charlotte Street Foundation and the Spencer Museum of Art, awards $60,000 to 11 grant recipients for 2016.

Rocket Grants, funded by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, announces its 2016 Grant Awards. A total of $60,000 was awarded to eleven selected artists and artist teams, bringing the total awards to date to $332,000 for 71 cross-disciplinary projects involving more than 196 artists.

The 2016 Project Awards include eight full Project Awards and three Research & Development (R&D) Awards. Full Project Awards provide up to $6,000 for each selected project. R&D Awards provide $2,000 up front and a further $4,000 contingent upon a return proposal for implementation. The winners were selected by a panel of visiting jurors—Rosten Woo, Los Angeles; Cameron Shaw, New Orleans; Benjamin Rosenthal, Lawrence, KS; and Lisa Cordes, Kansas City.

Rocket Grants Program Coordinator Julia Cole said, “For the last seven years, the Rocket Grants program has funded artist-driven and artist-centric projects that challenge ‘normal’ and support a dynamic cultural community in the Kansas City region. This year’s diverse selection is no exception. From a celebration of ‘Stepping’ at a new contemporary dance venue, to an artists’ 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.”

An Awards Ceremony will be held Thursday, June 2nd, 5:30PM at the new Kansas City Art Institute gallery facility (formerly Grand Arts). The 2016 awardees will make three-minute pecha kucha presentations about their projects.

Rocket Grants are in their seventh round of funding, having just received a recommitment of support from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts through the 2017–2018 cycle. The program is designed and implemented through a partnership between the Charlotte Street Foundation and the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas. Please visit the Rocket Grants website for an in-depth look at each Project Award.

Grantees are as follows:

Full Project Awards ($6,000)

Cat Mahari, The Floor: A multimedia, immersive art engagement in conversation with difference and the U.S. Great Black Migration, at 31st & Brklyn – a new performance venue for emerging and adventurous, contemporary artists of color.

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, a LGBTQ multimedia organization, will create an online video healing project, lifting up the voices of transgender and gender nonconforming youth 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 complete strangers in a former Dillon’s parking lot in Topeka, KS, with a publication featuring artist prints of the architectural drawings.

Modified Full Project Award ($4,000)

Don Wilkison, Cut Your Hair in the Socialist Style: A salon-within-a-salon that takes place in the culminating months of the 2016 US presidential election cycle, creating safe zones for public debate about contentious issues.

Modified Full Project Award ($2,000)

Melaney Mitchell, Informality Radical Public Programming: A year-long 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 Research & Development Awards ($2,000 up front 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 3 one-night-only cross-disciplinary installations, including photography, music, dance and spoken word in and on a 1960 Airstream trailer with public “potluck” meals.

Modified Research & Development Award ($4,000 up front with an 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.

Press Release

List of Jurors 2016

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