In News, Rocket Grants

Kansas City, MO, May 29, 2018: Charlotte Street Foundation (Kansas City, MO) and Spencer Museum of Art (Lawrence, KS) are excited to announce this year’s crop of award winners for the 2018-19 Rocket Grants. The grants are funded by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and a total of $60,000 was awarded to the eleven selected artists and artist groups. Since the beginning of the program in 2010, $452,000 have been given to 92 cross-disciplinary projects in the Kansas City area.

“This year’s Rocket Grants submissions reveal the significance, diversity, and passion of artists and artwork in this region,” said Saralyn Reece Hardy, Spencer Museum Director. “Every year the Spencer Museum is honored to help facilitate this project that emphasizes the crucial role of art in public dialogue.”

Battery Tour, 2016, Be Outlet

The 2018 Project Awards include: six full Project Awards and two 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. Two groups were awarded $4,500 Project Awards and one artists was given a $3,000 Project Award. The winners were selected by a panel of visiting jurors—Shannon Criss, Lawrence; De Nichols, St. Louis; Elizabeth Spavento, Portland, ME, and Don Wilkison, Kansas City.

An Awards Ceremony will be held on Thursday, June 7th, 2018, at Travois (310 W. 19th Terrace, Kansas City, MO 64108). The reception begins at 5:30 PM and awards are presented at 6:30 PM. The event is free and open to the public with an RSVP. At the ceremony, awardees will make a 3-minute pecha kucha presentation about their project.

Rocket Grants are in their ninth round of funding. The program is designed and implemented through a partnership between the Charlotte Street Foundation and the Spencer Museum of Art at KU, with funding from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. For more information about the program and this year’s winners please visit the Rocketblog:

Open House exhibition “Apt 1 / Apt 2,” 2018, featured Stephanie Eckermann, Max Pond, Macy Pruitt and William Toney

$6,000 Project Award

Grace Suh; Mission, KS, “Supreme / Being: The Musical”
A chaotic, multivalent intersection of reality TV and propaganda pageantry.

Randall Jenson, David Seymour, Jacory Dean, Dr. Alberto Villamandos, Ryan Webster; Kansas City, MO, “#GetWoke: Queer and Trans People of Color
A quarterly artistic event series for Kansas City queer and trans people of color.

Cecilia Ananya Belser-Patton + Paris Patton; Kansas City, MO, SOUPer KC
Developing intentional community by hosting dinners to celebrate and support creative projects in urban core Kansas City.

John Sebelius; Lawrence, KS, “MIXED MEdia: A Healing Arts Journey for Veterans”
A mental and physical space for veterans to explore their emotions, histories, and stories through a creative healing process and exhibition.

Ruby Rhodd, Deborah Bryan, Sydney Pursel; White Cloud, KS, “Mahaska-White Cloud Community Mural
Three members of the Ioway Tribe will bring local and tribal communities together to memorialize the rich history of the area.

AY Young; Kansas City, MO, “Battery Tour”
A social music movement that uses solar & battery-power energy and integrates the audience into performances.

$4,500 Project Award
Mazzy Mann, Lorelei Kretsinger, Zoey Shopmaker; Kansas City, MO, “Transfiguration”
A one-time, multi-day day event honoring trans and queer influences in fashion, music, and the media.

Brandon Frederick, Olivia Clanton; Kansas City, MO, “Open House”
An experimental, collaborative, neighborhood-based, artist-driven and artist-centered space.

$3,000 Project Award
James aka ‘SugEasy’ Singleton; Shawnee, KS, “Breaking Art”
A classic Hip Hop Jam with DeeJays, Graffiti Writers and the live creation of art on canvas using Breakdance moves.

$2,000 + $4,000 Research & Development Award
Taylor Fourt, Jacob Canyon, JC Franco, Megan Ammari; Kansas City, MO, “The Potluck Cart” Public space, on wheels – a mobile platform for open visual, literary, or culinary creation.

Israel Garcia; Kansas City, MO, “Bordes Carnosos / Border Carnage ‘MoLCA’
An evolving, traveling exhibit documenting the immigrant experience of three KC Latinx neighborhoods and their ties to the borderlands of today.


Through multidisciplinary creative practice, De Nichols mobilizes global changemakers to activate ideas that address civic and social challenges within their communities. Based in St. Louis, MO, De serves as the Social Impact Design Principal of Civic Creatives, a design strategy agency that develops interactive experiences, tools, and initiatives to help communities engage issues of civic disengagement, youth development, social inclusion, food access and security, and arts & cultural policy. As a cultural producer, De organizes artists to develop digital media and visual artwork that extend the impact of her design practice.

Elizabeth Spavento’s work tends to favor alternative spaces and community-driven practices and she has curated and exhibited work nationally. Her interests include equity, particularly as it relates to issues of race and gender, the untapped potential of space, altered states of consciousness and unstructured time. She manages the Kindling Fund in Portland, ME, and is also co-founder of Border Patrol a contemporary art space there that investigates the intersection between contemporary art and corporate aesthetics. http://www.border-patrol.net

As much civil servant as artist, Don Wilkison’s work is informed by his scientist’s background. As m.o.i. aka The Minister of Information, he works in a variety of approaches and media, including collaborative public installations and interventions, photography, print making, and sculpture. His civic engagements lie at the intersection of middle-class economics, progressive politics, and environmental science.

Shannon Criss teaches architecture design studios at the University of Kansas Architecture Department. In 2013 she co-founded Dotte Agency, a multi-disciplinary design collaborative. Its goal is to leverage design as a democratic tool and create an architecture that serves the greater good. Criss’s participatory practice advocates for involving community members and students as agents – to design, build and install ‘small bet’ project solutions in public spaces, and to generate conversations & new forms of interactions.;


The Spencer Museum of Art explores the capacity of art to spark curiosity, inspire creativity, and create connections among people. The Museum, located on the University of Kansas campus in Lawrence, houses an internationally known collection that is deep and diverse, currently numbering nearly 36,000 artworks and artifacts in all media. The collection spans the history of European and American art from ancient to contemporary and includes broad and significant holdings of East Asian art. Areas of special strength include medieval art; European and American paintings, sculpture and prints; photography; Japanese Edo-period painting and prints; 20th-century Chinese painting; and KU’s Ethnographic Collection, which includes about 10,000 Native American, African, Latin American and Australian works. To learn more about the museum and its programs you can visit

The Regional Regranting Program of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts aims to support vibrant, under-the-radar artistic activity by partnering with leading cultural institutions in communities across the country. The program allows the Foundation to reach the sizeable population of informal, non- incorporated artist collectives and to support their alternative gathering spaces, publications, websites, events and other projects. The Foundation plans to expand this program with partner organizations in areas where the level of on- the-ground, self-organized artistic activity is highest. You can read more information at


Charlotte Street identifies the needs and fuels the evolution of an ever-changing multidisciplinary arts ecosystem, acting as its primary provocateur. Charlotte Street cultivates the contemporary, the exceptional, and the unexpected in the practice of artists working in and engaging with the Kansas City art community. Since 1997, Charlotte Street has distributed over $1.1 million in awards and grants to artists and their innovative projects and connected individual artists to each other and to the greater Kansas City community. For more information about Charlotte Street, its awards, programs, and initiatives, visit

Read the full press release here.

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