Oakland — Define American is bringing eight undocumented artists to Oakland this weekend to launch the first-ever Undocumented Artist Fellowship program. The fellowship connects these artists with resources, a stipend, and national exposure through Define American, while also demonstrating that art is a universal language. We are fighting to ensure that the thriving arts scene in the U.S. is fully imbued with energy from all over the world. The artists come from six cities in five states, including two from California. They are painters, sculptors, musicians, designers, photographers, performance artists, and experimental filmmakers.
“Too often we see undocumented people are subjects of art while undocumented artists themselves, may experience limited access to spaces where they can elevate their own creativity, weaving it into the fabric of America,” says Define American Executive Director Ryan Eller. “Through our fellowship program, we aim to fill this void. Undocumented artists play a central role in shifting the narrative about Americans who are undocumented.”
Please join us if you are in the Bay Area as we announce this first cohort of art fellows.
- What: Define American Artist Fellowship Program Launch (Please RSVP)
- When: Saturday, May 4, 2019, 5-6:30 p.m.
- Where: Pro Arts Gallery & COMMONS, 150 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Oakland
Although breaking into the art world is universally difficult, undocumented artists are especially vulnerable as they face systemic obstacles. Often their undocumented status limits the type of funding they are eligible for, their freedom to raise their visibility on social media, and their ability to advocate for their work.
These artists will work directly alongside Define American staff to meet fundamental needs that artists require to create high-impact art. Additionally, a core element of this fellowship is to pair each artist with a local community-based organization to better understand the needs of their community and how art can be a part of creating new and innovative solutions. Two of the artists will receive seed funding for an additional project at the end of their term.
The Undocumented Artist Fellowship is made possible through a grant from the Kresge Foundation, and The California Endowment is co-sponsoring the launch event.