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CATAPULT – New grant funds Caribbean artists

Published:Sunday | August 9, 2020 | 12:00 AM
File Photos From left; Francis King, Michael Kerr and Michael Robinson graphic artists putting the finishing touches to artwork along Collie Smith drive in Trench Town.
A photographer takes a photo of the exhibition at the contract signing for community development grants, Title of Action; Kingston Creative Community Artwalk at the Kingston Creative Dancehall Cyaa Stall on Water Lane in Kingston on Sunday, January 26.

In light of the severe impact of COVID-19 on creative people and the arts sector, a fund of US$320,000 from the Open Society Foundation has been granted to the American Friends of Jamaica, in collaboration with Kingston Creative and The Fresh Milk Art Platform, in support of artists, creatives, and cultural practitioners across the Caribbean region. This grant acknowledges the current global pandemic, a crisis disproportionately affecting the creative sector in Small Island Developing States, many of which lack the resources to provide adequate support to those working in this vital sector.

CATAPULT, a Caribbean arts grant, will target participants living and working across the Dutch-, English-, French-, and Spanish-speaking regions. This five-month comprehensive arts programme includes funding online creative events, art writing, digital-skills training, residencies, and virtual discursive salons. It is particularly interested in working with arts and cultural practitioners who are exploring broad critical themes, including culture and human rights, and the team especially welcomes applications from those who do not have permanent employment at this time.

Fresh Milk is an organisation whose aim is to nurture, empower, and connect Caribbean artists, raise regional awareness about contemporary arts, and provide global opportunities for growth, excellence, and success. Founding Director Annalee Davis expressed enthusiasm regarding the partnership. “Fresh Milk is pleased to have the opportunity to partner on this critical project nurturing Caribbean artists. With little support available at the state level for so many cultural practitioners working across this vulnerable region, having an opportunity to facilitate stay-at-home residencies and virtual salons means that more artists can safely remain in their studios and do what they do best: make art.”

CATAPULT will increase the capacity of Caribbean-based artists to navigate the digital space and learn new ways to connect with diverse global audiences. It will also promote the visibility of cultural practitioners by expanding the pool of online content from the region, enabling artists to engage wider audiences while increasing the potential to earn beyond their borders.