The Open Society Foundations has announced the inaugural recipients of the Soros Arts Fellowship.
The new initiative is designed to support innovative mid-career artists using art and public space to advance more pluralistic, democratic, and just societies. To that end, the eight fellows will each receive an $80,000 stipend to develop a large-scale project over eighteen months on their own terms and in their own local contexts. Hailing from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Haiti, Morocco, Romania, Sudan, and the United States, this year's fellows are pursuing a variety of projects, including an arts-based organizing campaign against public conviction registries in the U.S.; a documentary on life in the historically overlooked municipality of Lubunga in the Democratic Republic of Congo; and a cultural resistance campaign against the privatization of natural resources in Morocco's Benslimane forest.
"Whether in democracies with longstanding traditions of supporting freedom of expression or in countries undergoing political transition, artists working in public spaces can contest oppression, make hope tangible, and create momentum for change," said Open Society's Arts Exchange senior program manager Rashida Bumbray. "This fellowship acknowledges the critical role that the arts can play in confronting obstacles to open society, and we are delighted to name these eight remarkable artists as our first cohort of fellows."
For more information about this year's Soros Arts Fellows, see the Open Society Foundation website.
(Photo credit: Agata Xavier)