The New York City-based Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art has announced grants totaling $2.3 million to fifteen organizations in support of efforts to strengthen relationships between Muslim and non-Muslim neighbors through the arts and cultural projects.
Awarded through the foundation’s Building Bridges 2017-18 Program, the grants will fund both pop-up and long-term cultural programming featuring theater, spoken word, literature, documentary film, radio, and other art forms to promote intercultural harmony and connections. Recipients include the Brooklyn Historical Society ($300,000), which will use the funds to develop a public arts and oral history project around the borough’s diverse Muslim communities and history, including public performances, educational curricula, and visual arts in New York City transit locations; the Cleveland Public Theatre ($50,000), which will partner with local Muslim community organizations to create a permanent ensemble dedicated to Arabic-language productions; Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) ($225,000), which will develop CommUNITY Café, a live performance art series in Chicago and Atlanta, in addition to an annual artist retreat and holistic artist residencies; and Springboard for the Arts ($300,000), which will partner with the People’s Center Clinics and Services in Minneapolis to launch a Creative Community Hub designed to build relationships between Somali and other East African immigrants and their non-Muslim neighbors.
“When our trust and connections to one another break down, we are all the poorer for it,” said Zeyba Rahman, senior program officer for the Building Bridges Program. “One of the most tested and reliable ways in which we can ignite cross-community understanding and dissipate fear is through storytelling. It can serve as the glue that binds us together by providing direct entry into one another’s inner worlds and become the basis for lasting relationships. We are honored to support these fifteen new projects, which creatively reimagine ways to promote social cohesion in our communities while celebrating the cultural contributions of Muslims to our American identity.”