The Institute of International Education has announced a grant of $2.79 million from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in support of efforts to save the lives and works of artists who face persecution in their home countries.
To be piloted over three years, the Artist Protection Fund will provide fellowships to threatened artists in any field of artistic endeavor and place them at host universities and arts centers in countries where they can safely continue their work and plan for their future. IIE is calling on arts organizations around the world to serve as host institutions and to match the fellowship by providing housing, studio space, art supplies, and/or other in-kind support.
The fund draws on commitments similar to those made in support of IIE's Scholar Rescue Fund, which was created in 2002 and has since provided fellowships enabling more than six hundred scholars from fifty-three countries to escape from harm and continue pursuing their scholarship in freedom and safety. "As in the case of persecuted scholars, threats against just one individual artist can have an immediate chilling effect on entire artistic communities," said IIE president Allan Goodman. "The Artist Protection Fund will connect artists to opportunities in a way that provides mutual benefit to both the artists and the arts organizations. Our goal is to build connections and skills that will help the artists to thrive after the fellowship is over and enrich the artistic communities that host them."
"The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is proud to support IIE's launch of the Artist Protection Fund, a pioneering effort to create a fellowship program to rescue threatened artists and get them working again in the safest, most productive, and most welcoming atmosphere possible," said Mellon Foundation vice president Mariët Westermann. "The program will enable their work and voices to continue to be seen and heard, which, as many artists tell us, is of critical importance to them. The benefits will accrue to the artists and their families, their host and home communities, and the larger world in which their art can continue to play a prominent role."