Speculative-Inspired Arts: Supporting Black Arts Communities

It’s now Thursday, and the fervor that was #BlackoutTuesday is two days past, but active antiracist support must continue if we’re to create real and meaningful change. This month for “Speculative-Inspired Arts,” I’ve put together a list of resources and organizations that support Black creators and artists. If you’re not in a position to provide material support directly through donations, sponsorships, or purchases, consider providing increased visibility for these organizations and artists through your social media platforms and online recommendations.

Remember that true change is best nourished through long-term commitment, so make active support of Black artists a regular and conscious habit. My apologies if I’ve left any artistic disciplines out. If I have, drop some support links in the comments section please!

All Arts Disciplines

The Black Art Futures Fund: This organization “provides grants to small ($750K or less) nonprofits working to enhance the future of Black arts & culture.” Past grantees include organizations that provide Black-focused music, theater, and visual arts performances and services.

Arts and Culture Leaders of Color Emergency Fund: This emergency fund was created to give small grants to working people of color artists or art administrators who are affected by COVID-19. If you have an artist friend or colleague who is struggling because of COVID-19, send them this link to apply.

Applied Arts

Etsy Artists: Whether you seek purses, mugs, jewelry, scarves, party wares, art prints, shirts, candles, or even face masks, you can find it all on Etsy. Book blogger Jen with “Pop! Goes the Reader” has put together a thread of Black-owned Etsy shops whose owners make their artistic talents their business.

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The Black Design Collective: The Black Design Collective “seeks to create a platform for designers of color to develop, produce and market their products globally as well as create a mentorship program for aspiring designers.” They’ve also established an emergency COVID-19 relief fund for black designers.

Game Developers

Black Game Developers: Rad Magpie provides “underrepresented people greater access to creative collaboration, leadership, and technical skills through game development.” In February, they pulled together this list of Black game developers to follow.

Game Developers of Color Expo: The Game Developers of Color Expo is going virtual this year on September 19th. This event is looking for donations and sponsors to make it the biggest and best event yet for new and experienced game developers to share and learn.

Board Game Designers: If you prefer low-tech games, here’s a short list compiled by AfroTech of board games created by Black developers.

Literary Arts

People of Color in Publishing: POC in Pub is an organization “dedicated to supporting, empowering, and uplifting racially and ethnically marginalized members throughout the industry.”

Black Writers Collective: The Black Writers Collective seeks to connect, empower and educate Black writers with critique and beta reading opportunities, classes on craft and publishing, and much more.

Center for African American Poetry and Poetics: The mission of CAAPP at the University of Pittsburgh is to “highlight, promote, and share the work of African American and African diasporic poets and to pollinate cross-disciplinary conversation and collaboration.”

Music and Film

The African American Voice Actor Database: This site is designed “to facilitate connections between amazing talents and agents/voice-seekers” through its extensive database of Black voice actors. Fans of voiced animation, dubbed anime, or books on audio can support the work of Black voice actors here.

Resources for Black Filmmakers: Okay, I’m cheating with this one by linking to an already-published list from The Cutaway of resources that support Black filmmakers. Their list is extensive and thorough, and I couldn’t do any better.

The National Association of Negro Musicians: NANM has been around for more than one-hundred years, promoting, preserving, and supporting “all genres of music created or performed by African-Americans.” They also provide scholarships and grants for youth in musical education.

Performing Arts

The Coalition for African Americans in Performing Arts: CAAPA “promotes opportunities for Black classical musicians and others in the performing arts through arts performances, education, and outreach.” Based in Maryland, United States, they’ve been hit hard by COVID-19 and are working to fund a CAAPA Artist Relief Fund to help Black artists affected by event cancellations. When life returns to normal, revisit the site for information on their latest events and ways to sponsor their programs.

The International Association of Blacks in Dance: The IABD “preserves and promotes dance by people of African ancestry or origin, and assists and increases opportunities for artists.” In addition to general donations to support their ongoing mission, they’ve established an emergency relief fund for dancers affected by COVID-19.

Visual Arts

Black Artist Directory: Illustrator and Drawing While Black organizer Abelle Hayford has put together a full list of Black illustrators, graphic designers, animators, and comic artists. If you’re in need of illustrating services, make this list your first stop.

#ArtShare on Twitter: If you’re more visual-oriented, you can find a string of replies to an #artshare request on Twitter from Art Camp that is loaded with beautiful artwork from Black illustrators.

Women Who Draw Directory: This directory by Women Who Draw allows you to search for illustrators by location, orientation, religion, or ethnicity, including—for our purposes—Black women-identified artists.

The Exposure Group: The Exposure Group African American Photographers Association is a “participatory member-driven professional photographers association dedicated towards improving the skills, professionalism, and productivity of its members.” I couldn’t find a support function for the group itself, but you can find information and links to relevant events.

 

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