OAKLAND, Calif .– The Black Artists + Designers Guild (BADG) has named the four recipients of its inaugural Creative Futures Fellowship, which aims to represent black talent and culture in visual arts, architecture and interior design.
The four winners, two undergraduates and two graduate students, will receive a $ 5,000 prize and mentorship to support their heritage project, from ideation to implementation.
Abena Otema Danquah, an undergraduate architectural student at the Rhode Island School of Design, was honored for the Kaya Pavilion, which provides a space for learning, gathering, playing and resting. This project will reveal the impact of planning on human encounters and the coexistence of multiple audiences.
Janiya Douglas, an undergraduate student in Art History and Curatorial Studies at Spelman College, has created a project that aims to cultivate an institutional space that centers and reflects a consciousness rooted uniquely in the experiences of black South Americans. The architecture of Souf, a hub of southern black intellectual thought, will exist as a campus that embodies the cultural aesthetic of southern black expression.
Graduate student LaRissa Rogers, who studies new genres at the University of California, Los Angeles, explores the dual nature of flight and migration as a means of survival and preservation with a six-foot floor sculpture. The sculpture will speak particularly of diasporic resilience through the prism of place and belonging.
Graduate student Neysa Wellington, who is studying photography at the Tyler School of Art and Architecture at Temple University, has embarked on a visual storytelling project that explores the role of a mother in different family dynamics at across the African continent and the diaspora.
BADG makers Rhonnika Clifton, Nina Cooke John, Beth Diana Smith and Dr Lisa Whittington, as well as selected industry professionals, including Tile’s artistic direction, will serve as grant recipients’ mentors.
“Mentorship and arts education are just as important to me as artistic creation,” said Whittington. “Years ago, I got my PhD in Arts Education specifically to be an arts mentor, art advocate and more effective arts educator for black youth. I find it an honor to help my people, especially knowing that African Americans are at a disadvantage in the arts.