Calling All Artists

Bass couple launches $100K initiative to support Fort Worth artists

Bass couple launches $100K initiative to support Fort Worth artists

Jay Wilkinson, “PPE,” 2020, acrylic on canvas
PPE by Jay Wilkinson, acrylic on canvas. Photo courtesy of Fine Line Group

UPDATE: The 43 recipients of the grants were announced on July 21. Winners of the top award, $5,000, were painter Ariel Davis, photographer Tony Drewry, painter DJ Perera, sculptor Bernardo Vallarino, painter Jay Wilkinson, and photographer Donnie Williams. For a complete list of grant recipients and samples of the winning works, visit www.newnormalfw.com.

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Through their Fine Line Group and in partnership with Gallery of Dreams, Edward and Sasha Bass have launched a $100,000 initiative to support Fort Worth artists.

Called The New Normal: An Artist's Response to COVID-19, the funding's aim is to help local visual artists "get back to work and support community healing" by creating works that reflect their experience living through the pandemic.

The free-to-apply program will distribute $100,000 to at least 40 Fort Worth artists in stipends of $2,000 or $5,000.

"Throughout history, artists have responded to major catastrophes and provided the world with visual interpretations of a reality that captures and preserves the human experience of the time," says Sasha Bass in a release. "Ed and I, along with our partners, are thrilled to launch this program, which will provide much-needed income to our talented local artists and sustain the creative experiences essential to our communal spirit. Even in this age of social distancing, coming together through art is possible."

The Alice L. Walton Foundation, the Donny Wiley Memorial Fund at the North Texas Community Foundation, and Kit and Charlie Moncrief are also partners on the program. The New Normal is administered by Gallery of Dreams, a Fort Worth nonprofit arts organization established by Lauren Childs of Fort Works Art.

Fort Worth applicants aged 21 and up are asked to submit a written proposal, including a personal statement sharing their views on how this opportunity will help them create, an overview of the COVID-19- related work they intend to create, and an idea on how their art can support others in Fort Worth. Examples of the artist's current work, along with a statement of need demonstrating loss of income due to the COVID-19 crisis, are also required.

There is no fee to apply, and the application is available here.

A panel of eight influential leaders from Fort Worth's most prestigious museums, including the Kimbell Art Museum, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, and the Sid Richardson Museum, will manage the selection process.

There are three cycles for selection:

  • Cycle 1 is open now-May 11, with the awards announced on May 16
  • Cycle 2 is May 12-26, with awards announced on May 31
  • Cycle 3 is May 27-June 10, with awards announced on June 15

"Fort Worth is a culturally rich and diverse community, and this program will reflect the unique perspectives of its many talented artists," says Rose Bradshaw, president and CEO of North Texas Community Foundation. "The Donny Wiley Memorial Fund supports women artists in Fort Worth and we're thrilled to join forces with Sasha and Ed, and our partners in The New Normal. This program fulfills Donny's legacy by providing local artists the resources they need to respond to this unprecedented disaster ... helping our community process, understand, and heal from the experience."

A recent survey commissioned by Americans for the Arts found that as many as two-thirds of artists in the U.S. are without income due to the pandemic, making it one of the hardest-hit professions in the country. The New Normal initiative proclaims to be the first of its kind in the U.S.

"We always envisioned The New Normal as an open-source model," says Sasha Bass. "We believe this is a powerful antidote to the isolation, fear, and uncertainty communities may be experiencing during this time. Through the lens of the artist's eye, we can heal together as one.

"We are already in discussions with leaders from three other cities who are working to implement a program like ours. All our efforts so far have been focused on getting The New Normal up and running in Fort Worth as quickly as possible, because our artists need help now, but we expect to have a platform for information sharing up and running soon."