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2024 Rubys Artist Grants Announced

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On July 2, 2024, the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation announced the recipients of the 2024 Rubys Artist Grants. This year, the program provides support to 16 artists and the creation of their new, innovative, and experimental projects that have significant impact across the performing, media, visual, and literary arts. Additionally, the Rubys is awarding one $25,000 alumni grant to a previous Rubys awardee.

Initially launched in 2013 by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation, the Rubys support artists in Baltimore City and Baltimore County working in performing, media, visual, and literary arts. In this cycle, grants will provide $270,000 to 16 new projects across the four disciplines, as well as the second annual alumni grant and microgrants. This year’s projects exemplify the program’s values of experimentation, risk taking, and creative innovation.

The 2024 awardees are:

Anne Clare Rogers — To support Daisy Chain, a series of sculptures that explore the building potential of non-native invasive plants harvested from public land in Baltimore while also grappling with themes of love, care, and ecological grief.

Alexandria “Brinae Ali” Bradley — To support The Baby Laurence Legacy Project, an archival/performative process to create an integrated work of jazz tap dance and jazz music that investigates and celebrates the artistic and social influences that “Baby Laurence” Donald Jackson had on the culture of tap dance and jazz music.

Corey Hughes — To support Experiencing the Total Environment, a hybrid documentary short film based on an ecological encyclopedia created by the filmmaker’s late grandfather, exploring the intersections between the collapsing climate, spirituality, and emerging technologies.

Curran Hatleberg — to support The Family Table, a new series of photographs focusing on a single family living in the American heartland. This latest project will unfold collaboratively, working together with the family in order to explore the meaning and significance of community in the United States today. Together, over the course of a year, we will uncover stories about the country we share.

Edgar Kunz — To support The Anachronists, a hybrid creative nonfiction project exploring escapism and class, whiteness, fringe culture, and self-myth through the author’s early life in a pre-17th century anachronistic society.

Ian Madrigal — To support A Man (Duh), a documentary feature that uses home videos to trace the artist from a precocious transgender boyhood through slow retreat into the closet as a teen, setting the stage for his present journey of reconnection through music, outrage, and the open road.

Jess Keyes — To support Patien(t/ce), a performance composition that explores the experience of chronic illness and disability through music for voice, saxophone, and synthesizer with wearable handmade controllers.

Jordan Carter — To support Sermon for a Watermelon Seed, a film that contours the landscape of the black queer interior in an effort to reimagine the meaning of survival for the collective — a reference of living in the context of what we have overcome.

Lillian-Yvonne Bertram — To support Home on the Range, a long-form personal essay that explores intersections of intimate personal relationships, mental health treatment, and firearm ownership.

Michelle Mariano — To support The Negative Space, a novel of interlinked stories centering on the character Emelia Ramos, a first-generation Filipina American. The novel spans 40 years, from Emelia’s adolescence through middle age, presenting formative events and relationships in her life from a variety of perspectives.

Mick Prescott — To support Horizons of the Already Not Yet, a compilation of four liturgies that honor trans lives. Written as poems and set to a custom soundtrack, these liturgies will explore the queering of sound and hymns in collaboration with other trans artists to celebrate the ways we hold each other.

Rae Hample — To support Paradise Portals, a multimedia performance and installation that uses movement, livestream video, and green screen technology to create portals between performers bodies and environments that hold significance for them, exploring both the visibility and removal of people, history, and the body from the spaces we occupy.

Rashida Bumbray — To support How High the Moon, a film that reimagines her mother’s childhood visits to the Metropolitan Museum of Art through the lens of magical realism, as the youngest child in a large Harlem family with a lineage of astral travel.

Shaawan Francis Keahna — To support No One Gets Out of Here Alive, a novel that follows the queer congregants of an underground Episcopal church, one century and an ocean apart, who reckon with variegated death in the respective sacrifice zones of Dublin during the famine and Baltimore in the midst of the AIDS crisis.

Tariq Ravelomanana — To support Little Black Oxen, a new orchestra collaboration of elite, classically trained, Baltimore musicians, spearheaded by Infinity Knives. The project will culminate in the first full-length album of experimental music by Infinity Knives with Little Black Oxen.

Thea Canlas — To support Value Studies, a series of sculptural objects, installations, and digital media that explores the entanglements of colonial-era economies, contemporary racial capitalism, postcolonial statecraft, and the curation of cultural value, through the lens of Filipino (trans)national history and identity.

ALUMNI AWARD AND MICROGRANTS

The 2024 Rubys cycle introduces the first award in a separate application process exclusively for Rubys alumni. The new, prestigious award engages with and offers an additional area of support to the over 155 Rubys alumni artists in an annual, single award of $25,000 to be used for the production of new work.

This year’s alumni recipient is Jackie Milad — To support Shabti Gather, a bilingual art book project that intimately chronicles the artist’s visual research into the Egyptian burial dolls held in Western museum collections.

The jury also selected two additional, outstanding projects to receive Rubys microgrants and access to the Rubys artist services:

Hasani Claxton — To support The Chaotic Musings of a Caribbean Immigrant, an Afro-surrealist reimagining of precolonial West African sculpture.

Samuel Garrett — To support God Rot, an experimental opera about an unnamed, unspecified entity of immense power in the twilight of its lifespan. Prone to confusion, irrationality, and great violence, it meanders throughout history and assumes several different archetypal, mythic identities — the avenging angel, the betrayed lover, and a god.

 

ABOUT THE RUBYS

Now in its 11th year, the Rubys Artist Grant Program has established itself as a vital opportunity for artists in the Baltimore region. The Rubys provide direct funding to individual artists, prioritizing new artistic endeavors and the belief that artists should be paid for all parts of their creative work, not only for the final outcome.

Past recipients of the Rubys have achieved critical acclaim and received fellowships from prestigious institutions such as Creative Capital, the Guggenheim Foundation, United States Artists, and Halcyon Arts Lab. They have also showcased their projects at renowned venues like the Maryland Film Festival, the Hirshhorn Museum, and the Baltimore Museum of Art. The Rubys Artist Grant Program draws inspiration from the work of Creative Capital in New York City and is named in honor of its visionary founder, Ruby Lerner.

In addition to funding these projects, the grant program will provide professional development opportunities, network building, artist services and technical assistance for awardees. The Rubys will partner with several Deutsch Foundation projects, including Open Works, Motor House, BmoreArt, and Connect + Collect, to outfit awardees, when relevant to their work, with access to tools, technologies, equipment, performance and event space, exposure, and dialogue. By supporting future projects holistically, the Rubys aim to support Baltimore’s creative community to enable artists to continue to have sustainable and successful careers.

 

2024 RUBYS JURORS

The 2024 Rubys jury panels for visual, media, performance, and literary arts were comprised of the following esteemed professionals, many of whom will serve as mentors to the awardees this year:

Alessandra Gómez is an interdisciplinary curator and writer based in New York. She was previously a curator at Luna Luna, the first art amusement park that originated in 1987 and reopened as a touring exhibition in December 2023. The project featured functional rides, attractions, and games designed by artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Roy Lichtenstein, Sonia Delaunay and many others. Gómez was part of the core curatorial team for Luna Luna: Forgotten Fantasy and worked on the early development of new commissions. From 2018 to 2022, she was part of The Shed’s founding curatorial team, where she developed over 75 visual arts and performance commissions during her tenure. As an independent curator, she has organized performances and exhibitions at Columbia University’s Wallach Art Gallery, Knockdown Center, Queens Museum x Bulova Center, and the Center for Performance Research. She was part of the editorial collective for Women & Performance: a journal of feminist theory. She has contributed writing to artist catalogues and recently published a book on Maxwell Alexandre’s work. Gómez holds an MA from Columbia University’s Modern and Contemporary: Critical and Curatorial Studies program.

Alphonse Pierre is a senior writer at Pitchfork with a focus on hip-hop, regional rap scenes, and cultural criticism. At the publication, he’s written album reviews on artists such as Future, Drake, Noname, Travis Scott, Lil Yachty, Pop Smoke, Summer Walker, Chloe x Halle, and many more. He’s written profiles and interviews on subjects like Juicy J, Bartees Strange, Chad Hugo of the Neptunes, Veeze, TiaCorine, Earl Sweatshirt, Navy Blue, Sada Baby, and more. It also maintains regular columns, such as a bi-weekly rap roundup and a daily rap song of the day. As a guest, he’s appeared on podcasts like the New York Times Popcast, The Ringer’s On Shuffle, NPR’s All Things Considered, The Pitchfork Review, and Reel Notes. He has been a moderator at the Tribeca Film Festival for the last few years. There, he steered conversations with Lil Baby and Quality Control founders Kevin “Coach K” Lee and Pierre “Pee” Thomas for the premiere of the documentary Untrapped: The Story of Lil Baby and one with hip-hop pioneers Lee Quinones, Fab Five Freddy, Grand Wizzard Theodore, and director Charlie Ahearn before a retrospective screening of ’80s graffiti world classic Wild Style. As a writer, one of his essential focuses is local music scenes, writing reports on areas like Detroit, New York, and the DMV. Recently he’s contributed to rising cultural platforms like the blog No Bells, literary magazine The Drift, and Baltimore’s own True Laurels, where he wrote a cover story on rapper Shordie Shordie. He lives in New York.

Amy Bishop-Wycisk joined Trellis Literary Management in 2023 after eight years with Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. She is cultivating a wide-ranging list in upmarket and book club fiction, light sci-fi and fantasy, speculative fiction, expert-driven narrative nonfiction, cultural criticism, history, and select YA, with a special interest in underrepresented voices, especially from the AAPI community. Her authors’ books have been NYT, USA Today, and indie bestsellers, a Reese’s Book Club selection, James Beard Award and Edgar Award winners, and Book of the Month picks. Before diving into the world of publishing, she graduated from SUNY Geneseo with a degree in Creative Writing. Though she grew up upstate, she currently resides in Woodside, Queens, with her husband and cat. You can find her on Twitter at @abwycisk.

Blair Murphy is a curator based in the Washington, DC area and curator of exhibitions at Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington. Since joining MoCA Arlington in 2018, she has guided the development of the organization’s exhibitions program and organized numerous group exhibitions, solo exhibitions, and public art projects. She served as Acting Executive Director of the museum from October 2020 to May 2021. Her previous curatorial projects include exhibitions at The Kitchen (New York, NY), Washington Project for the Arts (Washington, DC), Trestle Gallery (Brooklyn, NY), Field Projects (New York, NY), and VisArts Rockville (Rockville, MD), and with the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. She was a 2014–2015 Helena Rubinstein Curatorial Fellow of the Whitney Independent Study Program. She holds a BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art and an MA from Georgetown University.

Jessica Bell Brown is the Curator and Department Head for Contemporary Art at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Her recent exhibition projects include Martha Jackson Jarvis: What the Trees Have Seen, How Do We Know The World?, Thaddeus Mosley: Forest, Stephanie Syjuco: Vanishing Point (Overlay), and A Movement in Every Direction: Legacies of the Great Migration, co-organized with the Mississippi Museum of Art. Prior to the BMA, she was the Consulting Curator at Gracie Mansion Conservancy in New York, where she curated She Persists: A Century of Women Artists in New York, 1919–2019, with First Lady Chirlane McCray. Previously, she held roles at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and Creative Time. Her writing has been featured in several artist monographs and catalogs, including Flash Art, Artforum, Art Papers, Hyperallergic, and The Brooklyn Rail.

Job Piston is an independent curator and artist based in Los Angeles and New York City who combines his expertise in visual arts and live art to develop new ideas through multidisciplinary approaches, time-based projects, and site-specific installations. His areas of focus include avant-garde art history, identity politics, queer studies, and psychoanalytic practice within the broader context of contemporary arts and popular culture. He has organized five iterations of the Performa Biennial, New York City’s international biennial dedicated to new visual art performance, as well as curated several digital streaming programs and artist editions.

Joss Lake is a novelist and educator. His first book, Future Feeling, was long-listed for the PEN/Hemingway award for debut novel. He was named one of the Strand’s “30 Writers to Watch.” He currently teaches at Columbia University and The School of The New York Times. He was a 2022 Jacob Julien Visiting Writer at Wesleyan University and a 2024 Writer in Residence at SUNY New Paltz. He runs a literary sauna series called Trans at Rest and received a Columbia University Provost’s Emerging Technology Grant to implement VR into creative writing courses. He lives in the Catskills.

K. J. Relth-Miller (she/her) is a film programmer, writer, and educator based in Los Angeles. She joined the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures’s Film Programs team in June 2022 after having previously worked as a film programmer with the UCLA Film & Television Archive, the Slamdance Film Festival, AFI FEST, and The Cinefamily, and has served on the juries of numerous film festivals. Since 2018, she has been an adjunct professor in the Department of Film/Video at the California Institute of the Arts. Relth-Miller’s writing on moving image culture can be found in Acid Free, the journal Framework, the recent Morvern Callar Blu-ray release from Fun City Editions, and a forthcoming book on Robert Downey, Sr. She holds a Master of Arts in Media Studies & Film from The New School in New York City.

Matthew Lyons is Curator at The Kitchen, one of New York City’s oldest experimental art spaces, where he has organized numerous exhibitions and performances, including significant projects by ANOHNI, Moriah Evans, Chitra Ganesh, Maria Hassabi, Jennie C. Jones, Yve Laris Cohen, Ralph Lemon, Sarah Michelson, Virginia Overton, Alan Ruiz, and Xaviera Simmons. Other curatorial projects have been presented at the LeRoy Neiman Gallery at Columbia University, Paula Cooper Gallery, Eleven Rivington Gallery, and Passerelle Centre d’Art Contemporain in Brest, France. He is currently the curator of the exhibition Robert Indiana: The Sweet Mystery, presented at the Procuratie Vecchie in Venice, Italy, as an official collateral event of the 60th International Biennale di Venezia on view from April to November 2024.

Sonel Breslav (she/her) has been the Director of Fairs & Editions for Printed Matter since 2018. In this role, she produces Printed Matter’s NY and LA Art Book Fairs, the leading international gatherings for the distribution of artists’ books, celebrating the full breadth of the art publishing community. Previously, Breslav was National Chapters and Programs Manager at ArtTable, the foremost professional organization dedicated to advancing the leadership of women in the visual arts. From 2013 to 2017, she was the Director of Murray Guy, New York, where she curated exhibitions of work by gallery artists such as Moyra Davey, Matthew Buckingham, Zoe Leonard, Leidy Churchman, and Alejandro Cesarco, among others. In 2012, she founded Blonde Art Books, an independent organization dedicated to promoting self-published art books through exhibitions, book fairs, public programs, publications, and an online platform.

Suneil Sanzgiri is an Indian American artist, researcher, and filmmaker. Spanning experimental video and film, animations, essays, and installations, his work contends with questions of identity, heritage, culture, and diaspora in relation to structural violence and anticolonial struggles across the Global South. Sanzgiri’s films offer sonic and visual journeys through family history, local mythology, and colonial legacies of extraction in Goa, India—where his family originates. His first institutional solo exhibition “Here the Earth Grows Gold” opened at the Brooklyn Museum in October 2023. His films have circulate widely at film festivals and art institutions across the world including International Film Festival Rotterdam, New York Film Festival, Hong Kong International Film Festival, Camden International Film Festival, Sheffield Doc/Fest, Doclisboa, Viennale, BlackStar Film Festival, Open City Docs, REDCAT, Menil Collection, Block Museum, MASS MoCA, moCa Cleveland, Le Cinéma Club, Criterion Collection, and many more.

Xavier Schipani (b. 1984) is a Washington D.C. native, visual artist and trans activist. Xavier Schipani explores themes of Queer Identity, the trans-masculine body, sexuality, memory and language. His work is centered around questions that contemplate gender identity, proof of existence, the transformative power of representation, and the emotional resonance of his experience as a transman. He works in both gallery and public spaces and in broader design collaborations. Schipani studied painting and illustration at Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, and the Center of Arts in Culture, AIX en Provence. His work has been exhibited in North America and Europe and is held in the collection of the McNay Museum in San Antonio, with public works in Houston and Austin, TX. In 2022, he created a large-scale digital, site-specific installation in Times Square on view for the month of June, commissioned by Todd Snyder. He also released his second collaboration with Nike, which included a SB Dunk shoe designed completely by him in celebration of Trans Awareness Week.

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