Art and Activism: A Social Justice Art Residency

Posted by Broward Cultural Division ; Posted on 
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Art and Activism: A Social Justice Art Residency


American singer and civil rights activist Nina Simone is quoted as saying, “An artist’s duty is to reflect the times.” The African American Research Library and Cultural Center’s (AARLCC) is proud to announce our Art and Activism: A Social Justice Art Residency!

Funded by an Art of Community Grant through the Community Foundation of Broward, this residency will create opportunities for emerging local South Florida artists from underrepresented backgrounds to use their art to speak to this critical moment within our nation in order to advance social equity. Support has been provided by the following Funds at the Community Foundation of Broward: The Robert Elmore Family Fund, Maxine Powers Hofert Fund, Peter J. and Mary C. Barbare Fund, Mary and Alex Mackenzie Community Impact Fund, Charles and Ruth Taylor Fund.

With the current state of our world, we find ourselves in very divisive times. Using art as an instrument to address social justice issues, AARLCC believes that art is a critical tool for creating cultural change within our communities and in our world. Art in its various forms can create transformative engagement to lessen divisions and increase understanding. The Art and Activism Residency will use the arts to address and learn from historical issues within our world while simultaneously helping communities find hope and inspiration even through tragedy and unrest. Another goal is to create opportunities for emerging underrepresented voices and talent within Broward County and neighboring counties. This Residency will provide a platform to address potentially polarizing topics in a venue like AARLCC, whose mission promotes social justice and diversity.

The Residency is open to artists representing various disciplines within the arts. All mediums will be considered. We have identified five strategic areas of social inequity that our Residency will address:

  • Economic Justice
  • Environmental Justice
  • Criminal and Health Care Reform
  • Racial Justice
  • Gender and Sexuality Equity

These topics can take a local, national, and/or global perspective. However, content must be original and new and have been created specifically for this residency.

Over the nine-months of the grant (August 2021 thru April 2022), Residents are expected to create two engagement opportunities with the public as well as artwork related to two of the five strategic areas of social inequity. The Residency will culminate with the African American Research Library and Cultural Center’s Art and Activism Festival hosted in April 2022, to which Residents are required  to help AARLCC staff plan and organize. The two-day festival will be a community event showcasing the Artists in Residence original works of art. In the fall of 2021, kicking off the Art and Activism Residency, AARLCC will host a town hall event featuring the Art and Activism Residents, and inviting others from the arts community as well as the public to discuss issues of social justice and art.

After a review of applicants by the selection committee, candidates will be invited for an interview. Of those granted interviews, five residents will be selected. Residents will receive a $10,000 stipend and $2000 for materials and supplies. Physical artistic content produced out of the Art and Activism Residency will become the property of Broward County Libraries and any intellectual work will list Broward County Library as a rights holder. Applicants should not apply if they have been commissioned by any other Art of Community grantors for the year of 2021.

Selection Panel is comprised of these scholars and art cultural heritage leaders:

  • Makiba J. Foster – Manager of the African American Research Library and Cultural Center
  • Christopher Norwood, J.D. – cultural arts leader and a founding director of Hampton Arts Lovers
  • Tameka Hobbs, Ph. D – Historian and founding director of Florida Memorial University’s Social Justice Institute
  • Andrew Martineau – cultural arts leader and Partner with UniteUs Group


Public Art & Design Program

The Broward County Public Art & Design Program was established in 1976. The purpose of the program is to contribute to the enhancement of the built environment through the commission of works of art that create a sense of place, that improve the visual environment for the citizens of Broward County, and that advance the missions of the County departments where the projects are situated. Commissioned artworks are the result of a dynamic interaction between selected artists, the local community, and constituent groups during the design phase of each project.

The Broward County Public Art & Design Program is recognized with distinction in national and international circles. In 2017, two public artworks received Community Appearance awards from the City of Fort Lauderdale. In 2002, four of Broward County’s public artworks were selected among an international ensemble of some of the world’s finest public artworks and listed in the Australian publication, “Designing the World’s Best Public Art”. Broward County Public Art & Design program is a national leader in developing model public art policies and best practices, and producing exemplary public artworks synthesizing design excellence. Broward County has received seven Americans for the Arts Year in Review awards for public art, “an indicator of the program’s outstanding commitment in advancing art and design”, said Liesel Fenner ASLA, former manager of Public Art Network for Americans for the Arts. Broward County public art installations include works by: Clyde Butcher, James Carpenter, Carl Cheng, George Gadson, Duane Hanson, Chris Janney, Lorna Jordan, Patricia Leighton, Gary Moore, Barbara Neijna, Jody Pinto, Ray Olivero, Beth Ravitz, Martha Schwartz, Ned Smyth, Ritsuko Taho, Liam Gillick, Miles Coolidge, Roberto Behar and Rosario Marquardt, Sara Morris, Sam Gilliam, Vanessa Till Hooper, and Alice Aycock.


Broward County, Florida

Broward County was established in 1915. The early agricultural characteristic of the county was transformed in the 1970s when mid-rise and high-rise development replaced farmland. Today, over 1.95 million people live in the County’s 31 municipalities and municipal service districts, as well as the Seminole Tribe of Florida reservation. Broward is one of five counties in Florida where minorities constitute the majority. It is included in the South Florida tri-county metropolitan area comprised of Broward, Palm Beach and Dade counties, with a combined economic force of over 6 million people. The county’s total land area is 1,322.8 square miles. The eastern one-third of the county is concentrated as developed, urbanized area, and the western two-thirds is undeveloped, protected wetlands and the Everglades. Among Broward County’s interesting characteristics are the many hundreds of miles of canals; highest point is 29 feet above mean sea level; numerous seasonal residents; 12.5 million annual tourists; and the third largest cruise port in the world. The climate is sub-tropical (75.4F average annual temperature) with wet summer and fall, and dry spring and winter seasons.