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MAY 12, 2012 Rocket Grants Announced for 2012-2013

Charlotte Street Foundation and The Spencer Museum of Art, in partnership with the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, are pleased to announce that ten multidisciplinary projects were chosen to each receive a $4,000 Rocket Grant Award. The selected projects address a range of topics including gentrification, privilege, environmental justice, sustainability, generosity, and socially-engaged art practices. Processes and materials include yarn bombing, Sudanese food, bicycle-powered animations, a permaculture sculpture garden, a Lawrence dumpster, and more. The projects will engage diverse communities including teens in the juvenile justice system, immigrant neighborhoods, people doing their laundry, and others.
 
Over 66 artists (individuals or members of collaborative groups) from throughout the 80-mile eligibility zone applied. The selected projects are located in the Greater KC metro area, St. Joseph, Topeka, and Lawrence. The final selections involve 24 artists, comprising three individual projects and seven collaborative ones.
 
Rocket Grants are part of the Foundation's Regional Regranting program.
 
 
About the 2012-2013 Rocket Grant Projects – find full project details on the Rocket Blog
 
• Maria Calderon* & Lacey Wozney: POP! A Series of Social Happenings. POP! is an event series engaging the community through temporary installations, performances, and events. POP!'s structure is street-level and mobile, and actively challenges traditional artist-viewer relationships and usage of public space. POP! events include a picnic, yoga installation, parade, trading post and street dance. POP! events are free and open to the public, with the ability to "pop-up" almost anywhere.
 
• Sean Starowitz: Byproduct: The Laundromat. Rather than create a new artist-run space, Byproduct will create temporary, experimental cultural centers through the use of laundromats, helping to foster conversations between the art community and the general public about socially engaged art practices. Byproduct will run intimate tutorial workshops, conversations, and small-scale, site-specific projects in laundromats over the course of a year.
 
• Tanya Hartman* & Awein Lual Wol: Awein's DreamCart. Awein Wol is a refugee from South Sudan who lives in Olathe, Kansas. Having survived genocide as a child, her dream is to run a Sudanese restaurant and cultural center. This project will provide an artist-outfitted food cart, helping Wol to introduce her cuisine and heritage locally, and save money to launch a cultural center. Awein’s DreamCart will serve entrees with essays describing Kansas City Sudanese residents’ life experiences.
 
• Rie Egawa* & Burgess Zbryk: Those Things That Protrude. Those Things That Protrude is a public art installation on the north wall of the artists’ building in the Crossroads Art District, using a form of "yarn bombing" - graffiti/street art created using non-permanent fiber materials. The work is intended to remind people about the presence of art and artists in a rapidly gentrifying part of town, and to connect with a non-typical art audience.
 
• Richard Fritz*, Crystal Gould & Michele Bridges: Art is Long, Life is Short. This multi-media project uses recorded audio interviews of teens in the juvenile justice system. Recalling life-altering events as the premise for each story, the team will create Act I of an animated film, and present it on social media networks. “Choose your own adventure” options for the story’s moral ending will come from local community feedback.
 
• Jose Faus*, Sharon Eiker, David Arnold Hughes, Glenn North, William Peck, Michelle Pond, Rhiannon Ross & Judith Towse Roberts (Vox Narro): Tell Me a Story. Writers will pair with immigrant communities that retain ties to their native cultures and are newly navigating Kansas City culture. The team, will speak with members of their host communities and interpret those interactions. These writings will be presented at public events in gathering places most important to the host communities, and will include a sample of native foods, art and music.
 
• Andrea Steudel* & Karl Fundenberger: Cyclotrope Cinema. Cyclotrope Cinema uses basic animation, repurposed bicycle parts, and human-powered video projection to create a platform for learning to make animated film loops and then exhibiting them. The team will hold workshops and a public exhibition next spring at unique outdoor venues in Topeka, Kansas, and will create a DIY guide for the Cyclotrope player, to be accessible free online.
 
• Minister of Information (Don Wilkison): We Are Here to Plant a Tree. In this project, the artist and a sustainability assistant will document their navigation across geographic, cultural, and economic boundaries in the Kansas City metro. Beyond the simple act of planting trees, their goal is to negotiate institutional access and build acceptance of metaphorical challenges to patronage, privilege, inclusivity, and environmental justice.
 
• Dave Loewenstein: Give Take Give. A standard blue dumpster in the alley near the artist’s Lawrence, KS apartment, has been transformed into a vessel for a small, but vibrant, gift economy. This project will explore the dynamics of an unlikely alternative to our market-driven culture to inspire reflection on how gifts of labor and time can help bind a community together.
 
• Jason Myers* & Megan Gallant: Spark Farm Park (with sculpture). Across from Firehouse Studios in St Joseph, MO, sits a vacant lot - just under half an acre - which the artists are turning into Spark Farm Park (with sculpture).  In its bones, Spark is a sculpture park and educational model for permaculture and urban farming.  In its heart, it is an oasis of creativity, beauty and sustainable local living.  Visitors will be able to view sculpture by area artists and community members, while harvesting and learning about food.
 
 
About the Selection Process
Applications were submitted online through www.callforentry.org. Jurors reviewed the applications online after the April 1st deadline, and selected the awarded projects from the finalists during a May on-site meeting in Kansas City. The jurors for this year’s selection panel were a diverse group of national and local artists and arts professionals:
 
Clifford Owens is a New York-based artist who works with video, photography, installation and interactive performance art. His latest show at MOMA PS1 involved an anthology of performance scores from 26 inter-generational black artists.
 
Bryce Dwyer is a Chicago-based curator, writer and cultural worker. Bryce is a founding co-director at InCUBATE (Institute for Community Understanding Between Art and the Everyday), and a guest blogger at Bad At Sports and Art 21.
 
Erika Nelson is the director of the traveling roadside attraction and museum The World’s Largest Collection of the World’s Smallest Versions of the World’s Largest Things, and is active in the grassroots and outsider art communities in Lucas, KS. 
 
Caitlin Horsmon is a Kansas City artist and educator, making films, videos and interactive works that range from ‘old’ to ‘new’ media. She is also a recipient of a 2011-12 Rocket Grants award for her project Resistant History.
 
About Rocket Grants
Rocket Grants award up to $4,000 to individuals and groups of artists for high quality, innovative, and public-oriented artwork that happens outside of typical galleries, museums and arts districts. Artists are encouraged to address the community at large, to strengthen the arts community, or to choose a smaller, targeted audience. Rocket Grants also support proposals that expand studio practice in new ways and develop new audiences.
 
This is the third year of the awards, in which a total of $40,000 will be distributed to artists living within an 80-mile radius of metropolitan Kansas City. The Warhol Foundation has guaranteed one additional one-year cycle of funding for the Rocket Grants program. Find information about completed and in-progress projects from the first and second years of funding on the Rocket blog.
 
The program is funded by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and is implemented by a partnership between the Charlotte Street Foundation in Kansas City, and the Spencer Museum of Art in Lawrence, KS.
 
* indicates lead artist