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Interchange Awards $20K Grants to Artists Working Toward Change

By Margaret A. Keough

A collage of artists who were awarded Interchange grants in 2021

Interchange awards grants to artists who focus on social change in communities of Mid-America.

Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA) is pleased to announce the Interchange 2021 Fellows, supporting artist-led projects focused on social impact in M-AAA’s six-state region of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas. Interchange is funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The sixteen Interchange grant recipients represent all six states with projects addressing a range of social issues, reaching communities both rural and urban.

Todd Stein, M-AAA President and CEO, says “We are grateful to the Mellon Foundation for their continuing support of this program that allows us to highlight the contributions of social practice artists embedded in their communities. These sixteen projects bring essential vitality to the Mid-America region.”

Projects include a wide swath of artistic discipline, content, and concept. The 2021 Interchange Fellows are:

Francheshka Alcantara, Tulsa, OK;
C. Diaz, McAllen, TX;
Luis Ordaz Gutierrez, Austin, TX;
Allegra Hangen with Abril Hernandez, Omaha, NE and Mexico City, Mexico;
Elisa Harkins, Tulsa, OK;
Chelsea T. Hicks, Bartlesville, OK;
Naima Lowe, Tulsa, OK;
Cyan Meeks with Susan Mayo, Kansas City, KS and Wichita, KS;
Travis Neel with Erin Charpentier, Kim Karlsrud, and Daniel Phillips, Lubbock, TX;
Lizzy Petersen with Sarah Tisdale and Britny Cordera, St. Louis, MO;
Reyes Ramirez, Houston, TX;
riel & Bianca Sturchio, Austin, TX;
Ryan Tenney, Kansas City, MO;
Olivia Trimble, Fayetteville, AR;
Sara Vanderbeek, Austin, TX; and
Lucas Wrench, Tulsa, OK.

Each funded artist will receive a project grant of $20,000, as well as convenings and peer connection to other Interchange grantees. This includes professional development retreats and ongoing mentoring through the life of the funded projects. Interchange builds upon M-AAA’s expertise in supporting and activating artist networks, which has been developed by programs like Artist INC and Artists 360.

Texas artist Reyes Ramirez has been awarded for The Houston Artist Speaks Through Grids, a project that takes inspiration from the grids that comprise the city of Houston, reimagining and repurposing the grids to serve people of color aesthetics.

“Getting this level of support will allow me to focus on working directly with the people and communities participating in the project,” says Ramirez. “It allows me to fully enter in, knowing the project will be supported throughout each step. It makes a huge difference.”

Full details about the Interchange program, artists, and projects may be found at InterchangeArtistGrant.art.