Platforms Fund awards $60,000 in direct artist support

The Platforms Fund, developed by Antenna, Ashé Cultural Arts Center, and Pelican Bomb, with generous support from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, is excited to announce the third round of grant awards!

This year we received 106 applications and we were extremely impressed by the strength, breadth, and creativity of the projects that applied. This year’s five-person jury narrowed the field to 22 finalists and, of those, selected 18 projects to fund, considering the many facets that were carefully presented by the applicants.

In addition to $60,000 in total grants awarded, we’ve teamed up again with Kickstarter in a Lagniappe Partnership program to assist all 22 finalists with developing Kickstarter campaigns to build additional support for their projects.

And here they are! (For full project descriptions visit )

Willie Birch: Old Prieur Project ($2,500)

Using the architecture of a property on Old Prieur Street in the historical Seventh Ward neighborhood called A.P. Tureaud, along with writing, video, photography, drawing, painting, and public programs, Old Prieur Project aims to help preserve the richness of this historical community.

Nisa East, Elsa Kern, and Joshua Overman: Backyard Film Festival ($3,500)

The Backyard Film Festival is a one-night-only film festival series held each year, where every film submitted will be screened including those by professionals, first-timers, your grandma, and everyone in between.

Shana M. Griffin: DISPLACED ($5,000)

DISPLACED is an interactive multi-media project, that chronicles the institutionalization of residential segregation and discriminatory housing practices in New Orleans, tracing the geography of black displacement and dislocation in land-use planning, housing policy, and urban development.

Indee Mitchell: blaQballet ($4,000)

blaQballet is an experimental arts and healing initiative created for and by young Queer and Trans Black artists. It hosts free community classes, movement workshops, creative intensives, social gatherings, and professional performance opportunities to new and emerging Queer and Trans Black artists.

Momma Tried: Momma Tried Issue 3 ($3,500)

Momma Tried issue three is the midpoint of a five-part project examining 20th-century media’s decline in the 21st century, through themes of futurism, the uncanny, existential horror, and Internet aesthetics, as well as an embedded augmented-reality layer visible only through a smartphone application.

New Orleans Community Printshop and Darkroom: Youth Day ($5,000)

Youth Day is a free program that offers youth screen printing and photography workshops, artist lectures/workshops, field trips, tutoring, community events/activities, and a space for young artists to sell their artwork.

Lydia Y. Nichols: “The Color of Progress: Black and Green on the Industrial Gulf Coast,” ($2,000, Research & Development Year 2)

“The Color of Progress” is a discursive project that examines the correlation between the modern economy of the Gulf Coast and Black geopolitics with the intention of building shared analysis through a series of day trips and a performative anthology that will be archived.

Noirlinians: New Orleans-Nairobi Artivist Exchange ($5,000)

The New Orleans-Nairobi Artivist Exchange is a two-week exchange program designed for activists using art and creative cultural production to explore how two cities have made use of art-based resistance and will culminate in the creation of public art projects to inspire sustained dialogue and collaboration between creatives and activists in both host cities.

John Richie: Katie and The Black Robin Hood ($5,000)

After being repeatedly failed by the criminal justice system, Christopher Simms, who calls himself “The Black Robin Hood,” robbed thirteen banks, giving the money to strangers in need. Katie and the Black Robin Hood follows Public Defender Katie Carter as she attempts to use filmed interviews with Simms for his defense, demonstrating the power of empathy to reform our justice system.

Kristina Kay Robinson: Republica: Writing and Art from the Free Territory ($4,000)

Republica is a trans-genre arts project and publication aimed at reimagining the events and political outcomes on the North American continent—in particular, those events relevant to the trajectory of African and Indigenous descended peoples in the American Gulf South.

Ayo Scott, Gian Smith, Alphonse Smith, Brittney Lindsey, and Malik Bartholomew: Pass It On ($2,500)

Pass It On is a nine year old multidisciplinary art and performance series which will introduce a residency component for early-career creatives, providing stipends and professional mentorship opportunities, while leveraging current partnerships and an audience following to create a monthly platform for exposure, critique, and feedback.

Christopher Staudinger: Paper Boat ($3,500)

Part sculpture, part community writing project, artist Christopher Staudinger will continue this multiyear project of building a boat of stories, with public events that will feature readings of the writings added to the boat’s papier-mâché skin.

Red Flame Hunters Mardi Gras Indian Tribe ($5,000)

Since 2009, the Red Flame Hunters have paraded through the streets of New Orleans. It takes many hands and hundreds of hours each year to complete their original intricately designed suits. The tribe meets twice a week to learn the rich history and to perform traditional rituals.

Take ‘Em Down NOLA: Strange Fruit ($3,500)

Strange Fruit is a quarterly zine that will foster awareness about Take ‘Em Down NOLA’s work to remove symbols that honor, and systems that perpetuate, white supremacy.

Research & Development Year 1 (can apply for additional support next year)

Langston Allston: Cailloux & Maistre Monument ($1,500)

Artist Langston Allston will develop a monument to Father Claude Paschal Maistre—who played a critical role in the canonization of one of New Orleans’ black Civil War heroes, Andre Cailloux.

Gallery of the Streets: [b]REACH: Adventures in Heterotopia ($1,500)

[b]REACH: Adventures in Heterotopia is a Queer Black Feminist retelling of Marge Piercy’s utopian novel, Woman on the Edge of Time. Visual and performative, the work is a surrealist meditation on the interplay between confinement and freedom.

Joseph Makkos: Changing Landscapes : A Digital Map Archive of the Gulf Coast ($1,500)

This project will support the digitization and publication of 100 historic maps and preservation of graphic map art sourced from local newspapers from 1880 to 1930, exploring hidden facets of old New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

Antonia Zennaro, Joseph Moran, & Cecelia Tapplette-Pedescleaux : Rising Waters, Sewing Spirits: Recovery Through Quiltmaking ($1,500)

Working with individuals from the public affected by last year’s flooding in the greater New Orleans area, the group will work together to create a large-scale patchwork quilt that will be a visual record—a shared story—of the disaster and its effects on those whose lives were transformed by it.

[Image by Willie Birch]