The Ford Foundation and Mellon Foundation have joined hands with U.S. Latinx Arts Forum (USLAF) to shed light on the Latinx artists in the USA.
Together, the organizations have created the Latinx Artist Fellowship. The fellowship will continue for the next five years, selecting 15 artists each year. A total fund of $5 million has been allocated for the fellowship, courtesy of the two philanthropic organizations. Of this, $3.75 million will be given to the selected artists as $50,000 grants. The remainder will go to the USLAF.
The 15 artists for the inaugural year have already been selected. Details of the selected artists could be found here. The USLAF was careful while selecting the artists in order to preserve multi-dimensional diversity. As such, the artists belong to different age groups, statuses, origins, and other identities. This was done to ensure that no artist from the Latino community feels left out from the fellowship.
The selection process began with the USLAF asking Latino art experts to submit their nominations for the fellowship. Some 200 names made through the first round. These names were then submitted to a jury of seven curators, who come from the partner museums of the initiative (including Whitney museum in New York and Mexic-Arte Museum in Austin).
The Ford and Mellon foundations traditionally gave money to the museums/art organizations. However, the disruption caused in the lives of artists due to the pandemic highlighted the need to put the money directly in their hands. The fellowship was also designed to reduce the general inequity in art philanthropy. While around 20 percent of Americans identify as Latinx, only 2 percent of the donations go towards Latino art. The Latinx Artist Fellowship aims to change this.