Black Artists + Designers Guild supports Black talent in the arts with grants to four students

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OAKLAND, Calif. – The Black Artists + Designers Guild (BADG) has named the four recipients of its inaugural Creative Futures Grant, which aims to represent Black talent and culture in visual arts, architecture & interior design.

All four winners, two undergrads and two graduate students, will receive a $5,000 award and mentorship to support their legacy project from ideation to implementation.

Abena Otema Danquah, an undergraduate architecture student at Rhode Island School of Design, was recognized for the Kaya Pavilion, which proposes a space for learning, gathering, play and rest. This project will reveal the impact of planning for human encounters and the coexistence of multiple publics.

Janiya Douglas, an undergraduate art history & curatorial studies student at Spelman College, created a project that aims to cultivate an institutional space that centers and reflects a consciousness solely rooted in the experiences of Black Americans in the South. The architecture of Souf, a hub of Southern Black Intellectual Thought, will exist as a campus that embodies the cultural aesthetics of Southern Black expression.

Graduate student LaRissa Rogers, studying new genres at the University of California Los Angeles, is exploring the dual nature of flight and migration as a means of survival and preservation with a six-foot soil sculpture. The sculpture will speak particularly to diasporic resilience through the lens of place and belonging.

Graduate student Neysa Wellington, pursuing photography at the Tyler School of Art and Architecture at Temple University, has embarked on a visual storytelling project that explores a mother’s role in different family dynamics throughout the African continent and the diaspora.

BADG Makers Rhonnika Clifton, Nina Cooke John, Beth Diana Smith and Dr. Lisa Whittington, along with selected industry professionals, including Artistic Tile leadership, will serve as mentors to the grant recipients.

“Mentoring and art education is just as important to me as creating art,” said Whittington. “Years ago, I achieved my doctorate degree in art education specifically to be a more effective art mentor, art advocate, and art educator for Black youth. I find it an honor to help my people — especially knowing that African Americans are at a disadvantage in the arts.”



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