Rasmuson Foundation Promoting Hispanic, Black & Alaska Native Art
by carlos matías
Next fall, the Rasmuson Foundation will announce the 25 winners of its art project awards and ten other winners of its grant awards. “We’re very excited to see where their work takes us,” Enzina Marrari, the foundation’s programming officer, tells Sol de Medianoche.
The Rasmuson Foundation works with multiple arts councils, museums, and art centers across the state to promote and encourage their communities to attend workshops and apply for awards given by the institution. The work is paying off, as applications have already been submitted from 47 unique communities and nearly half of the applicants had never applied before.
Last year, the Rasmuson Foundation launched a plan for outreach and engagement with groups that have been underrepresented in the Individual Artist Awards program. This plan included seven virtual workshops, designed to provide practical and educational information about the Individual Artist Awards and the application process. All workshops were free and open to the public.
Connecting with Latino, Black, Alaska Native, and Indigenous artists The Rasmuson Foundation offered a statewide virtual workshop and partnered with Enlaces Alaska, Black Alaska Arts Matters, Alaska Concert Association, Anaya Latin Dance, Katirvik Cultural Center, Alaska Native Heritage Center, Bethel Arts Council and Bethel Community Services Foundation to co-lead six different community conversations and workshops, targeting each group.
This year 2021, the Foundation focused on connecting with the Latino artist community, Black artists and artists of color, Alaska Native and Indigenous artists and those living and working in rural Alaska, and artists rooted in dance and the performing arts.
The workshops provided how-to information intended to increase accessibility and awareness of the awards. They also provide more information on the unique challenges and barriers faced by these artists.
Enzina Marrari: a passion for creating opportunities for participation Enzina Marrari is passionate about creating engagement opportunities and pathways to community connections. Since 2008, she has curated and organized art exhibitions and events in Anchorage. She has been a grants administrator, education director, adjunct professor of women’s and gender studies and fine arts at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. In 2018 she joined the Rasmuson Foundation.
What are the main lines of action to cultivate the artistic spirit and creativity of Alaska’s indigenous youth? The programs that focus most on engaging and nurturing the artistic spirit and creativity of Alaska Native youth and youth are Arts in Education, the Harper Arts Tour Fund, and the Youth Cultural Heritage. These programs are administered through our partnership with the Alaska State Council for the Arts. In 2018 and 2019, these programs directly impacted 62,000 children and youth and another 31,000 adults who worked with nearly 600 artists in 74 communities across the state. The work took place in 20 of the 54 school districts in Alaska.
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