RaD Lab+Outside the Walls Fellowship supports ALAANA (African, Latinx, Asian, Arab and Native American) artists and creatives who use radical imagination to practice a racially just society. All of the fellows will demonstrate alternative ways towards racial equity through the lens of radical imagination and social justice.

We will support a combination of project grants at $40K per year for research, implementation and continuation. Artists have challenges receiving funds at all stages of their projects, and being able to fund at least two phases will invest in the artist and the idea. With this understanding, the program will offer multi-year grants. Additionally, artists rarely get the opportunity, time, space and financial resources to put their imaginations of justice out into the world. The fellowship will help expand the funding landscape and distribute the funds to the most vulnerable community—ALAANA individuals.

The program is divided into two parts: RaD Lab (research and development) and Outside the Walls. During the RaD Lab year, the fellows spend a year researching, developing and testing their project for Outside the Walls. Over this time, each awardee will present their idea to their communities/neighbors, stakeholders, and interested publics on a quarterly basis.

Outside the Walls is our presentation model that presents convenings, workshops, exhibitions, and installations in Chicago neighborhoods developed through RaD Lab. The art or research form will be installed in spaces that do not typically host art exhibitions and are easily accessible to the public. Outside the Walls features programming led by artists and their neighbors in support of the exhibitions and the engagement cultivated during RaD Lab.

With both parts, Threewalls assists with the public engagements in terms of brainstorming about different ways to present to the public, logistics (securing space, communicating with various groups) and documentation. Threewalls collaborates with the fellows throughout the process and conducts quarterly check-ins to help problem solve and to assure that they are making progress on their project.

The selection of the fellows will be through an open call and reviewed by an external community-based panel. The community-based panel of five individuals will be a majority of Chicago-based individuals who identify as members of an ALAANA community. Given that the recipients of the fellowship are artists/creatives of color, it is important that the panel be comprised of their peers from their respective racial and cultural group. One to two nationally-based individuals will serve on the panel to demonstrate that community is broad and not siloed to one locale. The panelists will not be the traditional folks at the top, but those on the ground doing the work such as program directors/managers/assistants and teaching artists. The fellowship is another opportunity for support staff, those who often go overlooked, feel empowered by awarding funds to their peers.

The program will offer technical and creative development assistance. Fellows will be offered one-on-one counseling sessions with a licensed therapist, Alice Berry, whose practice focuses on creatives. Financial planning sessions with a professional planner and a tax workshop at the beginning of the grant year and during tax time will also be offered. Additionally, fellows will have the opportunity to partake in digital coaching sessions led by a Google Digital Coach to help grantees maximize the digital space to tell their story and an accessibility consultant to help think through how to make their research, presentations, and programs accessible.

To encourage community among the fellows, Threewalls will organize fellowship opportunities throughout the year as well as a formal convening the artists in a space that exudes love, care and fun. We will kick-off the fellowship with an award ceremony, where our community can come together to celebrate ourselves as an act of radical love.

Visit our FAQs page for more information.

RaD Lab+Outside the Walls Fellowship

It is our hope that this program will inspire big ideas from Chicago-based artists in the ALAANA community in advancing a racially just society. The radical imagination that Surdna encourages is what Threewalls practices every day. 

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Threewalls is always finding new ways to share our artist’s unique voices through exhibits, talks, and gatherings. We would like you to be the first to know about these opportunities.