Celebrating Funding Small Black Arts Organizations This Fall

Dear Friends,

The past few months I have been reminded of the ways in which folks on the ground have the power to claim the future they need, and the ways in which working against the grain will get you still on the other side of something if you keep at it.

In the Radical Fundraising Discussion Club last month, we talked about the Flywheel Effect, how a singular continual push in the same direction with the same intention will eventually give way to inertia, and suddenly—Georgia can be a Blue state. Or how ,when we lead all of our storytelling with WHY we do, instead of WHAT we do, millions will be inspired to take action.

Because of increasing national and even international collective belief in the power of small and community-based Black arts organizations, Black Art Futures Fund was able to support 11 more organizations across the country this fall with gifts ranging from $2,000 — $7,500, directed by the boards of BAFF. Please check our social media for updates on who funded what. It’s an exciting list.

Y’all, we are turning the corner on an unprecedented year. So many, too many, losses. A friend was here and we were talking about Kwame Brathwaite’s Black is Beautiful exhibition here at the local museum, and now they are gone. I wish that there were fully-hopeful words I could share with you that I too believed, but more days I am at a loss of even that.

We can still create community though, and that keeps me. Red Olive sponsored two Drive-in movie experiences in my hometown of Columbia, SC, and explicitly worked with The Luminal Theater to ensure that it was for a part of town that has seen significant divestment and is 20 minutes away from any named “Cultural District’. The Luminal Theater showed The Wiz and The Last Dragon and each film was preceded by a short film by a local Black filmmaker and Q&A with Luminal programmers.

When we started setting up for the Drive In, well before the listed “doors open” time of 6:30pm, cars were already peppering the parking lot, some of them coming from as much as 2 hours away, and some “just up the street”. Many with their kids and their snacks, angling to be front and center, unfolding their lawn chairs and blankets to spread out in the back of their pick-up trucks. And, they were almost all Black faces in their cars in the crowd.

This is a long way to introduce a Red Olive initiative—Nurturing Neighborhoods—but I am excited to share more and infuse the South and South East with more residential cultural Black experiences, for the people who may need it most. A deep, communal work.

In Black Love,

DéLana R.A. Dameron