Dear Friends, As if it is no surprise, of course I’m one of those folks who insists that every month in America is Black History Month—that any day ending in Y is an occasion to celebrate the contributions of Black folk, and that my particular lean is the cultural and artistic contributions of Black folk. The first day of February I was in a familiar, yet now foreign space: a movie theater. Being married to a Black independent film curator will present you with many opportunities to sit in front of a screen. His Luminal Theater was selected to program
Dear Friends, At least the turn of a new year gives us a chance to re-imagine the stories we want to tell about ourselves and our work, the journeys we want to take into our futures. One of the stories I am choosing to lean into for 2021 and beyond is to remind myself that the work I do shines when I let my artist self be more visible. Work, and the idea/drudgery of it asks that we hide portions of ourselves that didn’t directly relate to a job description. My colleagues at Red Olive might get caught up in
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
Dear Friends, I’ve been thinking deeply about the work of Black Art Futures Fund, and all of the ways the project moves through the world, all of the ways in which we are seen or unseen, what assumptions come with those perceptions, and so forth…and the influences to the wider field—mostly unattributed, but we know the conditions under which we dreamt up such a thing as BAFF. In 2015, I was a Development Director at Weeksville Heritage Center, and trying desperately to continue down the roads of my predecessors there, as well as attempt to chart new pathways—thinking about how
Dear Friends, The same weekend we lost Chadwick Boseman, many of the folks in my life—mostly writerly—also mourned Randall Kenan. It isn’t lost on me that both are Black men, exceptional storytellers, from the South, and only a generation apart. Randall specifically died at nearly the same age as my father (that is, below 60) who, on September 14, will have been gone from me for 2 years. One of the narratives that has emerged from Chadwick Boseman’s life was how he had worked so hard, had given us so much even as his body was failing him.
Dear Friends, This month’s update shines a light on Black Art Futures Fund, the philanthropic and Black arts advocacy arm of Red Olive Creative Consulting. BAFF was designed to act as an intermediary for small Black arts organizations across the country and the people who want to invest in their futures. Through our multiple entry points—volunteer application readers, advisory board, donors, collaborative learning volunteers—we imagined a platform within a larger ecosystem that could belong to and be held by many people at once, but with Black arts organizations at the center of it. One could come in and