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Brooklyn Museum and Instagram announce this year’s #BlackVisionaries grant awardees

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#BlackVisionaries grant awardees Jaline McPherson, Dark Matter U and Cornelius Tulloch.
Photos by Elias Williams, Melody Timothee

For the second year in a row, the Brooklyn Museum is partnering with Instagram to uplift Black voices via the #BlackVisionaries grant program — and ten new grant recipients were announced in late November.

The awardees were carefully chosen by a group of designers and artists, including writer, curator and the program’s creative chair, Antwaun Sargent.

“All of the selected Visionaries truly personify a conscious engagement with today’s cultural moment,” said Sargent. “There are a vast number of social factors at play that has invoked this certain urgency for Black artists to think about their practices in a way that can help nurture and empower the community.”

Last year, the program awarded five recipients and one Black-led small design business $205,000 in grants. This year, a whopping $650,000 in grants has been awarded to ten artists, designers, and small businesses across the company, along with five $100,000 Visionary Small Business Grants for Black-led organizations focused on design and five $30,000 Emerging Visionary Grants for Black individuals focused on art and design, awarded with the support of Meta Open Arts.

To sweeten the deal, nonprofit Mobile Makers is partnering with each grantee to provide mentorship and training.

The #BlackVisionary grant program’s mission is to support, invest, and enable the voices and business of Black individuals who work in design and art, according to Sargent. The ultimate goal, the creator said, is not only to support the organizations themselves, but also the communities they exist in.

“Community builds community, and that’s the intentionality behind what we’re trying to establish here,” Sargent told Brooklyn Paper. “It is the financial support, mentorship, connections, and the emphasis on storytelling that, combined, are meant to provide a framework for the boundless development of these recipients.”

Bringing it home to Brooklyn

Among this year’s Visionary Small Business Grant recipients is Brooklyn-based business Pacific.

“Pacific is a multidisciplinary creative studio and publishing house based in New York City,” said founder Elizabeth Karp-Evans. “The studio was founded by Elizabeth Karp-Evans and Adam Turnbull. Pacific creates design and communication systems that innovate and build community at the intersection of art, publishing, placemaking, technology, and culture.”

Elizabeth Karp-Evans and Adam Turnbull established Pacific 2017 with three main goals: to explore and engage with society in innovative ways, to help individuals and their community to flourish through the forming of relationships, and to create art for the public to possess.

Elizabeth Karp-Evans, co-founder of Brooklyn-based publishing and design studio Pacific, one of this year’s #BlackVisionaries grant awardees.Photo by Elias Williams

“Pacific’s work is centered around putting tools in the hands of our clients, the public, and friends,” Karp-Evans said. “We use design to create brands, books, objects, and more, so that anyone, from individual artists to global organizations, are able to effectively communicate their mission and vision. Our goal of creating simple, accessible, unique, and quality work unites all that we produce at Pacific.”

The grant program offers Pacific some stability and new opportunities for the studio.

“This grant is so important to Pacific as it will allow us time to pause and reflect on our first five years of operating an independent creative studio in New York,” Karp-Evans said. “We’ll be able to analyze successes and failures, as well as take chances on new opportunities and include new young voices at the studio. It also introduces us to a whole new community of designers, creators, and mentors who we’re so excited to collaborate with.”

Pacific’s work in publication design is featured within collections in New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, and New York Public Library, as well as the Princeton University Library in New Jersey.

In the coming year, Pacific looks forward to new and exciting projects.

“We’re looking forward to 2023 and have a number of exciting projects coming out in the first half of the year. Pacific was selected to re-envision the Chelsea arts organization The Kitchen’s digital presence and platforms, including the design and build of a new website, in tandem with the launch of their capital campaign,” shared Karp-Evans.

Also taking the grant home to Brooklyn is designer, artist, and writer Jaline McPherson. McPherson seeks to elevate stories of Black cultural landscapes and ethnobotanical histories.

In an Instagram post congratulating her fellow grant recipients, McPherson doubled down on the program’s commitment to community building.

“Our work spans disciplines, but a commitment to community unites us,” she wrote. “Congrats everyone!”

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