UrbanArt Commission issues calls for artists, promotes relief for artists in need

[Correction: This article previously attributed the artist relief fund to UrbanArts Commission. UAC is helping to promote the fund.]

UrbanArt Commission has been busy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

They’re helping promote a relief fund for artists, announced finalists for their major airport renovation work, and issued two new calls for Mid-South creatives for grant-funded public art projects.

Read more on what UAC’s been up to below and get links to applications.

For a list of other arts-related aid and work opportunities, visit UAC’s resource page here.

UAC is a nonprofit organization that works to connect Memphians to connect and shape spaces through public art.

Artist Emergency Fund

UAC is helping to promote a relief fund for artist who have lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund is a partnership between ArtsMemphis partnered with Music Export Memphis. UAC receives funding from ArtsMemphis.

Aid is available to self-employed artists of all disciplines--including writers, musicians, dancers, filmmakers--and contract artists and employees of nonprofit arts and culture organizations.

Requests must be related to gigs, contracts, or employment cancelled since March 1 due to COVID-19. Click here for info and application. Artists can also call 901-578-2787 or email Tracy Lauritzen Wright at [email protected]artsmemphis.org or Colleen McCartney at [email protected].

The fund is supported by The COVID-19 Regional Response Fund, Assisi Foundation, Crosstown Arts, Hyde Family Foundation, Kresge Foundation, and individual donors.

Bridging The Distance Grant

UAC has responded to the current health and economic uncertainty with two new arts grants. The first is the Bridging the Distance Grant.

Artists working in a variety of mediums are encouraged to apply. The applications and work should seek to answer two questions: What message do you most want to share with your friends, neighbors, and fellow Memphians during this uncertain time? How would you creatively share this message with your community? 

Ten thousand dollars will be distributed across 20 grants at $500 each. The money is a reallocation from other UAC project funds.

The deadline is May 19 at 11:59 p.m. Click here for info and application.

Movable Collection Grant

UAC manages the City of Memphis’s local art. It’s displayed on a rotating basis in libraries, universities, the airport, and public and civic spaces like community centers and City Hall.

Any artist living and working within the Memphis metropolitan area can apply. The deadline for the Movable Collection Grant is June 2, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.

Individuals or teams of artists will receive between $500 and $5,000. The total allotment is $50,000 from the City of Memphis’ percent-for-art program, which UAC helped secure in 2002.

The selected works will be displayed in pop-up galleries in MPL branch. They’ll rotate through the galleries into 2021. Afterwards, the works will be eligible for permanent installation at libraries and other public spaces like community centers and civic buildings.

Airport Grant Finalists Announced

In February, UAC and Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority issues calls to artists for five permanent works at the Memphis International Aiport. The works will be part of a $245-million multi-phase, multi-year modernization effort for the airport. The renovations are expected to be completed by April 2021, though that timeline may be impacted by the pandemic.

Related: "UrbanArt Commission issues call for artists for Memphis Intl. Airport redesign opening in 2021"

There are 15 finalists, which includes both individuals and teams. They’re competing for five projects in three categories. It includes suspended sculpture and glasswork. UAC received a total of 239 artist submissions for the five projects.

The call was open to any artists across the U.S., but one finalist position in each category was reserved for Shelby County artist.

Finalists will present their final proposals to the selection committee in mid-June.

Read more about the airport projects here.

Find more resources and ways to help in English and Spanish in our Memphis Area COVID-19 Resource Guide.

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Read more articles by Cole Bradley.

Cole Bradley is a native Memphian and graduate of the University of Memphis. Cole's worked locally as a researcher and community engagement strategist and began contributing to High Ground in Jan 2017. 
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