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Area Artists Win Grants to Support Art for Change

Seven area artists have been selected to each receive one of ArtsWestchester’s $10K Voices for Change 2023 grants, which are designed to promote social awareness through the arts.

The organization’s CEO Janet Langsam says: “It is our hope that these artists will use various art forms to illuminate complex issues, encourage civic discourse and open the community to new ways of thinking.”

Overall, the Voices for Change grant program provides the creative community with an opportunity to develop and present new work that inspires and informs, and may be a catalyst for action.

Langsam explains that these National Endowment of the Arts-supported grants are “unique in that central to their goal is the advancement of inclusiveness, equity and accessibility in our community.”

ArtsWestchester recently opened a second round of Voices for Change grant applications. Artists will have until April 21, 2023 to submit proposals for projects.

The following artists have been awarded grants:

Alan Jeffrey Frieberg, a professional musician, board-certified music therapist and licensed creative arts therapist, has received a grant for his project entitled Everybody Should Be in a Band. In his funded project, he will work with four bands comprised of neurodiverse individuals and people with intellectual disabilities as they rehearse for, and perform, at a culminating event in partnership with Jawonio.

Haifa Bint-Khadi, a mosaic artist, curator and Adjunct Professor at SUNY Purchase College, will partner with Sister to Sister to create ten mosaics in Yonkers that will feature women of color from different cultures. Young women will also be invited to make mosaics of their own.

Anna de la Paz, a Spanish dance artist, performer, producer, researcher and educator specializing in the classical and folkloric dances from Spain, is funded to present choreography based on activism and protest-culture. In her project titled Dancing on the Borderline Flamenco, youth dancers will make their own handmade instruments and signage to encourage the raising their own voices.

Brooklyn Demme, founder and director of Truth 2 Power, which has produced documentaries around indigenous communities, will partner with the Nyack Haverstraw African-American Connection to present a documentary that will educate the community about the hidden history of Haverstraw and the first African American church in Rockland.

Rebecca Thomás, a flamenco artist who founded the A Palo Seco Flamenco Company, is funded to create a Flamenco production about domestic violence. The production, which will be produced in close collaboration with Hope’s Door, will include audio stories and spoken word from Hope’s Door as well as a panel discussion by professionals after the show. All new work will be presented in 2023.

Karen Viola, an illustrator and graphic designer, is funded to utilize found materials from a cleanup within Westchester’s river system to make portable eco-art fish sculptures. Viola created Climbing Tree Studio in White Plains, which aims to educate and inspire children and communities. She will partner with Riverkeeper to use her project to teach about environmental impact.

Jeff Watkins, a native of Mount Vernon, is the founder of Condreal, a global transmedia production and distribution company based in New York City. Watkins is funded to create a documentary about how the Boys and Girls Club of Mount Vernon has fostered Black excellence.