Announcing more Forecast Messages of Hope Mini-Grants Awardees
When Forecast asked artists how we can best help them and their communities NOW, they told us they needed funding to produce projects of hope in their communities in real time. In response, in April we reallocated $10,000 of our own resources to quickly provide mini-grants to 20 public artists to create messages of hope. These artists reached out to their communities to teach virtual classes, write and share poetry and lyrics, livestream beat sets, stitch quilts, engage audiences to make hopeful messages and drawings together, create hopeful window displays, and so much more. After the success of that first round, and thanks to generous donors and a matching grant from Forecast, we are thrilled to announce a second round of 10 mini-grant recipients! We can’t wait to share their inspiring projects with you. All projects will be live by June 30, 2020.
Listed alphabetically by first name
Amanda Nigon-Crowley — Rochester, MN
Amanda Nigon-Crowley would like to connect with the diverse backgrounds of The Village Community Garden & Learning Center, where the Asian gardeners currently face an increase in bias and racial discrimination. In collaboration with the gardeners, Nigon-Crowley will create signage with the community languages and with references to artistic design that is native to their culture, in particular reaching out to Cambodian gardeners with welcoming signs and quotes in Khmer and other languages to let everyone know that the garden is a safe place. Inspiring quotes will also be written in Somali, Hindu, and Spanish. “I want everyone to know that we continue to grow and thrive together as human beings. When we work together and welcome everyone, we will continue to adapt, change, and feed our souls by nurturing our community.”
Carrie Elizabeth Thompson — Standish, Minneapolis
Carrie Elizabeth Thompson wants to visually spread hope to her Standish Minneapolis neighborhood through flowers, which she plans to grow for her neighbors. The flower at her backyard wedding was the Zinnia, and she wants to share the happiness and sense of community that came from that day. Thompson plans to grow at least a hundred flower starts for her neighbors and will post via Nextdoor for a no contact way to find interested neighbors to receive them. “Flowers contain a sense of beauty and life. Planting the same type of flower throughout our neighborhood will help us feel together as we live separately.”
Elizabeth Barrett — Red Lake Nation, Little Rock district
Elizabeth Barrett wants her community to know that art and humor are both important in a time like this, and plans to make a yard sign as well as share writing online. Barrett wrote a piece for The Counter conveying a positive message about traditional Ojibwe foods and their role in her family during the pandemic, and she plans to write more. “Journalism is a powerful tool of connection, especially as many of us are relying on social media to stay united.”
Laura Levinson with Taja Will & Sequoia Hauck — East Phillips, Minneapolis
Laura Levinson, Taja Will and Sequoia Hauck are working on a dance trio that asks, “how can movement/performance be tools to cultivate fertile ground within our bodies (performers and audience alike) for dreams of Indigenous sovereignty, and the end of white supremacist colonial capitalism, to actually take root and become reality? What do the conditions in each of our bodies need to be?” They were slated to perform the piece as part of Franconia Sculpture Park’s summer solstice festival, and feel the urgent need to share the work with their community in 3 ways: (1) a live performance with each dancer in front of their own homes, (2) writing, both online and with physical signs while performing, and (3) video documentation that combines their separate locations, conveying the strength of their relationship.
Laurel Sanders — Duluth, Fond du lac neighborhood
Laurel Sanders wants people to be encouraged to continue to do all they can to protect themselves and others, to assist each other, and to cherish and maximize their quality of life. Sanders will create mini murals made from paint and scrap wood that can be tied to tree branches or posted in yards, and make them available for safe pickup. The artist will collect them when safety measures are lifted, and dispose of them appropriately and celebratorily. “Hang in there!”
Mayumi Amada — Minneapolis
Mayumi Amada will draw patterns and messages every 10-15 feet on the sidewalk or road on the River Parkway in Minneapolis, using stencils to draw patterns and add messages with temporary, environmentally-safe spray chalk. “It’s getting warmer and many people go out for bright sunshine in that area, therefore, this project will reach many who are under difficult circumstances and need positive messages, such as, ‘Let’s get through this difficult time together,’ and ‘believe the power of solidarity,’ as well as health practice messages like, ‘wash your hands frequently,’ and so on.”
Megan Busman — Chandler, MN
Megan Busman would like to share the message that it is a scary and confusing time, but hope is stronger than fear. Busman plans to create a painting based off of the Alexandra Vasiliu poem, Plant Hope in the Garden of Your Heart. Busman, who lives on a farm in a close-knit community in the southwest corner of Minnesota, will share via social media. “I believe that if we all keep hope in our hearts, we can make it through this.”
Phillip Prospers McGraw — East St. Paul
As a family man, Phillip Prospers McGraw understands how stressful and difficult it is to not be able to work, send kids to school, and be unable to purchase necessary home products. McGraw will create a short montage of the activities he is doing with his family, to promote positivity, and for individuals to be mindful and calm in this uncertain time. He will spread his message of hope on social media. “A montage is an important technique in film, delivering information and time passage in a visual and economical way. If done right, a montage can be engaging, inspiring—even epic. I want this message to be inspiring with hope.”
Pramila Vasudevan and Zoe Cinel — Highland Park, St. Paul
Pramila Vasudevan and Zoe Cinel will create three days of outdoor light and video interventions, including showcases of local and international artists’ short movies, and experimental projections that interact with the public site-specific space of Pramila’s front yard. Through this project they hope to light up the street, support other artists and inspire the community. “As artists, we want to show the creative possibilities that can blossom from constraints of space.”
Together there is always Hope! — Badger, MN
Together there is always Hope! would like to create a group of exterior grade plywood “paper doll” children dancing with colorful balloons, to be placed in a central spring garden in her community, and shared via social media. Words of hope, faith, and love will be written on the balloons. “Through the eyes of a child, we can see the hope, have faith and heal through love and compassion.”
Messages of Hope Mini-Grant projects are blossoming in all corners of the state of Minnesota and the Native Nations that share the same geography.
These projects are based in multiple neighborhoods in Minneapolis and St. Paul, as well as communities in Badger, Buffalo, Chandler, Duluth, Fond Du Lac Reservation, Forest Lake, Moorhead, Red Lake Nation, Rochester, and Wheaton. We are thrilled to see the hopeful messages and positive energy shared by the incredible artists reaching out to their home communities and beyond.