Puerto Rican artist Chemi M. Rosado-Seijo receive the 2015 Artists as Activists Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Award

PRART NEWS - The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation has selected its inaugural cohort of Artist as Activist fellows. The artists are pursuing ambitious creative projects that address a spectrum of timely issues, including climate change, mass incarceration, and caste-based sexual violence. Fellows receive unrestricted grants ranging from 30,000 to 100,000 USD over two years along with opportunities for professional development.

The foundation created the Artist as Activist Fellowship to provide game-changing resources to artists, designers, and other creative professionals devising artistic strategies that go beyond awareness-building to spur action. The foundation is also launching a multi-pronged research initiative to better understand the needs and experiences of artists working this way, beginning with a practitioner census in May 2015.

The 2015 Artist as Activist fellows are Chemi M. Rosado-Seijo, Dalit Diva, Deanna Van Buren, Jasiri X, People’s Climate Arts, Susan McAllister and Naomi Natale.

Chemi M. Rosado-Seijo

Rosado-Seijo will collaborate with local leaders in El Cerro, a rural working-class community embedded in the mountains of Naranjito, Puerto Rico, to devise creative workshops that facilitate local business creation, shared identity, and a sense of belonging.

EL CERRO - A collaborative work since 2002 with the inhabitants of El Cerro, a community in Naranjito, Puerto Rico. The project consists in painting their houses different shades of green paying a homage to the way the community has been built respecting harmoniously its surroundings and the topography of the mountains where it stands. The project quotes modernist abstract painting and superimposes this on to inhabited buildings. Through negotiation and the collaboration with Prof. Luisa Seijo-Maldonado, volunteers, students and the community, over 100 buildings have been painted over the years. The project also includes workshops for people of all ages in different subjects, ranging from art to law. In addition, other artists’ projects have been developed in the community, like for example, the temporal creation of the Cerro Museum by Pablo León de la Barra in a abandoned building that now is the community center.

About the Artist as Activist program

Since its pilot in 2012, the program has invested nearly $1,000,000 in 15 artists and 10 organizations working at the intersection of art and activism. This year, the program also provided travel and research grants to nine separate artists pursuing creative projects with a social purpose. For more information about the program, grantees, and fellows, visit www.rauschenbergfoundation.org.

About the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation

The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation fosters the legacy of the artist’s life, work, and philosophy that art can change the world. The foundation supports initiatives at the intersection of arts and issues that embody the fearlessness, innovation, and multidisciplinary approach that Robert Rauschenberg exemplified in both his art and philanthropic endeavors.