Creative Time

The Rockefeller Foundation Launches The Artist Impact Initiative with Creative Time and Pioneer Works

November 16th, 2023

Today, The Rockefeller Foundation launches The Artist Impact Initiative with Creative Time and Pioneer Works. This initiative is supported by two grants from The Rockefeller Foundation in order to provide support to a diverse range of New York City-based artists to advance ambitious projects that address the global challenges impacting local communities. The initiative has two fellowship programs supporting 20 artists for one-year fellowships over a two-year period, providing them with $50,000 each, and additional support to develop their projects.
The organizations are pleased to simultaneously announce the inaugural cohort of ten fellows: Creative Time welcomes Guadalupe Maravilla, Carlos Motta, Linda Goode Bryant, Stephanie Dinkins, Emily Johnson into their R&D (Research & Develop) Fellowship; Pioneer Works welcomes Tega Brain & Sam Lavigne, Erin Johnson, Irreversible Entanglement (Keir Neuringer, Camae Ayewa a.k.a. Moor Mother, Luke Stewart, Aquiles Navarro, Tcheser Holmes), Kameelah Janan Rasheed, and Carrie Wang into The Working Artist Fellowship.
With this program, it is the shared ambition of Rockefeller Foundation, Creative Time, and Pioneer Works to position artists as leaders in processes of social change, recognizing art-based initiatives as an innovative and highly effective means of elevating dialogue and fostering collective action to address the most pressing issues of the 21st century.
Artists who are working in socially-engaged practices, creating new pathways and modalities to address critical challenges and foster social change, have been historically overlooked within the creative sector often lacking consistent funding and resources. With the creation of this fellowship opportunity, New York City-based artists who are driving community engagement and dialogue through their work will be recognized and positioned as vital urban leaders who bring unique skill sets, modes of working, organizing and creating, to address critical issues that impact the lives of New Yorkers.
“Artists have always been leaders of social change. With this fellowship, The Rockefeller Foundation is proud to support artists in the NYC community who foster dialogue and inspire action on the most critical issues of our time,” said Sarah Geisenheimer, Vice President of Convenings & Networks at The Rockefeller Foundation.
The Initiative has two fellowship programs, in recognition of the needs of artists with established socially-engaged practices and decades of impact in the space, and artists who are established as arts practitioners in New York City, interested in exploring new approaches to community-based socially-engaged work.
Creative Time will oversee the R&D (Research & Develop) Fellowship, a program designed to support interdisciplinary research and development of projects from five established artists with a track record in socially engaged art. The program will act as a catalyst for an artist with a well-defined concept, perhaps already underway, and connecting them to an interdisciplinary network of collaborators and advisers to develop their work in the public realm at a meaningful depth or scale. Creative Time will provide access to an interdisciplinary group of advisors relevant to each proposed project to support project research and initiate collaborations. The R&D Fellowship is facilitated by Creative Time’s Curator. Creative Time will also offer unlimited access to its new programming space to artist fellows.
Creative Time Fellows will develop work that is rooted in social practice/public practice, which is highly participatory in nature and lives outside of a museum or gallery setting.
“At Creative Time we have long held the belief that artists’ voices and visions are instrumental to social change,” said Justine Ludwig, Creative Time Executive Director. “It is imperative that we support socially engaged artists through experimentation, and the process of the work, rather than focus solely on outcome and presentation.”
“Socially engaged art projects take years to develop, but that period of R&D is rarely resourced,” said Diya Vij, Creative Time Curator. “Institutions are interested in the transformative outcome but this is process-based work. It takes time. The Creative Time R&D Fellowship allows us to support artists financially and intellectually as they build interdisciplinary projects that move art outside the silos of the art world and into public life.”
Pioneer Works will oversee The Working Artist Fellowship program, designed for five mid-career and emerging artists interested in exploring new approaches to advancing social cohesion through creative solutions. This Fellowship will serve as an extension and enhancement of the existing Pioneer Works Residency Program, allowing Alumni Residents to continue developing or fully realize new work. Pioneer Works will provide a range of resources including teaching and public engagement opportunities, production resources, mentorship, and advisors to support artists who want to deepen and expand their connection to socially-engaged modes of creating.
“The Working Artist Fellowship builds on Pioneer Works’s commitment to supporting artist residencies, empowering them to produce experimental, groundbreaking works that both respond to and reflect upon our times,” said Mara Manus, Pioneer Works Chief Executive Officer.
“In 2020, when the financial burden taken on by artists completing residencies significantly worsened and became impossible to ignore, especially in New York City, we began offering a stipend to our residents,” said Christina Daniels, Pioneer Works Director of Residencies and Classes. “We are beyond excited to partner with The Rockefeller Foundation on the Working Artist Fellowship. This feels like five more steps in that same, right direction: to be able to offer robust funding to Alumni Residents via a dedicated living wage award and a healthy production budget.”
The Artist Impact Initiative is established through a passionate belief in, and commitment to, three simple goals:
-To demonstrate the social impact of contemporary art practices and center artists as leaders. The initiative will advance art projects that are designed to address pressing social challenges in New York City communities, inspiring public engagement on issue areas aligned with the Rockefeller Foundation’s mission. Artists will be positioned as leaders whose work is a powerful and innovative means to elevate dialogue and inspire action to address the most pressing issues of the 21st century.
-To expand the capacity of 20 New York City-based artists to produce socially-engaged art, amplify their impact, and extend their reach. The Initiative will financially empower twenty leading New York City-based artists to either conceptualize new projects or work on existing projects that can be accelerated through the support of the fellowship. It will also provide Artist Fellows with support structures that will amplify their work and expand their audiences through exhibition, convenings, mentorship, communications, and network opportunities.
-To positively impact New York City by lifting up people and communities across all five boroughs. The Initiative will support artists who are fostering dialogue, ideas, and innovation through their work, inspiring positive local action that uplifts New York City communities and increases human capacity to adapt to present and future challenges within a dynamic social, environmental and political landscape.

Top Row: Guadalupe Maravilla, Emily Johnson, Carlos Motta, Stephanie Dinkins, Linda Goode Bryant
Bottom Row: Tega Brain & Sam Lavigne, Irreversible Entanglement (Keir Neuringer, Camae Ayewa a.k.a. Moor Mother, Luke Stewart, Tcheser Holmes, Aquiles Navarro,) Kameelah Janan Rasheed, Erin Johnson, Carrie Wang