£500 ‘guilt-free’ grants available for black artists


BLACK ARTISTS in the West Midlands are being given the chance to get their hands on £500 grants to spend however they see fit, thanks to a new fund.

The Freedom Fund, created by arts organisation MAIA with support from Culture Central, will distribute 14 grants of £500 to successful applicants.

The fund has been described as a “guilt-free pot of money”, owing to the lack of restrictions on how the money is spent. Recipients can use the grants dependent on their needs and there is no compulsory outcome or evaluation.

In many cases, micro pots of money are distributed to artists who have to meet lots of different criteria and are often obligated to produce outcomes to satisfy high expectations.

MAIA said: “The recent wave of the Black Lives Matter movement, saw an increase in all sectors reviewing systemic racism within their organisation. This has been a revealing time for many, for some protests and demonstrations have been the answer. For others, this has been an awakening and has forced them to listen and find actionable ways to not be complicit in racial injustice.

“Our aim is to always support the social mobility of black artists, makers and dreamers. MAIA normally does this by providing a range of programmes and commission opportunities, designed to help people be more sustainable. When given the opportunity to distribute funds, we listened to the needs of our community.”

With more than 100 applications received so far, MAIA are calling on other arts and cultural organisations and philanthropists to match the funding so that more artists can benefit from it.

“The response alone proves the undeniable need for this type of investment and we believe organisations with the means should advocate for this demand and continue to support the cause,” MAIA said.

Founded by Amahra Spence and Amber Caldwell in 2013, MAIA is focused on levelling the playing field for artists by connecting them to resources that help them harness their talents to develop their environment.

You can find more information about MAIA’s work and the fund at www.maiagroup.co

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