Sundance Institute launches grant programs to help artists of color hit by the pandemic

(Jonathan Hickerson | courtesy Sundance Institute) Participants at the Sundance Institute's 2015 Theatre Lab. The institute announced on March 10, 2021, that it is launching two grant programs to help BIPOC artists and organizations who have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Sundance Institute is launching two new grant programs to help artists who are Black, Indigenous and people of color tell their stories.

The two grant programs will come from Sundance’s Respond and Reimagine Fund, which started about a year ago, dedicating $1 million to artists and organizations hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund is particularly focused on helping artists who are Black, Indigenous and people of color, who have been disproportionately affected by the economic toll of the pandemic, Sundance officials said in a statement earlier this month.

Karim Ahmad, Sundance’s director of outreach and inclusion, said in a statement that the two grant programs “intend to address the deeply disproportionate effects the pandemic and racial terror have had on artists of color.”

One program, the Uprise Grant Fund, will dedicate $100,000 to support up to 25 emerging minority artists, based in the United States, “whose creative development have been impacted” by the pandemic. The unrestricted fund will support artists’ livelihoods and creative projects.

Ahmad said Sundance’s goal for the Uprise fund “is to provide unrestricted financial support to those artists at key moments in their career development with the sole aim of combating the erasure of these important voices from our culture and society.”

The other program, the Arts Organization Grant, will offer $100,000 to between eight and 10 U.S.-based minority-led arts organizations in film, theater and emerging media.

Applications are open for the Uprise fund; the deadline to apply is April 5. The application process for the Arts Organizations Grant will launch this spring, with nominators from the fields of media, arts, racial justice and philanthropy.

The institute, founded in 1981 by actor, filmmaker and activist Robert Redford, is best known for staging the Sundance Film Festival, the annual showcase of American independent film. The institute is gearing up for its summer lab programs, which give filmmakers and other artists a space to workshop new projects; much of this year’s lab slate, like last year’s, will happen online, on the Sundance Co//ab platform.