Black Lives Matter Artist Grant Program Exhibitions


Photo: “Goddess of the Moon” by artist Maya Milton. Maya’s work will be on display at the The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at Washington State University Nov. 16, 2021 through Feb. 13, 2022.

In the wake of the social unrest and national reflection that followed the death of George Floyd in 2020, Portland businessman and philanthropist Jordan Schnitzer established a Black Lives Matter Artist Grant program to help artists create work examining social justice efforts and the impacts of systemic racism. Now, three upcoming exhibitions will showcase the compelling work of the 60 artists who were awarded grants through the program.

“Now more than ever, our community needs artists to help us understand the issues of racism and white privilege,” says Jordan Schnitzer, president of The Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation and the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation. “I am confident that the art created from this grant program and exhibited at these museums will lead to better understanding and change in our community.”

The artwork, which encompasses a wide range of mediums from a diverse group of artists, will be exhibited at the Jordan Schnitzer Museums of Art at the University of Oregon, Washington State University and Portland State University. The first exhibition opened at the University of Oregon July 3 and will run until Nov. 21, 2021. The exhibition at the Washington State University will be open from Sept. 7 to Nov. 16, 2021, and the exhibition at Portland State University will run from Jan. 18 to April 30, 2022.

Through the Black Lives Matter Artist Grant program, more than 230 artists living in Oregon and Washington submitted proposals for work responding to an array of issues, including the current Black Lives Matter movement, the experiences of marginalized communities, systemic racism, and inequality. The program awarded $2,500 each to 60 artists, with 20 artists selected from each of the museums’ regions.

“The urgency, vitality, and wide range of the work in this show is a testimony to the strong responses of local artists to Black Lives Matter and the legacies of white supremacy,” says John Weber, Director of JSMA UO. “In creating this grant program, Jordan wanted to amplify artists’ voices and to create a new channel allowing artists to speak to the world. In this exhibition, the artists have spoken out eloquently and powerfully.”

“We’re confident the exhibition of these artists’ works will raise awareness of the Black Lives Matter movement, and we feel grateful to have been a part of this process,” says Ryan Hardesty, director of JSMA WSU.

“I am thrilled to share the work of these twenty engaged artists whose practices explore the range of complex issues encompassed by Black experience. Their work addresses systemic racism and racial justice, protecting Black bodies and creating safe spaces, and everyday joy and the celebration of Black culture,” says Maryanna Ramirez, Director of JSMA PSU. “While the art speaks to the national concerns highlighted by the Black Lives Matter Movement, several of the works center local experiences, which provides our Portland audience with critical perspective. I’m so grateful to the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation for providing us with the opportunity to showcase such strong artistic voices.”

More information about each of the three exhibits can be found on their websites: JSMA UO, JSMA PSU, and JSMA UW. Additional information about the Black Lives Matter Artist grant program, including a full list of the 60 participating artists, is available on the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation site.

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