Second cohort of 20 disabled creative practitioners recognized with $50,000 grant for outstanding cultural contributions
(NEW YORK, NY – July 27, 2022) Today, the Ford Foundation and the Mellon Foundation announced the 2022 recipients of the Disability Futures Fellowship, an initiative administered by United States Artists that aims to increase the visibility of disabled creative practitioners across disciplines and geography and elevate their voices individually and collectively.
The Disability Futures Fellowship initiative supports 20 disabled creative practitioners whose work advances the cultural landscape. Each fellowship includes an unrestricted $50,000 grant, totaling $1 million for the cohort overall. Now in its second round, it is the only national, multidisciplinary award for disabled artists and creative practitioners.
Disability Futures creates a platform to prioritize the work of disabled artists, filmmakers, and writers in order to advance their stories, ideas, and practices, individually and collectively. The initiative addresses field-wide problems in arts and culture, journalism, and documentary film, including: a dearth of disability visibility in the cultural sector, lack of professional development opportunities accessible to disabled practitioners, and the unique financial challenges facing disabled artists and creative professionals.
“Disability Futures was first conceived as a way to center and elevate those in disabled communities across the country, and across culture,” said Judilee Reed, President and CEO at United States Artists. “We’re excited to see the stage expand with this new class of fellows, and are honored to celebrate together.”
"We are delighted to reaffirm our commitment to this community of artists, advance their perspectives and ideas, and expand who is seen and heard in the creative landscape,” said Margaret Morton, program director, Creativity and Free Expression at the Ford Foundation.
“Mellon is honored to support Disability Futures, a program that is very close to our hearts,” said Emil J. Kang, program director, Arts and Culture at the Mellon Foundation. “Created out of conversation, collaboration, and care, Disability Futures offers a chance to honor and learn from generations of artists. It’s wonderful to announce that this community just grew larger.”
“I’ve received a number of fellowships in the past, but this one is particularly special for a few reasons,” said Christine Sun Kim, artist and 2020 Disability Futures Fellow. “It comes with so much pride of being recognized alongside other extremely talented disabled fellows; it has undoubtedly expanded the meaning of ‘disability’ to something much less reductive; and a bit of financial freedom (money with no strings attached) goes a long way.”
The intersectional cohort of recipients come from communities across the country, where they work as artists, activists, and educators. The 2022 Disability Futures Fellows are:
Alexandria Wailes (she/her)
Actor and Theatremaker
New York, NY
Alison O’Daniel (she/her)
Visual Artist and Filmmaker
Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA
Antoine Hunter, Purple Fire Crow (Purple Fire Crow)
Choreographer and Human Advocate
Camisha L. Jones (she/her)
Corbett Joan O’Toole (she/her)
Dickie Hearts (he/him)
New York, NY
JJJJJerome Ellis (any)
Composer and Poet
Reverend Joyce McDonald (she/her)
Kenny Fries (he/him)
Kauneonga Lake, NY and Berlin, Germany
Khadijah Queen (she/her)
M Eifler (they/them)
San Francisco, CA
Naomi Ortiz (they/them)
Poet, Writer, and Visual Artist
Nasreen Alkhateeb (she/her)
Los Angeles, CA
NEVE (they/them and he/she/him/her)
Seattle, WA (Duwamish and Coast Salish Islands)
Artist and Music Producer
East Point, GA
Sandie (Chun-shan) Yi (she/her)
Sandy Ho (she/her)
Tee Franklin (she/her)
Author and Screenwriter
Wendy Lu (she/her)
New York, NY
Yo-Yo Lin (she/they)
Disability Futures is the result of a yearlong research initiative commissioned by the Ford Foundation and conducted by United States Artists that interviewed dozens of disabled artists and creative practitioners across the country to learn how to better serve disabled artists and creatives. The fellowship operates on a nomination-driven basis, originating with a group of nominators who identify eligible creative practitioners. A group of panelists then selects finalists, who are confirmed by an advisory council of disabled creative practitioners assembled to guide the initiative. After incorporating feedback from the initial cohort, the fellowship no longer requires applications, in recognition of the additional labor and barrier this represents for creative practitioners across the country.
The 2022 Disability Futures panelists are: Petra Kuppers, Sean Lee, and Therí A. Pickens.
The 2022 Disability Futures advisors are: Allison Hedge Coke, Cara Reedy, Emily Sara, Jade Bryan, and Michelle A. Banks.
To learn more about the 2022 Disability Futures Fellows and their work please visit: fordfoundation.org/disability-future-fellows.
About the Ford Foundation
The Ford Foundation is an independent organization working to address inequality and build a future grounded in justice. For more than 85 years, it has supported visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. Today, with an endowment of $16 billion, the foundation has headquarters in New York and 10 regional offices across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.
About the Mellon Foundation
The Mellon Foundation is the nation’s largest supporter of the arts and humanities. Since 1969, the Foundation has been guided by its core belief that the humanities and arts are essential to human understanding. The Foundation believes that the arts and humanities are where we express our complex humanity, and that everyone deserves the beauty, transcendence, and freedom that can be found there. Through our grants, we seek to build just communities enriched by meaning and empowered by critical thinking, where ideas and imagination can thrive. Learn more at mellon.org.
About United States Artists
United States Artists is a national arts funding nonprofit that supports the country’s most compelling artists and cultural practitioners. Since its founding in 2006, the organization has awarded more than 750 individuals with over $36 million of direct support.