The Knight Foundation announces first five innovative artists to receive its inaugural Knight Arts + Tech Fellowship

The Knight Foundation announces first five innovative artists to receive its inaugural Knight Arts + Tech Fellowship
The Knight Foundation names first five artists to recieve its new Knight Arts + Tech Fellowship. Courtesy the Knight Foundation.
Leading lights  -   Artists

The arts and tech are only becoming more intertwined and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has recognised this having just announced the recipients of its inaugural Knight Arts + Tech Fellowship. Five artists have been selected for the new fellowship, which recognises their “innovative approaches to technology and new media” with an unrestricted grant of $50,000.

“For decades, artists have found novel ways to leverage technology in their art,” Knight’s vice president for the arts, Victoria Rogers, said in a press release. As a relatively new facet to the art world, the intersection of art and tech can allow for incredible and unusual experimental works. With ample room to explore comes difficult terrain to navigate as an artist as the field requires much time and resources.

Thus, the Knight Arts + Tech Fellowship aims to support those artists progressing the field through their use of technology, such as AI, AR, VR, digital mediums, immersive installations, and software, among others, in “thoughtful, creative, or poetic” ways. In addition to an unrestricted grant, the fellows will benefit from various “channels of support” ranging from contacts with art world professionals to collaboration opportunities. A new publication presented by the Knight Foundation, produced by United States Artists, and guest edited by artist and researcher Salome Asega will be one such networking avenue, as the Knight Arts + Tech Fellows will be featured in it. The publication, called Shift Shape, will be published online on the 24th of March.

The five inaugural Knight Arts + Tech Fellowship recipients are:

  • Black Quantum Futurism (Philadelphia, PA) – A collective founded by artists Camae Ayewa and Rasheedah Phillips exploring “Black temporalities and community futurisms” through a variety of mediums, including digital projects, performance, film, installations, writing, and music.
  • Rashaad Newsome (Oakland, CA) – With an emphasis in “constructing a new cultural framework of power that celebrates Black contributions to the art canon and creates innovative and inclusive forms of culture and media,” Newsome is an interdisciplinary artist. His works consist of a blend of various mediums including photography, collages, computer programming, software engineering, an performance art.
  • Rodolfo Peraza (Miami, FL) – Often creating works for public spaces, both physical and virtual, Peraza is a multimedia artist with a particular interest in data visualisations related to internet culture and its impact on society.
  • Sondra Perry (Newark, NJ) – Working through video, computer-based media, and performances, Perry in an interdisciplinary artist exploring issues of race, identity, family history, and technology.
  • Stephanie Dinkins (Brooklyn, NY) – The Kusama professor of Art at Stony Brook University and a transdisciplinary artist, Dinkins’ work “creates platforms for dialog about AI as it intersects with race, gender, aging and the future.”

The fellows were nominated by artists and art professionals before they were selected by a panel of art world professionals consisting of Global Placemaking Lead for Google Josette Melchor, Creative Technologist and Found of Afrotectopia Ari Melenciano, and Director of NEW INC Stephanie Pereira.

“We’re thrilled to champion the work of these five gifted artists,” continued Rogers, “whose practices experiment with new ways to bring to light and address today’s issues.”

The Knight Arts + Tech Fellowship grant is administered by United States Artists, a US non-profit that has supported artists and creatives since 2006, having distributed more than $33 million in direct funding.

Edited 18 February: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the Knight Arts + Tech Fellowship was funded by United States Artists. The USA is administering the grants. This has been updated for clarity.