Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts distributes $400,000 to LA arts organisations with revisioned grant

Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts distributes $400,000 to LA arts organisations with revisioned grant
rafa esparza, "Building a simulacrum of power." Courtesy of Clockshop, a recipient of the 2021 Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts Organizational Support Grants.
Leading lights

Adapting to the landscape of the pandemic, the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts (MKFA) has announced 18 organisations that will be the first beneficiaries of its Organizational Support Grants, a slight revision of their annual Artist Project Grants. The grants will provide the selected organisations with up to $30,000 in unrestricted funds to help support the continuation of their work.

The MFKA, based in Los Angeles, was founded in 2007 to support the “spirit of critical thinking, risk taking, and provocation in the arts” by artist Mike Kelley, who passed away in 2012. In 2016, the foundation offered its first Artist Project Grants, an initiative that has supported the work of dozens of artists since.

However, 2020 presented a new set of issues to the arts community. The MFKA contributed to Artist Relief, but, in the wake of a tumultuous year, it recognised the continued needs of arts organisations within the LA community. So, the foundation chose to pivot the model of their Artist Project Grants to aid small to midsize arts organisations.

The 18 organisations selected for the 2021 grants vary in disciplines ranging from poetry to experimental music to performance art to multimedia works.

“We are struck by the resilience and flexibility of so many arts organizations and artists during this devastating time,” executive director of the MKFA Mary Clare Stevens said in a press release. “Each one of these organizations has helped shape the unique arts landscape in Los Angeles. In the face of cancelled and delayed exhibitions, performances, and fundraising events, we hope that this support will help the grantees navigate this next chapter.”


The 2021 Organizational Support Grant recipients are:

the Center for Land Use Interpretation
Center for the Study of Political Graphics
Coaxial Arts Foundation
Echo Park Film Center
Future Roots Inc. DBA dublab
Human Resources LA
Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (ICA LA)
Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions
Los Angeles Filmforum
Los Angeles Poverty Department
Museum of Jurassic Technology
Pieter Performance Space
Poetic Research Bureau
Side Street Projects
Society for the Activation of Social Spaces through Art and Sound
Vincent Price Art Museum Foundation
Women’s Center for Creative Work


Sarah Williams, co-founder and executive director of the Women’s Center for Creative Work described the past year as a “very destabilizing period.” Williams continued saying: “This kind of overarching support is desperately needed to keep people employed and to help small arts organizations weather the months to come. [… and] to ensure a meaningful arts landscape on the other side of the pandemic”

The grantees were selected by an independent panel that reviewed applications. That panel included Erin Christovale, Associate Curator at the Hammer Museum; artist Todd Gray; artist Tala Madani; Sohrab Mohebbi, Kathe and Jim Patrinos Curator of the 58th edition of the Carnegie International and Curator at Large at Sculpture Center; and Diana Nawi, Co-Artistic Director of Prospect.5, New Orleans.

See below a selection of images of workshops, artworks, installations, performances, and more created and organised by the 18 Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts Organizational Support Grantees:

Edited February 11 to include more images.