On Tuesday, the recently established BIPOC Arts Network and Fund (BANF) announced a $2 million round of grant funding for artists in the Greater Houston area. Individual grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 will be awarded to BIPOC-founded and -led nonprofits working in the arts and cultural programming, or artist collectives “who have a proven track record of work that benefits BIPOC communities,” according to a press release. The grant money will be awarded by the end of the year to eligible applicants in the following Houston-area counties: Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, and Waller.
Via the announcement: “Given their limited financial resources, Houston BIPOC cultural organizations are even more vulnerable to the current climate, public health and economic disruptions. For many, their very survival is at stake. In the face of that, Black, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian American and Pacific Islander, and Middle Eastern arts organizations and artists have thrived through systemic oppression and still stand in their power contributing as they always have to this country’s arts and culture narrative.”
The initial round of $2 million is the first step in a multi-year plan to provide resources to Greater Houston’s BIPOC arts communities. The program will evolve by incorporating community feedback into the process.
“This historic first round of funding is the beginning of a new story and a new way of how we recognize BIPOC arts communities in Greater Houston,” states Sixto Wagan, BANF’s Project Director. “The grants we distribute, the networks we build to bring us closer together as a BIPOC community, the programs we design in partnership with our arts organizations and the artists they support, will ensure that our Greater Houston arts ecosystem will be stronger and more resilient after the pandemic and far beyond.”
BANF was born out of Ford Foundation’s America’s Cultural Treasures initiative, which in September 2020 committed $156 million to support BIPOC arts communities across the country. That money was split across seven regions, including Greater Houston, with local philanthropic partners invited to match funding.
At launch, BANF is a $12.4 million initiative that will provide funding to eligible arts communities over a five-year period. In addition to the Houston Endowment and Ford Foundation, BANF is also funded by The Brown Foundation, Inc., The Cullen Foundation, Kinder Foundation, and Powell Foundation.
Eligible applicants can submit an application by 5pm CST on October 22 via BANF’s website. The application materials are bilingual, to accommodate Houston’s largest ethnic minority group, the Latinx community.